Google has the final say in what pages rank at the top of search results. So it makes sense that Google tools would be best suited for measuring the success of your website optimization efforts.
Google has several enterprise-level tools that require a budget, but many of its tools—including Data Studio, recently graduated from beta—are completely free for the time being. Communications professionals would be well-served to start experimenting with Google's latest offerings, tinkering with messaging placement and delivery to see what resonates most with audiences.
In the last few months, Google has unveiled a slate of new features for better understanding website visitor behavior. Here's a recap of each, with their communications takeaways.
Data Studio now in the spotlight. Previously in beta, Data Studio has been heralded by SEO experts at recent PR News events as a necessity for any SEO toolbox. As Google's free data visualization and reporting product, Data Studio can pull from up to 500 data streams, including non-Google sourced data.
Given that discrepancies between analytics tools—Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics, for instance–are a common source of consternation, Data Studio's ability to reconcile so many different data streams in one place will prove invaluable to communicators. Not to mention that the tool is still free for now, so nonprofit communicators and those working on a shoestring budget need only invest the time needed to experiment with the tool.
Google Optimize allows for personalized website visits. "Personalization" has been a big buzzword in marketing the last couple of years, particularly when it comes to direct-messaging or micro-targeting individual members of a given audience. But in the SEO context, it can mean highlighting different parts of your website for different users. Google Optimize, the tech company's A/B testing tool, now allows brands to highlight special offers to users in a given geographic area. Using the Visual Editor feature, communicators can visualize what the outside site will look like to the segmented portions of its audience.
Better collaboration across teams. Where SEO sits as a function varies from organization to organization. Some brands place SEO responsibility solely with the marketing or sales teams, but communications professionals are increasingly taking on search optimization as they seek out new ways to pinpoint the messaging that resonates with users—and what is causing visitors to bounce.
But Data Studio has a built-in sharing feature that connects to Google Drive, so different teams can view the same report, make notes and take action within their own departments. For instance, a report looking at visits and time spent on a microsite with crucial information that goes live during a period of crisis can tell a communications team whether those affected are seeing necessary information. At the same time, a sales or marketing team can find out how many refunds, exchanges or individual customer actions it will need to take.
(For future updates, communications professionals can check out Google's latest analytics tools on its products blog.)
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