season 1, episode 7: on data with daniel wild

In this episode of Engage: On Enterprise SEO, Dan and I sit down and talk about all things enterprise, data and SEO, including:

  • a shout out to Simo Ahava
  • GA4
  • SEO strategy and the importance of data integrity
  • Our own personal hot button hates when it comes to Google Analytics implementations.

AMANDA: Hello everyone.

Welcome to Engage on SEO, our podcast about enterprise SEO, Where we go where no one has gone before.

I’ve got Dan Wild with me, who’s one of the many talented Australian SEO’s and digital marketers who’s has had a very varied career up until this point.

Dan, how about you give us a bit of a rundown of what you’ve done today and how you’ve gotten here?

DAN: Yeah, yeah, I think it’s an interesting story.

As every every young university aged student, I started in sales and quickly went, Oh no, I I don’t like this anymore.

And I found a friend.

His friend introduced me to another friend, of course in digital, and he ran a WordPress development agency.

So I started out doing. Let’s call it grunt work.

Let’s call it grunt work, let’s call it for what it is, very boring intern wage stuff, which was great.

The thing was that as I was there, I started to build some really great connections with devs.

Later got more into the design and creation of WordPress websites and then we will make in, let me tell you, incredible websites.

AMANDA: Do you mean that genuinely or sarcastically?

DANIEL: There’s only one massive problem.

OK, no, I mean that genuinely.

We were winning design awards.

Like we got 70 design awards in four years.

It was nuts.

One massive problem though, Beautiful websites that were designed by designers and developers, they always miss one crucial thing.

Yeah, traffic.

So what ended up happening was all our clients were like, whoa, our leads aren’t coming through like they used to.

Our rankings have, you know, we don’t rank.

It’s like Horror Story, you know?

Sometimes they’d lose ranking for really key words that were obviously driving a significant amount of traffic to the website.

And importantly, also conversions to the website.

It’s not just about the traffic, but also those conversions.

And so I took it on myself to learn a little bit about AdWords at the time because that was the quickest way to help people in the process, got way too deep into what is now UA.

We have to distinguish Google Analytics now, which is just fantastic and moved into agency work where I started to spend up to $2,000,000 a day in AdWords.

And then just dreaming of a day that didn’t involve manual bidding every 5 minutes and writing content that actually mattered for users, and lo and behold, CEO exists.

I know, right?

Would you know and ended up meeting some great people in the Australian community, people like Nick Ranger, Peter Machinkovich and all of these great people who I knew a lot about SEO inadvertently through dev and later researching.

But I didn’t really know in the way that they did.

So we sort of coffee catch up and beard our way to a better refined SEO that I can now stand as.

So a product of some really great people and also just you’re making mistakes along the way and and learning from them thankfully.

So yeah, that’s a bit of my agency life up until now and now Easy Weddings I would imagine agency side and in the kind of design process and dev process as well.

AMANDA: You’ve worked with smaller clients and much larger clients in terms of revenue and traffic. What have been the differences for you in terms of ways of working and getting stuff done and the thought processing and all of?

DAN: Yeah.

So I like to think of it as I’ve worked with a lot of lawn mower clients because that for some reason was what happened in agency and I’ve worked with everything from large wagering clients and e-commerce, all of that chance, right.

I think it’s really interesting because enterprise and your larger clients, they’ll come at it with a really solid understanding of things like brand, about what they want to achieve.

And sometimes they’re, I like to say they’re armed enough to be dangerous in the sense that they can sense check you.

Sometimes they sense check you a Twitter post that someone wrote 12 years ago and you got to be like look. And it’s a little bit of that going on.

But I do find that working with enterprise was a little bit more creatively fulfilling.

There was a lot more steps that need to be proved out.

There were more teams that needed to be bought in, for lack of a better term, to get their insight.


DANIEL: So it was one of those tough sort of connection points with enterprises just getting everybody on board.

But once they’re on board, I think that there were some of the smoothest campaigns we ever ran because they get it, they get it’s a job, it’s a brand and if everyone respects it, you can move quite quickly.

I wish the same was true for the smaller clients.

I think they’re sometimes the hardest people to deal with because there’s a lot more onus on us to do a great job.

Because often times these people are coming with their saving and the money that they put aside for their kids, children, whatever it may be to go to college or whatever it might be to invest in SEO and make an investment that brings a return.

Often times at what I would call a paid media speed, which is like they expect, we turn on the SEO and tomorrow we get loads of traffic.

It just doesn’t happen like that always.

