The days of marketers making decisions on guesswork and experience are gone. Every good marketing strategy can & should be based on data.
SEO is the key to maximizing traffic to your website, so optimizing your website is a necessary start. But you can use SEO data to make better decisions in other areas.
In this post, we dig into why SEO data is relevant and how you can use it to inform your overall marketing strategy.
What is SEO data?
SEO data is all the information related to search engine result pages, impressions, rankings, keywords, backlink profiles, and other relevant SEO topics.
The analysis of SEO data can take you beyond basic metrics like bounce and conversion rates and be a source of ideas to guide your broader marketing strategy and evidence it.
First, we’ll summarize the main types of SEO data.
9 types of SEO data & where to find it
Keyword monthly search volume
This refers to the number of times a keyword is searched for in a month. The data gives you an idea of the interest there is in a product. You can look into how the data varies according to several factors, such as regionally or globally.
You'll find search volumes in SEO tools like Ahrefs, and similar alternatives.
Organic traffic refers to the number of visitors who come to a website organically through non-paid search engine activity. It’s a vital measure of how well your website provides the answers to queries that audiences are searching for.
Referring domains are the sites linking to your website. Only the number of websites you have linking to your site gets counted. It’s not uncommon to have more backlinks – owing to multiple backlinks from the same website – than referral domains. The more referral domains you have, the merrier. But the more popular the sites you have backlinks from really sets you apart.
When your digital content appears on the user’s screen, that’s an impression (without any paid ad strategy, it counts as an organic impression). Impressions don’t show whether you get clicked; instead, they help you gauge the search volume of long tail keywords you’re visible for on page one.
You'll find organic impressions data in Google Search Console.
Your CTR, or click through rate, shows how many of those impressions turned into actual clicks. It’s bound to be much lower than your impressions but is a useful guide as to the interest your website has, and which content is driving those clicks. It’s important to remember that the higher the CTR, the higher your page is going to rank on the SERP.
You'll find organic CTR data in Google Search Console.
The more backlinks your site has gained, the better your chances of ranking highly on the SERP. The number of backlinks is one of the most influential factors in determining your rank. However, not all backlinks are considered equal, and they carry more weight when they come from pages with good domain authority and related content.
Google SERPs ranks ads at the top, listing organic traffic below them. Organic ranking is how often Google ranked your content for a specific keyword. Your content will rank higher and be more likely to generate more organic traffic if it answers search queries well.
For your pages to appear as a search result they need to be indexed by Google. This means they are crawled by a ‘Googlebot’ and the content is analyzed and added to the Google index. By having more indexed pages, you’re more likely to appear higher on the SERP. But, be aware that if you have irrelevant or duplicate pages this will affect your ranking, as will poor quality content.
You can see the number of indexed pages in Google Search Console.
Page speed is the time it takes for a web page to load. It depends on factors such as image compression and file size.
Loading speed is the most critical factor determining a website’s performance both in the eyes of search engines and users.
A slow page speed will affect the user experience, potentially driving visitors away from the site, regardless of how great your company or product is.
You can test page load speed with tools like PageSpeed Insights.
Applications of SEO data
You can use keyword search to guide naming and branding
Figuring out the perfect, attention-grabbing name for your product is tricky. Yet it can make a world of difference to your conversion rate. Incidentally, a useful tip to remember is that conversion rate optimization and SEO go hand in hand and you can find the perfect balance with a deep understanding of each concept. For more, see why the best SEO strategy always includes CRO.
If your previous product launch didn’t produce the desired results, search volume helps you name and brand your future product based on the language your audience is already using to describe it.
Testing the search volume of topics related to your product or service enables you to discover relevant keywords that have the highest search volume.
Use your customer journey to organize your keyword strategy
At each stage in the buyer's journey, search queries vary according to where someone is.
For instance, the search query ‘what is cloud cost management?’ is likely suggestive of someone at the top of the funnel, intent on learning more about this subject. Whereas a query such as ‘cloud optimization tools’ suggests the customer is on the verge of investing in a tool to optimize their cloud usage.
