If you want to report on the success of your SEO campaigns within your company, and you want to develop a data-driven SEO strategy, then you need to be able to show people meaningful numbers. In this article, I will explain how you can create dashboards that perfectly distinguish brand from non-brand traffic, and also highlight revenue potential and low-hanging fruits. My name is Felix Oey and, as Senior SEO Consultant with the Searchmetrics Digital Strategies Group, I help our customers to optimize their content in line with user needs, so that they improve their organic search performance.
Why do I need (several) SEO dashboards?
To start, let’s look at the 5 most important reasons for creating SEO dashboards. You should set up dashboards, so you can…
- … kick off your SEO campaigns
- … summarize your brand and non-brand performance
- … see which area has the greatest potential
- … discover gaps on your website
- … see how you measure up against the competition
There are several good reasons for dividing your SEO traffic reports into two dashboard categories. Brand traffic is, above all, an indicator of how strong your brand awareness is. This dashboard is important to be able to see how your brand is positioned in the market, and to enable a comparison with your competitors. A brand-specific analysis can also aid budget planning when looking to allocate resources to brand or non-brand campaigns.
However, the number of people coming to your homepage or other landing pages via a Google search for your brand is down to the joint efforts of the whole company. Numerous different departments participate in raising brand awareness, from marketing through to customer service.
Non-brand traffic is quite different. This quite specifically indicates how successful an SEO campaign has been, how visible the website appears in the Google search results for generic queries and how well your performance stacks up against your competitors’.
What are brand and non-brand search queries?
- Brand search queries are all search queries that contain the name of your brand and/or any synonyms, e.g. “buy smartphone amazon”.
- Non-brand search queries are generic search queries that do not contain the name of your brand, e.g. “buy smartphone”.
Video: How to set up a Brand vs. Non-Brand Dashboard
For any fans of audio-visual content, here’s the recording of our recent webinar on this topic. My boss, Björn Beth, Director of the Searchmetrics Digital Strategies Group, and I show you how to set up various dashboards. You can watch the video here:
For this example, I’ve selected the website webmasters.googleblog.com. I got the raw data from the Searchmetrics Research Cloud. This was as easy as just typing in the domain name, selecting the country (US) and then viewing all relevant keywords under the “Rankings” tab. I then downloaded the list as a .CSV file.
The next step was supplementing the data with further information from other tools and sources. For example, I have to define the terms that I want to classify as synonyms for my brand keywords. As well as the correctly spelled main keyword, “Google”, I chose “Googles” and “Googl”. I also pulled data from the Search Console, including the Click-Through Rate (CTR) for my ranking keywords. Other sources included my AdWords reports, for determining my SEO turnover and the corresponding potential, and conversion numbers from my shop data. The complete dashboard looks like this:
Now I can go through the different sections of the dashboard in more detail.
Monthly revenues and savings from SEO
This overview shows the revenues and savings from organic search engine traffic. The calculation is based on search volume, CTR, conversion rate, shopping basket and ranking position.
Potential Analysis of Brand and Non-Brand Keywords
In this dashboard, I can see the number of keywords, my ranking position, the aggregated search volume and traffic, and the traffic potential, divided according to brand and non-brand keywords. The final column, “Share of Queries”, shows the percentage of my traffic that comes from brand, and the percentage from non-brand keywords. This helps me to decide where to optimize: If I have almost exhausted my potential for brand keywords, then I should try to improve my rankings for generic keywords e.g. by developing certain website directories. If I am performing better on the non-brand front, then I should consider measures to raise brand awareness, like content marketing activities or out-of-home campaigns.
Discover potential for search engine optimization: Now we are getting into the really fine details – this dashboard splits the data from before into three sections:
- Brand queries for which I rank lower than position 1
- Non-brand queries for which I rank on the first SERP (but not first position)
- Non-brand queries, for which I rank worse than position 10
As well as search volume and traffic index, this dashboard also shows the potential revenue. This, particularly for non-brand queries, clearly shows me where low-hanging fruits are to be found and helps me target opportunities for quick gains.
Expert tips: Check directories and competitors
- Check directories: If you still have SEO budget available and want to invest it quickly, you could also look at the performance of your shop at directory level. Now you can assess the data that we’ve already separated into brand and non-brand keywords in a new context. This also reveals the potential for possible increases in revenue. Based on this data, the directory with the greatest potential can be targeted for expansion in upcoming sprints.
- Check competitors: As this dashboard was built using data from the Searchmetrics Research Cloud, I can carry out a similar analysis for competitor websites. In our example, I compared webmasters.googleblog.com with Bing’s blog (blogs.bing.com). Analyzing competitor keywords aids the process of finding topics when creating content for my own website.
- Identifying areas of potential on your website
- Comparing the status quo of your brand with your competition and the overall market
- Identifying your low-hanging fruits
- Providing data for guiding and targeting your SEO strategy
I hope this quick overview of the set-up and application of SEO dashboards was useful to you. If you would like more detailed information and practical hands-on tips, then I recommend you check out the full webinar video – or you request an offer for a dashboard from our Digital Strategies Group: