How To Think About SEO, Content & PR Measurement (Indicated In The Google Leak)

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Google recently revealed details about how engagement factors into its ranking system, emphasizing the need to influence audience behavior for better SEO outcomes such as improved rankings and organic visibility.

In my experience evaluating the impact of integrated PR and SEO campaigns, I’ve consistently used various metrics to gauge effectiveness. While measuring search behavior isn’t new, the recent Google leaks underscored its critical importance.

To achieve sustainable growth in organic visibility and rankings, SEO strategies must evolve to include metrics that reflect how effectively owned assets, marketing efforts, and messaging shape audience search behavior.

Google’s overarching goal to prioritize content that genuinely benefits specific audience segments adds context to this strategic shift.

Therefore, SEO professionals should assess website performance using engagement-driven metrics such as asset NPS, idea adoption rate, and time to activation. These metrics will play a crucial role in maximizing organic search visibility both directly and indirectly.

Why Measure Influence

Recent leaks from Google underscore the increasing importance of audience engagement metrics in page rankings.

This underscores the critical integration of SEO, content creation, and PR, where influencing audience behavior becomes pivotal.

Here’s my perspective:

  • Google prioritizes engagement: According to recent leaks, Google places significant emphasis on user engagement metrics such as click-through rates, return visitors, site traffic, and related data. While these leaks may not provide a complete or up-to-date picture, they illustrate Google’s use of user engagement in its algorithms.
  • AI in ranking algorithms: As AI plays a larger role in Google’s ranking systems, it has the potential to analyze and leverage user engagement data to influence rankings.
  • Brand search impact: Traffic generated from brand searches serves as a gauge of audience engagement and can impact organic visibility.

However, to foster audience engagement, we need to move beyond traditional SEO tactics like link building, keyword optimization, and technical SEO.

The future of search marketing lies in crafting strategies that actively shape audience search behaviors.

Ideal Search Behavior Scenario

Today, the audience’s journey is increasingly complex as they utilize diverse sources to gather information about their challenges, solutions, and opportunities. However, this scenario simplifies the approach to crafting your search strategy.

Consider this scenario: You develop an asset and receive PR coverage. Subsequently, the audience searches for this asset on Google. If they don’t locate it via keywords, they may search using your brand name instead. Over time, they return to your site to access new assets or resources that address their challenges or capitalize on opportunities, leveraging the original asset as a reference or exploring your offerings.

To effectively engage our audience, I’m tasked with creating a content asset that highlights [a specific problem or opportunity]. By emphasizing [unique aspects of the asset], we aim to capture audience interest and encourage them to explore [our specialized category or related terms]. This engagement will drive them to our site, where they can promptly take action to address [a pressing issue or capitalize on an opportunity].

While your website’s specific goals will shape the details, this approach aligns with fundamental product marketing principles tailored to influence audience behavior.

Measure 1: Asset NPS

The likelihood of your audience promoting your content or ideas can be assessed using the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which categorizes respondents based on their likelihood to recommend your content:

  • Promoters (9-10): These are your loyal and enthusiastic supporters who are likely to actively recommend your content or ideas to others. They are advocates for your brand.
  • Passives (7-8): While satisfied with your content, they may not actively promote it. They are less likely to advocate for your content compared to promoters and might consider alternatives.
  • Detractors (0-6): These individuals are unhappy with your content and are likely to speak negatively about it to others. They can potentially discourage others from engaging with your content.

A high Net Promoter Score (NPS) reflects robust audience engagement, which not only enhances overall engagement but also has the potential to positively impact organic visibility.

Usually, gathering such data requires surveying your audience. Utilize tools like Google Forms, SurveyMonkey, or any survey platform offering rating scales to create and distribute your questions.

Pro tip: Survey various segments of your audience, including visitors to your website, followers on social media, and subscribers to your email list gathered through site submissions or newsletters.

Measure 2: Idea Adoption Rate

Do your ideas resonate with your audience?

The adoption rate of an idea signifies the percentage of your audience that begins using the concept following its launch. This metric is crucial for gauging the acceptance of your ideas, offering valuable insights into engagement and market relevance. Higher adoption rates can directly impact engagement signals, potentially influencing your ranking.

Here’s How To Calculate


  • Audience segment size: The total number of individuals in your target audience segment.
  • Audience usage size: The number of people who actively apply the ideas presented in your content.

Formula for Adoption rate: Adoption rate = (Audience usage size / Audience segment size) × 100%

Collecting this data can be achieved through various methods. However, it’s important to note that shares alone may not accurately reflect genuine influence.

Look for signs of engagement and impact stemming from your ideas or content:

  • Monitor discussions on LinkedIn, Twitter, or other relevant social platforms related to your ideas.
  • Check if newsletters are featuring discussions about your ideas or discussing their core concepts.
  • Observe if your process steps are being actively debated or referenced.
  • Note instances where people share videos showcasing your product or demonstrating your ideas.

Pro tip: Rather than worrying about others “stealing” your original ideas, consider it a positive signal of adoption. It indicates that your ideas are addressing important problems or opportunities, which can ultimately strengthen your influence and impact.

Measure 3: Time To Activation

The time to activation refers to the duration it takes for your audience to initiate action, such as searching a topic or engaging with specific activities on your site, following interaction with your messaging.

These actions may encompass activities like brand searches, using search keywords you’ve targeted, downloading documents, requesting quotes, or seeking demos.

This metric provides insights into how effectively your content resonates with your audience or aligns with their journey. Shorter activation times indicate a closer alignment with audience needs and higher efficacy of your content.

How to Measure Time to Activation

  1. Identify Activation Points: Determine specific events or goals on your site that you want your audience to trigger.
  2. Engagement Estimation: Estimate the number of people who read or engaged with your content.
  3. Action Measurement: Measure how many people actually took action related to these specific events on your site.

Pro Tip: Some marketers may argue against measuring due to challenges in attribution modeling or the time SEO takes. However, focusing on time to activation underscores the importance of evaluating actions driven by your campaigns. Aim to design campaigns with time to activation of less than 3 months for each event, 6 months for significant goals, and 12 months for broader business impacts such as creating a new market category.

Measure 4: Brand Search Volume

Do People Search for Your Brand in Search Engines?

Brand search metrics indicate how frequently users search for a specific term that you have branded or own in search engines.

You can track this metric using Google Search Console by searching for your brand name or a term that you have branded.

Pro Tip: Brand keywords are typically categorized in Google Analytics under general search engines (e.g., Google) alongside non-brand keywords. Monitor for short-term spikes or sustained trends in Google Search Console, and consider segmenting data by factors such as page, query, date, or modified brand terms to assess their impact. Shape your strategy with the capability to measure the impact of brand searches effectively.

Impact On Your Strategy

Integrating SEO and PR strategies to influence audience behavior and engagement is crucial for maximizing organic visibility and improving search rankings.

Recent insights from Google underscore the significance of audience engagement, emphasizing the integration of content creation, SEO, and PR to foster meaningful interactions.

Metrics such as asset NPS (Net Promoter Score), idea adoption rate, and time to activation offer valuable insights into audience loyalty, idea adoption, and the speed at which actions are taken.

These metrics are not only vital for boosting engagement and influencing search engine rankings but also essential for enhancing audience interaction.

By prioritizing these engagement-driven metrics, you can ensure alignment with Google’s evolving algorithms and ensure that your content resonates authentically with your audience segment.

Original news from SearchEngineJournal