But I did find with those one when you did earn the trust, you ended up sticking around forever.

You just never lose that client, which was beautiful to build relationships over

AMANDA: And now tell us a bit about your kind of steps into data and analytics and how that came about and how you see that playing into kind of your day-to-day as a digital marketing manager?

DAN: Yeah, I think I’ll start with the the reason why it’s part of my everyday because I think that it’s the most important thing.

I think it’s SEO’s.

Sometimes we get really we all actually get attracted to graphs that go up and to the right.

You know what I mean?

Anything that points out positive work and a lot of that time that’s you’re in, you’re in things like Search Console everyday and you’re seeing your impressions and your clicks maybe hopefully you’re seeing the green line of your good URLs continue up and to the right from core web vitals and whatnot.

What I felt in my heart of hearts is that would I rather have 100 people come to my website, spend a ridiculous amount of money and convert 100% of the time or get a million but no sales?

And so for me, the journey into data started at the very rudimental business level, which was, how do I make people money?

Because that’s the thing that’ll let me do more of what I like, for lack of a better term.

And really how I got into it was through UA.

And so I started with UA, and then I started to find people like Simo Hava.

I always say his name wrong.

I’m so sorry.

AMANDA: Ahava.

DAN: That’s the one.

Thank you.

Oh, my Lord.

AMANDA: That’s pronunciation to a T because I love him.

DAN: Yeah, ’cause he’s a bloody legend in Simo we trust, right?

So I started reading his blog and I think, what really flicked me is one day we there was this discussion about bounce rate, right?

AMANDA: Bounce rates that that that metric that no one understand.

DAN: And talking about how UA can impact.

AMANDA: You can impact bounce rate by having a interaction hit at any stage in process, right?

DAN: And then of course young, young Dan, what is this mad thinking that if I reduce my bounce rate to zero, I would instantly skyrocket to the top of Google’s rankings.

Of course that’s not how it worked.

And so I started looking into it.

And then I realised a lot of the things we spout as digital marketers. The things that we think are important are sometimes just metrics that we’ve manipulated to allow for a better result.

Like I can give someone 100% conversion rate on the website.

It’s just going to be on a page view.

It’s really easy to manipulate.

And my journey into data really became about trying to find the truth of the situation.

So it was clearer to business owners and myself about what would make a tangible difference to their results, and I went through. Learned all about Tag Manager.

I know there’s 5050. We’ve probably got two camps of people around Tag Manager.

I’m pretty fond of it, but I like to get amongst it and get my hands dirty and it’s who needs security and Dev Lens.

I’m not joking, like being able to control that sort of environment was helpful in those smaller accounts.

Obviously can’t do the same thing on your enterprise level.

There’s a lot more security layers which need to go through, but I fell in love with Tag Manager at the time which then made this revolving effect of what could I do with Tag Manager then?

Oh, how can I leverage this into something a new way?

And then that’s just continued and continued.

Yeah, Long story short, I just want to know what’s happening now.

AMANDA: I’m going to show my age here in the industry because I was in SEO for another code migration historically, not terribly because there weren’t actually as many like core changes between the second last iteration of Google Analytics and then Universal Analytics, then there are now between Universal Analytics and GA 4.

How are you finding that and how are you how are you feeling like that migration is impacting or changing your relationship with data?

And how you do analysis and the kind of recommendations that you make to your clients, your single client now, but the big.

Yeah, my business now.

DAN: Yeah, I know.

I really love this.

I think, yeah, this is probably the biggest. I think the whole data movement over the last, let’s call it three years, so just before COVID started, really has been crazy.

We’ve been talking about cookie deprecation, the cookie apocalypse and all of these things for quite a while.

I just love that name, by the way.

It tickles me the idea of giant like chocolate chips coming from the sky, but.

With GA 4 coming around, it is been quite intense and I think the biggest intensity is the the unfamiliar nature of the reports themselves.

We’re not really doing page views, we’re doing screens now.

And if you haven’t dealt with App Analytics or Firebase before, and you or you didn’t play with App plus Web when they were testing it back in the day, a lot of this is significantly new.

I think what I think, I can’t remember whom it was, but it wasn’t me.

I will not take credit for this one.

Someone explained that GA 4 is incredible for the data nerd and just terrible for everybody else because it allows for a unique level of flexibility, which I personally really get a lot of kick out of because we can look at metrics in different different attitudes but.

Yeah, we don’t get that same, that same familiarity that we got with UA where it was very clear up and to the right, it all made sense.

In terms of the migration, it’s been rough.

