Imagine the following situation:
It’s the end of the month and it’s about that time to start drafting up a monthly SEO performance report of all of your work from the past 30 days to prove to your boss that you weren’t sitting around looking at GIFs for the past 30 days. You have to pull all of your analytics, links, and ranking reports, analyze them, and organize the information in a way that your boss (who knows absolutely nothing about SEO) can understand.
I know what you’re thinking: “Imagine that situation?! I live it every month!” Any marketing director is familiar with the struggle of convincing your boss that SEO is worth the investment. Especially when the terms “bounce rate”, “link-building”, and “optimization” mean nothing to them… not to mention the fact that we live in a world of instant gratification and waiting longer than a month for anything is unheard of. Luckily for you, there is a way to succeed in the monthly challenge that is proving to your boss that SEO is worth it. It’s called kickass SEO client reporting, and I’m going to teach you how it’s done with these SEO reporting tips when looking at organic search.
Understand The KPIs That Your Audience Wants To Hear About
Reporting properly in SEO is a classic case of knowing your audience. Sure, if you’re talking to your SEO strategists and analysts, you will mention X% increase in search engine keyword rankings and your whole team will jump for joy. But if you deliver this information to your CEO or CFO, chances are, you will be met with blank stares. However, if you follow this information with “…which means that you are likely to see Y% more conversions”, you will start seeing a flicker of recognition in their eyes.
A good rule of thumb for SEO client reports is to ask your boss (or client) what KPIs they care about right away. That way, you will know which metrics to pay close attention to and which to focus on when it comes time to putting together your reporting documents. If you are reporting to any C-level employee, you can usually count on the fact that they are more interested in conversion rate and how much money you are spending per conversion than granular SEO metrics.
Report On Metrics That You Can Influence
This one should be pretty obvious – only report on metrics that you have some sort of control over. For example, spending five minutes of your precious reporting time talking about other online marketing efforts such as the results of a PPC campaign can only hurt you. It just confuses the SEO metrics that are important. Not to mention the fact that you are probably repeating everything that your PPC manager already reported.
Stick to your key SEO metrics and make sure that you are reporting on those that accurately summarize the results of an SEO campaign and your overall SEO strategy. After all, you need to justify every campaign spend in order to continue getting funded and reporting on nonessential metrics is a waste of everybody’s time.
Keep your marketing reports consistent and clear. Not only will this reduce any chance of confusion, but it also facilitates month-to-month comparison (which, if you’re doing SEO correctly, will only help your case). For example, if you present information about the cost per conversion using a line graph one month and then using a table the next month, your boss may not even understand that they are looking at the same metric. Furthermore, they may consider the inconsistent monthly reporting a red flag and assume that you are presenting results in a way that portrays your efforts in a positive light.
I recommend creating one solid SEO reporting template that you can use every month to communicate the results of your SEO campaigns in a precise and straightforward way. This will streamline the process and the show powerful results of your search engine optimization efforts.
Highlight Action Items
Easily the most essential component of proper SEO reporting is highlighting action items. In other words, explaining what is being done to improve results, how much it is going to cost, and explaining the benefits of these initiatives. With so many myths surrounding the industry, transparency is essential in SEO. To avoid any miscommunication, be sure to mention if you’re engaging in link building or if you’re making any on-site optimization changes during your reporting meeting. This will show your boss that you are taking initiative and addressing any problems in your campaign.
Completing an SEO performance report is by far nobody’s favorite thing to do. It takes a long time and it can be nerve-wracking stepping into the shark tank at the end of each month and proving to your boss that they should renew your budget. However, when done correctly, it will foster long-term success and relationships among all parties involved and improve your overall digital marketing strategy immensely!