If you’re using a search engine optimisation (SEO) provider, when was the last time you enjoyed reading one of their reports?
Graphs that point upwards and ever-increasing rankings are all well and good, but what story do they tell?
Is your website really working has hard as it should for you? More importantly, are the SEO company’s efforts providing you with a sustainable flow of highly-qualified leads?
Here’s seven reporting techniques your SEO company’s reports should include.
Every number on your SEO report should in some way relate back to your key objectives.
When you start working with an SEO company, they should identify your goals and then choose an SEO strategy that helps you accomplish them. The resulting KPIs (and contents of the report) will then measure the success or failure in accomplishing that goal.
If reports are provided on a monthly basis, you’ll need to set specific goals at the start of each month with your SEO company.
So, if you agree on aiming for 3,000 visits from social media platforms, the report will objectively reveal whether or not that target was missed, hit or exceeded. Simple!
As common as it might be to hear the terms ‘SERP’, ‘white hat’ and ‘301 redirect’ in SEO circles, most businesses want clear explanations of what an SEO report includes.
If you’re presented with statistics that reference SEO techniques and areas of your website’s infrastructure that mean nothing to you, something’s wrong.
At the very least, the report should include a glossary of terms for quick reference, but any SEO company worth its salt will ensure you’re presented with layman’s terms in the first place.
Colourful pie charts and line graphs might look pretty, but if there’s no substance behind them, they’re useless.
A visual report should only be used if it tells an engaging story about data which means something to your business.
Check out this great Whiteboard Friday video by Lea Pica to see how impactful visual reporting should be.
It’s easy to view reporting as being synonymous with raw numbers, dates and other mind-numbing data.
To make an SEO report genuinely useful, it needs to pull insights out of those metrics. For instance, if your bounce rate has increased by ten-percent year-over-year, what does that say about your audience and the way in which your website serves them?
Asking “so what?” if your website is ranking highly for a specific keyword is important, but the SEO company should be doing that before the report is presented.
This is a tricky one, but an SEO report that doesn’t link website performance to revenue - even if it’s just ballpark figures - isn’t telling the full story.
Your SEO company can directly influence where you appear on Google and the number of visits your website receives, but they admittedly have less control over the resulting revenue.
Despite this, you should still expect your report to at least provide some insight into goal conversions on Google Analytics and the performance of your SEO company as a provider of leads.
Your SEO company can’t explain everything in their reports, which is why they should be willing to talk to you directly about the results.
No matter how great the report is, it’ll leave some questions unanswered, and that’s where a one-to-one chat will provide even greater value.
This is a great way to ensure you read the report (we’ve all left them to gather dust in our inboxes, after all), but will also give you the opportunity to dig into the KPIs and clear up any grey areas.
Reporting is a vital part of SEO, but it should never be viewed as a chore to put together or digest.
Do your SEO reports include all seven techniques above?