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Evaluating And Optimizing Holiday Content – Tyson Stockton // Searchmetrics

Episode Overview

A successful holiday season is a process that starts far in advance for SEOs. This week Tyson Stockton, Searchmetrics’ Director of Services, walks us through the five steps to executing a successful holiday campaign.

In today’s episode, Tyson walks us through how to understand and scale your holiday campaign performance.

Topics discussed:

  • What KPI’s to use to evaluate holiday campaigns
  • How to communicate holiday performance to execs
  • Why it’s important to spread the holiday success & cheer

GUESTS & RESOURCES:

Episode Transcript

Benjamin: Welcome to the last episode of Holiday Seasonality Week, on the Voices of Search podcast. I’m your host, Benjamin Shapiro, and this week we’ve been publishing an episode every day, covering the topic of how you can get ready for the holiday season.  

Joining us again today is Tyson Stockton, who is Searchmetrics’ Director of Services. And so far this week, we’ve talked about how you can conduct your holiday research, how to build an effective holiday roadmap that gets buy-in, producing your holiday content, and actually launching it to make sure it gets live. 

And today, Tyson and I are going to talk about evaluating and optimizing your holiday campaigns.  

But before we hear from Tyson, I want to remind you that this podcast is brought to you by the marketing team at Searchmetrics. We are an SEO and content marketing platform that helps enterprise-scale businesses monitor their online presence, and make data-driven decisions. 

 And we’re happy to invite you, our loyal podcast listeners, to an upcoming AMA webinar workshop, where Tyson Stockton, our Director of Services, will be answering all of your questions about seasonality. So come prepared with your website, your data, and any questions you have related to optimizing your content for the holiday season, and Tyson will answer your questions on our webinar in realtime.

To join our seasonal AMA webinar, go to Searchmetrics.com/webinar.

Okay, here’s the last installment of Holiday Seasonality Week, with Tyson Stockton, Searchmetrics’ Director of Services.  

Tyson. Happy Friday. Welcome to the last day of Holiday Seasonality Week on the Voices of Search podcast. 

Tyson: Final stretch. Now is the exciting part. 

Benjamin: Can we get a ho ho ho SEOs from you, just to round things out?

Tyson: Ho ho ho SEOs.

Benjamin: All right. Let’s go. 

So we’ve talked about doing your research, setting your roadmap, your content production. Yesterday, we talked about actually launching your content. Turns out, that’s not just pressing a “publish” button, that’s pressing a “publish” button, then getting your content onto the page. 

Now we’re going to talk about evaluating and optimizing. You’ve gone through this whole process. It’s been four to six months of getting ready for the holiday, getting you content out there. Finally, you know, the baby has been birthed, it’s out there, it’s in the wild. Now what do you do?

Tyson: Yeah. And this… I think this is the point that you almost… it’s like the last stretch of a race, where you almost want to kind of let up. You see the light at the end of the tunnel. But the benefit of keeping the pressure on, keeping the team motivated, and pushing through the end event, is really going to pay off.

So if you have a successful holiday, like obviously the revenue gains are there, and you have the opportunity to kind of look like the hero in the organization. But you really want to make sure you keep the pressure in the final stage. And in the final stage, it almost kind of brings us around to the conversation last year that we had, of holiday triage. 

So you’re having to be more realistic of what resources, what can I actually get out, what are quick changes, what are maybe things that didn’t get completed? And then how do you prioritize those, of what’s going to have the greatest impact to your page’s and your overall site’s performance? 

Key areas that I’d be looking at constantly during the actual holiday time, I’d be looking of how I can gather additional internal links. So those kind of like… let’s call them quicker wins, of getting additional links updated and stuff, that’s something that I’ll kind of keep pushing all the way through the event. And also, kind of making sure that the external communication and the pieces of the organization that working with affiliates and these other marketing channels, that’s also where I’d be really kind of pushing those, kind of calling in those favors and getting them to use my same pages as much as possible. That’s also where that’s going to be come into play. 

