Sam Silverwood-Cope kicks off the Elevate Search event in Brighton with a talk on the importance of search intelligence for overall business growth.
Search connects businesses to customers 3.5 billion times per day, making it the number one gateway to your business online. That also makes it a gold mine of data and intelligence which, for the majority of businesses, is housed exclusively in the SEO department. However, multiple departments and horizontals can benefit from this data, so as search marketers it’s our job to ‘package’ up the SEO data properly so it can be used across the whole of a business.
Particularly in the current economic climate, it’s more important now than it’s ever been to use search insights to fuel business decisions. This data can often provide the edge to push businesses ahead of the competition, leading to greater visibility in search, increased sales & revenue, and ultimately overall business growth. So how can we do this?
Talking about content and SEO is, in essence, focused on talking about the content performance and visibility of a website alone. But if we are savvy with our digital data and can re-frame this as ‘search intelligence’, we can begin sharing this data with other departments too. For instance, the brand marketing department can learn more about market trends and brand performance. Or the digital equity team can improve its equity reports and gain a better understanding of their landscape performance. The commerce team can also benefit from vital information about how well their pricing & overall strategy is working, both online and beyond Google. Even M&A teams can use relevant search data to make intelligent business acquisitions, leading to an uplift in share of voice and overall profits.
Brand managers love brand indicators and are focused on tracking social interactions and brand mentions, and they also stand to benefit from intelligent use of search data. While trends in social data versus search data can often look quite similar, search is often following this trend on a much larger scale. SEOs need to be able to communicate this effectively to the wider marketing team so marketing budgets can be applied in the most effective way for overall business growth. And while it’s key for us to share this data with them to prove the value of search, we also need to understand the external factors that can impact search activity e.g. if the business if working with influencers or has run a successful PR campaign.
Sam ends his talk with the surprising statistic that 5% of internet traffic in 2018 was purely the result of hedge funds scraping the web for data. Why? Well, while these people are not SEOs or content marketers, this data is still highly valuable to them. Specifically, these hedge funds can compare organic equity to share prices, and use this to start predicting what businesses will be worth in the future. It’s really no surprise that they lap this up.
Clearly, it’s important for digital teams to make the best use of the available data they can, that much has been obvious for several years. But Sam’s talk highlights the need to press on with refining and improving our use of data on a consistent basis, pushing for consistent business growth to remain competitive. If businesses do not keep up with these digital developments, they risk being left behind for good.