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12 Essential SEO Data Points For Any Website

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12 Essential SEO Data Points For Any Website

Optimizing a website according to best practices is a starting point.

Once a site is published, out the door comes the next process of monitoring performance and improving based on the data.

The key to success is choosing the best SEO data points.

Here are a collection of 12 data points to consider that will help improve all areas of your SEO.

1. Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals (CWV) are a set of metrics representing what the page loading experience is for site users. The CWV metrics are also a (minor) ranking factor.

The importance of CWV extends beyond its being a ranking factor. It helps optimize a site for speed, which is known to influence factors such as conversions and earnings.

2. Server Speed

Website server speed influences how fast pages are served and how many of them can be served at the same time.

It’s one of the few conversion- and sales-related variables that can be easily controlled.

Shared hosts can have hundreds or even thousands of websites all competing for the same limited resources.

While shared is fine to begin with, be ready to scale up to a faster host as soon as the site gains traction and begins to succeed.

In some cases, 500 error response messages are an indication that the server is running out of resources, and it’s time to upgrade.

Managed WordPress hosting can be somewhat restrictive of what plugins are allowed to be installed.

But the trade-off is that, because resource-hogging or unnecessary plugins are not an issue, there is more server power available for everyone.

There are many flavors of web hosting – from Shared and Shared Premium to VPS, Cloud, and Dedicated.

There is almost always someone who can say something nice about any given web host and someone else to say something negative.

Sometimes, it can boil down to matching what you are prepared to pay with the level of server control you are able to handle.

If you don’t know anything about server management then something with a simple control panel is the best approach.

3. Publishing Frequency

People want lots of quality content, and they want it all the time. The more content that is published on a daily schedule, the better.

It’s tempting to publish a large group of content and then say the website is done.

For many kinds of sites, especially one that publishes articles, a website is never done.

There is no “set it and forget it” in terms of content.

What that means is that the path to success is created with a constant creation of more content, always more and as often as possible.

It’s not really about generating content that’s ten times better than the competition, either.

See also  How To Balance SEO And B2B Marketing Goals

It’s simply about generating quality content on a regular basis and doing the best that you can do to provide readers with what you believe they want.

The path to success is almost always through publishing as much quality content as possible.

4. Number Of Indexed Pages

If Google isn’t indexing your pages, that may mean there’s something wrong with your content and/or the entire website.

The Search Console Index Coverage Report provides the data on indexed pages, including discovered but not indexed pages.

If you find that your content is regularly not getting indexed, then this is an opportunity for improvement.

This isn’t a matter of bad luck, and it’s not necessarily a technical issue that’s easily fixed.

Content problems can be hard to identify because it’s difficult to see one’s own content objectively.

Examples Of Content Problems:

  • Content is similar to what’s already published.
  • Content is thin (Screaming Frog provides Word Count data).
  • Content is poorly written.
  • Content is not focused enough on the topic.
  • Overall, site quality is poor.

5. Search Console Impressions

Search Console shows how often your site appeared in the search results for a variety of keyword phrases. In Google Search Console, this data point is called impressions.

It’s tempting to open up the Search Console to check out which keywords are performing best and bask in the warmth and sunshine of a job well done.

But that’s a waste of time.

Lower ranked keyword phrases are where your time is best spent. Always focus on your lower keywords because this is where the areas to improve can be found.

Some of these opportunities are quick wins, meaning that improving rankings for these phrases is relatively easy.

For other more competitive phrases, it may be that there’s nothing wrong with the content except that it needs more links.

6. Excessive Scrolling

Excessive scrolling is a user experience data point provided by Microsoft Clarity.

Clarity is a free user experience analytics program that is low impact and GDPR compliant. It comes with machine learning that can alert publishers with problems, and provides a variety of metrics that show user behavior on a site.

Content is your most important ranking factor.

The excessive scrolling metric is a flag signaling that improvements to content are needed.

Anything that improves your content is helpful for SEO.

7. Reading Behavior

Reading Behavior is another Microsoft Clarity data point.

