There are lots of hot topics in the SEO industry at the moment, from voice search to machine-based learning – and these are all topics that we will cover in the coming months. However, we’d like to start by looking more closely at data driven development, and the impact it has had on SEO so far, and what the future may hold.

Data is everywhere these days, and some people may say we are almost at a point of complete information overload. As search marketers we can look on this huge amount of information as either a blessing or a curse – after all, how much data is too much? We could spend days and days sifting through all of the data available to us – but will add any benefit to our clients at the end of the day?

We take SEO seriously, it is our job after all, and so it is important for us to track our efforts to see what is working and what isn’t, but you have to draw a line somewhere. You can’t track everything just for the sake of it, as you will end up with more data than you know what to do with. Instead we should all focus on tracking the things that are important to our clients.

Is Information Knowledge?

There is a lot of confusion within the SEO world about the definitions of information and knowledge it seems, with many people believing they are one and the same – but they are not. Just because we are uncovering more and more information through what we are tracking, this does not mean that we are also uncovering more knowledge at the same time. We are encouraged every day to spend money on tools for analytics or tools for data discovery, but are these tools worth it – and will they increase our knowledge in the end? The answer is probably no for the majority of them.

At Dale Street Digital we break it down like this:

  • Knowledge is what we achieve when we have broken down the available data to give us a clear and thorough understanding as to what is happening on our client projects
  • Information, on the other hand, is just the data that we get from analysing these projects – the raw facts if you will.

What Information can data give us?

  • Target Demographic. The more information you can get on your target audience the better as this will allow you to tailor your products and services to them. You should look at things like device usage and peal traffic times.
  • Keyword Research. Data can also help with keyword and competitor research as well  

What impact has data development had on SEO?

As a team of search professionals, our main aim is to increase the visibility of our clients brand or website through the use of organic and paid search, and to therefore increase the number of customers that they have the opportunity to engage with. The actual nitty gritty of how we do this can be very complicated, after all Google itself takes over 200 things into account with its SERP algorithms. Add to this a ton of complex information in the form of data, and we could easily end up getting tangled up in ourselves and failing on our number one aim.

That is not to say that we are advocating that we ignore data. It is extremely useful to us, as long as we stay focused on the important pieces of information that we need to know and keep our client projects goal in mind. Every client campaign is as different as the businesses they involve, and so each campaign will have different metrics we need to track and different information created that we need to analyse. By focusing clearly on each projects goal, we will be able to manage the amount of data that we consume and keep on track with the work that we need to do to make the clients project a success.

Data development in this digital age is amazing, and has given us access to the sort of analytics that can really help us to streamline our campaigns and keep them right on track, but we need to be careful not to be overwhelmed by it all. We can do this by sticking to the old adage: ‘quality not quantity’ and by using data on a ‘need to know’ basis and not a ‘nice to know’ basis. At the end of the day, this is what is going to help us to drive results.