AMANDA: I think that you GA 4 in particular has some limitations to the amount of events that can flow in, the amount of which is interesting.

And if I’m correct, you look at it right and you say, OK, 50 or what? Is it 100 events or 50 events?

DAN: It’s 50 events.

AMANDA: You’re like 50.

Oh, that’s so many events.

But then when you sit down and actually do the mapping of all of the things that you want to track on your website, you’re like, oh shit.

DAN: Yeah.

And you got to leave space for a couple, right?

Just in case you think of something new about six months down the track and you don’t want to lose data, yes.

Those 50 parameters or so, you’re thinking of naming convention.

You’re like thinking very hard about how that fits.

You’re like, oh, I don’t want to put an extra character anywhere.

And then you know the devs do it and you’re like, you know there’s a space at the end of that.

You got to be very careful.

You’ve double spaced this, you’ve used a dash instead of a space, whatever it may be that changes that name.

And so I found the transition so far from a technical perspective, it’s been fairly straight foot out our dev team and Easy Weddings is is quite a strong team, a very flexible team.

And so that’s been great.

What is the biggest Problem and the biggest issue is 1.

The retraining for us as marketers to consider this new tool and what it’s able to do and not instantly shudder at the thought of trying something new.

Which I know was my first response when I heard that UA was going down.

I think it was everybody’s first response when UA was going down.

But now it’s about getting those stakeholders on board because like it or not, I think everybody has experienced UA in some way, shape or form from a stakeholder level.

And so to turn around and be like, no, that data set that you’re used to seeing exists now in a different form.

Oh, by the way, we also can’t input the data from, you know, 2-3 years ago that you are so used to comparing.

It really has been a little bit of a difficult journey.

One that I know in three years it’s going to be I I personally believe it’ll be better, but for the short term, for the first year or two of using GAG A4, I should say you’re going to be stuck, I think.

AMANDA: What are you — What would you say you’re most excited about in terms of either analysis that you’re able to run now in GA four or a new lens that you think it will help provide you for doing bigger and better things for your job?

DAN: Yeah, I think instantly it being an events based structure excites me.

Some people may be aware that this sort of session hits and there are all these different types of hits that happened within GUAI should say man, acronyms, huh, Universal Analytics, let’s go with that.

That’s a little bit more understood versus the new Google Analytics there.

We’ll go with that.

The events flow excites me because of the better understanding that we get on a user by user basis.

The irony that we’re getting rid of UA and Universal Analytics from a data security sense and a privacy sense, but then give more clarity about the funnel, for lack of a better term, that a user goes down is quite exciting.

And then as always, I like to think of GA 4A bit like an instrument.

The irony, right?

But it’s really how you use it, right?

Like you can do some really incredible meaningful analysis on actions and linking those actions to external tools that you may have in external tools you may have in your company to pull out data which is incredibly meaningful, that can link individual user actions to install transactions for example, and start to build out that profile in a more meaningful way.

Because as as great as Universal Analytics was that inability to really build a clear funnel outside of the goal funnel.

And I think we can all agree.

And the behaviour flow and all those sorts of things.

I think we’re done with that now.

I think that’s the most exciting piece.

There’s no, like, I’m excited for this event.

I love the Data hub.

That’s cool.

I can be a bit of a nerd.

I like that it’s basically Data Studio, but there’s just not as many inputs.

But it’s still not.

I like that stuff, but I think it’s the funnel more than anything.

That’s exciting.

AMANDA: Your career is similar to mine in that you had quite a long stint at different agencies and then moved in house and easy weddings.

They’re pretty large.

DAN: Yeah, yeah, very.

AMANDA: How has that transition been from agency side to in house?

And not just in house, but big in house.

DAN: Yeah, I see.

I’ve never experienced digital marketing in an in house role up until now.

So I’ve done a head of digital, head of paid, head of whatever we choose to title things these days.

It all changes for quite some time moving into client side work.

Was as a result of just some family circumstances and I just wanted things to to chill out a little bit.

It is difficult for different reasons.

Thankfully the head of marketing is an ex agency man, knows it inside and out.

He and I often talk about the old days in agency, but I guess the biggest transition point is that transition point of speed in agency.

Most people are pretty ready to make a move the minute that this suggestion is made, whether or not that’s to our benefit or not.

Sometimes we make some decisions a bit too quickly, but.

I think we failed fast and we learned quickly and we refined even more quickly to the point where it becomes quite a science at the good agencies anyway.

They become a science where the innovation is natural, the innovation is clear and that can be a bit of a hindrance on in house where.