This metric shows how many readers are engaged and how many abandon the webpage at the headline.

Pages with an abnormally high abandonment rate need improvement.

The Reading Behavior data point shows you which pages need improvement. This is valuable information.

The way Microsoft Clarity points out content that needs improvement is like employing a junior SEO to work full time creating site audits on a budget of free.

See also  How To Use Paid Search & Social Ads For Promoting Events

8. Scroll Data

The Scroll Data Microsoft Clarity metric is very important because it reveals how far down webpage users are scrolling.

Identifying where on a webpage visitors are abandoning a page can help debug a technical issue or maybe a problem with the content itself.

9. Missing Or Duplicate Meta Data

It’s easy to drop the ball and roll out a website with unoptimized meta description or title tags.

Duplicate or missing title tags and meta descriptions are especially bad and surprisingly common on websites.

Screaming Frog provides the Missing/Duplicate Meta Description and Title Tag data point.

There’s a free version of Screaming Frog that crawls about 500 pages. So, if you’re just starting out, then give Screaming Frog a try.

10. Image Size

This is a data point related to speed. Mobile data bandwidth can be barely usable.

Even if a site is served on a fast web host, large images are going to pile up like cars on a one-lane freeway exit ramp when they reach a site visitor’s mobile browser.

Image size is one of the easiest things to control, yet one of the variables that many sites ignore when optimizing.

According to HTTP Archive data, for a one-year period between 2021 and 2022, the median average of images per page is 751 KB for the top 1 million websites.

The amount of images per page for the same period of time for WordPress sites is a whopping 1,116.0 KB – that’s over a megabyte of images per page!

Screenshot from HTTP Archive, May 2022Median Image Size per page for WordPress sites

How big should your image sizes be? As small as you can possibly make them.

Just remember these tips:

  • Photographic images – save as JPEG.
  • Illustrative images – save as PNG.
  • Avoid superimposing text over photographic images.
  • Avoid images with lots of details, like trees with thousands of leaves.
  • Avoid illustration images that have gradients.

An easy way to shrink images is by serving images in the new WebP format.

Screaming Frog provides image size data for every image on your site. The tool is configurable to flag whatever target size you consider reasonable.

11. Backlinks

While backlinks are very much one of the most important ranking factors, in today’s search algorithms it’s not necessarily the deciding ranking factor.

Search algorithms increasingly use links as part of a ranking algorithm to produce a set of candidate pages to list in the search results.

But, another layer of relevance can be applied that re-ranks the search results for things like relevance, user intent, geolocation, and user expectations, to name a few reasons.

The use of a modification factor or a modification engine is not new – it’s been around for at least 10 years.

See also  Google: It’s Normal for 20% of a Site to Not Be Indexed

So, while links are a highly important ranking factor, links are not necessarily the deciding factor.

This isn’t meant to minimize the importance of links, but simply to make clear where it stands in terms of importance.

Backlink data is available in Google Search Console.

12. Earnings

Earnings might not initially seem like an SEO data point, but it is.

While earnings are the whole point of SEO, earnings are a data point that can work together with other metrics, like traffic and keyword rankings, to tell the entire story of what’s happening. This enables a publisher to make more accurate decisions.

Earnings Indicate Profitability Of Topic

Earnings are an indicator of whether your topic is lucrative.

Some topics have a massive amount of traffic.

But, some of those same topics may have slim profit margins, which can have a negative effect on affiliate commission rates and ad revenue.

Sometimes, keyword phrases with less traffic are more profitable.

Earnings Coordinates With SEO Metrics

Earnings can signal if something has changed in traffic or rankings and contribute to understanding what those changes are.

For example, it’s not uncommon for traffic to decline while earnings remain steady or improve.

That could mean that less relevant traffic is hitting the site, leaving behind the most relevant (and profitable) traffic.

Should you panic? Maybe not.

It could be that the page wasn’t actually relevant for the query, meaning that it may be useful to create a new page to target the lost keyword/s.

This can happen to pages that rank for multiple, different but related keywords, like if a page ranks for plumbing, bathroom installations, and kitchen fixtures and loses all the keyword traffic except for plumbing.

