In my first post in this series, I intro­duced the S.C.O.R.E. method­ol­ogy of cre­at­ing a tech­ni­cal envi­ron­ment in which an excep­tional global organic and site search capa­bil­ity can exist. Stan­dard­iz­ing on met­rics is a cru­cial first step. Clear and agreed upon KPIs are the first step to suc­cess. There are ques­tions from both the busi­ness side and the SEO tech­ni­cal team that must be answered; both sides have equal impor­tance if stan­dard­iza­tion is to be achieved. On the busi­ness side, C-level, busi­ness units, Web strate­gists, and data ana­lyt­ics groups must inte­grate and meld with the tech­ni­cal side con­sist­ing of the SEO team, Web strat­egy and pro­duc­tion, ana­lyt­ics, and IT.

Organic and site search is a data-driven enter­prise. The vol­ume, veloc­ity, and vari­ety of data cre­ate a chal­lenge. The dilemma is that you def­i­nitely can’t live with­out data, while other times you can’t live with it unless you’re smart about it. First, you can­not man­age what you can’t mea­sure. Sec­ond, all that’s mea­sur­able should not be man­aged. We must stan­dard­ize intel­li­gently. Oth­er­wise, we’ll just drive our­selves into data paral­y­sis and put our­selves in a posi­tion of not being able to make effec­tive decisions.

The ques­tions you must answer as an enter­prise team cover the full range of who, what, why, where, how, and when. The key issues to be addressed include stan­dard­iz­ing via com­mon corporate-wide processes such that resources and bud­get are smartly applied. Com­mu­ni­ca­tion across the enter­prise allows for con­tin­u­ously improv­ing the process as lessons are learned, result­ing in new best prac­tices and capa­bil­i­ties to deliver a bet­ter product.

We will cover the depth and breadth of each ques­tion in sub­se­quent posts, but as a con­clu­sion to this arti­cle, keep in mind two things. First, the search engines want to help you man­age your web­sites in order to show the most rel­e­vant con­tent. Web­mas­ter guide­lines are avail­able from Google, which (in Google’s own words) are pro­vided to give you “Best prac­tices to help Google find, crawl, and index your site.”

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The other search engines, such as Bing, Baidu, Yan­dex, Naver, and even Yahoo, Twit­ter, and Face­book , also pro­vide web­mas­ter guide­lines to help mar­keters opti­mize their performance.

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Are you new to search mar­ket­ing? Well, the search engine rules change fre­quently on all the search engines, so you must stay vig­i­lant and aware. The Google search algo­rithm alone had over 200 changes in the sec­ond half of 2012 and even more since then as the Fed­eral Trade Com­mis­sion (FTC) and other agen­cies drive change in response to pub­lic input. The most recent FTC let­ter dated 25 June 2013 may have some far-reaching impli­ca­tions on search engine algo­rithms. How search works is no longer an enigma. Each search engine will tell you specif­i­cally what it’s look­ing for. Google is clear and has a sec­tion called Inside Search that will give you explicit guid­ance on how search works for their search engine.

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Finally, I have a word of advice on the total reliance of data to drive your search mar­ket­ing process. Data is a tool and how you col­lect and process it is a tech­ni­cal oper­a­tion. Gain­ing insight from data is a mat­ter of using data analy­sis mod­els that are as much sci­ence as they are art. The model itself is math­e­mat­i­cal and com­plex to the point where your only hope of get­ting results in real time requires com­puter pro­cess­ing. How­ever, the assump­tions and accu­racy of the model depends on the art of inter­pret­ing the intended action of your audi­ence based on their needs, per­cep­tions, and desires. What you may find is that cus­tomer choice is as chal­leng­ing to stay abreast of as the changes to the search engine algorithms.

What ques­tions do you have on organic and site search? My next post will begin to answer some of the ques­tions I find impor­tant, but yours are far more rel­e­vant and worth­while to answer. I wel­come your comments.