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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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 Data-Driven Content Strategy Tips For Improving Conversions

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7 Data-Driven Content Strategy Tips For Improving Conversions

There’s an old maxim in the marketing world, “content is king.” This has been true as long as search engine optimization has been around, and probably dates back even further in the world of general marketing.

But as simple as that adage is, it leaves a lot of room for interpretation, namely what kind of content?

In those early SEO days, it meant identifying your keywords and jamming them into pages anywhere they would fit.

But modern digital marketers are smarter (not to mention that strategy doesn’t work anymore).

These days, successful content starts with a plan that’s backed up by numbers, a data-driven content strategy, if you will.

But what exactly does that mean?

In simple terms, it means developing content using an approach built on user information. This can include information like demographics, survey answers, consumer preferences, etc.

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You probably don’t need to be told why this is important, but just to make sure there’s no doubt, let’s be clear: Using a data-driven content strategy helps you decide where to spend your time, effort, and money.

In other words, you have finite resources. You don’t want to waste them on people who aren’t likely to convert.

A data-driven content strategy allows you to tailor your marketing campaigns to generate the best ROI.

For the purposes of search engine and PPC specialists, it can help you decide which keywords to go after, ensuring you’re targeting the right audience.

Sounds simple enough, right? All you need to do is pop open your content research tool and look for commonalities, right? Sorry to burst your bubble, but there’s a bit more to it than that.

But never fear, that’s why you’re here.

In this helpful guide, we’ll give you a step-by-step approach to developing, implementing, and optimizing your very own data-driven content strategy.

Ready to get started?

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1. Set Your Content Goals

The very first thing you need to decide is what you’re hoping to accomplish. You can’t be all things to all people, so you need to make some choices.

Do you want to increase traffic? Are you looking to make sales? Do you want more leads?

Determine what your content goals are and identify the channels best suited to meet them. Once you’ve done this, you can establish your key performance indicators (KPIs).

Be sure to keep this in mind while you’re creating content.

Everything you add to your website or campaign should serve a purpose. If you’re not sure what it’s doing, your audience won’t know either.

2. Define Your Target Audience

Now that you know what you’re trying to achieve, it’s time to figure out who to go after to make it happen.

Comb through the demographic data and other information you have access to. Spot commonalities that occur across many or some of your targets.

Many marketers find it helpful to create customer personas. Using your data, imagine a typical person for each of the various roles you’re targeting.

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For example, you may have a prospect persona, a lead persona, a buyer persona and a repeat persona.

Put yourself in the shoes of these imaginary people.

What type of language resonates with them? What is their highest level of education? Do they want professionalism or personability? Why are they on your website? What do they hope to accomplish with your help? Be as detailed as you can.

Many marketers even give them a name. For example, if you were creating personas for your plumbing supply company, you may have:

Lead Larry – 45 years old

A mid-career plumber, Lead Larry owns his own one-man business. He makes $75,000 a year. He went to a trade school and his work van is 6 years old. He’s looking for a way to reduce overhead and find cheaper parts than his local supply company. He values hard work, honesty, and professionalism.

Be as creative and detailed as you like, just remember this isn’t a fiction-writing exercise. You’re creating personas based on your typical target, so keep your persona in line with who they actually are.

3. Review Your Competitor’s Content And Do Topical Research

Now it’s time to take a look at what the competition is doing. Maybe they’re just flying by the seat of their pants, but they’re probably putting some effort into their campaigns, too.

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Review what they’re doing and look for what appears to be working.

For example, if they’re blogging, they may have a view counter on the page. If so, what type of blogs are getting the best results?

Look for trends in your industry. What’s everyone talking about? Is there a big trade show coming up? Or a new technology about to be released?

Figure out who you’re competing with for clicks, not just to see what’s working for them, but also to gain ideas for content of your own. Start making a list of things you want to cover.

If there are influencers in your niche, this is also a good time to check and see what they’re posting about.

4. Conduct Keyword Research

Once you’ve settled on what your content should be, it’s time to perform that old SEO staple: keyword research.

Using a tool like Google Analytics, Semrush, or something platform-specific like YouTube’s Search Insights, figure out the type of language your content needs to use.

This will help you in more than just the SEO aspect, too.

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Using keywords in your content demonstrates to your audience that you speak the same language they do. And that doesn’t mean English, it means using the nomenclature everyone in the niche will understand.

Going back to our plumbing supply example, that means referring to a product as a “three-fourths full port threaded ball valve,” rather than a “metal connection thingy.”

Okay, that’s a ridiculous example, but you get the point.

The good thing is that you probably already have a working, if not expert knowledge of this.

5. Create Content That Aligns With Your Goals

If you remember, the very first step to creating a data-driven content plan was to determine your goals.

Now, equipped with everything you’ve done since then, it’s time to create the content that addresses them.

Don’t be intimidated. You don’t have to be F. Scott Fitzgerald to write the kind of content your audience wants. And you’ve already done a lot of the foundational work – now it’s just time to put everything together.

Your content could take nearly any form, videos, blog posts, infographics, case studies, or white papers.

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If you’re not comfortable doing these on your own, it should be reasonably easy to find a writer or videographer in your area or extended network. Just ask your connections for recommendations.

If you’re still not confident in your ability to deliver or you can’t afford to hire someone, don’t worry. We have an excellent piece that will walk you through everything you need to know about content creation.

6. Promote Your Content On The Right Channels

You’ve created your masterpiece of relevant content. Now it’s time to share it with the world. But how do you do that? Do you just post it on your corporate blog and wait for Google to index it?

You could take that kind of passive approach, but this is great stuff you’ve just made. Everyone in your niche will want to consume it. And to make sure you get the eyes you want on it, it’s time to promote it.

But before you go linking to it on Facebook, Digg, LinkedIn, and every other social media platform and aggregator site you can think of, pause for a minute.

When you were developing your user personas, you hopefully received some data about where your targets live online.

Are they regular Twitter users? Do they haunt industry-specific forums? Are you connected to them via Slack or other instant messenger apps?

Find out where they hang out and post away. In most cases, if you’re not sure if your targets use a platform or not, you should just go ahead and post anyway.

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There are some sites where you can be dinged for unpopular content (Reddit, for example), but most of the time, there’s no harm.

This is also a time to start thinking about how you can repurpose your new content.

Do you have an opportunity for a guest blog post on another site? Or, would your new infographic fit perfectly in your next investor report?

If your data-driven content is built on the solid principles we’ve discussed, it will get engagements.

7. Use Analytics To Measure Results

After your content goes live, you can begin measuring your ROI to see what you did well, where you missed the mark, and what could be optimized to perform better.

This is where the KPIs discussed back in step one come back into play.

Some of these are easier to track than others.

If increasing sales or conversions was your goal, you should have data that backs up performance. Likewise, if you set out to improve traffic to your website, you should have the analytics to track that.

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Things like brand visibility can be a bit trickier.

Regardless of what it is you’re using to determine success, you should find the data you need to track performance in Google Analytics.

For a detailed walkthrough of this process, we’ve provided information on exactly how you can measure content marketing success.

A Data-Driven Content Strategy Is A Winning One

Data is a marketer’s best friend. It tells you exactly what works, what doesn’t, and often, why that’s the case.

And a data-driven content strategy is vital for success in today’s hyper-competitive business and SEO environment.

Use the tools available to you to gather data – that’s why they’re there.

Learn to identify what the numbers are telling you and use them to help you craft the kind of content that not only attracts views but gets shares and achieves your goals.

More Resources:

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Featured Image: metamorworks/Shutterstock

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