Earnings And Consumer Demand

Earnings can help to signal if consumer demand has changed.

Keyword rankings can remain the same while traffic steadily declines, which will be reflected in earnings.

What’s going on in this scenario is that consumer demand has changed.

This typically happens with the introduction of new product models and sometimes with the introduction of a disruptive new product or service.

SEO Data Points

There are many SEO data points, but the 12 mentioned here are, in my opinion, the most important.

There are many more data points that may prove more useful to your situation.

What’s important is to get thinking about what can signal areas of improvement, identify the causes, then make improvements.

More Resources:


Featured Image: Khosro/Shutterstock

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7 Ways To Use Google Trends For SEO & Content Marketing

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7 Ways To Use Google Trends For SEO & Content Marketing

Google Trends is a surprisingly useful tool for keyword research, especially when using advanced search options that are virtually hidden in plain sight.

Explore the different Google Trends menus and options and discover seemingly endless ways to gain more keyword search volume insights.

Learn new ways to unlock the power of one of Google’s most important SEO tools.

The Value Of Google Trends

While Google Trends is accurate, it doesn’t show the amount of traffic in actual numbers.

It shows the numbers of queries made in relative percentages on a scale of zero to 100.

Unlike Google Trends, paid SEO tools provide traffic volume numbers for keywords.

But those numbers are only estimates that are extrapolated from a mix of internet traffic data providers, Google Keyword Planner, scraped search results, and other sources.

The clickstream data usually comes from anonymized traffic data acquired from users of certain pop-up blockers, browser plugins, and some free anti-virus software.

The SEO tools then apply a calculation that corresponds to their best guess of how that data correlates with Google keyword search and traffic volume.

So, even though paid SEO tools provide estimates of keyword traffic, the data presented by Google Trends is based on actual search queries and not guesses.

That’s not to say that Google Trends is better than paid keyword tools. When used together with paid keyword tools, one can obtain a near-accurate idea of true keyword search volume.

There are other functions in Google Trends that can help dial in accurate segmentation of the keyword data that helps to understand what geographic locations are best for promotional efforts and also discover new and trending keywords.

How To Use Google Trends For SEO

1. Get More Accurate Data By Comparing Keywords

Google Trends shows a relative visualization of traffic on a scale of zero to 100.

You can’t really know if the trend is reporting hundreds of keyword searches or thousands because the graph is on a relative scale of zero to one hundred.

However, the relative numbers can have more meaning when they are compared with keywords for which there are known traffic levels from another keyword phrase.

One way to do this is to compare keyword search volume with a keyword whose accurate traffic numbers are already known, for example, from a PPC campaign.

If the keyword volume is especially large for which you don’t have a keyword to compare, there’s another way to find a keyword to use for comparison.

A comparison keyword doesn’t have to be related. It can be in a completely different vertical and could even be the name of a trending celebrity.

The important thing is the general keyword volume data.

Google publishes a Google Trends Daily Trends webpage that shows trending search queries.

What’s useful about this page is that Google provides keyword volumes in numbers, like 100,000+ searches per day, etc.

Example Of How To Pinpoint Search Volume

I’m going to use the search phrase [how to lose weight] as an example of how to use Google Trends to get a close idea of actual search volume.

The way I do it is by using known search volumes and comparing them to the target keyword phrase.

Google provides search volumes on its trending searches page, which can be adjusted for what’s trending in any country.

On this particular day (September 22, 2022), the actress Ana De Armas was trending with 50,000+ searches, and the American ex-football player (keyword phrase [Bret Favre News]) was trending with 20,000+ searches.

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Step 1. Find Search Trends For Target Keyword Phrases

The target keyword phrase we’re researching is [how to lose weight].

Below is a screenshot of the one-year trend for the target keyword phrase:

Screenshot from Google Trends, September 2022

As you can see, it’s a fairly stable trend line from September 2021 to September 2022.

Then I added the two keyword phrases for which we have a close search volume count to compare all three, but for a 24-hour time period.

