It’s hardly contested that improvement of rankings on search engines through SEO is a critical component of internet marketing. From the moment Google’s PageRank algorithm was launched from ten 4GB hard drives stored in LEGO brick cases, it has held its place as one of the most important considerations for online marketing. Named for Larry Page, co founder of Google, PageRank decides which sites appear for the 100 billion global searches conducted online monthly.
There’s a reason that ranking highly on search engines is so important to clients. Inbound leads like those generated by SEO cost 61% less than outbound leads, and they have a close rate of 14.6%. Compared to the 1.7% close rate associated with outbound leads, that’s quite substantial. Clients have high expectations for SEO services, and they expect to see results. That’s why it’s up to providers to communicate clearly with their clients about progress. SEO reporting is one of the most important aspects of search engine marketing, as it allows site owners to adjust their performance based on data. The onus is on SEO providers and resellers to demonstrate that strategies are working. Quality SEO reporting is an art that is not easily mastered. Here, we’ll provide a few suggestions for providing clients with the data they need about their results on search engines.
SEO reporting should answer all of these questions:
- Are the efforts being made helping you reach your organic search goals?
- What SEO tasks were completed this month in relation to your goals?
- What effect did those efforts have on your web presence for organic search?
- What new opportunities are there for optimization of organic search?
- Are there any new competitive threats?
It’s your job to set up your data and metrics to answer those questions, prove progress, and prepare for success in the next month.
How to get the job done.
- Outline Expectations
Though most experts know that SEO isn’t just about ranking first for the best keywords, many clients don’t. Communicate early in the relationship that SEO is about more than ranking and that SEO reporting won’t totally revolve around rank data. The major metrics that can be used to demonstrate the effect of your efforts are organic traffic, organic position, conversions by keyword, and on and off site indexed pages.
- Set Goals
Take note of your starting point to make SEO reporting more useful later on and then agree upon certain goals. Be sure to include those goals in monthly SEO reporting meetings to remind the client what the overall reason for the investment is. Benchmark certain metrics that support your goals and include those benchmark values in the monthly report.
- Use Analytics
Whether its through Google, Coremetrics, Omniture, or some other analytics system, it’s important to set up some simple goals to begin with. A good place to start might be time on page and two or more pages visited. Look at the keywords bringing those conversions, discuss them with your client, and look at ways to better optimize for them.
- Set Metrics and Drive Action
There’s no point in metrics without action items. The goal is to continue discovering opportunities through metrics that can translate into continuous action items. For example, sort your keywords from highest to lowest converters and then use that data to support additional keyword research, optimization of pages on the site that are ranking lower for high conversion keywords, and increasing the budget to write content.
SEO reporting is certainly more art than science and should be viewed as an excellent opportunity to support your efforts. Give it the time and attention it deserves, and you’re sure to reap the benefits.
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