It does move a lot more slowly.

There are more things to consider.

That lack of separation from the brand means that you, you deal with the people who you know, oh, you go, oh, I don’t really like the way we do this as a brand, but you deal with that person every day.

You’ve got to think about that and you think about the content and the people writing that content.

They’re not SCOS, unlike in your agency where they are or they deal with SCOS every day.

So it was quite strange.

I’ve loved it, but I know that there are some things that were different, like.

The way that information is delivered to you, if I’m not across all the marketing newsletters and Twitter and everything that’s going on, I will lose my efficacy and I know it.

I gotta go to the gym every day to learn more about what’s happening in the industry.

Whereas if you’re an agency, you’re seeing that every day.

You’re learning by osmosis every moment that you’re there.

And so I think that’s something I miss a little bit.

If I could be, if I could be truthful, that sort of natural learning.

But I’ve loved learning a new set of skills.

I’ve loved learning more about that stakeholder management.

And I’ve kind of liked restarting in a sense because everywhere I went I get hired as someone more senior every time you move agency.

So starting at the start and being able to take a step back not have to be.

Oh, I’m Dan.

I’m here to shake up your your your whole strategy.

But come in and go, no, I’m going to refine this and then we’ll start shaking things up a bit more slowly.

Was was nice, but took some getting used to, believe me.

I’m still not sure I’m fully used to it to be honest.

AMANDA: But you’ve mentioned a couple of times kind of stakeholder buy in and the ability to get people on your side. What has been your best kind of mechanism for that? What’s been your, what’s been your kind of go to method for getting people on side?

DAN: Yeah, I don’t have a quick win version for this one, unfortunately.

I wish it was like, oh, I pulled up three GA 4 graphs and everybody believed me straight away.

I wish it was like I pulled up Google Trends, you know, they believe me.

I wish main the main method for buying is always trust, right?

Like in the same way we talk about EAT in SEO, we can talk about EAT in terms of stakeholder management most of the time.

It’s the clarity of being able to communicate the difficult in a simplistic way that builds that trust to begin with.

And then what it is, is about proof.

So when I first started at easy weddings, I was very much OK. The guy who was running it before me had a different approach. I didn’t necessarily agree with that approach.

And so I said nothing. I was a quiet boy. And they I brought up, I went out to my manager, followed the chain of command.

I went, hey, I don’t really like what this is doing, I want to change this up.

And then the CEO kind of had a chat to me and he said, OK, you want to change it up?

And I said, yeah, I said give me this period of time.

And I believe that this is the result I can get.

And he turned around and said Dan that’s that’s too much.

You got to play the game on both sides.

So we negotiated back and forth and found a time frame and we I was able to exceed the result.

And so I had already a little bit of a benchmark like no, what I said has weight, what I said has happened and I’ve been able to back it up with proof not only from a from the beginning cycle when I come in and pitch the idea, but post you know we actually achieved what we said we would.

Then I think just it’s that continual sort of replay of that whole analysis.

It’s just coming in with all of the coverage of this is the ROI we’re going to bring to the business. This is the amount of traffic we perceive will happen. And here’s the good, better, best variances are always going to happen within marketing.

I worked in weddings during COVID. You best believe you know we had a bit of that variance and then it’s just that proof.

I have had instances though and I think where I got very worried where the things I presumed would happen and would have worked for years in the past just stopped working.

And that can happen from time to time, either either a new language processor comes out, it goes from Mum to Bert or something like that, or something in between.

Bernie’s probably in there somewhere, I don’t know.

But when that happened we saw algorithm shifts adapting to those sort of things and being quick on the front foot to say there’s something wrong here, we need to address it.

And these are the actions that I’m taking to address it.

I think that over communication really assists it as well as the not being like perfect. I like to make sure my stakeholders know that I still can make mistakes.

But mistakes, they’re mistakes and they never happen again.

So it always comes back to trust.

They know what I’m saying is true.

I’ve proven that there’s that in the results that I said would happen, and then that just keeps repeating.

Unfortunately, there’s no. No sexy graph that will get people to believe you straight away.

Unfortunately, no matter how many Twitter posts you show them.

AMANDA: Yeah, absolutely.

Now I’m going to jump around a bit and come back to data a little bit and analytics because something that I found when I was doing data and analytics agency side was that I would say probably 70 to 80% of all my clients didn’t have clean data.

How what is your experience kind of the assumptions around how clean or good kind of data has been?

DAN:Yeah, this is the topic.