I use a 24-hour time period because the search volume for our comparison keywords is trending for this one day.

Google Trends ComparisonScreenshot from Google Trends, September 2022

Our target keyword phrase, with a red trend line, is right in the middle, in between the keyword phrases [Ana De Armas] (blue) and [Bret Favre News] (yellow).

What the above comparison tells us is that the phrase [how to lose weight] has a keyword volume of more than 20,000+ searches but less than 50,000+ searches.

The relative search volume of [how to lose weight] is 50% of the keyword phrase [Ana De Armas]. 

Because we know that [Ana De Armas] has a search volume of approximately 50,000+ searches on this particular day, and [Bret Favre News] has a search volume of 20,000+ queries on the same day, we can say with reasonable accuracy that the keyword phrase, [how to lose weight] has approximately a daily search volume of around 30,000 on an average day, give or take a few thousand.

The actual numbers could be higher because Google Trends shows the highs and lows at particular points of the day. The total for the day is very likely higher.

The above hack isn’t 100% accurate. But it’s enough to give a strong ballpark idea and can be used to compare with and validate extrapolated data from a paid keyword research tool.

Related: How To Do Keyword Research For SEO

2. Discover Insights From Time-based Trends

There are two general ways to look at the keyword data: stretched across over longer periods of time and shorter time periods.

Long Period Trends

You can set Google Trends to show you the traffic trends stretching back to 2004. This is valuable for showing you the audience trends.

  • Upward Long-Term Trends: If a trend is consistently going up, this means you need to focus energy on creating content for this trend.
  • Downward Long-Term Trends: If the trend line is steadily moving down, then it may be a signal that audience content consumption is changing.

For example, review this five-year trend for [WordPress] the search term, WordPress the software, and WordPress the website:

An image of Google Trends tool showing a five year trend.Screenshot from Google Trends, September 2022

There’s a clear downward trend for WordPress in all three variations.

The downward trend extends to related phrases such as:

  • WordPress themes.
  • WordPress plugin.
  • WordPress hosting.

There are many reasons why search trends go down. It can be that people lost interest, that the interest went somewhere else or that the trend is obsolete.

The digital camera product category is a good example of a downward spiral caused by a product being replaced by something else.

  • The digital camera caused the downturn in searches for traditional analog cameras.
  • The iPhone started the downward spiral of the digital camera.

Knowing which way the wind is blowing could help a content marketer or publisher understand when it’s time to bail on a topic or product category and to pivot to upward-trending ones.

Related: Content Marketing: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

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3. Related Topics And Queries

Google Trends has two great features, one called Related Topics and the other Related Queries.

Topics

Topics are search queries that share a concept.

Identifying related topics that are trending upwards is useful for learning how an audience or consumer demand is shifting.

This information can, in turn, provide ideas for content generation or new product selections.

According to Google:

Related Topics

Users searching for your term also searched for these topics.

You Can View by the Following Metrics

Top – The most popular topics. Scoring is on a relative scale where a value of 100 is the most commonly searched topic and a value of 50 is a topic searched half as often as the most popular term, and so on.

Rising – Related topics with the biggest increase in search frequency since the last time period.

Results marked “Breakout” had a tremendous increase, probably because these topics are new and had few (if any) prior searches.”

Related Queries

The description of Related Queries is similar to that of the Related Topics.

Top queries are generally the most popular searches. Rising Queries are queries that are becoming popular.

Screenshot of Google Trends Related Queries feature.Screenshot from Google Trends, September 2022

The data from Rising Queries are great for staying ahead of the competition.

4. Short-Term Trends Can Bring Massive Traffic

Viewing keyword trends in the short view, such as the 90-day or even 30-day view, can reveal valuable insights for capitalizing on rapidly changing search trends.

There is a ton of traffic in Google Discover as well as in Google News.

Google Discover is tied to trending topics related to searches.

Google News is of the moment in terms of current events.

Sites that target either of those traffic channels benefit from knowing what the short-term trends are.

A benefit of viewing short-term trends (30 days and 90 trends) is that certain days of the week stand out when those searches are popular.

