The use of data science in contemporary digital marketing strategies is on the rise. As a result, firms may better base their decisions on hard evidence. Two out of three marketers think these choices are better than those that aren’t data-driven. The use of data science in different facets of digital marketing has resulted in increased efficiency and decreased labor requirements. Optimization for search engines is an example of such a method. SEO is improved by data since it shows marketers what approaches have worked in the past and allows them to foresee what approaches will work in the future.
In this piece, I will discuss several data-driven SEO tactics that might help you improve your SEO campaigns.
How to optimize your website for search engines using the methods of data science
The “what” and “why” are covered in existing articles, but the “how” is often left out. I will make an effort to answer the question below. Getting a website search engine optimized is a process that can take a while. SEO is not a simple operation because of how unpredictable Google’s algorithm may be. If you’re an SEO expert, you need as much data as possible to create accurate forecasts and improve your outcomes. You may learn a lot about your website’s performance and get solutions to some of your SEO questions by employing data science. The proper decisions may be made with the support of data-driven insights, and optimization initiatives can be enhanced as a result. Our data scientist, Qi Zhao, chatted with the SEMrush community about the role that data science can play in search engine optimization. This article is a roundup of expert advice on how to improve your SEO rankings by collecting and analyzing relevant data.
Optimization for Search Engines (SEO) is the process of designing web properties and distributing material in such a way that they will be discovered by the right people at the right time while conducting relevant searches. Others advocate a “build it and they will come,” or “Field of Dreams,” strategy to SEO, arguing that such an approach is unnecessary. By 2020’s close, the SEO market is expected to have grown to $80 billion. Some folks prefer to play it safe rather than take any chances. People often refer to SEO as an “arms race” between search engine optimizers and the search engines, citing the fact that Google’s ranking system uses more than 200 parameters to determine a page’s rank. people forming communities around shared interests and the pursuit of the next “great thing.”
SEO work and the myriad of related technologies provide a deluge of information. To put this in perspective, the basic web crawling tool, Screaming Frog, generates 26 separate reports full of web page analytics on stuff you might not even consider essential (but are). That’s a huge trove of information ripe for analysis and discovery.
When it comes to the goals of data science, such as analyzing large amounts of information to draw conclusions and reveal patterns, the SEO way of thinking is a natural fit. SEO experts have spent the last 20 years poring over this information to deduce the best course of action and prove their worth to clients.
Although there is a wealth of information at SEO practitioners’ disposal, much of the field is still based on educated guesswork; while some individuals and organizations do test ideas to see what works, ultimately it comes down to the judgment of whoever on the team has the most relevant experience and track record.
It’s a problem I’ve encountered frequently during my career and one I’d like to solve now that I have some background in data science. In this piece, I will provide some references that will help you to make data-driven decisions in your SEO campaigns.
Search Engine Optimization Trials
The query “We’ve done these adjustments on a client’s website, but did they have any effect?” is a common one in search engine optimization. This often causes people to conclude that if website traffic increased, “it worked,” but if it decreased, “seasonality” was to blame. This method is scarcely rigorous.
Rather, it is preferable to analyze it using a data science methodology, which involves the use of mathematics and statistics. I’d like to offer a Google product called Causal Impact, which can aid with some of the more complex mathematics and statistics involved in understanding data science topics.
Exactly what does “causal impact” mean?
The library called Causal Impact can be used to forecast time-series data (like web traffic) in response to an “intervention,” which can be anything from campaign activity to the release of a new product or an improvement in search engine optimization.
You provide the tool with two time series of data, one of which may be the number of clicks on a particular subset of a website over time after an intervention has been implemented. In this case, the alternative time series—clicks over time for a section of the website that wasn’t subject to the intervention—would serve as a control.
Moreover, you tell the program when the intervention occurred, and it uses that information to train a model known as a Bayesian structural time series model. To anticipate what the intervention group would have been like if it hadn’t occurred, this model employs the control group as a starting point.
