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Meaningful SEO Metrics: Going Beyond the Numbers

Aug 19, 2010   |   Speaking Our Minds
Meaningful SEO Metrics

Meaningful SEO Metrics: Going Beyond the Numbers

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 &


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 SMS 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. He explained that “where you search for something and who you are makes a profound difference in what you see in Google for any given search query”.


What is Localization and Personalization of SEO?

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

Catfish then went on to discuss the powerful new key performance indicator (KPI): Average Rank. Historically, SEO professionals have relied on automated software to run reports on particular site ranks on a given keyword in a particular keyword. However, with the new advances in Google Webmster Tools, these reports are increasingly becoming obsolete.

How to use Google Webmaster Tools to Measure SEO Success:

  • 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!
  • Now takes into consideration “personalization, localization, and changes over time”.


Lastly, John Glick from 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

The standard metrics of measuring SEO success are becoming less relevant as search engines continue to evolve over time. Clients and bosses are no longer impressed by subtle increases in page rank or traffic. As online marketers, we now must understand and adapt to the way that search engines are focusing more on user experience as they improve their ranking formulas.

Contributed by Kate Rasmussen, Milestone Internet Marketing, Inc

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