Episode Overview: Reviewing performance analytics data after a busy holiday season is like opening presents on Christmas morning for SEOs. Join Ben and Searchmetrics’ Director of Services Tyson as they conclude Holiday Triage week with a final discussion on how to best measure your holiday triage efforts and how to utilize performance analytics to inform your 2020 holiday season SEO strategies.
- Thorough data collection throughout the holiday rush is crucial for a complete analysis of holiday performance.
- Key data to analyze includes analytics conversion rate revenue combined with third party and ranking data.
- Incomplete data can still be useful and can help inform better holiday season strategies next year and used in year-end reviews to reset priorities.
GUESTS & RESOURCES:
Ben: Welcome back to the last episode of Holiday Triage week on the Voices of Search podcast. I’m your host, Benjamin Shapiro, and this week we’ve been publishing episodes every day covering the topics you need to think about to get ready for the holiday season.
Ben: But before we get started, I want to remind you that this podcast is brought to you by the marketing team at Searchmetrics. We are an SEO and content marketing platform that helps enterprise scale businesses monitor their online presence and make data-driven decisions. And to support you, our loyal podcast listeners, for the holiday season, we have put together a complimentary holiday triage checklist to understand how you can assess, prioritize, optimize, build, and measure for the holidays. Go to searchmetrics.com/holiday.
Ben: Joining us for the last time for Holiday Triage week is Tyson Stockton who is Searchmetrics’ director of services, and outside of shepherding Searchmetrics’ largest and most strategic clients to SEO success, Tyson’s going to join us one more time to talk about how you can measure the impact of your holiday triage efforts. Okay. Here’s the last installment of Holiday Triage week with Searchmetrics’ Director of Services Tyson Stockton.
Ben: Tyson, welcome to Holiday Triage week. Are you ready for it? It’s the last time.
Tyson: Final stretch.
Ben: Ho, ho, ho, SEOs! Let’s go!
Tyson: Of course, of course.
Ben: Alright, Tyson. We’ve covered a lot of ground this week. For everybody that’s getting a late jump figuring out how to optimize their holiday SEO efforts, if you’re running late, we talked about how to assess the lay of the land, how to prioritize what you should be doing, how to optimize your existing content, how to build out a linking strategy. Now it’s time to think about figuring out what is actually working, evaluating what came down the SEO chimney. Talk to me about how you measure your holiday SEO optimization efforts.
Tyson: Yeah, and I think this is an important step, and it’s something that can often get lost in the mad rush in the shuffle, but this is going to be something that’s going to be really important that you don’t glaze over, just kind of pass, blow by this one. And really, it’s not something that’s going to be that time-consuming. The most important thing to be thinking of when you’re looking at measuring it is gathering the data. You can analyze it and dissect and do all these things later on, but the most important thing is make sure that you’re capturing the data so then you have that ability to do it later. So I think especially in the rush and the last kind of leg of everything, this is going to be where you don’t want to cut any corners, and you want to make sure you gather it. Just save yourself the time by doing all of the actual analysis and stuff when you get a little more time on your hands.
Ben: I think one of the things that’s important to hear is … We talked about assessing as the first step and understanding what your historical performance was. You want to try to compare what you’re doing against previous years, and so you’re setting benchmarks not only for what your previous holidays looked like, but you’re also comparing yourselves to your competitors. What are some of the ways that you’re benchmarking your success, and how should you think about evaluating your performance relative to what happened last year and relative to your competitors?
Tyson: Yeah, and I think this is where it helps looking at both your internal data, so your analytics conversion rate revenue, and also combine that with third party and ranking data. So, obviously you’re not going to know the revenue of your competitors, but you can look at your competitors in the same lens that you look at your own keyword rankings, rescope visibility. You can use that to monitor and measure who won in this season. And then you can also look at, what do their pages look like? You can crawl their site. What kind of linking did they point to those pages? And these not only are going to help inform you for next year, other upcoming events, because your strategy on these type of events are relatively similar.
Tyson: So going after a Labor Day sale versus a Black Friday sale, what you’re doing doesn’t really change, but it’s just the where and kind of all the details within is what’s going to really evolve and change. So I think that’s going to be one of the most important pieces.
