Correlating SEO/Paid Search and Site Search

SEO, paid search, and site search each offer a unique opportunity to understand the mind-set and the interconnected thoughts of the people who are looking for your content. The one downside to this data is that it is drawn from people who have already found you, not from people who have not found you yet. That is, in some way or another, these people have had at least one interaction with your brand.

SEO provides insights into the relevancy of your content to a specific set of terms. There really shouldn’t be many surprises when looking at what words drive people to your website if you are in a clear and defined field or if your site has a clear and defined focus. If your website is about cars, you should expect to see a great deal of car-related terms driving traffic to the site. In this case, what you are looking for is not so much themes as language and use of words, and pairings between search terms. Looking at two- or three-word search terms can give you a better idea of associations people make when looking for your type of content. This can give you insight into language use, and you may discover geographical variations as well. If your site is an exception to the rule of one thematic element—for example, if your business is involved in many disciplines or your site hosts blogs that cover a variety of topics—there may not be a simple theme that you can expect to see driving traffic to your site. In this case, you will need to look at theme clustering, or thematic grouping. You can figure out how to do this through your analytics program.

Paid search provides a testing ground for terms whose relevancy to your market or segment you are uncertain of. Perhaps they are terms that you think are thematically relevant, but you don’t have any traffic to validate this. You can use paid search to test terms and thematic elements and to validate the quality and type of traffic you get. You can also get a sampling of interaction data based on the words and terms that drive people to your site. Looking at this, you will be able to formulate more informed strategies for both your SEO and site search campaigns.

Site search allows you to see what people are looking for on your site. They know your brand, but do they have their own terms for describing your products? Looking at the terms people search for is a good way of determining whether your product naming conventions are in sync with how your customers think about your products. Site search
is a rich source of data to gather and analyze in order to further improve your SEO and paid search campaigns. Conversely, SEO can give you some ideas of where your Site Search is lacking, based on empty site search results. The three search sources can all provide feedback to each other, in both directions.

Tools you will need in this chapter:
• Clickstream tracking package (Google Analytics, Adobe SiteCatalyst, etc.)
• Spreadsheet program (Excel or something similar)
• AdWords or some other paid search tool
• A/B or multivariate testing tool (Google Website Optimizer, Test & Target, etc.)



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