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Meaningful SEO Metrics: Going Beyond the Numbers

Published: Aug 19, 2010

Moderator: John Marshall, SES Advisory Board & CTO of Market Motive
Speakers: Richard Zwicky, Founder & CEO of Enquisite, Ray “Catfish” Comstock, Director of SEO, BusinessOnLine, and John Glick, VP of SEO and GM European Web Properties & Become.com

As SEO continues to grow at an exponential rate, connecting, understanding and engaging with customers becomes increasingly important. But how do you best sift through the endless amounts of available data and analytics to determine what should be tweaked in your marketing campaigns to better engage your customers? Richard Zwicky, Ray “Catfish” Comstock and John Glick helped to answer this question in this session of SES San Francisco.

Up first to present was Richard Zwicky, Founder and CEO or Enquisite.

Zwicky focused on “Connected Marketing”: Measuring what is meaningful to your customers and using this information to streamline your business and engage with your customers. As marketers, we must constantly monitor the conversation between our customers and learn to focus on the channels which are actually making an impact on our customers. Zwicky highlighted the 4 A’s of Connected Marketing:

  • Awareness
  • Appreciation
  • Action
  • Advocacy

Next up to present was Ray Comstock, better known as “Catfish”. Catfish discussed the evolution of localization and personalization in regards to SEO and how to use Google Webmaster Tools as a practical and effective method of measuring SEO success.

Localization and Personalization:

  • Search engine rankings are much less homogeneous today than they were in the past
  • The search results you see change dramatically based on your physical location and historical search behavior

Google Webmaster Tools:

  • SEO performance is about rankings and traffic
  • Google Webmasters now provides data on Organic CTR, impressions, and what position your listing was in the search engines when you received a click – this is invaluable data!

Lastly, John Glick from Become.com discussed over-rated and under-rated SEO metrics and testing for SEO.

Over-Rated SEO Metrics:

    • Page Rank
    • Amount of in-bound links (quality of links is more meaningful than high numbers)
    • Number of pages indexed
    • Top 10 rankings

Under-Rated SEO Metrics:

    • Crawl Rate
    • Landing Page Performance
    • Revenue

Best Practices for SEO Testing:

    • Don’t start a project without a way to measure success
    • Always have a quantifiable test plan
    • Traditional A/B and Multivariate Testing often does not apply due to low traffic volumes

Conclusion: The standard metrics of measuring SEO success are straining under the weight of the bottom-line. Clients are no longer impressed by subtle increases in traffic or page rank. We must also change and evolve our reporting metrics to keep up with this ever changing world of SEO.

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