- What do I do?
- Which keywords do I focus on?
- Which content is performing and which isn’t?
- Which channels are seeing the highest engagement or delivering the most traffic/conversions?
- Which competitors should I be paying most attention to? Are there new competitors to worry about?
- Which domains should I be endeavouring to build new backlinks or local citations on?
- Where will I get the biggest bang for my shrinking marketing buck?
- How did I do?
- Have my marketing efforts generated the results I was hoping for?
- How am I trending currently or relative to another time period (month over month, quarter over quarter, year over year)?
- What are my noteworthy wins and losses?
- How did they (my competitors) do?
- In which areas (e.g. keyword positions, social engagement/signals, backlinks) am I ahead or behind my competitors?
- Where do competitive opportunities or threats lie?
Answering these questions requires different types of data. The first set of “What Do I Do?” questions demand immediate, actionable data best delivered via Dashboards, while the latter two sets of questions can be better handled through historical SEO reports.
Real-Time Actionable vs. Historical Strategic Data
In this post we will focus on the importance of the former and how to build a Dashboard (with Beacons as we like to refer to them here at gShift), which will provide the real-time SEO insights you need to make quicker, more actionable data-driven decisions.
The primary goal of building a Dashboard should be to focus one’s attention on the data which matters most; again the data which answers your critical questions. In some cases, all the answers you need (e.g. where is my site traffic coming from) can be contained in one Beacon, while other more complex queries may require multiple data views or perhaps even multiple linked dashboards to refine and validate key metrics.
Using Dashboard Data
Having established the data you require to make actionable decisions, you can then proceed with doing so and monitoring your effectiveness.
Here is an example of a scenario where data informs action:
- Keyword position data presented in a Dashboard should enable you to quickly identify keywords, which have a relatively high monthly search volume (i.e. high traffic potential) and for which you already have content with some relative authority (i.e. content maintaining a position on Page 1 or 2 of your selected search engines). You can, in turn, cross reference your visibility and authority for a keyword or logical group of keywords against your competition to understand what level of effort will be required to overtake them in order to further prioritize your keyword and content focus.
- Website traffic broken down by channel and/or device will inform where to best distribute content and in what format.
With this information in hand, you can now effectively design and implement optimized content marketing campaigns around newly identified keywords and pieces of content. Ongoing data monitoring makes this process repeatable again and again.
Well-configured Dashboards can also play a vital role in alerting marketers to threats or opportunities. Larger organizations or agencies with several clients, for instance, can easily monitor multiple data points across several Web presences from within a single Dashboard in order to quickly assess winners and losers based on visibility, engagement, traffic or conversion metrics. Once the high level What Do I Do question is answered, you can drill down into the details for more specific answers to more tactical questions.
Another example of effective analysis of data within a Dashboard is the identification of online competitors. Quite often organizations wrongly believe their offline/real world competitors are the same as their online competition. However, sharp marketers should regularly monitor the search results for their top keywords keeping an eye out for “competitive” sites/domains, which consistently appear in the Top 10-20 search results. Google rewards fresh, new, relevant content, which means agile young competitors can sometimes quickly make up for a lack of legacy authority and nudge their way onto Page One. Once you’ve identified new online competition, you can begin to analyze their tactics and respond accordingly.
Of course, any data presented in a Dashboard or Report, requires an analytical eye to interpret and understand how best to react in order to successfully advance a specific web presence optimization program and overall marketing strategy.
Do you have any other critical marketing questions you ask or need answered by data?
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