Working with the data
Google’s data must be taken with a pinch of salt and drawn on by people who know what they are doing. Whilst the data is there and is free, making it into something useful will take time and expertise. When looking at keywords, the intent has a major impact on what results come back. For example, a search for “united” in Manchester would offer very different results to one in Newcastle.
SEOers and PPCers spend their time working directly with Google’s data and understand how best to read it. A lot of their time is spent refining and cleaning data, making them a great ally when it comes to analysing SOS data.
Gailynn Nicks then goes on to highlight another important point,
“What happens when metrics become targets or KPIs?”.
The digital marketing industry has a history of creating KPIs out of metrics (domain authority, bounce rate, time on site to name but a few), and SOS could potentially turn into another one of them. Doing this encourages marketers to focus on the wrong things, diverting attention away from key performance metrics like traffic, revenue and profit. We need to be careful that we do not do the same here.
SOS is reflective of other work we do within marketing, but on its own is essentially meaningless.