Leveraging data has never been more important for businesses both big and small. Though many smaller organizations don’t need to hire full-time data analysis help, 82% of organizations in the United States have either hired or are planning to hire employees that are data driven and analytical skills. But how do you measure your success and leverage data if you don’t have the budget to hire analytics help?
As a small business owner, you’ve probably gotten a lot of mixed messages about how to use digital advertising and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) effectively. When you’re busy and struggling to focus your marketing efforts, all this advice can actually be more harmful than helpful—it’s very easy to get overwhelmed by all the analytics and performance metrics involved with SEO. So how much of it do you really have to worry about? When creating a data driven marketing strategy, its important to understand that not all metrics hold equal weight. In fact, there are a few you can mostly just ignore. Here are 5 SEO metrics you can (mostly) stop worrying about.
When it comes to unimportant digital marketing metrics, impressions are just about the most useless of them all. The best they represent is potential, which does nothing for your bottom line—or even tell you anything in most cases. Impressions are simply the number of people who are exposed to your ads—the people the ads are displayed to. Depending on how targeted the ads are, you may not even be reaching an audience that will be interested in your products or services, making impressions one of the least meaningful metrics out there.
I know what you’re thinking—no traffic, no sales. However, like with most SEO metrics, more factors come into play than just the one you’re looking at. Lots of site traffic is great—but what are your new visitors doing when they reach your site? If they’re just looking around and never take the next step, their traffic hasn’t affected your business. Sure, logically more traffic means more sales, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Engagement is far more important than traffic alone. Dig deeper into how your visitors get to your site and what they’re doing when they get there, rather than the pure traffic numbers.
Top 30 Rankings
The higher you get in the search rankings, the better…right? After all, that’s what SEO is all about. The problem with this is twofold: first, being on the first page for keywords doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get more engagement or sales, and second, being in the top 30 but on the second page does nothing for your business. Trying to get into the top 10 for relevant keywords is a good goal, but very few searchers will click on to the second page.
You want users to click on your ad, right? Yes, but not clicking on an ad doesn’t mean that your marketing isn’t working. Sometimes, people read ads and go to the site directly, or file it away in their brains for later. Sometimes, it takes several displays of an ad or ads to get people to click. Clicks are nice, but don’t forget that your ads sometimes drive engagement indirectly.
First, let’s start this one off with a disclaimer: domain authority (DA) DOES matter when it comes to SEO. Domain authority was quantified by the SEO company Moz, and combines a website’s age, popularity and size when determining how “authoritative” a site is. Sites with higher authority perform better in SEO than low authority sites.
With all of that said, obsessing over your domain authority isn’t going to vault you past your competitors to the top of the search engine rankings. Domain authority grows over time, and doesn’t update more than once a month or so. High-quality backlinks from high DA sites, combined with time and patience are the best ways to gain DA. Try to get those backlinks and ensure the content on your site is of high quality, but don’t spend your time refreshing the DA checker.
Lots of Data to Manage
The most overwhelming part of becoming a confident user of SEO and digital advertising metrics is that there is so much data to manage. About 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years, and global data creation is up to 2.5 exabytes per day! So how do you cut through all of this data and make a meaningful impact?
Simple. You focus on and the metrics that matter. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how many people saw your site, if the vast majority of them aren’t your audience or don’t engage. What matters are the metrics that help you grow your bottom line.