Case Study: UK publisher uses Raven for in-house SEO
Sam Robson works as an in-house SEO for a United Kingdom publishing company with a huge network of websites. He’s responsible for more than 40 sites, generating more than 100 million page views per month. Raven is just one of several tools he uses—but it’s his favorite.
Why do you use Raven?
I first used Raven as one of a number of premium tools we are supplied, also including SEOmoz and Hitwise. When you’re dealing with numbers in these quantities it is extremely difficult, yet extremely important, to monitor everything correctly and to use your time efficiently.
Where do you see the most value with Raven?
Time and organization is vital to anyone who wishes to do their job well, and Raven helps both to save and manage time successfully.
The one thing you always tend to be aware of is whether things are going well and you’re making money. To make more money, though, you need quickly to be able to analyze why things have been going well. Is my traffic growing? If so, why? Are my SERP ranks improving? Is a social media campaign working particularly effectively? Or what if things have gone wrong, has traffic dropped, were some of my sites hit by Panda?
Trying to gather all of these metrics retrospectively over such a huge number of websites would be massively time consuming—with SERP rankings pretty much impossible—but with SEO there is no time to waste. As soon as something changes, you need to know what’s changed and then either capitalize on it, or repair it.
This is where Raven comes into its own — in effect it is like employing an assistant who feeds you reports whenever you want them, but with no waiting time. While other premium tools are great for giving you ideas for what you should be optimizing, no other tool I’ve found competes with Raven to analyze how successful your work has been. And without being able to monitor the effects of your work it could all go to waste. You need to know for sure what techniques are working so you can continue to evolve them.
How are Raven’s integrations useful?
What Raven does remarkably well is to give you the facilities to do all of this analysis under one roof.
Raven hasn’t attempted to reinvent the wheel, it just tries to make that wheel rotate a bit more smoothly. If an excellent tool is already available, Raven will just incorporate it rather than trying to recreate it. Google Analytics is a perfect example. Raven uses what Google Analytics is best at — collecting accurate data — and then incorporates this into your Raven account. What Raven has picked up on though is that perhaps the Analytics dashboard isn’t the easiest thing to navigate, so Raven has redesigned into a better format with all the key stats jumping right out at you.
I also love the way that Raven presents your social media analytics, so that you can immediately see all your key social metrics in one place. Again, Facebook Insights are excellent, but they don’t offer you any indication of how many people are clicking from Facebook into your website. The way Raven presents all that data in one place is superb and makes managing social media campaigns much easier.
How do you use Raven for better collaboration?
I can add users who can view or edit the Raven dashboard (depending on the subscription level). Whether like me you have colleagues who run the websites you’re working on, or if you work for an agency with clients, being able to share data helps in several ways.
For one, it’s an easy way for them to see how successful the work you’ve been doing is so they can be hugely grateful, shower you in praise and pay you more (that’s always how it works, right?).
More realistically, it is a great way to empower them and have them involved in making the website perform more successfully. I feel it is vital to have the site owners’ cooperation and involvement to fully maximize any campaign. I don’t have time to be check each post that goes out on every website—do you? Even if you did perhaps you’re not the one responsible for running the social media side of things or the AdWords campaign.
This gives the time to focus just on major SEO improvements and also to train the website contributors how to be SEO effective themselves.
Follow Sam Robson on Twitter as @Sam_Robson.