In times of uncertainty or crisis, it’s critical to have a pulse on how changes are impacting your business. Changes to your web traffic, conversions, and engagement are indicators of changing consumers behavior and how those changes may impact different parts of your business.

With that, we created a quick guide to help SEOs monitor and manage their web properties in times of instability by leveraging Conductor’s platform (previously called Conductor Searchlight).

Before we jump into the platform, it’s important to ask the question, “How have changes impacted my business?

This may seem like a simple question, but awareness comes before action. Often in cases of extreme irregularity, I’ve seen people react far too passively, and far too late. One of the larger bottlenecks for gleaning insights and prescribing action in times of great pressure is noise.

Chances are your company sells more than just one kind of thing, or is a thought leader on more than just one topic. When you fold those up into one trend line, how can you know where the irregularity is coming from?

Being able to group data to manageable bites can allow you to more easily report out to the teams the trends, opportunities and red flags that exist for their respective product lines.

Let’s start by using Conductor’s platform to figure out how recent changes are impacting your site.

1. Is your traffic, revenue, or conversions being affected?

By creating Segments and using Segment Comparison, you can slice the data to align with those products, business units, or topic, to more easily report to other members.

Why does this matter?

To your teams, no matter their involvement in your day to day, care about the bottom line. Revenue and traffic will always be a universal language. If money making activities are being interrupted, and you have some insight into why/how to correct it, you’ll easily get their attention by sharing your learnings.

2. Are shifts in performance due to changes in rankings?

You can also create Categories and use Keyword Performance or Category Comparison to see if shifts in demand have any ties to changes in visibility over time as well:

  • Do these surges correlate with recent events, or is something else driving demand?
  • Keywords can become competitive if current events align with terms people use to find your product or service. Are there any irregular shifts in rankings?

If the answer to the above question is no, it’s a great opportunity for you to share the data with our team and understand what work might correlate with these ranking shifts.

Why does this matter?

Your visibility will influence your likelihood to drive traffic. The more times you appear on page one for keywords with significant search volume, the more of an audience you can attract to your content via clickthrough from the SERP.

You and your teams want your product or service to be found. If it isn’t, it’s important to know for why and where you have opportunities.

3. Is my engagement being affected despite stable rankings?

Look at you, go-getter! We’re really getting into the data, now.

This one is brief. For a specific category, product, or service line, navigate to Search Console Analytics and filter for a specific category, and filter down for the category that best aligns with it.

Select a time range that represents stable activity vs. the current date range. If you see any drop offs in activity that DO NOT correlate with any shifts in rankings or shifts in competitive visibility, then you can make the conclusion that search demand (Impressions, Clicks) is down. It’s likely affecting competitors similarly.

4. Does your team need more help during this time of crisis?

Now, you and your team don’t have to do this alone. You can head over to Marketplace by Conductor to request an offering from our strategic support team. Our team of search experts is on hand to deliver one of the 50+ offerings available in the Marketplace. Which Marketplace offering can help uncover shifts in performance? We’d recommend: 

  • Content Performance Report
  • Metadata Optimization
  • Keyword Performance Report
  • Search Console Analytics Report
  • Local Demand Comparison
  • Seasonality Report

Don’t forget we also have an entire Knowledge Base and Training Hub of articles and videos to help you. I’d recommend the following trainings:

5. Am I losing ground to competitors amidst this crisis?

Knowing that you’re not the only one being affected by outside circumstances can give you a measure of solace, but competitive monitoring in times of crisis offer more than that.

One of the best signals of change is in Category Comparison, namely the column labeled “Change in 1st Page Market Share.” This will be your best indicator that, from a visibility standpoint, “something is up.” More importantly, this will reinforce the earlier point of breadth vs. depth when it comes to impact.

6. Who’s winning, who’s losing, or is neither happening?

Market Share! Let’s talk about it.

You’re looking for irregularity in Market Share. Take the date range and have the start date represent “blue sky” times, i.e., you’re not affected by seasonality, and the start date is before current events occurred. 

What does irregularity look like? Look at the trended weighted market share graph, and look for any volatility that disrupts any predictable or otherwise stable trended lines. If you see anything, then it’s time to look to the table below. 

Here’s what to look for:

  • Total Weighted Market Share
    • This will tell you one of two things – either the folks who were at the top are still at the top, or some newcomers have started to take up some real estate in a particular category, or across the board.
    • If any folks are unexpectedly taking up some real estate, or have made some noticeable strides, it’s worth seeing what keywords/topics those are mapped too.
  • Change in number of Results
    • If a lot of content is suddenly finding its way on the first page, that’s something worth looking into. As you, the SEO know, it’s hard enough to get one URL to appear on the first page. If another domain is doing it with statistical significance, it’s important to see what they’re doing, and what content those gains map to.

7. Are our competitors attracting greater audiences amidst current events?

How do you find the answer to this? Easy enough. Go to Explorer!

You can plug your domain into Explorer – observe the Modeled Traffic over time. If that’s changing for better or worse, it’s an indication of the strength of your content, as it represents your domains ability to rank for keywords with monthly search volume. 

Now, plug your competitor’s domain in in the “Compare to” option. Any shifts that coincide with the start of the current state of affairs? If so – go to Top Searches and see what terms they’ve recently gained visibility for. If not – it may be likely that they’re experiencing similar up/downturns as you. Still – it’s worth reporting on and sharing with your teams so more eyes can monitor the situation.

Again, don’t go at it alone. We’d recommend the following Marketplace requests: 

  • Competitor Analysis
  • Emerging Competitor Report
  • Category Market Share Analysis
  • Competitive Gap Report for High-Value Keywords
  • Holistic Competitive Gap Report
  • Holistic Competitive Analysis and Opportunities

To learn more, hop into the Training Hub to take these trainings:

8. How to Share Your Insights with Remote Teams

Of course, mining for data and being hands on is great, but if you’re sharing with the team, you’ll want to remove the friction between insight and action. With the above features, you can filter, sort, and add narrative pieces of data into a Workspace. You can share Workspaces with everyone in the organization.

A gentle reminder: you have unlimited workspaces to work with!

PRO TIP: Invite your coworkers and other teams to your strategy session with your Conductor SEO Success Manager – chances are you two as a team can enable the greater organization with trainings, reporting, and insights

9. How Can Remote Teams Act on this Data?

You’ve gathered the data, you’ve shared the insights, and the org is engaged. That’s great! That insight only has as much mileage as the action that stems from it. In the platform, Actions enables you and the greater organization to strategize, plan, and execute on the data that is found in the platform.

You can integrate Actions with your task manager of choice including Asana, Jira, and Trello, and assign a task related to the insight you’ve mined and pass it along for your team to complete.

Chances are they might have questions. This is a great chance to showcase your expertise, and foster greater collaboration and visibility into all you do.

Closing the Loop

As an SEO professional, you have some of the most important insights into your performance and your competitor’s performance. An enterprise SEO platform like Conductor can help you aggregate data, glean insights, and share.

During times of uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to maintain a consistent line of communication and feedback with your teams.

Monitor and track the progress of the work you’ve done with Workspaces. You can also add any newly created/optimized pieces of content to a new content segment to see how things progress.

For more help during precarious times, tune into our daily web series, Search at Home, which connects marketers to share support, best practices, and ideas in time uncertainty.

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