Tyson: And again, like I said earlier, since you’ve already gone through the keyword research, it’s really just a matter of dropping that into the project section of your tools there in Searchmetrics that then is going to allow you to have that baseline. And then you also already did a lot of the work that you’re going to start on next year when you go into this.
Ben: I think one of the biggest things to think about is if you’re listening to Holiday Triage week, and you’re like, “Hmm, I actually haven’t started thinking about the holidays,” nothing personal, you’re going to have a lump of coal in your stocking. And I think one of the things to think about is how can you evaluate this year’s performance and how can you think about what happened to not get in this position for next year. Tyson, talk to me about what you can learn from having to triage the holidays and how it can impact your next year moving forward.
Tyson: Yeah, and I think it is important to do your post-mortem or analysis not too far out. So you don’t have to do it immediately but you want it still to be somewhat fresh in your mind. Because you want to also look at all of the things that you outlined, what did you actually accomplish, and what didn’t you accomplish.
Tyson: And before Searchmetrics, I was on the in-house side, and this is something that … It comes every year, and there are some differences that might emerge over years. But overall, it’s … The game isn’t changing that much. And a lot of times, at least in my own experience, maybe I’d have 10 items that I was trying to execute on, and maybe only six or seven of them got done. So then next year, I’m going to use my past year’s performance and the percentage of actual tasks completed, and I’m going to use that in the arguments or the justifications for the resources to do more in the next year.
Tyson: So rather than just being like, “Okay, I’m going to go through it the same way that I went through it again,” use that analysis and use … Maybe if you only got 6% of the stuff done, use a competitor’s performance to your advantage, and kind of point to that as far as this is what’s possible, this is how we only achieved maybe a partial portion of what needed to be done.
Ben: You’re going to use that lump of coal in your stocking to start a fire to keep you warm through the holiday season. And I’m obviously speaking in metaphors here, but it’s important to be able to figure out how you’re going to message what worked and what didn’t in the holiday season. And if you found yourself behind the eight ball, if you’re just starting to think about the holidays now, if you’re really only able to do a light content optimization … Maybe you’re calling in some favors for your linking strategy to try to drive some extra attention to some of the pages that are holiday-related, and that’s all you can pull off … Look at what the lift was on those pages.
Ben: And you could say, “What would happen if we had more resources and more time to execute against the holidays?” Right? “We were able to be somewhat successful with a small budget. We didn’t get all the toys and tricks and tools. Our stocking wasn’t full.” Imagine what would happen if Santa had really dropped off the full haul next year, so that you can use this to your advantage as you’re doing your resource planning and getting into thinking about what’s going to happen in 2020.
Ben: Tyson, any last words on holiday triage and how SEOs can make sure they’re making the most out of this holiday season?
Tyson: No, I think that covers everything. And like you said and as you referenced earlier in the week, if you didn’t get what you wanted from Santa, you got the Easter Bunny and the other cartoon characters to look forward to.
Ben: Yeah, that’s a good one. I like that you’re in the holiday spirit. Let me give you one more ho, ho, ho, SEOs! I appreciate you. I’m going to put a gift in your stocking. And everybody, thanks for joining us for Holiday Triage week on the Voices of Search podcast.
Ben: And that wraps up Holiday Triage week on the Voices of Search podcast. Thanks for listening to my conversations with Tyson Stockton, Searchmetrics’ director of services. We’d love to continue the conversation with you, so if you’re interested in contacting Tyson, you can find a link to his LinkedIn profile in our show notes. You can always contact him on Twitter. His handle is Tyson underscore Stockton. And if you have general marketing questions, if you’re interested in being a guest on our show, or if you’d like to talk to me about this podcast, you can find my contact information in our show notes, or you could shoot me a tweet at Ben J. Shap, B-E-N-J-S-H-A-P.
Ben: If you’re interested in learning about how to use search data to boost your organic traffic online visibility or to gain competitive insights specifically around the holiday season, we’ve put together a holiday triage checklist for you. Go to searchmetrics.com/holiday to download the document.
Ben: And if you like this podcast and you want a regular stream of SEO and content marketing insights in your podcast feed, hit the subscribe button in your podcast app, and we’ll be back in your feed next week.
Ben: Alright, that’s it for today. That’s it for Holiday Triage week on the Voices of Search podcast. And until next time, remember the answers are always in the data.