by Chris Thomson, Content Manager at We Influence
In digital marketing, everything you do should be data driven. Of course there’s plenty of room for creativity, experimentation and the odd gut feeling, but data should remain firmly at the heart of your strategy.
This is the approach we take at We Influence. Whether it’s a technical SEO audit, PPC campaign or influencer outreach, everything we do is backed up with data informing why we’re doing it, and then also how that piece of work has performed. To monitor this data we need the right pieces of software.
For digital marketers, there is an overwhelming number of tools available to track data, many of which seem to offer pretty much the same thing, just presented in a slightly different way. We’ve been through a fair few tools — some have been great and we still use, but others haven’t hit the spot and have fallen by the wayside.
Then we discovered SEOmonitor, and this changed the game for us. We needed something that would allow us to track our performance and monitor results the way we wanted to.
How we use SEOmonitor
- Keyword research
- Our work in SEOmonitor begins at the early stage of an SEO campaign. Along with a few other tools, we can see how well a client is performing for certain keywords. Using the ‘Research’ tab, we can enter in our desired keywords (either manually or through a bulk upload) and see how well our client is currently ranking on desktop and mobile, how many visits the site is receiving for each keyword, conversion rate, revenue, and much more.
- A nifty little feature is the ‘Opportunity’ column. This shows what the estimated impact would be, both in terms of traffic and revenue, of getting into the top three in search results for a given keyword. From this we can easily see if it’s worth pursuing these keywords, or we can focus our attentions on others with more opportunity. This can help us predict the value of our work and also report ROI to clients.
- Keyword tracking
- Once we know all of the keywords we want to track, we can add them from the ‘Research’ tab or, again, upload in bulk. It can get a bit messy with all those keywords in there, but fortunately you can organise them into smart groups of your choosing, allowing you to segment batches of keywords by URL, product type, site categories and subcategories, periods of time (e.g. Q3, winter, July, etc.) — anything you want.
- For example, we like to create smart groups for page 2 keywords, so we can easily keep an eye on these high opportunity keywords that could drive a significant amount of traffic. Our PPC, SEO and content can all focus their strategy on these keywords to help give them a boost, and of course any improvements we do see will be tracked, and we can then report on them to the client. We can also define a target for our chosen keywords, whether we want to appear in the top 10, 5 or 3 results in the SERPs, using the forecasting tool. It calculates how much extra traffic and revenue our client’s site would earn if we met those targets. This can help show clients in plain English the benefit of our work, and also show us how close we are to meeting those targets over time.
- And then we just let it do its work. We can see day by day how our target keywords are faring, whether their rankings have increased or decreased, how many visits they’ve had, how much revenue they’ve brought in, and more. We can alter date ranges, switch between mobile and desktop visibility, and even see whether there are any cannibalisation issues for particular keywords — and we keep discovering other useful little bits and pieces that help us better understand how the website is performing.
- The tool really lets us keep track of our work in a much more bespoke fashion. Other software has showed us a broad overview of how a site is performing in the search engines, but very few have allowed us to focus on the specific keywords we feel are important for our clients. SEOmonitor can give us that overall visibility snapshot if we want to quickly see how things are going, but it also allows us to create a more tailored SEO campaign for each website.
- We can quickly see exactly how individual keywords are performing, so we can bask in the glory of improvements, or get busy investigating why certain keywords aren’t performing as we’d like.
- Competitor comparisons
- It’s all very well and good looking at how keywords for our clients’ sites are doing, but it’s much more valuable if we can see them compared to their competitors, and SEOmonitor is excellent for this.
- Using the ‘Competition Insights’ tab, we can tell the tool which competitors we’d like to analyse, and then it’ll show us how well they’re performing for the keywords we’re tracking. We can see at a glance whether the competitors are gaining a greater impression share, and we can then act accordingly. For example, if we see a competitor is doing better for certain keywords, we can dig a little deeper as to why and, if necessary, alter our approach.
- SERP features
- Under the ‘SEO campaign’ tab, there’s a column headed ‘SERP Features’, which indicates whether our client’s site shows up for certain SERP features for our tracked keywords. It will show if there are PPC and Google Shopping ads, local SEO features, image results, featured snippets, and news stories that show up for each keyword. It will then show if our clients’ sites show up in those SERP features or not.
- These SERP features, or a lack of, can help inform our strategy for different departments. If we’re not appearing in the paid ads for a target keyword, we can have that discussion with the PPC team. Likewise, if we see that we’re completely absent from the image searches, then we might need to go and better optimise our images or include more relevant ones, or if there are featured snippets, we can optimise a page to try and get ourselves in there.
- Analytics for everyone
- We’ve discussed just a few of the main features of SEOmonitor, but perhaps the biggest benefit of the tool how accessible it is for pretty much everyone. As with most digital marketing agencies, we have employees with a range of experience levels, from SEO veterans to those who are just dipping a toe in the water for the first time, and SEOmonitor provides something for both ends of that spectrum. Those who are well versed in website analytics can really drill down into specifics, but it’s just as useful, if not more so, for those who have limited knowledge of website performance and analytics. Gains and losses are clearly displayed, and it’s simple to measure against your own targets as well as against competitors. This has meant that we’ve got people who have never really used analytics software before, or have been put off by the complicated nature of other tools, that now have the ability to see how our clients are performing. And this is of huge benefit to our clients as well. Often they don’t have a massive amount of time to read detailed reports and just want a quick top level summary of performance. This lets us give them that, with the ability to provide more detail as and when needed. Another aspect of the SEOmonitor with which we’ve been very impressed is how regularly updated it is with new features, which gives us confidence for the future of the tool and our own performance as an agency.
- We’re still learning the ropes with SEOmonitor, and we’re implementing it more and more in our reports to clients. We’ve only really scratched the surface here, but we’re really liking what we’ve seen so far, and can’t wait to see what else we can use it for.