So you track visibility… Why?

This article was originaly posted on LinkedIn.

A story about Customer Driven Marketing

I admit, I was feeling provoked/questioned the first time I got the question: “So you track visibility… Why?”. But it is a relevant question, the question why I mean. So I started thinking about the question and it hit me, the answer to ”Why?”, the purpose is quite essential. For me that question can give an answer to our understanding of our field of work or the company needs. But it can also be seen as completely pointless.

I see SEO as an important stakeholder for Business Development. Everything we do should be to grow and improve the business. How can tracking visibility help us do that? If we broaden our view and look at the organic results in the SERP as Marketing then visibility becomes important from a broader perspective than just ranking or driving traffic. First step is the importance of understanding customers and their needs. We can do that by tracking keyword visibility so we can build strategies for Consumer Driven Marketing.

Why do I track visibility?

The reason to track visibility is not to have visibility results to report. I don’t use visibility to report performance since it is not a KPI. I do track visibility to get a better understanding of how our pages perform and to serve the right content to our visitors.

3 reasons to track visibility:

  • To understand the consumer
  • To have the right content
  • To increase conversion

Many customers use search engines at some points in their purchase process. It is important for the business to understand what keywords or phrases the customers use when they search for information. By understanding search intents, we can also create the right content to increase conversion in the purchase funnel.

What is right content? As I mentioned earlier it is based on search intent. Just because you have the right keywords for the search query doesn’t make the page good at converting. Imagine that you are looking for information and the page you find is a pure selling channel, it doesn’t feel informative. Would you stay? Probably not, you are not in the buying phase. But if you instead give the visitor good information and also assist in the buying decision in an non pushy way then I think you have good content. If it also converts well, then you have the right content.

The bonus of Right Content is that these customers might also talk about us if feeling that we satisfied their need. In that way as an SEO we have extended our Marketing reach to Word-of-mouth also. It is easy to believe that we only have effect in organic search, but SEO plays an important role in the whole picture of Business development. Many businesses split up results in acquisition channels. That is good as long as you use that data to optimize the overall performance for the business and work together to improve business bottom line goals.

 What do I track?

Well, I have a keyword list of 600+ keywords in each market divided into different buckets of products and search intents. I also use these keyword buckets to compare us to our competitors. This split gives me a quick visual view of our market share over time. It gives an insight to how visible you are to customers in different parts of the purchase funnel.

When you have enough data you can start to segment it to understand performance of keywords in terms of intentions and markets for different devices. Example of a rough split:

  • Geographic
  • Product
  • Intentions

These can then be combined in different combinations: Geographic, product and Intentions. Product and intentions. Geographic and intentions. Depending on segmentation you can get a better understanding of what is the right content.

How do I track?

I have used a lot of different software during the years but the last years I have chosen to work with SEO Tools for Excel by Nils Bosma and RankRanger. I like having the option to script my tools based on my needs and pull the data to visualize it based on my need. As mentioned I use Rank Ranger to track visibility. It is simple to split keywords into buckets and to visualize the changes from daily, weekly and monthly basis. Even towards competitors if needed. You tag a keyword with whatever segmentation you wish and then you can easily see the performance of your markets, campaigns, pages, keywords and competitors for desktop and mobile.

I keep saying this but as an SEO it is our responsibility to understand the business needs in a bigger picture to take ownership of our part in the business development. In this case we can do it by optimizing the organic channel as a marketing channel. By being aware of and optimizing for Consumer Driven Marketing we have taken a good step forward.

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