Data is great. Every SEO should use data. But data that is not contextualized can be worthless at best and extremely misleading at worst. Semrush's Diana Richardson joins the SEO Rant Podcast to talk about the need for contextualized SEO data:
Why SEO data needs to be qualified
The need to see the larger picture when analyzing data
SEO tools can't think for you
Why You Need to Contextualize Your SEO Data: Episode Synopsis
It's easy to make data the be all end all and final word on everything. This is particularly true in SEO where there is simply an abundance of data. However, for the data to actually be helpful in meeting the end goal of SEO (to grow sites through organic traffic) it has to be qualified. Data needs context to better explain it and to understand what it truly says and points to. This is extremely evident in the world of SEO where we are often trying to explain user behavior with data (i.e., bounce rates, etc.)
Consider the Larger Picture When Working With SEO Data
It's easy to fall into the trap of looking at a piece of data and its immediate implications and only its immediate implications. A classic example is pages with high bounce rates. We see the data and immediately think we need to come up with some sort of measure to move the user to the next page no matter how drastic. Except, sometimes, that's just the nature of the content. What? You're going to read a recipe page, make that recipe, and then decide to move on to the next recipe page so you can make yet another dinner? Clearly, bounce rates can be misleading in a case like this.
Conversely, perhaps you have a low bounce rate. Success? Perhaps not. Perhaps it's because users land on your page and just can't find what they need so they move to the next product you have listed. Thankfully, in this fictitious scenario, they didn't leave the site but is this what you really want?
SEO Tools Can't Do The Thinking For You
There is so much data for SEOs out there. Whether it be Google's own tools or 3rd-party tools you have so many access points available. The danger in all of this data is letting a tool think for you. A tool can put information before you but it can't qualify it. An SEO tool might tell you that a keyword has little to no search volume. But it can't tell you how important content around that topic is semantically to a search engine or how valuable it is to the 10 people on earth who will buy your product (because sometimes 10 people is your entire market... think large and highly expensive products).
You have to take the data the tools give you and think. There's no way around it. You have to take the data and qualify and contextualize it into the larger picture so that you know how to handle that data. This is how good SEO decisions are made.
For more of the SEO Rant Podcast check out our previous episode on getting started in SEO.