This is the topic.

This is the one I hoped we’d get into.

Oh my God.

I think we all like to think that we work with clean data.

I think that there are so few of us who can stand on that hill, even me, like I talk to people about. You know, adjusting for bounce rate.

Or maybe you get user metrics by scroll depth and time on page. Use some variant of that.

Back in Universal Analytics days, you had your three to four different properties.

You had your test one, you had your external one, you had whatever it was, excluding the office IP.

Everything’s lowercase.

I think in agency I experienced something very similar to 80%, didn’t have anything or had 12 different ones agencies have set up, none of which had the proper assignment of information.

They were always the hardest conversations to have because you had to turn to someone and say, I have nothing to work on.

AMANDA: Yeah, but they see something.

DAN: It’s like coming to someone with a bunch of wood to build a house and then you turning around and going, you ain’t really got any wood here. It’s all infested and it’s like, Nah, it looks fine man, it looks fine.

But on the inside, it’s all rotten and it’s just not going to work.

My experience with that is always again, whenever I took on a new client for agency, that was the first thing we would assess because you really can’t make any moves from poor data.

You’ve got no impact on seasonality outside of maybe what’s happening in Search Console.

It’s pretty hard to stuff up a Search Console integration, but at least on an analytics front, we would have to reassess them entirely.

Most of the time it actually involved a complete redo of their analytics.

So we would set them up.

I think we used to do a Jenkins job back in the day.

So we used to get like Jenkins set up and it would automatically input all our filters which was brilliant.

Does not work on GA Four.

I wish it did.

Sorry for all the agency owners, but we did that to set them back up.

But we’d run that in tandem with their actual current analytics.

So it would be a fresh install.

The main reason for that were they had full control, but it was so that we could assess and show the variance between the two to begin with.

Once you have that variance, hopefully it’s consistent variance and you can make assumptive matter, maybe it’s 25% more whatever.

So you account for that in your projections or what have you.

But usually I would say, you know I’m going to set you up with this, let’s talk in a month and let’s start your payment cycle from there and then at least we have something to play with because before then I won’t have anything.

So that was usually my approach is a lot of things that we consider as part of it your website, what you’re built in, the control that you have on say Shopify versus WordPress versus Wix versus Squarespace.

AMANDA: Squarespace No.

DAN: You’re on the same page.


I was like, but but yeah, like it’s hard.

We had to consider different approaches for different things.

But ultimately as long as you’ve excluded your traffic, that’s, you know, you’re testing traffic that your internal traffic and you’re at least tracking your conversions, that was enough to run on.

And then it was just about cleaning it slowly.

You know, we made regular use of things like the test property IDs and so on just to keep it as fresh as we could because it requires constant care.

It’s like gardening, for lack of a better term.

AMANDA: Just two, two questions to follow that up.

What would you say is the most common issue that you see in Google Analytics installs or like Google Google Analytics instance?

And what is the worst?

Actually three. So what is the worst that you’ve seen? And then what is your personal like bug a bear with bad installs of Google Analytics?

DAN: All right.

I can talk about the worst one straight away and it’s a problem we all face.

This is gonna sound really bad because it’s not really bad.

I think that bad is conversions on page view.

I think that’s the ultimate that someone’s definitely messing with you and that’s that point.

But I think the biggest and worst occurrence of Google Analytics install was people who double tag and walk around, they’re like, oh, on one side you’ve got half the less than half of the user traffic, which is that’s a great thing when you undo that double tag and it’s like, yeah, straight away, big up and to the right.

But being like, oh, we don’t have any issues with bounce.

We got 0% bounce rate.

I’m like, you got 0%.

No one’s ever come to your website and gone.

You know what, Actually, I’ve got something else I’d rather do.

I accidentally clicked that or this is completely relevant to me.

I’m going to sit there and read it through.

So yeah, double tagging obviously created the 0% bounce rate there.

You know event hits that weren’t event hits like scroll depth, event hits, Oh my gosh, that’s not how it works.

Like that’s a non interaction here.

Don’t play with me on that.

That sort of stuff was always the worst because I think it gave this really false perception of content quality more than anything else.

Because you know, as the CEO’s we always thought, you know, first things, usually the technical, can we get a little bit?

Fixed up here.

Technical’s a lifelong pursuit.

You’re going to be on that for ages.

So then while that’s happened and you move to content and maybe you’re backlinks, whatever it may be.

But I always found that there was a harder conversation to have about content quality if those metrics were incorrect.

Bounce rate’s a wonderful thing.