Knowing which days of the week interest spikes for a given topic can help in planning when to publish certain kinds of topics, so the content is right there when the audience is searching for it.

5. Keywords By Category

Google Trends has the functionality for narrowing down keyword search query inventory according to category topics.

This provides more accurate keyword data.

The Categories tab is important because it refines your keyword research to the correct context.

If your keyword context is [automobiles], then it makes sense to appropriately refine Google Trends to show just the data for the context of auto.

By narrowing the Google Trends data by category, you will be able to find more accurate information related to the topics you are researching for content within the correct context.

6. Identify Keyword Data By Geography

Google Trends keyword information by geographic location can be used for determining what areas are the best to outreach to for site promotion or for tailoring the content to specific regions.

For example, if certain kinds of products are popular in Washington D.C. and Texas, it makes sense to aim promotional activity and localized content to those areas.

In fact, it might be useful to focus link-building promotional activities in those areas first since the interest is higher in those parts of the country.

Keyword popularity information by region is valuable for link building, content creation, content promotion, and pay-per-click.

Localizing content (and the promotion of that content) can make it more relevant to the people who are interested in that content (or product).

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Google ranks pages according to who it’s most relevant, so incorporating geographic nuance into your content can help it rank for the most people.

7. Target Search Intents With Search Types

Google Trends gives you the ability to further refine the keyword data by segmenting it by the type of search the data comes from, the Search Type.

Refining your Google Trends research by the type of search allows you to remove the “noise” that might be making your keyword research fuzzy and help it become more accurate and meaningful.

Google Trends data can be refined by:

  • Web Search.
  • Image Search.
  • News Search.
  • Google Shopping.
  • YouTube Search.
Screenshot of Google Trends showing the different kinds of searchesScreenshot from Google Trends, September 2022

YouTube search is a fantastic way to identify search trends for content with the word “how” because a lot of people search on YouTube using phrases with the words “how” in them.

Although these are searches conducted on YouTube, the trends data is useful because it shows what users are looking for.

A Google Trends search for how, what, where, when, why, and who shows that search queries beginning with the word “how” are by far the most popular on YouTube.

Google Trends limits comparisons to five keywords, so the following screenshot omits that word.

Screenshot of Keyword Popularity on YouTube.Screenshot from Google Trends, September 2022

If your keyword phrases involve instructional content that uses words like “how to,” refining your research with the YouTube search type may provide useful insights.

For example, I have found that YouTube Search shows more relevant “related topics” and “related queries” data than researching with “web search” selected.

Here’s another example of how using different kinds of search types helps refine Google Trends data.

I did the same how, what, where, when, why, and who searches but this time using the News Search refinement.

Screenshot of Google Trends with News Search refinement selectedScreenshot from Google Trends, September 2022

The search trends in Google News are remarkably different than the search patterns on YouTube. That’s because people want to know the “what” and “how” types of information in Google News.

When creating content related to news, identifying the correct angle to report a news item is important.

Knowing that the words “what” or “who” are most relevant to a topic can be useful for crafting the title to what the readers are most interested in.

The above is the view of search queries for the past 90 days.

When the same keywords are searched using the 5-year perspective, it becomes clear that the “who” type keywords tend to spike according to current events.

As an example of how current events influence trends, the biggest spike in searches with the word “who” occurred in the days after the 2020 presidential election.

Every Search Type query refinement shows a different help to refine the results so that they show more accurate information.

So, give the Search Type selections a try because the information that is provided may be more accurate and useful than the more general and potentially noisy “web search” version.

Unlock The Hidden Power Of Google Trends

Free tools are generally considered to be less useful than paid tools. That’s not necessarily the case with Google Trends.

This article lists seven ways to discover useful search-related trends and patterns that are absolutely accurate, more than some search-related data from paid tools.

What’s especially notable is that this article only begins to scratch the surface of all the information that’s available.

Check out Google Trends and learn additional ways to mix different search patterns to obtain even more useful information.

More Resources:


Featured Image: Studio Romantic/Shutterstock



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