SEO Metrics that Matter: SMX Milan

Don’t expect a conversation about Bounce Rates, and Rankings, and Page Authority and all the other completely obvious metrics that digital marketers love to geek out on. Don’t get me wrong, *every* metric can be useful for its own purpose, it’s just that they don’t necessarily have an impact on any outcome, whatsoever.


Well, yeah – let’s talk Formula 1. With the greatest respect to Maranello, the Ferrari Formula 1 team are under-performing horribly at the moment. Their points scored in the 2013 season have condemned them to the humiliation of a runner up position in the World Championship at best. That’s ok, they’re a good team and I’m sure they’ll recover next season. In the meantime, I’m sure they understand the biggest problem they’ve faced this year: their wind tunnel correlation data isn’t a good reflection of reality.

As SEO people, I think sometimes our own data points don’t adequately reflect reality, either. While I was writing my presentation for SMX Milan, I went back to an internal SEOgadget presentation from last year that recounted a tale of a sales meeting I’d had where the conversation became overly technically skewed. While I was quite able to hold the attention of the *one* SEO in the room, the Senior Executive looked, really bored. My message to my team: when you report on a PageRank 7 link you just built for a client – you’re going to get a disappointing response back. Frankly, why should that client care when their core KPIs are based around revenue and sales?

Turn that conversation around, I told them. Tell them what you did and what the outcome was. What were your inputs (some new links gained from a content marketing campaign, for example) and what, therefore, were the outputs? (Revenue, sales, email signups, whatever).

What metrics matter to me?

My job is to market SEOgadget. In the last 2/3 months I’ve been working on our PR strategy and getting our brand a little more known outside of our industry. As a result, I’m very focused on tracking our mentions – who is talking about us, who’s talking about us from outside the SEO industry, what networks and websites are driving traffic that converts and how we compare to our competitors in mentions, link growth and (a little more quietly, the size of our balance sheets).

An honourable mention goes to Talkwalker and I talked quite a lot about backlink growth using Majestic’s API through SEOgadget for Excel, and of course my old favourite Topsy Analytics is always going to be in there.

Here’s the presentation – SMX Milan was a great conference to attend and the Italian SEO crowd are genuinely a lovely group to hang around with. Enjoy…

My presentation from SMX Milan

Image credit: filminggilman

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2 thoughts on “SEO Metrics that Matter: SMX Milan

  1. Julie Hong says:

    Hello Richard,

    On behalf of the Talkwalker team, thank you for honourably mentioning us! :)

    If I may add a piece of information, our free alerting solution can give an insight of the number of mentions between several brands, but our full social media monitoring solution can do a 360° competitive online and social analysis with deeper analytics and more comprehensive reports (as quickly shown in


  2. Nikhil Jain says:

    Thanks for the insightful content, Richard. I’m thinking of including Quora in my monthly marketing activity list too, and was just wondering what are the kind of results you see when using that platform?


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