SEO SUCCESS · 9-MINUTE READ · By Tina Arnoldi on January 30 2018.
Do you know what to monitor with SEO and how to tie it into business goals? In this post, I’ll highlight some things that have changed with SEO, what that means for your content, some metrics you can monitor and how Supermetrics can help.
How SEO has changed
Search results on Google.com have changed significantly over the past few years. It is no longer about a simple listing with your website address. For example, if you have a question about reaching audiences with AdWords, you may get a result like the below (my post from November) and not even have to click on the link (but we hope you still do). With this type of query, Google tried to answer the query about audiences within the search result.
If you type a query for information on a specific brand, you may see a brief summary on the right side of your search screen, such as for Search Engine Watch below. This Knowledge Graph displays a subwindow with sources.
Google’s goal of matching the best results to a search query has not changed. How Google goes about it is what has changed over time. Answering questions and highlighting basic information about brands is part of the personalization Google focused on starting in 2012 as you can see in their short video below.
And of course there’s now voice search which also has an impact on search results, both with SEO and with paid advertising. Since this is another major change influencing how people search, Google’s search quality raters guidelines have already been updated to account for voice search results.
What This Means For Content
Since the SERPs are no longer simple text, your content should no longer be only text. There’s still a place for content demonstrating expertise about a topic and opportunities to get creative with presentation.
A popular post type that is still primarily text is a roundup which uses content from other experts, promoting them and the writer at the same time. They’re great for viral traffic and quality backlinks whether it includes advice on influencer marketing strategies or how to start a blog. To create a roundup post, reach out to specific experts to participate or create a resource list with the best content you discover on a particular topic.
With the changing SERPs, another strategy is to enhance copy with YouTube videos that relate to your content, such as the one from Google mentioned above. It adds more value to what you write and can help generate more backlinks.
Do you want to show up as a featured snippet like the audiences example at the top of this post? It’s prime real estate for search results to not only be the top result, but also have a paragraph inviting the searcher to visit your site. Google doesn’t provide the option to mark up copy to be a featured snippet. Experts, like Neil Patel and Julia McCoy, offer their advice for getting featured as a featured snippet so follow their suggestions to improve your chances of being in the top spot.
Do Your Keyword Research
However you choose to present your content – whether it’s a list, roundup, video, or a regular text post with some images, it still needs to be a topic people care about which you can determine with some basic keyword research.
There’s a lot of good content out there on how to perform keyword research and the need to have different keyword types. Content marketers can use paid tools such as SpyFu or free offbeat channels like Reddit, Quora, or Wikipedia to conduct keyword research.
If you search your keywords on Google.com, also pay attention to the paid results. Look for phrases that were used frequently and incorporate them into your SEO content. If Google liked those terms for ads, meaning they showed at the top of the page, they may work for organic results too. (And while you’re working on SEO, it may be worth running a paid campaign for a short while. It doesn’t help your SEO, but does get you seen on Google)
The key thing to remember is that SEO improvements are not seen over night. Monitor performance in the Search Console to see how your rank changes over a few months. Rather than focusing on raw numbers, such as being in the top position, watch how your position changes in Search Console, starting with overall impressions for important keywords. You will see traction there first. You need to appear in search results (impressions) before people will discover you (clicks).
Below are some possible metrics to use in your reporting.
- Keyword position: Since this is subject to a lot of change, view it weekly or even monthly rather than day to day.
- Total ranking keywords
- Top ranking keywords
- Backlinks: Especially if you’re doing round-up posts
- Top ranking pages: So you know which content is being seen.
- Referring domains: Are they quality sites?
Make sure you look at your metrics in context – compare performance to last year, pay attention to the target terms that really matter, and note how you rank compared to competitors.
If you don’t yet have a Supermetrics subscription, sign-up for a trial so you can use the Traffic Source Reporting Template, which you can easily add from Supermetrics Google Sheet Add-on’s Template Gallery. It works with Google Analytics and Search Console so you can view all traffic sources, not just organic.
To use the template, first launch Supermetrics for Google Sheets Add-on and then open the template gallery from the drop-down menu. Next, choose Traffic Source Reporting Template, from the list of templates.
Using Supermetrics, you can also create a search engine keyword rank tracking dashboard. Rather than simply raw numbers, you’re viewing performance over time which is more meaningful. On Croud.com you can see how they use Supermetrics for both SEO and PPC data.
As you work on SEO for your site, remember that you will not rank overnight and SEO strategies take time. If an agency tells you SEO ranking will not take long, they are using black hat methods that will negatively impact you in the long term. Pay attention to the results page whenever you search on Google to see the different types of results and keep that in mind when you create content. If you want to dig into SEO even more, check out Google’s SEO Starter Guide which was updated at the end of 2017. It will help you understand how Google sees your content.
About Tina Arnoldi
Tina Arnoldi is Analytics and AdWords Qualified and one of the few people in the United States recognized as a Google Developer Expert(GDE) for marketing. Her agency, 360 Internet Strategy, is also a Google Partner. You can learn more about her on LinkedIn