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7 Common Enterprise SEO Reporting Mistakes To Avoid



7 Common Enterprise SEO Reporting Mistakes To Avoid

Accurate, well-designed reporting is key to any effective SEO program.

Well-designed reports provide management and other stakeholders with a clear picture of the value of your SEO efforts.

And what’s more, accurate reports are essential for informing future actions.

Notice there are two elements involved: accurate and well-designed.

Accurate reports not only contain correct data but also present it accurately. They tell the true story without distortion.

Well-designed reports are clear and immediately understandable. Anyone looking at them should be able to quickly identify what the takeaways are.

How can you ensure you are creating well-designed, accurate reports?

Start by avoiding these seven common SEO reporting mistakes.

1. Believing There Is One True Metric For “X”

In its early days, Google presented the same simple search results (the legendary “ten blue links”) to all users entering the same query.

Of course, that hasn’t been the case for a long time now.

For many queries, the results page is crowded with ads and various SERP features in and around the organic web results.

Plus, with the use of personalization via factors like search history and geo-location, it’s more and more likely no two users will get the exact same results.

All of this means that a metric such as the current rank for a given keyword is a much less certain thing than it used to be.

But search rankings aren’t the only metric that may not be as straightforward as we want to believe.

Another SEO-relevant example is search volume from Google’s Keyword Planner tool.

While Google should have the most accurate volume numbers, the metric for a given keyword may be inaccurate because Keyword Planner aggregates the volume for similar keywords.

For example, Keyword Planner currently shows a search volume of 1.22 million for [shoes] and displays that volume for both [shoes] and [shoe’s].

However, clickstream data shows that the [shoe’s] variant actually gets fewer than 100 searches a month.

There can also be discrepancies in the way any metric is measured and reported by different tools or sources.

Any metric is dependent on the source’s (perhaps limited) view of the universe of possible results, as well as the particular formula that the source uses to calculate the metric.

Remedy: Be aware of the potential ambiguities or inaccuracies of many metrics and adjust accordingly.

Where possible, find a more accurate source for a metric, such as a tool that reports search volume based on clickstream data over just relying on Google’s Keyword Planner numbers.

In many cases, it’s best to look at the trends of numbers over time rather than fixating on the precise accuracy of one occurrence of a metric.

And in most cases, the shape of the trend is fairly accurate, even if the individual points have some variance.

2. Paying Attention To The Wrong Metric

SEO experts tend to be fixated on ranking, believing that the ultimate success measurement for SEO is more keywords in higher positions.

This is based on the data from numerous studies showing a simple reverse-hockey stick curve for CTR as a function of rank position.

In these studies, position one takes a significant percentage of the clicks, and the amount decays rapidly as you move down the SERP page.

Leaving aside that some more recent studies using larger and more diverse data sources show the curve may not be as steep as we assumed (and lower positions might actually get a small “bump”), the important counter to that thinking is that higher rankings and more clicks don’t always equate to actual business goals.

More important metrics may be traffic from organic search and which keywords are driving that traffic.

Not all that infrequently, when a client experiences a sudden drop in overall rankings – perhaps after an algorithm update – we find when digging deeper that either traffic wasn’t affected much at all, or sometimes even went up.

What happened in those cases is that the keywords that dropped really weren’t responsible for driving most of the traffic to the site.

A step beyond traffic as a more important metric takes us to numbers that actually affect the bottom line of our business, things like conversions and leads generated.

Remedy: Align the KPIs in your reporting to emphasize those that actually have the most effect on the bottom line of your business.

3. Ignoring Metrics That Could Be Significant

As important as it is to determine accurate metrics and report on the ones that really matter, it is still possible you have overlooked some data that could make a difference.

An example for SEO is reporting on your visibility with certain SERP features, the non-traditional results that still could be sending you traffic.

Do you know how often and for which keywords you appear in a Featured Snippet or People Also Ask box?

Do you know how often your competitors did?

If you don’t, you might be missing out on an SEO tactic worth pursuing (or at least be able to tell if it’s not worth your time).

Remedy: First, investigate if there are any metrics out there that could be significant for you but don’t show up in your current reports.

If you find any, research what tool or data source might be able to show you those metrics.