Benjamin: So basically, now we’re into the topic that we covered last year, which is: How do you triage? Right? How do you make the last minute tweaks and optimizations and evaluate your performance? And a lot of the times, this has to do with calling favors from people who are pretty much at the end of their rope, it’s the end of the year, it’s holiday season, they’re busy managing their family, get ready for vacation. 

Give me the secret for getting people to, you know, create that extra graphic, make that last, you know, technical optimization, write that last paragraph of copy.

Tyson: Yeah. And this one, I’m actually going to steal from you from last year. And I propose this as more of kind of-

Benjamin: It’s booze, isn’t it?

Tyson: It is. It is. I can’t dance around it. It’s… You know, get a little of that social lubricant in there to make it a little easier. 

Benjamin: Sounds like something I would have said. 

So joking aside, you know, my tip from last year was, you know, go be a good cross-functional partner, and show the people that you work with that they care. Those Christmas gifts actually go a long way. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, whatever you’re into. 

They go a long way in showing somebody’s appreciation. And when you’re calling in these last minute favors and you’re asking somebody to go the extra mile, the relationship is often what helps you get that extra last big of effort, which, at this time of the year, even though people are worn down and tired, has a huge business impact, mostly if you’re in an e-commerce business.  

I think that there’s another component to this, which is preparing people to know that there are going to be last minute tweaks. You mentioned before that, you know, you should be keeping a dashboard or some sort of a, you know, a project management tool to let people understand what it coming. How do you build in, you know, an idea of last minute tweaks and changes, so people know that they’re going to have to block off time to help you out?

Tyson: Yeah, and I think some of those, like you can see coming. And it’s more of like the iterations and steps that we spoke… The other comes could be last minute adjustments. Maybe it’s a new promotion that came out at the 10th hour of the actual promotion, and now all of a sudden you have this great sale on a certain collection of products.  

So those are going to be then the additional kind of like add-on efforts that you’re going to be having. I think from a progress and a communications standpoint, something that I have found that works well is to use a combination of what your ultimate KPIs are, so traffic, revenue… keep a dashboard of that. Let people know how many people are getting to the site. During the actual events, maybe give daily updates of revenue that was generated from these pages, so people understand the importance and how it’s going to personally impact maybe their numbers or, if you’re working with a category manager, how is your Black Friday kind of sales page going to help their category. 

So tying into that personal interest, and kind of connecting what the ultimate business goals are, but then also pair that with the leading indicators of progress KPIs. How many tickets were submitted? How many things have been completed along the way? That’s going to translate into performance. 

So having that in the organization is going to be something that’s going to help get people on your side, by understanding the importance and the opportunity size of what they’re doing. 

So I think whenever someone can understand how their work actually matters, and is actually going to have an impact to the business, is probably going to be the greatest strategy that you can implement, of working with these partners. 

Benjamin: The whole idea behind this week of content, for us, was to help people get ahead of the holiday season. And I think that there’s a tip here that you know that there are going to be last minute changes. You don’t know what they’re going to be.

 So my advice, you know, not only help people understand that the work that they’re doing impacts their bottom line, see some value out of it, build good relationships with the team, buy them a bottle of wine, or whatever it is to show that they appreciate.  

The other thing you can do, and Tyson, I actually saw you do this on your calendar yesterday when we were blocking off time for our podcast recording, is block off time on their calendar. Right? Schedule two hours of SEO holiday optimization time, and a working session with your cross-functional partners, and worst comes to worst, you just say, “We don’t need to do this,” and they get two hours for free back in the holidays. That’s a gift in itself.  

But if you’re blocking off time with your cross-functional partners to work with them, you always have the opportunity to cancel that and give them some working time on the other projects that they may or may not have over the holidays. Everybody’s always happy to have time back. Nobody wants something added onto their calendar at the last minute. 

