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Tips For Cutting Down Overhead When Managing Multinational SEO
Handling established campaigns across multiple countries can quickly become a case of handling overwhelming quantities of data interspersed with never-ending menial jobs, preventing the SEO from developing their strategy to squeeze yet more value from their campaign ROI.
Here is part one of a two-part guide to some of the key automations our team uses to keep on top of the game internationally.
Segmented ‘Micro’ Reports
Based on the effectiveness of simple spark-line graphs and minimal data points in relevant context, micro reports should give you a quick, visual view of the campaign state of play within the context of the preceding week and the same period last year.
Regardless of the metrics measured however, the report should be comprehensive in covering all areas of the campaign – so include things like click data from the last email campaign, for example – and should not include any dialogue: save that for monthly review reports.
Here’s my absolute minimum weekly KPIs for keeping an eye on just SEO & PPC multinational campaign ROI (I’ve left out Affiliates, Social, Display, etc for simplicity’s sake but can revisit if there’s enough interest).
For all reports, run for the total campaign, and for each target country in your campaign.
1. Total Organic / PPC / Total Visits
- For each channel and country: 12 month sparkline; last week’s timeline with previous week and YOY comparison lines; percentage non-brand in the week and average for month vs. same month last year.
What you’re looking out for here: sudden slips, particularly in the year on year numbers. Most verticals have a distinct annual trend. Are you outperforming it when it counts? Are you simply seeing a rise because there’s always a rise?
Also, you should always look to increase your non-brand percentage because it will drive a higher proportion of new visits, growing overall sales rather than cannibalising traffic sales initially driven by another channel.
2. Top 25 Non-Brand Organic / PPC Keyphrases Driving Visits
- For each channel & country: table w/ term, 12 month sparkline, visits, +/- week, +/- month, +/- YOY month.What you’re looking out for here: new breakthrough terms, and high value performance terms slipping.
Again, take seasonality into account, especially for organic. PPC YOY comparisons should be further investigated if dramatically different: has budget allocated to the term changed: why? Is it intentional, and if so was it based on CPC or CPA? Was it a valid decision or should it be reviewed?
3. Top 25 Non-Brand Organic / PPC Keyphrases Driving Converting Visits
- Similar to the above point, only this time also pull in revenue generated +/- week, +/- month, +/- YOY month for converting traffic fitting the criteria.
4. Top 25 SEO ‘Opportunity Keyphrases’
- For each country: term, rank, impressions, clicks, ranking URL, URL <title>, URL Meta Description.I define an ‘Opportunity Keyphrase’ as a relevant search term which has high potential traffic associated with it, that my site is currently ranking outside of the top three search result terms, but within the top 10 (inclusive).
Why are these terms worth giving special attention to?
Simply because we know that SERP clickthrough rates go up exponentially as you approach position one in the SERPs, therefore for high traffic terms, moving from position 4-10 to 1-3 will have a significant bottom line impact to your traffic.
Every URL flagged in this report should be scheduled for onpage auditing of its SEO around the highlighted term, and should have an internal and external linkbuilding strategy executed over the following week.
Of all the micro reports, this is the most useful to also send to the local country teams to act as a guide to upcoming optimisation work, but also as a reminder of the importance of core areas of optimisation (after they implement the recommended work, inevitably you’ll see the terms switch up into top three rankings on a well set-up domain).
5. Top 25 SERP Conversion ‘Opportunity Keyphrases’
Similar to the above report, except this time our focus is on SERP results where we are performing in the top three, but are not converting impressions to clicks well enough. This time, we should be scheduling a local copywriter to review the <title> and meta description for suitability in converting searchers on the highlighted search term in their country.
- Conversion Funnel ‘Points of Failure’
- I call this report the ‘Points of Failure’ because a well set up conversion funnel should strive to achieve 100% conversion (although this is of course impossible!). For each country, a straightforward recreation of a funnel (a la Google Analytics’ Goal Funnel) for new site visitors with +/- week on week, and +/- year on year is sufficient to get a good feel for where progress is being made (or not!).If you’re running major funnel optimisation then include page load speed info for your funnel URLs.
- Site Speed
For each country: run for sitewide, and top 25 slowest URLs, avg. page load time, +/- week on week, and +/- year on year. Watch out for erratic results week on week as well as any sudden drops. Both are indicative of a struggling server and require further investigation into server capacity and tolerance.
You may find it useful to build testing tools using PhantomJS for more robust Page Speed reporting tools.
Until Next Time, Happy Micro Reporting
So that’s my bare minimum micro-report suite recommendation. Everything in here can be automated and the data can be largely gathered from Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools for that purpose.
Hopefully you’ll find the micro-report useful to spot sudden changes in activity across a range of data points, and come to appreciate its use as a bellweather for the campaign. It should, of course, not replace more considered monthly reporting containing insightful commentary and action points.
Part two of this post (next month) will cover Alert Triggered Reports, and how we can use automation to save us at critical campaign moments of crisis.
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