We normally use numbers in order to get support our arguments and propositions. There are a lot of uses for statistics and other numerical and empirical data in the practice of SEO.
The main role of these numbers is to provide evidence. Without evidence, our arguments and propositions in the article will be weak because how can you prove something without it.
So what types of data can we use as evidences in SEO and internet related content?
Pick your number
There are several ways that numerical data can be gathered in SEO. You can either have external or internal sources of data. So the list of sources of numerical data include the following:
• of course we have surveys
• direct output data from different types of software
• data from reports of forecasting companies
• data from experiments
There are some credible sources online and usually what happens is that once a credible company announces something new (new set of results/ data) the others echo these.
The different uses of numbers
Numerical data has a lot of uses when it comes to production of web content. This is the main component of infographics, articles, videos, and images. Basically, most content utilized any form of numerical data.
Forecasts and reports. Usually comes in pdf format and are distributed not just to share the data but to promote services and the company’s brand name. This is primary source of data in most SEO-related articles.
Infographics. These visuals are lame if there are no compelling numbers in it. Most infographics are based on numbers.
Graphs. Some content creators prefer creating their own graphs from the data taken from other reports. In this way they avoid copying the same exact image being posted in almost all the other sites in the same niche.
Article content, press releases, etc. Some content just summarize reports from big companies.
Videos. To catch the viewers attention, some animations present compelling facts in order to sell a product well or promote cause.
Numerical data gives substance to an article or any form of content. In my on experience, it is really always better to start off a blog article with some “interesting” numbers. You can use that as a premise for your main argument in the succeeding parts of the article.
The relevant and trusted sources and white paper
For SEO-related data sources, we all normally do these:
• Check the authority sites (seomoz.org, searchengineland.com, searchenginewatch.com, etc.)
• Check out the latest news (NYTimes.com, BBC.co.uk, CNN.com, etc.)
• Latest on tech (techcrunch, technorati, cnet.com)
However, normally the data/ info that we can get here are not the hard data that we are expecting. Some of the articles here are of news quality which follows the inverted triangle format. Although these are well written, they are not “good” when it comes to numerical data.
That’s why we need to check the primary source of data that the articles cited from these authority sites.
Here goes the white papers
So based on experience, I always do a simple research about any topic that I want to gather data about. I usually attached the term pdf. As a result, what I gather are reports, press releases, etc. or what we simply call white papers.
These are designed to market something that’s why even though these provide valid data sets, a critical approach in using and presenting these data should always be undertaken.
Now that we have the root cause of all the exchanges or flow of SEO and internet marketing-data online, I’ll provide some simple tips on how to maximize the use of the numerical data on hand.
How to use numerical data
Make it a headline
Mysite.com gets 1 million links in 6 months according to the latest report! – How’s that for a headline? Usually, most authors add the numbers to the article titles in order to catch the reader’s attention. A catchy title like “1 out of 5 use [this product]”. Of course there are are those who use numbers to specify the info that they will provide to the readers (10 Steps to Making Great Blog Titles).
Transform the statistics into your visuals
For some reasons, when there are new reports, most writers just copy the graphs or other forms of visuals from the original article. This is fine as long as there is attribution. The only problem is that expect that a hundred other authors also did the same.
Make your own graph, images, or infographics. Great sites (SEOMoz.org, Searchengineland.com, and Searchenginewatch.com to name a few) make their own version of the graph. This is better because given that the topic is really trending, more and more writers will search for some “instant” visuals. So when you make your own version, there’s a higher possibility that your image will be grabbed.
Inject some to your article
When you don’t have much to write or out of synch in your writing habit, use the numbers to “fill” your article. Numbers are just so good that you can actually make some sense just by inserting some stats in your article. Of course, you need to remember that the data that you will be injecting should be recent.
You don’t want to cite a study which was concluded a decade ago, right? So start looking for the latest data.
It’s also better if the use of statistics in an article is optimized. Follow the inverted triangle pattern used by most journalist. Place the important data in the upper part of your inverted triangle, because most readers would only scan the first part of the article (and usually jumps to the conclusion, if there are any).
Remember that you are not just filling in numbers just for the sake of having numbers. It is more of providing evidence to support your claim.
Using numerical data is the most objective way of supporting your arguments. Of course, there are still other means of providing evidence to make your argument stand.
Manipulating this type of data can give you some benefits. The most important of which is that you can immediately catch the reader’s attention. No one will know that an article is good unless someone reads it.
Utilizing statistical data is one way of creating great online content.