4. Failing To Customize Reports For The Recipients

If you wanted to teach a child a moral lesson, would you hand them a copy of ‘Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals?’

Of course not. You’d probably read them a fable or a fairy tale.

Similarly, you need to tailor your SEO reporting for each intended audience.

Speaking of fables, a useful one here is the old story of several blindfolded persons examining an elephant from different sides.

In the original, the point was their impression of what an elephant is will be skewed by which part is within their reach.

But for our purposes, the moral of the story is that each stakeholder only cares about their part of the elephant.

The CMO might want to know how much exposure organic search is giving your brand, or where the competition is winning.

The CEO or CFO wants to know how much it’s contributing to revenue goals.

Product managers want to know which of their products get the most interest in search, and what else are people searching for who search for their products.

Remedy: First, determine who each report is for and what they care about.

Then use filtering and segmentation to create custom reports that narrow in on the specific interests of the report’s intended audience.

See ‘11 Stunning SEO Data Visualizations To Inspire Your Reporting‘ for more.

5. Didn’t Tie Results To Objectives

Any good storyteller knows you never jump right to the conclusion.

The ending to a story is only meaningful and satisfying if it is the outcome of a logical sequence of events that can be traced back to the beginning.

For your reports that are intended for eyes other than your own, you need to trace a similar story.

The objective of these external reports is to demonstrate the value that your SEO efforts have created.

If you only report results, even if the results are good, the recipient has no reason to associate those necessarily with your efforts.

Remedy: Make sure each KPI you report on is associated with something you did intentionally to produce that result, whether it was technical fixes, new content, a change in strategy, or whatever.

At my company, we teach our clients to title dashboards not with the result metric (such as “4th Quarter Traffic”) but instead with the objective they are tied to (so perhaps “Traffic from Women’s Jacket Content Hub Project”).

6. Failed To Include Extenuating Circumstances

This is really just the obverse of mistake #5.

By “extenuating circumstances,” I mean lame excuses.

No, seriously; this means leaving out relevant annotations and explanations for external circumstances that may have affected the results displayed.

That could include announced algorithm updates, seasonality, server downtime, and more.

These aren’t intended to be excuses (if the metric is down) or to diminish your efforts (if the metric is up), but rather to give a clear picture of why the data may be trending the way they appear.

Remedy: Place annotations of relevant events along trend lines and/or include narrative explanations so report recipients have a clear picture of everything that might have affected the outcome.

7. Forgot To Include Insights, Not Just Data

Raw data means little.

Interpreted data communicates.

Always keep in mind that the target recipients of your reports in many cases are not SEO professionals.

They don’t live in our world.

For us, raw SEO data creates an image like Mouse seeing the Lady in Red while looking at the streaming Matrix code.

But for others, it’s just numbers.

Remedy: Make sure you add interpretation to your data presentations. Explain why the data is significant, what it really shows, how it impacts goals, or what future actions it calls for.

The main takeaway here is to change your reporting from just another duty you are required to perform to a valuable broadcaster of the value your SEO efforts bring to your organization.

To do that, think like a good storyteller, crafting your plot and characters (your data) for the target audience of each report.

More resources: 

Featured Image: fizkes/Shutterstock

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12 Powerful Email Marketing Tips You Need to Know



12 Powerful Email Marketing Tips You Need to Know

There is no doubt that email marketing is effective. But how many times have you sat down to begin an email marketing project and immediately felt overwhelmed?

Sometimes, it’s hard to know where to start, especially when working with a newer brand.

The good thing is that email marketing has never been easier, thanks to automation tools and innovative ways to deliver emails directly into subscribers’ inboxes.

If you don’t know where to begin or want to improve your current workflow, this article is for you.

So now, let’s look at some simple steps you can follow to ensure you’re using email marketing wisely.

Where To Begin With Email Marketing

So, you’re planning your email marketing strategy for your client. Where do you begin? Here are some helpful tips to get you started:

  • Keep your emails short and sweet. People get tired of reading long emails, so keep yours between 60 to 200 words.
  • People love visuals, especially in email marketing, so include images of your products or services.
  • Social proof helps convince readers that your offer is legitimate and worth their time. This includes sharing links or information in your emails from experts in the industry, positive testimonials, or influencers using the brand.
  • People want to know where to go next after reading your content. And since emails are usually opened on mobile devices, you need to provide a clear CTA at the end of each email. Whether it’s to a product page or recent content produced on the website.
  • Email marketing works best when you send regular emails. But even once a week isn’t enough. Studies show that people respond better to frequent emails than infrequent ones.