Tyson: Absolutely. I couldn’t support that advice more. I think something else to keep in mind, as you’re going through these earlier iterations, is you might need these team members again later on, for these last minute items. So making sure that you’re doing your part to be a good business partner, in the sense of giving them the feedback loop of whatever them implemented. Like a lot of times, people will forget to go back to development or engineering, and let them know how something performed that they worked on. A lot of people will do it prior, when they’re trying to get the resources. But they don’t come back around to that group and tell them, “Hey guys, I really appreciate the work that you did. This is the outcome of your work.”

 And that is something that is going to help kind of build confidence in what requests you bring to them. But also, if you’re doing that at each step of this planning process, and through each of these iterations, you’re more likely to have their support when you need it for these last minute kind of quick implementation items. 

Benjamin: A lot of the holiday triage comes down to relationship-building. Like I mentioned, it’s a busy time of the year for everyone, people are stressed with their personal lives, their family, their jobs, it’s hectic. 

When you’re asking for special favors in the busiest time of the year, you need to have a good relationship with people. And one of the ways to do that is actually in the post-mortem. So let’s talk about when you’re after the holidays, and you’re evaluating the success of your work. Let’s say you’ve done a great job, you started in July, you started working on the holidays, you got your executive sponsor, your VP of Santa Claus, or whoever it’s going to be, to buy and sell your strategy. Now you’re reporting back to them on how the strategy actually worked. 

What’s the way that you can share the credit with your cross-functional partners?

Tyson: I think the best way to do it is, one, in being transparent with the data. Like as I think most SEO teams are equipped, like you’re going to have ability to pull numbers and pull data on actually how things performed, more than maybe some of your partners would be able to. So having that transparency and sharing the actual hard numbers, and then, you know, not just kind of dumping those on them, but giving some sort of narrative and explanation to it. You know, not everyone’s as well versed in SEO or the KPIs of SEO, so making sure that the way that you’re presenting it is simple, digestible, but has context for them. Yeah, that would be one recommendation I would have. 

Benjamin: It’s the season of giving. And if you’re being a ball hog, right, if you’re taking all of the credit, and you’re saying, “The SEO strategy worked, and here’s all the great business performance,” and you’re not highlighting the effort that your cross-functional partners put in, you’re missing the point here. 

And yes, obviously the business results matter. But it takes your engineering team, and it takes your design team, and your content team, to be able to execute a successful strategy. And even if you created that strategy, you need to be sharing the credit, as well. And, you know, give some love back. And, you know, in the spirit of the holiday season, that recognition of the work they did, mostly when it is with the executive team, it’s going to help you next holiday season. 

Tyson: Absolutely. Like don’t just share the quantitative stuff, but share the qualitative, and share the heroes that helped you be successful in the time. 

Benjamin: Tyson, it’s early July. I’m already ready for the holiday season. I’ve got a bottle of wine waiting for you at your desk. I appreciate you coming in early, talking about the holidays, and I’m sure we’re going to do holiday triage when we get closer to the holidays. But let me just say, one more time, ho ho ho SEOs. Thank you for being our guest, and that wraps up Holiday Seasonality Week on the Voices of Search podcast. 

Thanks for listening to my conversation with Tyson Stockton, Searchmetrics’ Director of Services. We’d love to continue the conversation with you, so if you’re interesting in contacting Tyson, you could find a link to his LinkedIn profile in our show notes, or you can send him a Tweet. His handle is tyson_stockton. And if you have general marketing questions or if you want to talk to me about this podcast, you can find my contact information in our show notes or you can send me a Tweet at benjshap. It’s B-E-N-J-S-H-A-P.

If you’re interested in hearing more from Tyson about how to master your holiday season, we’re going to do a webinar that is an AMA-style. So bring your questions and your landing pages that you’d like Tyson to help you optimize, and he’s going to do it in realtime.

So sign up for our webinar, go to Searchmetrics.com/webinar.  

And if you like this podcast and you want a regular stream of SEO and content marketing insights in your podcast feed, hit the subscribe button in your podcast app, and we’ll be back in your feed next week. 

Lastly, if you’d enjoyed this podcast and you’re feeling generous, we’d love for you to leave us a review in the Apple iTunes Store, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.  

Okay. That’s it for today, but until next time, remember, the answers are always in the data.