Top 5 SEO data pitfalls to avoid for accurate analysis and reporting

Top 5 SEO data pitfalls to avoid for accurate analysis and reporting


If you happen to work in advertising or SEO, taking a look at knowledge is important to your day-to-day.

You’re in all probability analyzing efficiency to see the outcomes of your efforts, assessing the impression of Google’s newest replace, or engaged on a case research to share with the web optimization group.

However when coping with web optimization knowledge, issues should not all the time what they appear. The way you understand knowledge on a excessive stage could not essentially be legitimate when you dig deeper.

It is advisable be thorough, or your assumptions or insights that regarded strong initially could also be inaccurate. 

All through my profession, I’ve seen many pitfalls that advertising and web optimization professionals can encounter when coping with knowledge. Under are 5 examples.

1. Misunderstanding the connection between impressions and rankings

Understanding the connection between impressions and web site’s common rating metric can prevent loads of time while you’re reporting on SEO performance

Did your web site impressions improve and the typical rating metric lower? Some purchasers are fixated on this metric and shall be very involved that the typical rating metric is performing “poorly.” However is it?

Let’s take a simplistic instance to clarify the relation between impressions and common rating. 

Your web site will get:

  • One impression from key phrase X rating 2
  • One impression from key phrase Y rating 1
  • One impression from key phrase Z rating 3

On this case, the typical rating is (6/3 = 2).

Now your web site begins to rank for a brand new key phrase, and now you’re additionally getting:

  • One impression for key phrase A rating tenth

That appears like an accomplishment, however at first look, for the typical rating metric, not a lot as a result of your common rating is now decrease (16/4 = 4). 

So, whereas the typical rating metric seems to have worsened, it doesn’t essentially signify a destructive end result as a result of your web site is beginning to rank for extra key phrases. Over time, the rankings for these key phrases can additional enhance. Not to mention that rating tenth for a brand new key phrase is an effective place to be.

So, it’s fairly regular that your common rating will increase when impressions improve, too. It’s not a nasty signal and doesn’t imply you’re performing any much less!

Tip: Take into consideration the connection between impressions and CTR. When impressions improve (a very good factor), CTR could lower.

Dig deeper: How to make better SEO reports for the C-suite

2. Evaluating apples to oranges

It’s widespread to point out web optimization enchancment by evaluating efficiency month-over-month. Whereas this can be a affordable method, there are conditions the place such comparisons are inadequate and have to be accompanied by evaluating the efficiency of the identical month of the earlier 12 months. Right here’s why.

If you happen to examine January 2023 to December 2022, the outcomes may be an enchancment in site visitors and efficiency. For a lot of companies, particularly B2B, December (and generally November) are low seasonality months, and so they face a pure dip in efficiency throughout these months.

Due to this fact, evaluating January 2023 to December 2022 can generally present efficiency enchancment when really there might not be any, it’s only a “return to regular.”

So saying one thing like “we’ve in contrast the Jan. 1 to April 30 interval vs. the earlier interval, we’ve seen a rise in efficiency by 60%” could also be inaccurate. 

On this state of affairs, it’s possible you’ll wish to:

  • Evaluate Jan. 1 to April 30 of this 12 months vs. final 12 months.
  • Use an automatic instrument/script that helps you think about the seasonality fluctuations.

Get the every day publication search entrepreneurs depend on.

3. Utilizing self-importance metrics

I get it. There’s loads of strain on SEOs to point out outcomes and enchancment. Nonetheless, this doesn’t imply reporting on self-importance metrics that don’t actually matter. 

As an illustration, presenting the amount of inner or exterior hyperlinks created as an “enchancment” metric is an invalid method to reporting web optimization actions. 

“X% enchancment in exterior hyperlinks” shouldn’t be a sound assertion. 

Additionally, a rise in one thing doesn’t essentially imply “enchancment.” Extra shouldn’t be all the time extra. Is a rise in key phrase density of an article an “enchancment,” or does it make it spammy? 

Dig deeper: SEO KPIs to track and measure SEO success

4. Reporting migrations as an web optimization win

Website migrations are a standard web optimization activity, and having a profitable migration challenge is an expectation, not a bonus. It’s widespread for SEOs emigrate domains/web sites and report on the efficiency afterward.

As soon as a web site is migrated/redirected to the primary area, many SEOs are inclined to make the error of contemplating the next improve in site visitors to the first area as a definitive web optimization success.

It is essential to acknowledge that this improve is basically anticipated, provided that quite a few URLs and their related site visitors have been redirected to the primary area. Is that this actually a win? 

As a substitute, report the share of site visitors efficiently transferred to the primary area. It might take time to settle, however exhibiting how a lot of the unique site visitors was preserved is the actual web optimization win.

5. Failing to report web optimization’s worth and attribution

web optimization is an advanced channel. Not like PPC the place you’ll be able to have a transparent motion to ROI path and conversions are properly attributed, in web optimization, we generally must dig deeper to point out the actual worth the channel is bringing.

For instance, in a earlier function, the corporate ran only a few PPC adverts, and the web site’s fundamental/largest site visitors supply was web optimization. 

At first look, the whole lot appears to be clear and simple. However once I began taking a look at knowledge, I observed a giant proportion of site visitors (and subsequently conversions) was attributed to “direct site visitors.” I acquired curious, so I drew a graph evaluating direct and web optimization site visitors, it got here out trying like this:

Direct traffic and organic search

You may see how the web optimization site visitors straight impacts the direct site visitors. They go hand in hand in that when web optimization will increase, direct site visitors will increase – and vice versa. 

If so for your online business, it’s price mentioning in your month-to-month web optimization reporting.

One other factor to examine is the Attribution stories in GA4 beneath the Promoting part. You may then click on on both Mannequin comparability or Conversion paths. Each provides you with insights into how the web optimization channel contributes to or helps different channels’ efficiency. That is one other factor price reporting on.

Try for correct web optimization knowledge evaluation and reporting

We have to be thorough when taking a look at web optimization knowledge for auditing or reporting functions.

Making conclusions primarily based on the information you see first is inaccurate, may put you in a good spot together with your purchasers, and you may doubtlessly miss out on web optimization wins that go unnoticed.

Nonetheless, we wish to steadiness being thorough and getting caught in evaluation paralysis. Extra knowledge shouldn’t be all the time a very good factor. The perfect method is to:

  • Outline the query you wish to reply with knowledge.
  • Guarantee it’s legitimate and precious.
  • Begin your knowledge journey from there.

Lastly, all the time double-check your numbers, assumptions and conclusions. Bear in mind, there’s extra to knowledge than meets the attention!

Opinions expressed on this article are these of the visitor writer and never essentially Search Engine Land. Workers authors are listed here.


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