Actionable Metrics and Diagnostics

October 5, 2010
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

We are back from a long lunch and ready to go. Well, most people are probably ready for a nap but that’s besides the point. It’s time to talk about actionable metrics and diagnostics.  Whatever that exactly means.  Up on stage speaking we have Vicki Blair, Vanessa Fox, Maile Ohye, and Conrad Saam.

Maile is up first.

Maile is going to pretend she’s an SEO and SEO the Google Store. The Google Store sells T-shirts, hats, yo-yos, etc. If Maile was an SEO, she would give Google the following advice for optimizing their store:

Sign up for Webmaster Tools: Set up email forwarding so that when Google sends you a message via Webmaster Central, it will get forwarded to your email. This may you’ll actually see it. Which is good if you’re giving people malware. Hi, yeah, that happened to us. :(

Utilize search queries: Highlight/star the terms for which you want to rank. Pick out the stuff you can actually use.  De-prioritize queries that are unlikely to help your conversions.

Improve your query in search results: Check for appealing titles and snippets (descriptive and matches user’s intent). Learn tips from the other results. What can you learn from their Titles and descriptions?  Target your content to match your audience – keywords.

  • Write content that matches your query terms.
  • Webmaster Tools provides an overview of keywords.  Which new ones can you find?

Check for duplicates in the results. It may be possible to consolidate Page Rank between duplicate/near duplicate pages.  Pages displayed should be diverse in content. If they’re not, merge them.   How do you reduce duplicate content?

  • Check search queries
  • Review HTML suggestions
  • Select canonical
  • Be consistent
  • Use 301 permanent redirects where possible
  • Implement rel=”canonical”
  • Utilize URL parameter handling

Fix Broken Links: Bring users and linking properties to the right URL

Prioritize your content: Internal links. Helps users and engines quickly find your important pages.  Use Google Webmaster Central to make sure you’re linking the way you think you are.  Link important pages from the home page, since that page will typically have the most PageRank.

Make text links accessible: Fetch as Googlebot. Links and text should be clearly visible. This will tell you if you have any URL rewriting/redirect issues. JS loaded text is a common issue with video, even with Video Sitemaps.

Site Performance: Site performance offers improvements for slow pages. You can find more information at  The optimal time for ecommerce sites to load is <2 seconds.

Next up is Conrad. He’s going to run through 18 different questions.  Let’s hope he maybe does it slowly.

  1. How much SEO traffic do I really have? Get rid of anything that includes a brand name because that action is fundamentally different. You want to look at things from an acquisition perspective.
  2. Is my site really what I think it is about? Go into Webmaster Tools and check out the keywords Google thinks your site is related to.  You can learn a lot.
  3. Is my site authoritative? They try and track authority over time.  They use the tools at SEOmoz to help them figure this out.  They also use Open Site Explorer, which is another SEOmoz tool.
  4. Is my site authoritative, part 2?: How many pages from your site is Google crawling? Using this as a proxy for authoritativeness is really helpful. Track it over time.
  5. How does my site’s authority stack up to competitors?: You want to look at domains linking to your site, as well as the number of links.  He offers a data warning – you’ll often get inconsistent data. The different data sources are rarely consistent.
  6. Am I a good linkbuilder?: Look at the percentage of links that go to your home page.  You don’t want most of your links to go to your home page. You want to drop the percentage as low as possible.
  7. Was that a valuable link?: It’s hard to access the value of a link. A valuable links is one that gives you traffic. If links aren’t giving you traffic, they’re not valuable.
  8. Have I lost some links?: Check your crawl errors in Google Webmaster Central.  If you have a lot of 404s, you’re losing a lot of links. This is a major mistake.
  9. How Spammy is my link profile?:  He talks about SEOmoz’s mozTrust and mozRank metrics.
  10. Should I give up on this keywords?: What is your ability to compete on a keyword? How many links do your competitors have for a particular term.
  11. Do I nail the long tail?: Look at the number of keywords driving traffic to your site. What is the percentage of traffic coming from a unique keyword? Can you improve that percentage over time?
  12. Do I nail the long tail, part 2: Do you have content that will attract the long tail over time?
  13. Do I nail the long tail, part 3: how many pages does Google have indexed? Compare that to competitors.
  14. Is my site a bunch of useless templates?: What is crawled vs indexed ratio? Just because it’s crawled doesn’t mean it’s going to get indexed. Is your content  unique enough to be indexed?
  15. Does my site look fat in these jeans, part 1: How does it perform compared to other like sites? Is it loading too slow?
  16. Does my site look fat in these jeans, part 2: Look at your site through YSlow.
  17. Will prospective partners take my call: We all go through SEO puberty where we learn that PageRank isn’t all that important. Having said that, PageRank is the first thing that every biz development deal gets glanced at. For wrong or right, biz deals start here.
  18. Does my site lack fresh content?:  Look at your log files and see how regularly the search engines come back to look at your site.

