The truth about SEO reporting is it’s a continual process of monitoring and reporting, analyzing and plotting. If you are an SEO professional, you’re no stranger to pondering the significance of one keyword over another, or how your organic search is growing vs. other traffic means. And, yes, staring at the reports can be mind-numbing – especially when they aren’t tied to items with which you can take action.
A Quick Primer:
A good report is so much more than a list of entries and figures in a grid of rows and columns. A good report tells you where you stand with your project, as well as give you a glimpse into the future. A really good report – especially when we’re talking abut SEO and, more specifically, Key Performance Indicators (KPI) – should also feature data that is aligned with Actionable Items.
Although it’s a buzz word tossed about all likes and kinds of office spaces, it bears mentioning that Actionable Items are elements that – based on their performance in the reporting – should allow a decision to be made or action to be taken to affect an improvement in their ongoing performance. Without Actionable Items, your reports are just reports; they’re not a tool for continual improvement; they have no value to you or your client.
Keyword Ranking Reports
For instance, keyword ranking reports are fairly common. But if you don’t take the time to dig down and identify the keywords (Actionable Items) that are performing for your site and create an Action Plan to rank better for those given keywords, then you can expect that your search engine rank is a fairly useless number (and your report is a waste of hard drive space).
So, as an actionable item – you may want to take the time to identify which keywords and phrases could be further emphasized to perform better. Using a ranking tool (such as Rank Checker from SEObook.com), you can scour your keywords and phrases for those that are performing better than others – in terms of visitors drawn, bounce rate percentage, and overall ranking (just to name a few).
Search Engine Trends
Additionally, we tend to place a high value on the traffic we are getting from search engines. Search engine traffic (Google, Bing, Yahoo!) is central to any internal dialogue about your online marketing campaigns. Search traffic stats are a series of figures that you need to trend over time. But as part of your Action Plan, take the time to rank how organic traffic is performing next to other forms of traffic. This is highly useful, due to the fact that it provides context and measurable data for overall site traffic as it relates to varied traffic sources (and associated costs).
Note: One of the main functions of any analytics tool is to ask each and every visitor “how did you find our site.” Given that pool of data, you can find loads of Actionable Items for your Action Plan. Traffic gained from individual keywords, as explained earlier, may allow you to focus on increasing the number of visitors coming to your site from a variety of sources, as well as measure and recognize how your continuing optimization efforts are functioning across a variety of keyword areas. Referring URLs are a wealth of information that will identify your allies and give you insight into new markets and opportunities that you may not have previously considered. Your referring URLs should be categorized and (if possible) courted for continued traffic.
Stay Tuned: Part 2 of this series includes an in-depth look at keyword trends and a look at back-links.