Now, let’s discuss the top 12 email marketing components for your strategy:

1. Create Optimized Lead Magnets

So, how do you get people to actually subscribe to your email listing? An effective lead magnet.

A lead magnet is usually the first thing visitors see when they land on a brand’s website. It gets them to click through and read more about a brand, so it needs to be eye-catching and compelling.

And if you don’t optimize your lead magnets for conversion, a brand could lose out on potential leads.

So, how do you make sure your lead magnets convert?

Your lead magnet should grab visitors’ attention right away. That means making it interesting, unique, and relevant to the business.

For example, you can use an incentive like a freebie or discount code to entice people to take action. You could also give away a free report or ebook in exchange for their name and email address.

Your lead magnet could also be the first email they receive, which can be a part of your welcome series (which I’ll talk about briefly).

It entices the users to keep receiving emails, so they don’t immediately unsubscribe after they receive a discount code or something similar.

2. Segment Your Subscribers

You’ve probably heard the term “subscriber segmentation.” It refers to a way of grouping your subscribers into groups based on their interests and behavior so that you can send them more relevant content, offers, and other messages.

This is an integral part of email marketing because it allows you to target your audience with personalized emails.

You can also use this technique to create multiple versions of your emails, such as a welcome email, a thank you email, and a follow-up email.

Segmenting your subscribers can help build trust and long-term interest for a brand because it presents them with information or offers they actually want to receive.

3. Craft A Welcome Series 

Welcome emails are usually sent automatically to new subscribers when they sign up, purchase a product, or make an account.

When creating a welcome series, you need to consider where the customer is in their journey with a brand. So, it’s beneficial to space the emails out over a set period of time and create each one with a specific intention.

A welcome series is a great way to keep potential customers engaged after they sign up. Especially since they receive emails from companies almost daily.

Some examples include: “Welcome! We hope you like our product” or “Your account has been activated.”

You can also send welcome emails to existing customers who haven’t logged in for a while.

For example, if someone signs up and doesn’t use the service for three months, you could send an email saying, “Hey, we noticed that you signed up recently. Would you be interested in using our service?”

This type of marketing is very effective because it’s personalized and targeted. It shows that you’re not sending out mass emails but rather ones specifically tailored to specific customers.

These emails are also a great way to help build trust with your customers and get them used to receiving emails from you.

4. Implement Automation

So now, you’ve done the work to craft an email series. Next, it’s time to automate their delivery, so you don’t have to send them out each time you need to, according to your schedule.

Automation in email marketing is easy to do using tools like MailChimp, Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor, and Convertkit.

These types of programs allow you to create automated emails based on triggers, such as when someone opens your email, clicks on a link, or purchases something from you.

This way, you no longer need to manually send out those emails, which can alleviate some stress when you’re dealing with a multitude of different subscribers.

5. Design Mobile-Friendly Emails

As I mentioned earlier, most people use their phones to check their emails, so making them mobile-friendly is crucial.

The email should be optimized for mobile phones if it promotes sales or discounts. For example, any sales information or product pictures should be easily viewed on their mobile device.

And users should be able to click on the promotion, link, or image and give them the option to view the brand’s site in their preferred browser on their phone.

The key elements to consider when designing mobile-friendly emails include:

  • Placing important links at the top of the page rather than down below.
  • Keeping graphics small.
  • Using text only where appropriate.
  • Optimizing images.
  • And testing different sizes of fonts and margins.

6. Personalize Your Emails

Even though the average person receives numerous unsolicited emails daily, sending personalized messages to potential leads is proven to boost response rates.

Personalizing your emails makes them feel less like spam. Plus, it gives your subscribers a sense of connection to you.

The key to successful email marketing is knowing exactly who you want to send emails and which messages resonate best with each group of recipients.

Once you know what works and what doesn’t, you can tailor your messages specifically to your audience and keep them coming back for more.

First, choose a subject line that clearly states what you will say in your email. This will help readers decide whether or not to click through your email.

