High-Level SEO Reporting Guide
If you’re going to be investing in SEO efforts like on site optimization, link building, content marketing, and social media it probably makes sense to measure the impact of these efforts over time, right? While SEO reporting can be complex, specifically for very large websites or websites that have a history of search engine penalties, the majority of site owners will only need a handful of reports in order to measure SEO success.
Where do these reports come from? There are plenty of SEO reporting tools, but the primary go-tos should be Google Analytics and Google Search Console. These tools need to be set up and verified immediately upon beginning an SEO campaign, if they aren’t already. Google Analytics provides traffic data while Search Console provides more technical, but equally important, information.
At the onset of an SEO campaign, don’t worry so much about the data. It can take a few months for the search engines to index a site after on-site changes are made and that also gives you some time to start building some links. After 3 months or so, regular SEO reporting is recommended. For some sites, it makes sense to check in every week. For others, every month is sufficient. Wondering what to be reporting on? Here are the high-level SEO reports to review:
Reporting on overall traffic is a good idea, but for the purpose of an SEO campaign, organic traffic is the key metric to monitor. It will likely fluctuate, especially for seasonal businesses, but there should be a positive upward trend over time. Review overall organic traffic and page by page organic traffic. If you’ve optimized the site properly, organic traffic should be coming in through multiple pages, not just the homepage.
We caution against focusing on keyword rank as a measure of SEO success since rankings fluctuate so much and are based on personalization, but the data is still valuable. Break down a keyword report into branded and non-branded keywords. The focus of an SEO campaign is to generate traffic from non-branded keywords, but a strong SEO campaign is essentially an online branding campaign, which should result in more branded keyword traffic as well.
As you build inbound links to your site, they should ideally be driving traffic to the site in addition to improving search engine trust. If you see that traffic is coming from your link building efforts, it confirms that the links are on relevant sites.
It’s great to see an improvement in organic traffic, but if that traffic isn’t translating into conversions over time, something isn’t adding up. Either the SEO strategy/targeting is off or the site could use some conversion improvement elements from a design perspective. Remember, it’s better to have less traffic that is actually converting than a lot of traffic that isn’t.
Every website is different and has different reporting needs, but this high-level SEO reporting guide is a great place to start.
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