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

Using search measures that indicate how your content or offering influences an audience's search behavior can also influence ranking.

Google’s recent leak highlighted engagement as part of the ranking system, alluding to the importance of influencing audience behavior to drive SEO-specific metrics, like ranking or organic visibility.

That said, I’ve been using simple variations of these measures for a while to evaluate the impact of integrated PR and SEO campaigns. I don’t think the idea of measuring search behavior is new, but the Google leaks shed some light on its importance.

For sustainable growth in organic visibility and rankings, SEO strategies need to pivot to include measures that reflect how strongly owned assets, marketing assets, and messaging influence an audience’s search behavior.

Google’s broader objective to rank content that is genuinely helpful to specific audience segments is an important context for considering this shift.

So, SEO pros should evaluate website performance based on engagement-driven metrics like asset NPS, idea adoption rate, and time to activation, which will be important for directly and indirectly maximizing organic search visibility.

Why Measure Influence

The recent Google leaks highlight the growing importance of audience engagement measures in ranking pages.

This highlights the importance of integrating SEO, content creation, and PR, where influencing audience behavior becomes a key measure.

I see it like this:

  • Google emphasizes engagement: The Google leaks suggest that Google places a lot of weight on user engagement measures such as click data, repeat visitors, site traffic, or related click data. Despite being incomplete and likely outdated information, it is one of many examples of Google using user engagement in some way.
  • AI integration into the algorithm: With AI being integrated more heavily into Google’s ranking systems, AI could interpret and use this user engagement data to influence ranking.
  • Brand search: Site traffic from brand search is an indicator of audience engagement and can influence organic visibility.

But to drive audience engagement, we have to think beyond simple SEO activities like link building, creating keyword-focused content, or technical SEO.

The future of search marketing is designing scenarios that influence an audience’s search behavior.

Ideal Search Behavior Scenario

The audience’s journey is more complex today than ever because they use many different sources to learn about their problems, the solutions, and the opportunities they create. However, this scenario simplifies how to think about your search strategy.

Scenario: You create an asset, you get PR coverage, and the audience searches the asset in Google (maybe they don’t find it based on keywords, then search your brand name). Then, they keep returning to your site for new assets or resources to solve their problems or create an opportunity (the original one as a resource or for your offering).

Simple Search Behavior Scenario Statement:

I need to create a content asset about [a problem or opportunity], to get coverage about [an asset of the asset] that the audience will prompt because [audience interest], which will drive my audience to search for [category or terms you own], and they will immediately or return to the site to take action because [solve a problem or create an opportunity].

You’ll have to modify this based on your specific website event goals, but the statement’s essence will guide you in the right direction.

This direction will allow you to focus on the much more significant but more difficult-to-impact measures below.

I have a foundation in product management and marketing, so I adopted these measures from product marketing concepts since they directly relate to audience actions.

Measure 1: Asset NPS

How likely is your audience to promote your content assets or ideas?

NPS score is used to gauge an audience’s loyalty and satisfaction using a survey question: “How likely are you to recommend our content to a friend or colleague?”

Respondents can provide a rating from 0-10.

  • Promoters (9-10): Loyal and enthusiastic audience who keep talking about and referring your content or ideas to others.
  • Passives (7-8): Satisfied with content but not an overly enthusiastic audience who will listen to a competitor’s point of view.
  • Detractors (0-6): Unhappy audience that speaks negatively about your content.

High NPS indicates strong audience engagement, boosting engagement, and can indirectly influence organic visibility.

Typically, you’d have to survey an audience to gather the data. Use Google Forms, Survey Monkey, or any survey tool with a rating scale to collect questions.

Pro tip: Survey the audience on your site, the following you have on social media, or the email list you’re building as a result of the audience submitting contact info on the site or even through a newsletter.

Measure 2: Idea Adoption Rate

Does your audience adopt your ideas?

The adoption rate of an idea refers to the percentage of the audience segment that starts using the idea after you launch the asset.

This is a key measure to understand if your audience is accepting a particular idea, providing insights into engagement and market fit. This could directly influence engagement signals that can influence ranking.

Here’s How To Calculate


  • Audience segment size: How many people are in your audience segment?
  • Audience usage size: Number of people who use the ideas in your content.
Formula: Adoption rate = (audience usage size/audience segment size) X 100%

You can collect this data in a lot of different ways, but shares alone are not a great metric since I don’t believe they reflect actual influence.

Find discussions or actions taken as a result of your ideas or content.

  • Is your audience discussing your ideas on LinkedIn, Twitter (X), or relevant social?
  • Are newsletters talking about your ideas or the essence of your ideas?
  • Are your process steps being discussed?
  • Do people share videos using your product or ideas?

Pro tip: I see some creators concerned about people “stealing” their original idea. I don’t think this is a bad thing. This is a signal of adoption due to the idea of solving a significant problem or opportunity.

Measure 3: Time To Activation

How long does it take your audience to take action on your site?

Time to activation measures how long it takes for your audience to take action by searching a topic or taking action on your site after engaging with your messaging.

These can include brand searches, search keywords you own, document downloads, contacting for a quote, or requesting a demo.

This measure can show how well your content is being adopted or if the messaging aligns with your audience’s journey. Shorter activation times suggest strong alignment with audience needs and higher content efficacy.

How To Measure

  • Identify an activation point (e.g., events you want the audience to trigger) or goals on the site.
  • Estimate how many people read or engaged with your content.
  • Measure how many people took action around specific events on the site.

Pro tip: Some marketers will say you shouldn’t measure your program because attribution modeling doesn’t work or SEO takes time. However, time to activation highlights the importance of evaluating the actions on the site that the campaign should drive. Design campaigns for time to activation of less than 3 months for each event, 6 months for large goals, and 12 months for larger business impacts like creating a new market category.

As you activate your audience, brand search will likely have an impact, as your audience will likely search Google for more information on your topic.

Measure 4: Brand Search Volume

Does the audience search for your brand in search engines?

Brand measures refer to the number of times users search for a specific term you branded or own in search engines.

You can measure this in Google Search Console, searching for your brand name or a term you own.

Pro tip: Brand keywords are reported in Google Analytics under the general search engine (e.g. Google) with non-brand keywords. Look for short-term spikes or sustainable trends in Google Search Console, segmenting it in any way possible (e.g. page, query, date, brand modified term) to find the impact. Design your strategy with the idea of being able to measure brand search impact.

Impact On Your Strategy

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

Google’s recent leaks emphasize the importance of audience engagement, highlighting the need to integrate content creation, SEO, and PR to drive meaningful interactions.

Measures such as asset NPS, idea adoption rate, and time to activation provide valuable insights into audience loyalty, idea adoption, and action times.

These seem to be important for driving engagement and influencing search engine rankings but critical for audience engagement.

These engagement-driven measures will help ensure you don’t have to keep chasing Google’s evolving algorithms and that content genuinely resonates with your audience segment.

Start designing integrated PR and SEO strategies.

More resources:

Featured Image: Yurii_Yarema/Shutterstock

Category SEO
VIP CONTRIBUTOR Kevin Rowe Founder & Head of Digital PR Strategy at PureLinq

Kevin is the Founder & Head of Digital PR Strategy at PureLinq, a provider of digital PR for SEO services. After ...

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

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