My my bugbear is 100% non interaction hits that should be non interaction hits.

So for reference, for those who may not know the difference, it’s basically anything that would affect your bounce rate.

So if you have an interaction hit. That’s bounce rate. You interacted great, that session didn’t bounce, you’re fine.

But when people put things that are just users, hovering the mouse over words or being on a page for an extended amount of time not doing anything, that’s not interaction.

We want to know that person’s bounce.

We want to know.

Otherwise your two paragraph content is going to feel like it’s amazing, but it’s not.

And that’s just not what I like to see.

And we see that a lot with people who have invested in writing SEO content that has to be exactly 1600 words in order to rank for whatever keyword.

Let’s not get anyone started on that one, but it yeah, that ended up being a very difficult conversation because it was very hard to prove out, particularly as it wasn’t a well understood metric at the time.

I figured that’s what the third question was.

So it was worst and most there, which I think I’ve done like the most common issue.

Most common, the most common mistake I see.

Most common issue, yeah is the inclusion of internal data, particularly at a higher level.

I see this quite commonly not in the major, major enterprises SEO accounts that I’ve worked with.

Usually these are in that sort of the ones that are transitioning to that higher end enterprise level, they tend to have a little bit more of an understanding, you know the air events flow and so on, but they don’t know perhaps which exact property to view.

And I think the extension of this this issue is.

Relying on sample data within GA/UA is incredibly common.

I can see your face.

What’s your worst experience?

Have you seen this one?

It’s like, Oh my God, like we’re doing, oh look, why have our page views dropped so much?

It’s like, you look at that top left, you see that little yellow yellow shield and you go, mate, you’re looking at 40% of your potential data stream here.

Like, what are you thinking?

AMANDA: Oh, it’s the worst, isn’t it? And you don’t have this issue on GA 360, right?

DAN: You don’t have this issue.

But. How many people are shelling out for GA 360 these days?

Not as many as they probably should.

But yeah, I think that would be one of the things.

I mean, imagine taking a what is effectively a random sample of 40% of 4% in some cases of your entire website and making big business decisions.

Basically it’s just crazy.

AMANDA: Off the back of that. Do you find that you have similar conversations around Search Console data as well? Because that’s 1000 query sample of for a day.

Yeah, 1000 queries.

DAN: Yeah, I do.

And I think what I have done to get around that, I’m forgetting it because I used to use it a lot in agency.

These days we use other tools, but I used to use like an API basically as a tool that would pull out the API something metrics.

It’s not GT Metrics, which is the first one that comes the head.


AMANDA: Supermetrics.

DAN: That’s it. Thank you.

I used supermetrics a long time ago to try and do that.

It also helped with getting the GA data that was sampled because you can’t put limitations and flags that kind of.

It will pull the data progressively over time or something.

I’m not quite sure how the magic works and if I knew, I’d probably be very rich, but maybe who knows.

I don’t know how supermetrics is going these days, but that was how I got around it.

I do have similar conversation.

It’s particularly prevalent if you’re using external search assistant, I guess.

So things like your hrefs or your SEM rush and so on, which says you rank for this many keywords and then someone pulls up like a 12 month report on SEM Rush and goes, but we only rank for 1000.

You’re like, yeah, and that’s not how it works.

Like we have to be very clear about that.

So I do see it a lot that we’re not quite, I guess we’re not always quite sure how the tool works and what the limitations of the tool are and I think as SEO’s and digital marketers.

We need to be more clear than anybody about when data is incomplete and try and build in a little bit of understanding about why that matters because a lot of people will look at that graph and go, it’s a sexy graph, I’ll send that to the stakeholder.

They’ll be happy.

But when you’re only looking at 4% of your data, you don’t know what 4% that is.

It could be best case scenario, you’re worse 4% and they’re happy with the results and they’re saying yeah and then realistically you’re five times better than that.

Or worst case scenario you send them the best of the your whole site, your four best 4% and it ends up being much worse.

And so I think we have that onus.

I think I wish that SEO’s and digital marketers didn’t have that high level of importance.

I wish it was like a little bit clearer in the tools when this stuff is being sampled.

But it is important for us all to to monitor.

AMANDA: So how do you approach those conversations?

Because Google is such a household name that there’s this inbuilt trust in the brand that whatever data that they present is 100% accurate right out-of-the-box and that no context needed.

How do you have that conversation with people and how do you approach it in terms of this is sampled, this is a representation of a portion of your data.

How do you do that?

DAN: Yeah.

So most times early is the answer I would give is as soon as possible.

