As stated in Part 1 of the series, SEO reporting is a continual process of monitoring and reporting, analyzing and plotting. A good report serves to tell the stakeholders where they stand with their ongoing SEO and Web Marketing projects. And quality reporting balances Key Performance Indicators against Actionable Items.
As SEO professionals, we place a high value on search engine traffic (Google, Yahoo! and Bing). Search engine ranking reports are fairly common around the office. No custom-tailored online marketing campaign is of much value, unless you can quantify your trending and results over time.
Of the many performance components in a web marketing program, few are as highly-valued as keywords and backlinks. In this blog, we’ll look at a few reporting suggestions for each, starting with your keyword trend reports.
Keyword trending and SEO are inextricably linked. From day one, a good SEO program begins with keyword identification and a current ranking or position report. These same reports are run weekly – or even daily. Given the value of keyword trends in the SEO program, no ongoing reporting should be without historical and up-to-date information (hence the term “trending”). Additionally, the method in which you view the keyword trend data may make all the difference in the world when it comes to allowing your stakeholders to quickly “consume” the information and see the trend.
Using little more than Google Analytics and a pivot table in Excel, you have the ability to build custom keyword tracker that is directly tied to your marketing goals, allows you to track the number of unique keywords referring traffic to your site and to easily analyze the trends between keyword and traffic growth. As stated before, reports that don’t lead to actionable items are, effectively, useless. The tracking report should allow the reader to quickly analyze the performance of keywords and create an action plan to optimize low-performing assets. Success lies in continual improvement. As the trending reports continue, make certain to remove any keywords from your campaign if there is no sign of progress. Useless keywords are dead weight.
On the topic of backlinks and reporting, it goes without saying that the role of backlinks is immeasurable. Gathering referring site statistics is an excellent way to discover which sites send traffic to your pages. So, from the site owner perspective, links to your site from an external resource will provide an ongoing traffic source. And to a search engine, such as Google, a referring site is a clear “vote of confidence” that directly affects your PageRank.
A note on PageRank: Developed for Google by Larry Page, PageRank is a link analysis algorithm that assigns a numeric value (or weight) to each element on the web. Google presumes that when “Page A” links to “Page B” on the web, it is effectively one page casting a vote of trust for the other page. As a site owner, you should already believe that an increase in votes cast for your web pages will continue to convey the value or relevancy of your site from outside sources. This is a good thing, indeed.
Therefore, backlink reporting should focus on link identification and ongoing tracking. Be sure that your report includes details on anchor text and any PageRank data.
In Closing: When rounding out your plan for your ongoing SEO campaign reporting, make sure to include notes on any site optimization you’ve performed, index dates, position information, and traffic/source data. Your approach to reporting should give you a handle on how much impact your efforts have made. Don’t set yourself up to wade through endless volumes of data. Build good reporting into your SEO program and you’ll be able to see the opportunities for growth that are waiting for you.
Have more questions about driving traffic to your site through keywords and backlinks? You can always ask the Google Certified Account Managers at Rank Fuse Interactive about improving your position and growing your place in the competitive marketplace.