Writing by Nick Stamoulis in SEO
I usually start creating SEO reports for my clients after three solid months of link building. This gives the search engines time to notice and take into account all the onsite SEO changes that were (hopefully) implemented by my client, allows the dust to settle from that process and gives my team a few months to build up new, quality links for the client’s site. It’s important to remember that just because you make a change to your website or link profile that doesn’t mean the search engines see it instantly. Google has the ability to crawl the whole internet in a few short hours but that doesn’t mean they always do. When you make changes, especially big ones like an onsite optimization, you need to give the search engines times to re-crawl your site and take those changes into account when ranking your website.
But once it’s time to start creating SEO reports, either internally to help justify your efforts to upper management, or when you start expecting to see them from your SEO provider, what kind of information should be looking for? What kind of data goes into making an SEO report?
1. Visitor data
The first SEO report I pull each month (usually from each client’s Google Analytics account) is their organic visitor data. It’s important you remove any visitors from PPC so you can get a clearer view of the impact of SEO on your site’s visitor growth. Let’s say organic visitors accounted for 25% of your traffic. What kind of information can you then pull from your analytics about those visitors? For instance, how long did they stay on your site? What pages did they land on? What keywords did they use to find your site? What was the average conversion rate for an organic visitor? Information like this is all readily available in Google Analytics and can give you a good overview of your organic visitors.
2. Keyword data.
Speaking of which keywords sent organic traffic to your site, another SEO report you should pull in its entirety is the keywords (branded and non-branded) that sent visitors to your site. Chances are branded keywords are going to send a substantial portion of organic traffic, especially if you have a powerful online brand, but the non-branded keywords are a good SEO report to dig a little deeper into. Let’s say you own a pet grooming company. Examples of non-branded keywords could include “pet grooming company,” “pet grooming services,” “dog grooming” and so forth. You might even have a few related long-tails like “cat declawing alternatives” that sent 1 or 2 people to your site. The more non-branded keywords driving traffic to your site (provided they are still relevant keywords) the stronger your SEO campaign is. Keeping an eye on your keyword report will let you know which targeted keywords are performing and which ones aren’t, as well as how search behavior is changing so you can keep your website aligned with user’s searches.
3. Social reports.
Google Analytics recently added social sources reports for site owners to review, letting you know which social sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) are sending the most traffic to your site. Looking at these social SEO reports are a good way to tell if your content promotion activities are having a positive impact. If you have a company blog and are promoting your content on social sites you want to be driving traffic back to your blog or sites through your social profile. Never make your social profile the last stop for a visitor! You’ll also be able to get a better idea of what your most shared content and pages are.