Search data is siloed and inaccessible outside of the SEO team in too many businesses, limiting its reach, impact, and ability to support company success.
It’s time to rethink how we use search data.
In this article, you’ll learn three practical ways any organization can remove the shackles from their search marketing data sets and steer company critical decision making in a more meaningful, evidence-led way.
Data often sits within silos (SEO, PPC, social media, direct, etc.) or inside disparate data sources such as Google Analytics, Google Ads, SEMRush, Moz, aHrefs, Majestic, or Open Site Explorer.
The list of options for marketing and business analysts is endless.
The first stage in making your data picture clearer is to remove the barriers from integrating your business information sources, creating a more expansive and meaningful data ecosystem.
There are many ways to achieve a more complete and clearer data picture for your business and the opportunities tend to fall into two areas:
There will be a myriad of logic behind the option (or hybrid variation of the options) you progress, but either way, a key outcome should be this:
Effective data centralization is key and lays the foundation for everything else that follows.
From data processing and integrity right through to end-users, actionable data insights, and so much more (including automation).
In my role, I work with Apollo Insights as a prescriptive data and marketing platform.
Regardless of which solution you opt for, it’s important to consider the core required outcomes such as:
From larger useful data sets, many positive business outcomes can follow.
The goal of evidence-led decision-making is often as much about finding out something you didn’t know as it is about reinforcing and verifying that the judgment calls you are making are the right ones at this time.
All too often, people seek verification from data but forget to take open-minded looks into what the data is telling them.
As a commercially viable business operating in any competitive space, you need to understand your audience and their changing behaviors, wants, needs, and pain points.
You also need to understand how the opportunities are changing (in many cases, on a weekly basis).
Being the first to act can provide many competitive advantages. The ability to pivot, change focus, and take action sooner all sit within your existing data.
I would estimate that intelligent automation (IA) through areas such as robotic process automation (RPA) can alleviate the unnecessary manual labor on repetitive tasks from anywhere upwards of 70-80% of a marketer, analyst, and related field specialism within the workplace.
The purpose of IA and RPA especially is not to remove people from key roles, but to maximize their value in ways that require their level of expertise and specialism.
This is achieved by:
Marketing is a perfect example of this in action. A typical marketing expert uses anywhere from 20 to 50 separate analytics packages, crawling software, insights tools, and office packages to get to a stage where the experiential and specialist work can even begin.
Adding to this, the marketing/data/analyst is also expected to already know what they are looking for. They are expected to at least have a clear hypothesis to test.
And this is before they even know the right data sources, manual recombination, and research work to undertake before they can start to action meaningful activity.
Intelligent automation can take many forms. In fact, you will be doing some of this by having a proactive team who simply want to achieve more value in less time, and spend more of their time implementing insights rather than sourcing them.
Even so, you will want to:
Where you begin with IA will depend on your business objectives and current state of play.
However, typically I would expect this to include:
The purpose of this post was to enable you to see the value in your search data and to expand the use, depth, and application of this data for meaningful business impact.
I hope that the three items provided have initiated a thought process that will lead to direct action taking – whether this is auditing, assessment, or entirely new ways of working.
At this stage, the only thing that matters is taking a useful next step.