I have that conversation when I go into when I was in agency, I would always introduce myself as I’m the analytics guy.

Like we have a team that does all the paid in the SEO and obviously I’m usually leading that team as well.

But I say I’m the analytics guy, that’s what I do.

That’s my fancy thing and I would say like here are the common issues that happen in data.

And so we talk about data quality, we talk about data cleaning, we talk about steps and we talk about sampling.

If it was an issue, your lawn mower clients, you’re not worried too much about that.

But when you’re dealing with a multinational, you know e-commerce providers, you definitely are.

And so we usually have that conversation early.

The next step is to really avoid utilizing any of that sample data as much as can be done.

And being clear when it is.

So if I ever make a spreadsheet for example, I always have a little a little section at the bottom with little stuff.

This is imported on GA from this date to this day and a confirmation whether or not it’s actually been sampled or not.

Sometimes people want speed instead of quality, so it’s not always possible for you to go and do the big data pool that pulls out all the things from the API without having some sort of sample data.

So when that happens, it’s just to be as clear as possible.

That’s my approach with them — nine times out of 10, it’s a phone call.

I’ve never seen someone successfully can explain sample data over a text or over an e-mail.

Just never.

Or with a link to demo’s latest blog about how to get around it.

He’s like 4000 page article on how to do it.

But yeah, being able to communicate it and explain why, I think you’ve touched on a really important part as, you know, people like when we think about advertising, we think about meta, we think about Google.

When we think about these businesses as being these powerhouse, nothing ever goes wrong.

Today I got 10 phone calls from from Facebook’s people.

I don’t know what they are.

What do they call them?

Advisors like in in a mean in the space of about 20 minutes.

And it’s like stuff goes wrong in those companies.

Believe me, you know it, there’s human error, but there’s stuff goes down.

Do you remember those bugs from a few years ago where we basically lost everything that happens in Search Console for a couple of days and Google was like, yeah, we’ll fix that soon.

And then they hurried and fixed it on AdWords 1st and then they came back.

I had to fix it on Search Console.

So point the point being of course is just having conversations early, having it clearly in order to get that sampling issue or clarified before it comes into anyone’s mind that what you’re presenting is nothing but 100% accurate if you had to.

AMANDA: So two questions on this, but first one, if you had to give yourself advice, knowing what you know now about being in house when you started, what would that advice be when you started like at your in house role?

DAN: I think the biggest thing is to be had for people to rely on old data a lot, and that data freshness more than anything else is incredibly important.

You know, I’ve had many scenarios where I’ve said this is the results, this is what we’re getting.

This is what’s possible.

And someone pulls out a stat from five years ago and basically just goes, that’s not how it works.

And then I have you sit there and in the meeting you take it, You know what I mean?

You sit there and depends on, you know, how much coffee I’ve drank that day.

You usually take it and then you go to that person afterwards and you go cool. When was that taken?

This was it 3 weeks ago and you’re comparing five years ago.

What do you think?

Are we going to run?

I know you sort that out behind closed doors.

There’s no sense having an argument to demean someone’s understanding of data.

That’s not always their job to do it.

They’re just relying on something someone’s told them and so on.

So I think not taking offense to that, but also being able to go ahead and have those conversations to trust and reassess data more regularly.

I think that’s the biggest thing.

There’s no harm in spending a few minutes looking at GA reports every morning that you’ve probably looked at 100 times even though.

Someone might quote something different the next day.

I think that’s probably the biggest thing and like it’s a bit slower than you thought it was going to be.

I think it’s the other thing and that’s probably it.

AMANDA: If you knowing what you know about working in house now, what advice would you give yourself at agency to do a better job essentially?

DAN: Yeah, OK.

That’s a really good one.

I think the biggest thing in agency for me, and it’s it’s just because of the way I started an agency, right?

I was a massive data nerd and so.

I’d always come in with numbers and math and all these crazy things, and I think I’d always forget about vision.

I think every brand is built on principles and built on certain things that data can’t always describe.

And despite my continual reliance with data to this day, to be fair, still dealing with it at the end of the day, brand, vision and all the things that surround it are so important.

And they’re never more important than the people who want to represent that brand with their everyday job.

And so sometimes we look at sites and I know we’re all agency people are guilty of this.

When we look at it, we just go, this is trash.

One of these guys who employed this marketing manager, bloody hell, with no understanding of the struggle behind it that they’re having with, you know maybe their business owner who’s been running this company for 50 years and it’s he’s the third generation person who has not having that level of understanding.