Next, include a call to action, such as asking subscribers to check out a new product or sign up for a free trial.

Finally, customize each individual message by adding links to pages on your site where interested parties can read more information.

Get creative and do your research for the industry. For example, does adding emojis help to personalize the email, or is that a no-no for that specific industry?

7. A/B Test Email Content

The A/B testing of email content is a great way to improve your open rate. It’s also an excellent way to get more people on board with a product or service.

But it can be challenging to figure out what works best for you and your audience.

A/B testing helps marketers decide what works best for their business. For example, when designing email campaigns, it’s often necessary to split-test different versions of emails to determine which one performs better.

You can also test different subject lines. Subject lines are one of the most important parts of any email. They’ll help determine whether someone opens your message or not. It’s what hooks the subscriber to learn more.

The best way to test different variations of emails is to use A/B email testing software. This allows you to compare two versions side by side while showing only one version to half of your users at any given moment so that they don’t realize they’re receiving two different messages.

Most email automation platforms can also conduct A/B testing for your emails. And A/B testing isn’t just beneficial for email. For example, it’s important to test copy and content on a brand’s website, so A/B testing will come in handy in more ways than one.

8. Find The Best Timing

The best time to send emails to customers depends on several factors – such as when they last visited your website, what action they took while on your site, whether they completed any transactions, and more.

One way to determine which times work best for email campaigns is by using Google Analytics. You can use the Goal conversion section to view bounce rate, exit pages, and other data related to goal completion.

You should also consider other factors and incorporate them when you send emails based on people’s schedules. For example, you can see lower open rates on holidays, late into the evening, as well as Monday morning and Friday evenings.

9. Scrub Your List Of Non-Opens

It’s essential to manage your subscriber list. When you click “send” on your newsletter, your list contains all subscribers who did not open the email. If you see that certain people are ignoring all your emails, you might want to delete them from your list.

To delete them from your list, you need to go to the unsubscribe page, then select remove and confirm. This process may be repeated until all your non-opens are removed.

You don’t want to overload people who have already purchased or are no longer interested in the brand, so you don’t create a negative relationship with them.

Incorporating one of the email management tools to help you eliminate the consistent non-opens can help you manage your subscribers and decrease time spent on this repetitive task.

10. Include A Real Reply Email Address

This is one of the best ways to keep customers coming back for more. Users may want to send any follow-up emails directly to their spam folder if you don’t include an actual reply address.

But when you put your email address in the footer, they know exactly where to go. If a person has questions, they can email the brand’s team.

Again, this also helps build trust with the brand. They know they are communicating with real people who selected these emails for them versus being spammed with nonrelevant or generic content for the masses.

11. Experiment With Lead Generation Ads

The goal of lead generation ads is to reach people who may be interested in buying from the brand.

They usually appear at the top of the page, where they are visible for longer periods of time than other types of ads.

This means people tend to click on them more often than ads below the fold. So, as long as you don’t use these ads too frequently, you should be able to generate leads.

12. Utilize Email Analytics To Improve Campaigns

One way to utilize email analytics to improve campaigns is to check the bounce rate, opens, clicks, and unsubscribes for your emails. Then use that information to enhance your current efforts.

This includes sending emails at different times throughout the week, testing subject lines, changing up the call to action, and testing creative variations.

If you’re still struggling, try experimenting with lead magnets, such as free ebooks, white papers, and webinars.

These allow you to capture leads from those interested in learning about new topics. In addition, measuring results lets you know which emails work and which ones don’t.

You should also compare these variables (such as open rates) to industry metrics. For example, what’s the percentage of bounce rates for the industry you’re working with?

If you aren’t measuring results, you won’t have much data to base future decisions for your next email marketing campaign.

Final Takeaways

Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to promote your online store, build relationships with customers, and generate sales.

The final step in this process is to put all these pieces together into an effective strategy. This means coming up with creative and effective ways to construct emails and email series.

It also means being able to measure the results of each tactic so that you can continue to improve your efforts going forward.

Leveraging email metrics and incorporating A/B testing can help build relationships with subscribers by presenting them with the information they want to read.

With a little bit of effort and creativity, you can use email marketing to increase a brand’s sales and help create long-term customers.

More Resources:

Featured Image: 13_Phunkod/Shutterstock

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