Article

Paolo Ramazzotti
Paolo Ramazzotti 2 December 2021

Effective SEO Strategy and Data Tracking

Can you do SEO without proper data tracking? No, you can’t! Well, technically you can, but you shouldn’t. Learn what the main problems are, their impact, and the solutions for implementing your SEO strategy effectively.

SEO and Data Tracking

Measuring the impact of your efforts is crucial for your SEO success. Proper data tracking allows you to identify objectively what’s working and what needs improvement. 

The Problem

I keep coming across websites of clients (or potential clients) who already have an SEO agency or have done SEO in the past. Some of those have even done a lot of online advertising. 

But when I look “under the hood” into the way they track their website, here’s what happens often (in order of scaringly increasing importance):

  • The Google Analytics setup is incomplete and not customized (no goals, no filters, no nothing)
  • The Google Analytics account is not implemented via Google Tag Manager
  • The cookie policy is not correctly managed, and data is not passing through to Google Analytics 
  • The Google Analytics code does not trigger correctly (syntax errors in the code are oh so common!)
  • The Google Analytics code is inserted twice on the page (yes, it still happens. I know, it’s hard to believe it, but it is true). 

And at last… wait for it….

  • Google Analytics (or any other data tracking tool) is missing from the website. 

The Impact

The problem of incorrect tracking implies the impossibility of measuring the performance of marketing activity, including SEO.

Although many people approach or start an SEO strategy with the idea of acquiring traffic to their website, we are way past the era in which any traffic would be good traffic. Companies need only good traffic, traffic that reaches a specific website with a high likelihood to convert and impact the baseline of the business model. 

But the lack of data about an activity is not just a problem on the matter of the performance measurement. It is a deeper and more intricate question: if you don’t measure what happens on your digital presences, you have no way to understand who is landing on your digital outposts.

You have no data to rely upon. You could never know, for example, that people don’t come to you to solve a problem, but to prevent one. Perhaps people don’t come to you with a headache to cure, but with an idea to share. Or perhaps they don’t need a supporting company, but a business partner to venture into a new project.  

That’s why a business's visibility on Google is so much more than a simple effort to rank for a specific keyword. Because you don’t want visibility, you don’t need visibility.

You need to be perceived as an authority, you need people to understand quickly that you are the king of your realm, and such results can not be achieved simply by trying to rank for high volume keywords or high traffic topics.

The strategy needs to be focused on the user who is performing a search, on the person that is on the other side of the screen and is starting to type a search in the query box. There’s a real person if you peek through the query box: look into her eyes. Is she the person you want to do business with? Are you the person that can honestly support? Bingo!

Now make sure that your website can facilitate this match, make sure that your page titles are clear and simple to understand. Make sure that all your pages are designed to foster feedback, generate interactions, drive conversions, to deliver quality. Google’s ranking will come automatically if you do those things right. 

Impossible to Delegate

You, the decision-maker (whether you are a business owner, a marketing consultant, a communication specialist) are the person that drives the SEO strategy. Not the developer, not the web designer, and definitely not the SEO agency you just contracted!

This is something you can not delegate because the success of the strategy depends on how good you know your audience and how good you are in creating the content that attracts it.

And if you don’t know the answer to these questions, then the problem is bigger than the tracking issues I mentioned at the beginning of the article, and this problem is bigger than the poor ranking on Google.

So be on the lookout for questionable replies when you discuss SEO with your team or your agency. If they are not worrying about the measurement of the performance of their effort, be the one who brings this issue to the table. 

If you hear things like:  

  • “I use the SemRush/Moz/.. (whatever  keyword ranking tracking tool you are using)  to measure my SEO efforts”
  • “I use the Search Console to check the performance of my SEO activity”
  • “I look at the traffic trends in Google Analytics to see if traffic has increased”

None of these sentences are focused on the impact that marketing activity should have on your baseline. SEO is not excluded from the goal of any other marketing activity which should be either making you more money or saving you some money.

So if you hear any of the above comments, let an alert ring in your bell, and make that bell be heard by saying “guys, we need to plan, create and measure the impact of SEO on the business model”. 

The Mantra

Now, let’s all remember this: marketing is a means to an end. While many people correctly state that no marketing activity can be considered done until you have tracked its performance, I happen to believe that no marketing activity should even be started without making sure that proper tracking is in place. 

And now, time to refresh some statistics principles:

Bad data = bad decisions. 

No data = bad decisions. 

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