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How to Use Multi-Channel Data for SEO Analysis and Strategy

As everyone has heard more than enough times by now, the silos of marketing are coming down. Insights can come from anywhere and data is used best when it is shared across disciplines. As a multi-service agency, RKG has many clients that work with us on multiple channels and our client service teams regularly share data and findings to help inform marketing decisions. We have found that paid search, comparison shopping engines and display advertising are all excellent data sources to help guide your SEO efforts.

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Paid Search Query Data and Other Benefits to SEO

Paid search and SEO are the most commonly connected channels as they both revolve around the way people use search engines. Additionally, they are both primarily demand "capturing" channels rather than demand generating, and they appear together on the search engine results page (SERP). While the two channels share some things in common, they do have very different models. As you obviously have to pay to appear in paid search, the engines give advertisers more control over the listings. Advertisers can control copy and easily test different landing pages. The changes we make to paid search ads are immediate, so you will not have to wait for search engines to recrawl your site in order to begin sending users to a new page or feature new copy. Additionally, tracking performance changes through paid search is easier and can be more granular. You know what keyword was searched, what ad a user saw, and which landing page they entered on. With careful budget allocation to testing, paid search can be a great playground for SEOs. Testing opportunities through paid search for SEO include:
  • Testing different calls to action in ad copy to provide recommendations for meta descriptions.
  • Landing page tests for conversion rate optimization as well as identifying the best landing pages for particular keywords and content topics.
  • Using Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs) to test how Google is crawling certain pages and to identify which keywords it finds most relevant for particular pages. By using DSAs on a small group of pages and analyzing search queries, you can set up tests to identify trends into keyword relevancy for those pages to inform content and meta descriptions.
Unfortunately, across both paid search and SEO clients, third-party query conversion data is pretty much gone with Google's move to eliminate queries from referrer strings. The last bastion of pure query conversion performance data, exact match keywords, has also been diminished by the engines with the roll out of close variant matching on Google and Bing. The search query reports from the engines, however, can provide valuable insights into click-through rates (CTR), traffic, Google conversion data (for advertisers with the conversion pixel set up), and other performance metrics for particular individual queries. Through Google's Paid and Organic report, SEOs can get a sense of the brand vs. non-brand traffic split that was lost post-Not Provided. Gap analysis of the Paid and Organic report can be very fruitful in identifying new keywords to bid on or optimize content for. The report can also help identify opportunities for hold-out tests as well as in analysis of those tests. Paid and Organic Report Additionally, paid sitelinks can be a perfect opportunity to drive traffic to new content. Adding a sitelink to brand or related non-brand ads can help increase awareness for your product category page or your blog. As visibility and traffic to new and deeper pages improves, a natural improvement of your backlink profile should follow.

Using CSE Feed Data for SEO Analysis

Advertisers often do not connect comparison shopping engine insights with SEO. However, for a digital marketing agency that optimizes both the product feed and webpages for SEO, there is extremely valuable data in a product feed that can be used to optimize sites, particularly e-commerce sites. With a number of RKG clients carrying thousands of products, finding SEO performance trends in product pages can be difficult. Through using the product categories, Adwords Labels, and now Shopping campaigns, analytics data for product pages can be more easily assessed in aggregate. A simple VLOOKUP and a pivot table in Excel will give you product category, subcategory, color, etc. performance very quickly. By pulling in the different attributes assigned to products, you can perform broader category performance analysis as well as identify organic search performance trends within subcategories. Additionally, when looking for insights into gap analysis, a crucial piece of the puzzle is making sure that a site has enough of these products to warrant a new page. There can be 500,000 monthly searches for a product category, but, if you only have one of them, your users may not be too happy to land on a category page and bounce. Analyzing both search volume and inventory volume is key to making appropriate recommendations for new pages and content.

SEO Uses of Display Placement Performance

Again, we look at two channels that generally are viewed as pretty far apart. However, as this article on Moz.com points out, display advertising through the GDN and other DSPs can provide valuable insights into where your personas and audiences are also going on the internet. Additionally, with proper tracking in place you can find which of your narrow categorizations of people, personas, and broader categorized audiences are the most valuable from the performance of Display ad placements. You may find that for a men's fashion designer, your most valuable audience is made up of visitors to the Wall Street Journal instead of visitors to GQ.com. This may indicate that your "Fashion Maven" persona is not as valuable as the "Savvy Investor" persona. What's even better is that the data goes both ways. If you're looking for opportunities for direct placements or finding tangential interests of your audience, look at your backlink profile. Find out who is already linking to you and identify the domains that are linking to you the most. A domain that demonstrates appreciation for your content through backlinks is more likely to work with you with regards to direct placement, which can help you to create awareness of new content or pages. These domains know that their audience enjoys your content and a direct placement will further your relationship with these domains.

Conclusion

Having all of your channels managed under one roof can really help your organic search program. Multiple teams looking at the same data from different angles will provide new insights that one team might not be able to find on their own. At RKG, our different service teams regularly meet to discuss cross-channel data, strategy, and tactics. While we have provided a number of opportunities for synergy and program improvement here, this advice is not exhaustive, and regular communication is the most important piece to maximizing cross-channel efforts. Making sure your SEO team is in contact with all parts of your paid marketing business is crucial for SEO success as well as overall success. The SEO game has changed a lot over the last few years and integrating it with your other channels will give you a leg up on the competition.
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