In my last post, we started breaking down the process of standardizing on metrics, the first step in the SCORE methodology. I talked about three important questions you should ask yourself as you start out: why, who, and what. In this post, we’ll finish up by looking at the where, how, and when of technical SEO metrics.
Anytime you start a cross-enterprise action, you’re going to need to know where it might be uncoordinated with GRC (governance, risk, and compliance) activities. Some companies take a piecemeal approach to GRC, while others are more integrated. Either way, avoid the temptation to put this off. GRC noncompliance is no fun and hard to explain to your boss.
For starters, you’ll need to ask if your plan meshes with your company’s governance structure, processes, and procedures. Does it add unacceptable risk in terms of data security or access? Will it comply with all regulatory requirements and laws?
Next, where will you find your technical SEO metrics? This question relates to tools and products you can use to produce the metrics. There are literally hundreds of these out there, lots of them free. At Adobe, here are some of the primary tools we use:
- Adobe Analytics (Site Catalyst / Discover)
- Adobe Media Optimizer
- Adobe Social
- Google Webmaster
- Bing Webmaster
- Google Trends
- Advanced Web Ranking
- Xenu LinkSleuth
- Screaming Frog
Moving down our list of questions, how will you distribute and report your metrics? To answer this you’ll need to get clear on who your consumers are and exactly what data they need. I talked about this in my last post. C-level managers will probably want summary reports, but analysts often want more numbers to dive into.
Dashboards have become an industry standard for storing and sharing information, but don’t default to a dashboard just because they’re the current shiny object. In the interest of giving your stakeholders the data they need and nothing else, look for the simplest solution for the job. Maybe some people only need an email. Alternatively, an in-person meeting may be the best way to share data, especially if you expect the audience to ask many questions. You might also ask if anyone needs an interactive report.
Figuring out the how of reporting leads directly to the last question: when will you count and distribute your metrics? Krista LaRiviere at gShift Labs says SEO reporting is an art and a science.
I think she’s right. The monthly report is standard operating procedure in the industry, but maybe your needs are different. Thought leaders are going to give you different opinions about how often you should take specific metrics. The idea is to think through your own needs and build in the when component early in your process. Even if you tweak the scheduling later, you need a defensible place to start.
I’ve now led you through the six most important questions to look at as part of the standardize on metrics step. If you go through them carefully, you should have a good roadmap for the rest of your SCORE process. You’ll probably come up with other issues that need to be addressed that are unique to your organization. That’s fine. The point is to be proactive and plan ahead. This is the best way to add value to your SEO function and show that value to key decision makers.