We are excited to bring Transform 2022 back in-person July 19 and virtually July 20 - 28. Join AI and data leaders for insightful talks and exciting networking opportunities. Register today!
This article was contributed by Atul Jindal, web design and marketing specialist.
Data science is trending among modern ways of digital marketing. It helps businesses make data-driven decisions. Every two out of three marketers believe that these decisions are superior to their non-data-driven counterparts. Data science augments various areas of digital marketing, making these processes more effective and less time-consuming. Search engine optimization is one of these processes.
Traditionally, SEO has relied on assumption-based best practices. And it still does. However, with the presence of massive amounts of data, it makes no sense as to why marketers won’t use it to streamline their SEO efforts. Data uplifts SEO by helping marketers see what previous strategies have worked and enabling them to predict what will work in the future.
In this article, I’ll share some data-driven SEO strategies so you can uplift your SEO efforts with data.
How to use data science to boost your SEO
Data science deploys modern tools, technologies, and practices to analyze large volumes of data and extract meaningful information out of it. Data itself is nothing but numbers — it’s the science that makes it insightful, helping businesses to make informed decisions. Data science consequently makes data the valuable resource it’s considered to be today.
Data science can also boost your SEO by helping you make more data-driven decisions. Here are some data-driven SEO strategies you can incorporate in your SEO campaign:
Customer behavior analysis
Customer behavior analysis is a process that helps you find and analyze your target audience’s data, enabling you to learn more about your audience and build highly targeted buyer personas. Through customer behavior analytics, you can get critical customer demographic data that can guide not only your SEO strategy but your entire marketing campaign.
The search engine landscape has changed a lot in the last decade. You can no longer get to the top of the SERP by stuffing a bunch of keywords in your content and creating keyword-heavy metadata. Search engines now give weight to the experience your website offers. Do the users find it helpful? Are they satisfied with it? They want to ensure that the website they rank aligns perfectly with the user’s search intent. Therefore, you have to take the time to understand your target audience and know what they are looking for when they type a certain keyword.
Furthermore, you have to ensure that your website answers the questions your users are struggling to find. In short, you have to be intuitive and proactive with your solutions. Therefore, you need customer behavior analysis to understand your audience better and shape your SEO strategy accordingly. This helps you build a website that aligns with the user’s search intent and answers their question or solves their problems in the best way possible, ultimately offering the kind of UX that Google is looking to rank websites.
Customer behavior analysis helps you be relevant to users, which in turn drives your SEO metrics. Mario Deal, an SEO expert, was tasked with increasing the traffic on a health and fitness website. He optimized the business’s website to make the headlines more relevant to the users, increased the overall relevance of the website, and implemented a bunch of other SEO techniques. As a result, the site started generating 4x their competitors’ traffic. So, never ignore the power of data-driven relevance that stems from a thorough customer behavior analysis.
Improve the website user experience
As said earlier, Google’s most recent updates indicated that they tend to rank the websites offering good UX higher than those offering bad UX.
In the previous section, we talked about optimizing a website’s experience through content. But content is just one aspect of the entire website experience spectrum. Content works to increase the utility of the website. You need usability to truly uplift your website’s reputation in the eyes of your users and the search engines. The usability of your website is defined by how easy it is for the users to navigate through. Therefore, it largely relies on web design.
Apart from usability, website performance is another important piece that adds to the overall experience. The probability of a user bouncing from your website increases by 32% as your load time goes from one to three seconds. Additionally, 48% of users are annoyed when a website isn’t optimized for mobile. These variables are some of the major elements that shape your website’s user experience. And with a data-backed approach, you can optimize all of them to uplift your UX.
With a data-driven design, you can develop an intuitive web design that addresses your user’s queries and presents the solution prominently. Data-driven design is a design approach that builds on user data and guides your web design decisions. This approach uplifts the website’s UX by ensuring that it aligns with the user’s search intent, is easy to navigate, and solves the user’s problems quickly.
Apart from that, you can track your web analytics to uncover website performance data and see if your website is taking too long to load. Google Analytics is a very valuable tool to make data-driven decisions; for example, it can tell you if most of your users are coming from mobile devices. With this data, you can optimize your website’s load speed and optimize it for mobile devices to ensure that you leave no stone unturned when trying to uplift your UX, and consequently, improve your website rankings.
