Measurement Framework for SEO Analytics – Part Three

The third and final installment of this series focuses on Types of Analysis.  By understanding and utilizing all types of analysis you are able to fully optimize your sites potential. This posting will cover things such as high level analysis, analyzing over time, and analyzing quality. 

High level analysis includes SEM traffic, the volume and percentage of traffic to your site that Search accounts for, and the relative importance of Organic vs. Paid Search Marketing in terms of traffic and conversion.

The conventional wisdom: adding PPC will boost organic click through.
The harsh reality: it will often lessen it. Semphonic has done repeated tests on the claim that by adding PPC it will boost organic clicks. While the results vary dramatically, the most common case is just the reverse. PPC will often cannibalize organic clicks thereby overstating the effectiveness of your PPC and badly skewing your bid strategies.
The lesson: don’t believe the conventional wisdom:  Measure it for yourself. 

Traffic and conversion contribution by Engine (organic and paid) are useful for SEO efforts. Changes in percentage of site traffic and share of traffic by engine (especially organic traffic) tracks SEO effectiveness over time. 

To analyze channels it is important to consider several aspects. Organic Cannibalization tracks the impact on organic traffic of starting or stopping a paid campaign; measure the support or cannibalization by search term. PCC self cannibalization measures the interaction over time between visitors who source from PCC multiple times. This is usually measured by Search Term or Ad Group. SEM/ Media interaction measures the over time relationship between SEM sourcing and alternative online sources including banners and direct. Brand impact measures the impact of mass-media advertising on Search usage. 

The conventional wisdom: each channel can take care of itself, if it’s ROI it’s decent, that’s good enough.
The harsh reality: unless you know how each channel compares, you have no way of intelligently allocating your resources. By measuring channel performance and engagement you can tell which channels have reached (or exceeded) their optimum scale.  

To analyze over time consider sales cycle’s that measure the time “tail” of SEM sourced visitors. Also lifetime value measures the repeat conversions and customer quality of SEM converters. It is essential to track the over-time interactions and the success of PPC and SEO if you intend to allocate resources between them with any degree of accuracy. 

Analyzing quality includes Engagement: measures the quality of SEM visitors (by Search Terms or Ad Groups) in terms of conversions, proxies or site engagement. Creative Conversion tracks conversions (or engagement) by Creative to assist in ad optimization. Entry page tracks the differential in Conversion/ Engagement by Entry Page.  It is  used to track the differential between PPC and Organic quality by Search Term. 

The conventional wisdom: If I don’t have conversions on my site I should optimize to clicks; common thinking on Pharmaceutical sites.
The harsh reality: no single strategy for PPC is worse than machine optimizing for clicks, with a close second being Agency optimizing for clicks. Optimizing for clicks will invariably drive you lots of poorly qualified and useless traffic. There is a better way. And this may be the most pressing and deadly sin for big pharmaceuticals companies.
The lesson: if you’re lazy, you’re Agency will probably be lazy too. 

In summary I would like to point out a few key aspects to remember. 
  1. Make sure you are optimizing the right measures.
  2. Make sure you can carry through as much information as possible from the purchase side to the Web Analytics Tool.
  3. Many key capabilities are difficult to get from even advanced WA tools. Make sure you think about what you want and see if you can figure out a way to get it. Don’t simply rely on the “stock” reports.
  4. There are a range of analytics projects that can help drive SEM success. Try one!
In case you missed it, here are part one and part two:
Measurement Framework for SEO Analytics- Part One
Measurement Framework for SEO Analytics- Part Two