By organizing keywords for each stage of the funnel, you can optimize your content and upgrade the customer experience. SEO data helps you do this by giving you the information you need around keywords, intent, and search volume.
Suss out the competition with organic rankings
Have you ever thought about using organic rankings to track how your product is faring against your competitors’?
To see how well your competitors rank on the SERP, search for industry-relevant keywords. If any websites rank above yours, compare notes, checking if their pages are quick to load and the number of backlinks they have gained.
Consider how the content of the high-ranking websites of your competitors differs from yours. If you find major gaps, you may need to set new SEO objectives, and revisit your SEO content marketing strategy.
Leverage backlink data to build your brand
Guest posting is an excellent way of gaining backlinks while building valuable relationships with other businesses for future collaborations.
You can use various tools to find SEO backlink data to identify potential partners who are already referencing you in their content. Then, look at their backlinks to discover and reach out to similar domains and ask after guest posting or contributor opportunities. Guest posting on the sites of other businesses allows you to score backlinks to your website. The number and value of inbound links are a significant factor in determining your ranking.
SEO data tooling
Last but not least, let’s look at some tools you can leverage to acquire & use your SEO data.
Google Analytics (GA) and Google Search Console (GSC)
Both SEO tools are free and must-haves for newbies. They integrate with one another and many other solutions. Such as survey tools that gather CSAT data, for example.
GA lets you track your organic traffic with real-time reports and audience analytics.
Connecting Google Search Console with Google Analytics gives you the complete picture of what happened before and after the click. This data is important for making SEO reports for clients or internal teams.
Google Analytics allows you to track the pages users entered and visited on your website and the content that drove them to convert. Analyze this data to refine your website and user experience.
GSC allows you to analyze Google’s organic search data and provides reports on landing page ranking positions. It lets you easily track impressions and click-through rates directly through the ‘performance’ module.
Downside: it’s limited regarding keyword discovery, backlinks function, and competitor analysis.
Google Tag Manager (GTM)
This tool enables quicker advanced tracking. Whereas GA counts a bounce when a user views a single page, you can use GTM to record an interaction event whenever the user spends over 45 seconds on the site. Why? Because it’s not unusual for visitors to read one post and then leave a site despite finding what they wanted.
Google Data Studio (GDS)
This tool has a shallow learning curve, integrates with a host of data sources, and produces live, aesthetically pleasing reports with plenty of valuable features.
GDS gives you automated reports you can use along with conversion data to identify whether increased conversions resulted from visitors using branded or non-branded keywords.
It's a great free tool. If you want something that comes with a little extra, including customer support, you could try other marketing dashboard tools like DashThis or Databox.
Ahrefs is an all-in-one SEO tool with an intuitive interface. It’s a good option for keyword research and competitor analysis. Ahrefs Site Audit enables you to analyze a page with on-page optimization scores. It offers an estimate of the number of backlinks you’ll require to rank for a specific keyword.
Pricier than the others, you can use SEMrush in the research phase and for more granular information about your own website. Similar to Ahrefs, SEMrush lets you calculate the overall strength of a site by measuring its domain authority. An on-page SEO checker supplies actionable advice on how to improve your web pages by, for example, suggesting keywords to include.
Con: it doesn’t have results from search engines outside of Google.
Page speed and Core Web Vitals
Google wants to monitor the UX on your site. Page speed and Core Web Vitals are key SEO metrics used to measure your site usability and speed. Studies have shown that increased page speed results in higher conversion rates. Core Web Vitals offer a more granular way of capturing UX, focusing on how your pages perform based on loading, interactivity, and visual stability.
A high bounce rate may indicate you’re failing to attract your desired audience. But it can also stem from slow-to-load pages.
SEO data is your friend
The sheer amount of information SEO data grants you access to can feel baffling. But if you’re only using your SEO data to get your content working better for you, you’re missing out on invaluable insights and opportunities.
SEO is no magic bullet. But drill down a bit and you can pinpoint areas for improvement, and overcome challenges beyond ranking for keywords.
Make the truth and wisdom of your SEO data work for you and you’ll allow for greater customization and create better content that caters to the user experience at every turn.