Next up is Vanessa.  She only has a few things she wants to share. Uuuuunfortunately her slides didn’t appear for awhile…so I missed them.  I blame technology.

Ranking reports are useless.  Better things to look at – query clusters, traffic, searcher behavior, Google impressions and clicks.  By matching up the data, you get a much more complete picture of what’s going on.

And just like that it’s over.

Next up is Vicki.  She’s going to talk about social media metrics.  I think there’s an entire panel on this tomorrow, so make sure you check that out. I believe we’re liveblogging it.  The computer just turned off so we don’t get to see her slides yet. Instead, she’s going to introduce herself a bit more.

Computer’s back!

Hit The Right Target

This is all about going after goals and setting up the program for success.  Goals ensure that metrics are aimed at the right targets. Clients come to her and say they don’t have any specific goals, they don’t know what they don’t know.  In her experience, that approach fails to yield the kind of magic bullet findings that the company is really hoping for.

She advises clients to know:

  1. What business questions are we trying to have answered?
  2. What are we planning to do with the findings?
  3. What are our short-term goals for the social media program?
  4. What are the long-term goals for the social media program?

Those questions really set the stage.

Example Social Media Goals

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Decrease customer attrition
  • Uncover valuable market insight and trends

When it comes to social media metrics, you want to create a baseline and then from there you’ll have other tasks/goals assigned that lead up to the ultimate goal. Within the goals, you’ll have multiple metrics to track that will ensure you’re on the right path.

Important Questions

  • What is the brand value of the competition?
  • Who is the competition in the market place?
  • How do we get started in social media?
  • Who are key influencers of my brand?
  • How do I know if my advertising is working?
  • Where are people talking about is?
  • Who is our target demographic?
  • What is the share of voice for the companies in the industry?
  • Was this campaign more effective than our last one?

Social Metrics for Social Intelligence

Key components of tracking social media:

Brand Awareness: How aware is your audience about your brand? Do they get what it is you’re trying to say? Is your brand message getting out into the social media space?

Key metrics for brand awareness

  • Volumes of conversation around your brand.
  • Volumes of conversation around your competitors
  • Affinity groups and influencers
  • Sites where your brand conversation happens

Compare your metrics to your competitors to see how you stack up.

Audience Sentiment:  Giving search and Web analytics a new layer of understanding emotion behind purchase intent. Tracking sentiment over time is really useful.

Key metrics for audience sentiment:

  • Audience sentiment around your brand
  • Audience sentiment around your competitors brand
  • Sentiment for the affinity groups and influencers
  • Sentiment toward your brand on key sites

Corporate Engagement: Your voice getting out there. You have to track everything the corporation is doing to share their message.

Key metrics for corporate engagement:

  • Number of tweets, RTs
  • Everything

Outcomes and Findings: Both qualitative and quantitative. The key to bringing this all together.

Key metrics for outcomes and findings:

  • causes for volume shifts
  • causes for sentiment shifts
  • insight and ongoing metrics that track back to your original questions
  • impact of your engagement

And we’re done!

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