Tracking and optimizing user behavior metrics
Google representatives have denied any correlation between user behavior metrics and rankings. But we all agree that Google uses a website’s UX when deciding its rank. Therefore, I believe it must give some importance to user behavior metrics. How else would it determine page experience otherwise?
There are many different variables that search engines like Google may rely upon when judging a website’s UX. These metrics include CTR, Dwell Time, Bounce Rate, Time On Site, Pages Per Visit, Repeat Visits, etc. Track these metrics and compare them with industry benchmarks to identify improvement areas. Then use your audience analysis data to optimize them for (potentially) better rankings in search engines.
Neil Patel notes, “If your CTR is high and your users actually spend more time on your page, Google concludes that users are finding the information on your web page useful, making [optimizing] it an effective on-page SEO strategy. Google will then push your rankings to the top.”
SEO competitor analysis
Competitor analysis involves collecting SEO data from your competitor’s websites and then using said data to guide your own SEO strategy.
An effective SEO competitor analysis gives you a head start when doing your own SEO. You no longer have to implement strategies based on assumptions and optimize them from there. You can get real, proven-to-work strategies from your competitor’s data, implement them, and hit the ground running.
The first step towards performing a successful competitor analysis is identifying your competitors. Next, you can use various tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs to perform a thorough page and backlink analysis and complete your competitor research. Generate a competitor analysis report based on this research and develop your SEO strategy based on this report.
Data-driven content marketing and SEO
Content marketing and SEO have always been closely related. But the lines between the two have blurred even further with the search engines becoming more content-driven.
Data-driven content in SEO brings magic to your marketing strategy. Conversions and user engagements are key ranking factors for organic results. Nearly 64% of online visitors expect personalized engagement as part of their conversions. You can have an SEO-optimized website, but unless it is supported by user-focused and valuable content, it will be useless. Therefore, you must create content that resonates with the users. And for that, you need data.
Data-driven content marketing builds on customer preferences and helps you deliver content tailored to your audience’s needs and interests. It enhances the performance of your website content and reduces your reliance on assumptions when developing a content strategy.
When you know the type of content your users prefer, the tone they like, and other granular details, you’re more equipped to create content that engages your prospects and drives the user behavior metrics.
Data-driven link building for SEO
Link building is another SEO strategy that aims to acquire high-quality backlinks from other high authority domains on the internet. It aims to build your website’s authority in the eyes of search engines. Despite all the updates, Google still gives much importance to the quality and quantity of backlinks a website has, so backlinks are one of the top ranking factors.
Similarly, you can use data to enhance the efficiency of your link-building campaign. There are many tools that provide data for highly valuable backlinking opportunities. This data cuts down the tedious outreach process and provides a list of websites that have opportunities to acquire good backlinks. When exploring the link profiles of your competitors, you can identify which links can be most relevant, hold most of the value to grow organically faster.
This data-driven backlinking approach can boost your link-building effort, consequently increasing your SEO results. Trond Nyland, founder and CEO of Mattress Review, wanted to boost his website SEO. He deployed a data-driven backlinking strategy and uncovered data about the websites that offered high-quality backlinking opportunities.
With his data-driven approach, he quickly acquired 170 backlinks from high-potential websites, significantly higher than the eight backlinks he got from his non-data-driven backlinking approach. Quick math tells us that data-driven backlinking was almost 400% more accurate than non-data-driven. What more evidence do you need to start using data to inform your backlinking strategy?
The benefits of data science for SEO are undeniable. It can uplift the website’s user experience by deriving insights from the customer behavior and preferences data. Additionally, it can give your SEO efforts a head start by extracting meaningful information from your competitor analysis data and increasing the efficiency of your link-building process. However, you should note that the benefits of data science rely on the accuracy of your data and how you choose to analyze it.
Therefore, pay special attention while selecting your data sources. Never rely on a single source and analyze and implement quantitative data using qualitative information and heuristics to ensure that your results are accurate.
Atul Jindal is a web design and marketing specialist.
Welcome to the VentureBeat community!
DataDecisionMakers is where experts, including the technical people doing data work, can share data-related insights and innovation.
If you want to read about cutting-edge ideas and up-to-date information, best practices, and the future of data and data tech, join us at DataDecisionMakers.
You might even consider contributing an article of your own!