Your SEO report should contain enough information to help you understand how your SEO campaign is progressing. There are several elements that go into getting good SEO results and these elements need to be measured or expressed in your report. There are also several benchmarks that you, as an owner, or marketing director should be using to quantify the SEO results and measure the ROI you are receiving from your SEO agency. Here are four basic elements that you want to measure in your SEO report.
1. Google Ranking Average: Your Google ranking average is the average rank of all your targeted terms measured in Google. We track Yahoo and Bing, but the reality is the 800lb gorilla, which is Google. If we are trying to get rankings on 50 different search terms on your behalf each month we give you a report to show the current ranking of each term compared to where it was last month. We then total the terms up and divide by 50 to show your average. The goal is to move the average lower and lower towards number one rankings. The reason the average is very important over time is it shows an overall trend of the entire campaign. Month to month rankings can bounce up and down a bit and often site managers get very emotionally attached to a few terms. The real measure of SEO productivity is taken by tracking the Google average over time.
2. Organic Traffic: Organic traffic is the number of visitors who come to your site from the non-paid rankings on all search engines. It is our job to increase this number over time to bring you more business. It is important to view this measurement over time and compare it to the same time last year. Often a business is busy or slow at the same time each year and the fairest measurement of comparison is year over year. A trend however will be visible over time.
3. Sales or Leads: How many leads or sales did you get from SEO? Ultimately this is the most important measurement to a business. If you are generating additional sales or leads from the gains in organic traffic then the campaign is succeeding. Typically we develop goals with our clients to determine an ROI model. For instance if a client is spending $3k per month on SEO and he has a 40% gross product margin, then the client would need to see his SEO campaign is generating $7,500 to break even. Now the lifetime value of a customer comes into play here, big time. Let’s assume the client’s average customer orders $500 every month for 5 years. That new customer is then worth $30k in sales. It is likely the SEO campaign is great if it gets only one new customer per month. If the average customer only orders once in a lifetime then break even is not good enough. The same type of metrics can be used on lead generation. If a client closes 10% of leads from the website then we can assume out of every 10 leads we get 1 new customer. We then can establish what a customer is worth and determine how many leads we need to generate to make their budget work. We do this at Active Web Group, and that is what separates us from the rest.
4. Backlinks: Backlinks to a website are when other websites link to your website. They do this to for many reasons such as in a press release, a blog post, a reference, etc. There are mountains of information on how to get backlinks and why they are important. Backlinks are like votes from other sites. Each vote is counted by the search engines for validity, and quality. Some backlinks are better than others. Directory backlinks are often weak, while backlinks from high page rank popular blogs are stronger. Your backlink profile should be included in your SEO Report. While the number of linking domains and backlinks is the quantitative measurement, the quality of the backlinks is of significant importance also. I think the most common mistake a client often makes before they come to us is buying a big fat backlink package and getting thousands of worthless backlinks. This used to be potentially very bad for site rankings, but more and more we believe the search engines just ignore low quality links. Worst case scenario the search engine can drop you in the rankings and keep you down.
5. Summary: It is very important that a short but concise summary is included. The summary should tell you what was done, how you did overall and what is going to be done next to improve or maintain rankings.
Your SEO report is an expression of results offered by your agency. If you have questions you should ask. Try not to fall in love with a term or two. SEO is about an overall effort. It is often the case that client gets great results on 15 terms but loses a position on his favorite term and misses the big picture. Typically the majority of traffic and sales come from “long tail searches”. When we do a 30 keyword campaign you can expect traffic from two or three thousand different variations. The big picture is conveyed in your SEO report. That is our job.
For more information on our SEO Reporting call us at 1-800-978-3417 or Contact Active Web Group and let us help you!