What data science can do to improve your SEO
Data science makes use of cutting-edge methods, systems, and procedures to examine and interpret massive amounts of data. Data is just a bunch of numbers without context, but the science behind it can be very useful to businesses in making educated guesses and predictions. As a result, data science has elevated the information to the status of the precious commodity it has today.
Using data science to create more evidence-based judgments is another way to improve your SEO. Here are some SEO tactics you can implement with the help of data:
Analyzing the habits of potential clients
By identifying and analyzing data about your target population, customer behavior analysis helps you better understand your demographic and create more accurate buyer personas. The demographic information gleaned through analysis of client behavior can inform not only your search engine optimization tactics but also the direction of your whole advertising push.
Many changes have occurred in the search engine landscape over the past decade. To rank highly in search results pages (SERPs), content and metadata can’t just be crammed full of keywords anymore. The quality of your site’s user experience is now a ranking factor for several search engines. Do people who use it think it’s useful? How happy are they with it? Their priority is providing results that precisely match the user’s query. This means you need to do some research into your demographic and the meaning of the keywords they use.
In addition, you need to make sure your site provides information that users have been unable to access elsewhere. In a nutshell, your approaches to problems need to be both intuitive and proactive. Customer behavior analysis can help you learn more about your target demographic so you can adjust your search engine optimization tactics accordingly. By doing so, you may create a site that provides the kind of user experience (UX) Google is searching for to rank websites since it will be in sync with the user’s search intent and provide the best possible answers to their questions or solutions to their issues.
By understanding your customers’ actions, you can tailor your content to their needs, which in turn boosts your search engine optimization KPIs. SEO guru Mario Deal was given the responsibility of boosting visits to a health and fitness website. He adopted several search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, such as making the headlines on the company’s website more pertinent to the visitors’ needs and increasing the website’s overall relevancy. Consequently, the site’s traffic began to outpace that of its rivals by a factor of four. As a result, you should never underestimate the value of data-driven relevance, which results from a comprehensive study of client behavior
Enhance the website's usability for visitors
Recent Google algorithm changes have shown a preference for sites with a positive user experience over those with a negative one, as was previously mentioned.
In the previous paragraph, we discussed ways to improve the readability and usability of a website’s content. However, content is only one facet of the total website experience. Content contributes to the website’s usability. To improve your site’s standing with visitors and search engines, you must prioritize usability. The effectiveness of your website’s usability depends on how simple it is for visitors to get around. As a result, web design plays a crucial role.
Website performance, like usability, contributes to the overall experience. If your page takes more than three seconds to load, a whopping 32% more users will abandon it without even looking around. Not having a mobile-friendly website is frustrating for 48% of users. You may attribute much of the success or failure of your website’s user experience to these factors. You can improve your user experience across the board by using a data-driven strategy.
You can create a user-friendly website that answers their questions and displays the answer prominently by employing a data-driven design strategy. The term “data-driven design” refers to a methodology for designing websites that makes decisions based on information gathered from actual users. This method improves the UX of a website by making it more relevant to the user’s search, simpler to use, and quicker to resolve the user’s issues.
In addition, you can examine your web analytics data to learn about your site’s performance and determine if it is taking too long to load. Google Analytics is a powerful tool for making decisions based on statistics, such as whether or not the majority of your site visitors are accessing it via mobile devices. Using this information, you can streamline your website’s code and make it more mobile-friendly, both of which can improve your site’s user experience and, by extension, your search engine rankings.
Metrics for monitoring and bettering user engagement
Representatives from Google have disputed that there is any relationship between user activity measurements and search engine rankings. Yet, we can all agree that Google takes UX into account when determining a website’s ranking. For this reason, I think it must take metrics on user behavior into account. Other than that, how would it be able to gauge the quality of the page itself?