I think I could have been as an agency guy, a little bit more understanding to my client which would have led I believe to a greater relationship and partnership.

I think I only really learnt how to do that with one client.

They were like a water tank manufacturers like the they’re so far removed, they were like really big in the water tank and they’re like what do I know about water tank?

And I eventually like formed a relationship with this marketing person, talk them through their struggle.

And I think from there that was when I was like, oh, this in house thing sounds a bit more nice because I want to learn more about vision.

And not be so stuck on data.

The irony of let’s talk about enterprise data and how to keep it clean and structured, but never forget that marketing at the end of the day speaks to humans and sometimes numbers don’t do that very well.

So we need to go for that vision.

So I think that would probably be the way, I would say amazing irrespective.

AMANDA: And what’s next on the horizon for you? What are you learning? What do you want to learn? What’s in your stratosphere? Have you played with ChatGPT and any of that like?

DAN: Yeah, of course. Yeah. That was going to be my first thing.

Look, I had, I look, I’ll give you some. This is some guilty context of, like me again, not following the vision.

We had this thing called Sinter Klaus in my family, which is like a Dutch tradition for Christmas.

It’s a little bit early.

And part of that tradition is to write a poem.

Guess who I went to to help me write a poem?

What’s into Klaus Chat GDP.

I always forget the last three letters, but I went straight there.

It works really well.

It was so good.

I was like, oh, damn, like I write music.

Like I should be able to write a simple poem.

AI content is incredible.

I’m really interested.

As the extension of that, how Google manages that, because at the end of the day, AI content is, and I think I saw Brody talk about this on LinkedIn this week, Brody Clark, where we’re angry at Google for scraping content, but we also love open AI doing.

I mean, it’s this awkward dichotomy of how that works.

And I think what I’m interested in is what is stopping and what is gonna make people who create AI content, you know, bring that to the SEO space in an effective way that isn’t just about churning.

But is actually still warranting for quality.

I think right now the accessibility of AI in particular means that being a content writer is gonna shift drastically and quickly.

And So what that responsibility becomes for the current content managers of the world, but also the current SEO’s who are gonna have to deal with people who are very readily going to be able to deliver high quality content for virtually no cost.

That’s my #1 focus at the moment.

I think it’s everybody’s book, and the minute you play with Open AI, you’re like, oh, this is fun.

But the other stuff that I’m working, it’s a similar vein, but a little bit more about video content, short form content becoming the thing at the moment and what that means for brand as well as like cultural change.

Because we are seeing in the short term and again, not very daughtery.

It’s ironic.

You’re gonna need something to balance out your AI sort of stuff, seeing how brand is shifting and the requirements that we have to keep culturally and I guess relevant, but also aware of the emerging groups that are current coming through at the moment and we’re becoming more aware of the struggles that people are taking that have been going on for I guess you know people have kept quiet about.

So learning more about that and the impact on brand and how we as brands can set the right positions around this and do it in a way which is respectful to the majority while still also providing content for our target, our audience, which is not going to be everybody but.

Still finding that nice balance between the inclusivity which we all have to do for every reason, but also the the ability to keep our target market in mind.

So I’m very interested to see.

I think a lot of brands are going to have some shake ups over the next few years and I’m watching that really careful and seeing that happen.

We can thank Instagram, TikTok and all those lovely people for helping us to see these cultural changes, but I’m always looking for how it’s all changing over time and seen those trends, not so interested in the dances, not so interested in that, but very interested in seeing how brands are reacting.

I always comment on people like the Wendy’s Twitter account.

Oh my gosh, in the US that is incredible.

There’s roasting people, left right and centre.

But seeing that and how a new age, a newer culture has seen that and loved it versus what would have been seen in my parents that no one would ever say those sort of things where the world can see it.

So those are the two big things.

I think GA 4 is always going to be part of it.

Thank you very much for your time, it’s been a lovely chat.

AMANDA: Again, this is Dan Wilds and based out of Melbourne in here in Australia and hopefully we’ll see each other again sometime soon.

DAN: Yeah, absolutely. It’s great of course being here.

AMANDA: Thank you so much for your time I want to offer a massive thank you again to Daniel for joining me on Engage on Enterprise SEO and sharing his experiences and learnings.

If you want to continue the conversation, find me by my company FLOQ.

That’s F-L-O-Q on LinkedIn.

Follow me on Twitter at Amanda EC King or reach out to me directly if you’re interested in talking about my own strategic consulting services.

Have a lovely day and enjoy listening to the rest of season one.