Gone are the days when a single tweak in the content or the title tag was able to get your site to the top of the search results.
Google algorithm is now much harder to crack than before. Besides, 75 percent of online users do not scroll past the first page of the search engine results.
As you can imagine, this makes the SEO space highly competitive right now and companies can no longer rely on basic techniques.
However, you can always make sure that the odds are in your favor by using data science.
What is data science?
A combination of various tools, algorithms, and machine learning principles designed to unveil hidden patterns using the raw data is referred to as data science.
Data science is creating its impression across every domain. As cited by Maryville University, around 1.7 megabytes of data will be generated every second for everyone on the planet by the end of 2020.
Why do you need it?
Data science provides valuable insights about a website’s performance and these insights can help you improve your SEO campaigns.
Data science is used to make predictions about upcoming trends and customer behavior using analytics and machine learning. For example, Netflix uses insight from data science to produce its original series that drives user interest.
Apart from identifying opportunities, data science also handles high voluminous data and helps in making better decisions. Businesses can easily gauge the effectiveness of a marketing campaign with the help of data science.
How does data science help SEO?
Data science helps you make concrete decisions by letting you:
- Visualize which combinations have the potential to make the biggest impact
- Create marketing campaigns aligned with the needs of their audience
- Understand buyer’s preferences and identify pain points
- Identify referral sources of converting traffic
- Verify loading time, indexing, bounce rate, response errors, and redirects
- Verify the most and least crawled URLs
- Identify pages that crawlers aren’t supposed to index
- Identify sources of unusual traffic
How do you apply data science to your SEO data?
Follow the below ways to apply data science to your SEO campaigns:
1. Select your data sources
Understand that the quality of your data sources directly impacts your data insights. You need the right tools to track important metrics more precisely. The top four tools that can help you gather the right data and make better decisions are Google Analytics, SEMrush, and Ahrefs.
2. Think “ecosystem” instead of “data” and “tools”
Do not rely on one solution if your SEO is complex and integrates with various other digital marketing areas like content marketing, CX management, CRO, and sales. The “data science” approach to SEO is about integrating methods, tools, and practices in a way that draws deep and accurate insights from the cumulative data mix. Consider the SEMRush console we discussed above. The traffic stats it presents work on the assumption that all traffic is genuine. What if there are bad bots at play here? It makes a lot of sense to bring in a traffic quality checking tool into the mix, something like what Finteza does.
It offers you advanced bot detection tech, along with a whole suite of conversion funnel optimization modules, to help you not only make more sense of your data but also to put the insight into action, to drive business KPI scores.
3. Align SEO with marketing initiatives
Backing your SEO with other marketing initiatives makes it stronger. Collaborate with sales, developers, UX designers, and customer support teams to optimize for all search ranking factors.
Use data science to determine a universal set of SEO best practices each team can follow to achieve your goal. Try tracking the evolving relationships between independent and dependent variables to get a better idea of what actions are important to your business. To fully understand how your SEO affects other channels, capture and analyze data from:
- Top conversion paths
- Conversions and assisted conversions
Gain a clear understanding of your customers’ journeys to establish a stronger alignment between various marketing activities and attribute the outcomes to separate campaigns easily.
4. Visualize with data science
Find it hard to digest numbers piled onto a spreadsheet? Taking a hierarchical approach to your data can cause you to miss out on important hidden between the lines. On the other hand, draw different benefits from data visualizations like:
- Compare and contrast
- Process large data volumes at scale
- Accelerate knowledge discovery
- Reveal hidden questions
- Spot common patterns and trends
Test it out yourself. Leverage data science during an SEO technical audit and receive insights about your site’s health and performance. Use that data to know more about your page authority, rankings, number of outbound/inbound links per page, and other factors. However, you won’t find a proper answer about why some pages perform better in the search results, while the others lag behind. Visualizing the site’s internal link structure and figuring out the domain authority of individual pages on a scale of one to ten (like Google) allows you to see the areas for improvement and adopt proactive measures.
On-page SEO optimization is just a single example of how SEO experts combine visualizations with data science to provide better results to clients. Make your SEO data more actionable with visualizations.
5. Take help of A/B testing
LinkedIn carried out an experiment using the XNLT platform. The experiment was focused on the redesign of the “Premium Subscription” payment flow. The LinkedIn UX team reduced the number of payment checkout pages and added a FAQ. The results were impressive with an increase in the number of annual bookings which was worth millions of dollars, a 30% reduction in refund orders and a 10% increase in free trial subscriptions.
Data science focuses on eliminating guesswork from SEO. Rather than presuming what works and how a specific action affects your goals, use data science to know what’s bringing you the desired results and how you’re able to quantify your success. Brands like Airbnb are already doing it and so can you.
Joydeep Bhattacharya is a digital marketing evangelist and author of the SEO Sandwitch blog.