Search engines like Google may use a wide variety of signals to evaluate your site’s user experience. Click-through-rate (CTR), time-on-site (TOS), pages-per-visit (PV), unique visitors (UVs), etc. Keep tabs on these indicators and evaluate them against market norms to determine where adjustments should be made. Then, optimize them using the information you gained from your audience analysis to (hopefully) improve their search engine rankings.
According to Neil Patel, “[optimization] is an efficient on-page SEO approach if your CTR is high and your users spend longer time on your page, leading Google to believe that people are finding the information on your web page beneficial.” If you do this, Google will prioritize your site over all others.
Analysis of Competitors’ Search Engine Optimization Strategies
Gathering search engine optimization (SEO) data from competing websites and using it to inform your SEO efforts is what we call a “competitor study.”
Performing a thorough SEO competitor study will give you a leg up on your SEO efforts. No longer is it necessary to employ techniques predicated on assumptions and then optimize them. The information your competitors collect can provide you with actual, tried-and-true ideas that will help you get off to a running start.
Discovering who your rivals are is the first step in doing a fruitful competitor study. To finish your competitor research, use a variety of tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs to conduct a comprehensive page and backlink analysis. Create a report detailing your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses in light of your findings, and use this information to inform your SEO tactics.
SEO and content marketing informed by data
SEO and content marketing have always worked for hand in hand. However, with search engines shifting their focus to prioritize content, the distinctions between the two have blurred even more.
Optimization for search engines (SEO) with content driven by data can transform your advertising efforts. Ranking variables for organic search results heavily include user engagement and conversion rates. Almost two-thirds of all website visitors anticipate some sort of individualized interaction as part of the decision-making process before they convert. Even if your website is optimized for search engines, it will be of no service to visitors if it doesn’t have relevant and helpful information for them. Therefore, it is essential that you provide material that speaks to your target audience. And information is crucial for that.
Customer preferences are the foundation of data-driven content marketing, which allows you to provide information specifically customized to your target audience. It improves your website’s content performance and decreases the amount of guesswork involved in creating a content strategy.
Content that engages your prospects and drives the user behavior metrics may be developed with greater ease after you have a firm grasp on the forms, tones, and other specifics that your users find most appealing.
Using metrics, not guesswork, to generate links for search engine optimization
The purpose of link building, another SEO tactic, is to increase a website’s page rank by gaining inbound links from authoritative websites. Its purpose is to make your website more credible to search engines. Google still places a high value on the quality and amount of a website’s backlinks, making them a key ranking factor even after all the adjustments.
Data can also be used to improve the effectiveness of your link-building strategy. Numerous resources provide information on potentially lucrative backlinking opportunities. This information streamlines the time-consuming outreach process by identifying websites with the potential for acquiring high-quality backlinks and providing a list of those websites. Examining the link profiles of rival businesses might help you figure out which links are likely to be the most useful for achieving rapid organic expansion.
A more successful link-building campaign and better SEO outcomes are possible with the help of this data-driven strategy. Mattress Review’s founder and CEO, Trond Nyland, was looking to improve his site’s search engine optimization. He implemented a data-driven backlinking strategy and found information on which websites provided the best prospects for such links.
He used data to quickly acquire 170 backlinks from high-potential domains, a huge increase from the eight he obtained using a non-data-driven strategy. Data-driven backlinking was nearly 400% more accurate than non-data-driven backlinking, according to a quick calculation. Do you need any more proof before you let data guide your backlinking strategy?
Data science has undeniable advantages for search engine optimization. Analyzing data on on-site visitors’ actions and preferences can improve their overall interaction with the site. In addition, it can offer your SEO efforts a boost by improving the effectiveness of your link-building and by helping you extract useful information from your competitor analysis data. But remember that the success of any data science endeavor will depend on the quality of your data and the methods you employ to examine it.
Therefore, you need to be very careful while choosing your data sources. If you want reliable results, you shouldn’t rely on just one source, but instead should combine qualitative and quantitative data utilizing heuristics.