INBOX INSIGHTS July 13, 2022: SEO and Research, Missing Keywords, Diminishing Returns

INBOX INSIGHTS: SEO and Research, Missing Keywords, Diminishing Returns (7/13) :: View in browser

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Ditch Your SEO Tools for Once

This week, we’ve been talking about our own internal SEO strategy and where we’re running into roadblocks. We’ve exhausted our keyword lists and we’re written about the same topics over and over.

I can’t be alone when I think, “Oh shit, now what?”

Like me, you probably turn to your SEO tools and Search Console to see what to do next. You likely also look at your social listening tools to find out what conversations taking place. This is a good place to start, however, these systems have limitations. They are reactive. To give you data about keywords, topics, and clicks, the audience needs to have taken an action and it needs to have happened online where these tools can see it. They are dependent on the right conversations happening in the right places at the right times to pick up the data.

So, how do you get better intel about what your audience cares about?

Ask them.

This probably seems obvious but it’s easier said than done. Back to the limitations of social listening tools. They can only see what people are comfortable talking about publicly. They are also limited to the volume of conversation around topics that you care about. If people aren’t talking about you, there is no data to analyze.

How do you resolve this?

You need to ditch the technology and talk to people. Make connections. Ask questions. You’re not going in for a hard sell of anything. You’re listening. Just listening. Here are some places to start.

Ask your community

We run a free slack group, Analytics for Marketers. It’s open to anyone interested in analytics and marketing. If you don’t have your own community, join one. Join ours. There is no shortage of hubs where people gather to talk about their shared interests. Many of these communities exist on platforms that social listening and other monitoring tools can’t reach.

I’ve learned that there are two kinds of members. First, there are lurkers. These are the people who see and read everything and rarely or never interact. Second, there are participants. These are members who respond and ask questions. Both types of members are important. You should have no problem gathering feedback from the active participants. The challenge is getting information out of those that don’t often engage. You can try creating smaller focus groups, create an online survey, or set up some one-on-one time. Create a safe space and give them an opportunity to share their opinions without fear of judgment from other members.

Talk to your current and former customers

These are people who already know (and hopefully like) you. They know your business and they know your expertise. Ask them what other information they would like to learn from you. Ask them what content they wish existed to help them solve their problems. Remember, you’re not selling anything. You’re trying to find out what pain points you’re not currently addressing with your content. You may find that you have expertise that you haven’t thought to share and pro tips that could help others.

Using technology to plan out your SEO strategy is always a good start. But don’t stop there. Tools will always have limitations to what data they can gather. The next time you’re stumped, ask around and see what other people are thinking about.

Want to come to talk to me? Join me in our free Slack group, Analytics for Marketers.

– Katie Robbert, CEO

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Binge Watch and Listen

In this week’s episode, Katie and Chris talk SEO and how to deal with diminishing returns. What should you do when your efforts aren’t yielding as much juice for the squeeze? How should you balance pillar content? What’s the role of content recycling? Tune in to find out the answers to these questions and more.

Watch/listen to this episode of In-Ear Insights here »

Last week on So What? The Marketing Analytics and Insights Live show, we did a content marketing AMA. Catch the replay here »

This Thursday at 1 PM Eastern, we’ll be digging into what to do when SEO isn’t working for you. Are you following our YouTube channel? If not, click/tap here to follow us!

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Data Diaries - Interesting Data We Found

In this week’s Data Diaries, let’s dig beneath the surface of a recent SEO news story. Not too long ago, the folks at AHREFS dropped a bombshell of sorts on the SEO community by showcasing that Google Search Console suppressed up to 46% of search queries. The implication of this story is that we may have a lot more search volume and search topics to work with than Google is telling us about.

Naturally, reading such a headline, we asked ourselves the simple question: is that true? There’s only one way to find out: by checking our own data. As a forewarning, what we’re about to show is our data and therefore applies only to us. Do not interpret it to be a big, grand finding that applies to everyone.

First, we downloaded our keyword data from our AHREFS account for the Trust Insights site (we’re a paying customer). AHREFS data defaults to a 60 day window, with 30 days compared to the prior 30 days.

Next, using Google’s Search Console API, we downloaded our site data for the last 60 days to match AHREFS’ data range.

Now, at this point, you could do a series of VLOOKUPs in Excel if you wanted to match the two; we used R because we can do SQL-like table joins to isolate data quickly and easily. Let’s start by looking at the big picture. For the Trust Insights website, our total keyword universe, the total number of keywords for which we show any impressions or volume at all is 9,946 keywords.

Of that 9,946, how many keywords show up for our website in both tools?

Combined data

We see 745 keywords in both tools, with traffic anywhere from 12 to 50 clicks. Bear in mind AHREFS’ volume is materially different from Google Search Console; it shows the total number of searches for that term on any website, whereas Google Search Console shows the number of times our website appeared for that search term. They’re not apples to apples.

Let’s next look at AHREFS. What do the keywords look like for AHREFS-only queries, keywords that AHREFS is detecting but Google Search Console is not?

AHREFS only data

AHREFS shows a potential volume of 46,000 searches and 36 clicks. The total number of terms AHREFS shows that aren’t in Google Search Console? 524. So, 524 / 9,946 is 5.3%; for our version of the study, we would say AHREFS detected 5.3% of our total keywords that Google Search Console missed, representing 36 clicks.

Let’s look at the inverse. What does Google Search Console detect that AHREFS does not?

Search Console only data

Google Search Console detects 8,677 keywords with a volume of 12,507 searches and 30 clicks. 8,677 / 9,924 is 87%; for our version of the study, we would say Google Search Console detected 87% of the total keywords that AHREFS missed, representing 30 clicks.

Here’s the most important part: what ARE the keywords that Search Console or AHREFS might be missing out on? Let’s take a look at the top 20 in each. First, AHREFS:

AHREFS top 20 keywords

These terms are… not exactly what we want to be known for. In fact, out of 20, only 2 of them are really relevant, the hashtag analytics for Instagram and the IBM CodeNet term. The rest appears to be noise.

What about Search Console?

Search Console top 20 keywords

Many more of these terms are relevant to what Trust Insights wants to be known for.

So what? What do we take away from all this? On the surface, the AHREFS study seems to indicate that Google may be suppressing valuable content, and looking only at the numbers, you could understand that interpretation. However, when we look at the actual keywords AHREFS is detecting that Google isn’t… it’s pretty clear we’re not missing out on anything major. If Google is suppressing garbage for the most part, I think it’s safe to say it’s a feature, not a bug – and a welcome feature at that.

Methodology: Trust Insights extracted data about the domain from AHREFS and Google Search Console. The timeframe of the data is May 13 – July 12, 2022. The date of study is July 13, 2022. Trust Insights is the sole sponsor of the study and neither gave nor received compensation for data used, beyond applicable service fees to software vendors, and declares no competing interests.

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