Scale-up your SEO efforts

SEO is typically thought of as a long-term digital strategy. With so many elements to influence (technical, content and off-site), any tactics you can find to make your work more efficient and scalable will save you valuable time.

Page elements, such as meta titles and meta descriptions, can be changed and tested on a sample of pages, and if successful, rolled out site-wide to increase search visibility.

Successful changes to these elements can help increase click-through-rate from search results, and, providing that the page satisfies user intent, can indirectly increase average rankings for those queries.

What can you change?

Business USPs: Add some unique selling points to your meta titles, so that they stand out against competing search results

Related searches: Look at the related searches around the keyphrases you’re trying to rank for, to see what users search for next if they can’t find what they need.

For example, in the related searches for the broad query ‘spain holidays’, there are some common themes we can use to understand the search intent of users. In this example, users are seemingly looking for holidays in Spain in 2018, and they’re specifically interested in all-inclusive breaks.

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This could help us change a simple page title, such as ‘Spain Holidays | Silverbean Holidays’ to something a little more targeted, like ‘Spain Holidays for 2018 | All Inclusive from £350 | Silverbean Holidays’.

Meta description length: Google has recently extended the number of meta description characters displayed in search results. Moz has suggested that there are 300 characters to utilise, which is around 100% more ‘search estate’ than the previous 156-character limit. Meta descriptions can be extended to include more company information, USPs, product information, and calls to action.

How to test your changes

Take a group of similar pages, such as a set of subcategories, and select a random sample to test the changes you make. This will be your ‘test segment’, and you can use the remainder of the group as the ‘control segment’.

Mark Edmundson has produced a handy tool called the GA Effect, which allows you to select segment within Google Analytics as your test and control segments, and it will tell you whether your change has had an impact or not, to a 95% significance level.

Implement the changes in bulk

If changes are successful on the test segment, the change is then fit to roll-out across the entire group. There are a number of tools that allow you to automate this process, including Distilled ODN and Rank Science.

Make reporting more efficient through automation

Tracking, reporting on, and improving the performance of your digital marketing campaigns can be some of the most time-consuming responsibilities of your role.

Reporting manually requires you to export and consolidate data by hand, before you can interpret the results. To improve the efficiency of your reporting, utilise the API functionality on your tracking tools, to export and consolidate your data for you.

APIs allow you to create automated reporting and live dashboards. Simply use a Google Sheets plugin like Supermetrics to pull any metric or dimension into Google Sheets from tools like Google Analytics, Adwords and DoubleClick.

These tools are simple to use, and mean you can request all your data to be ready for your end-of-month reports. You can also set up these sheets on a refreshing schedule, so your information is updated as regularly as you need it. This frees-up your valuable time to review and develop insights from this information, and focus on your digital performance.

The future of automated reporting

Keep an eye out for the next step in automated reporting and dashboards with Google Data Studio. This new tool, currently in the beta phase of development, will allow you to build reports in a more refined, user-friendly environment.

Google Data Studio promises a clean aesthetic that allows you to visualise data in an accessible format. Some great features include the ability to draw out tables and graphs onto the page, and include a drop-down date range picker for changing your selected date range. It also has the ability to create custom dimensions, metrics and calculations without having to transform your raw data.