Read the original post on iCrossing’s Great Finds blog, published on February 11, 2013.
You cannot track success of that which you fail to measure. This reality is as true for all marketing and certainly for search engine optimization (SEO). Yet, too many marketers don’t understand the importance of detailed SEO reporting. They may be distracted by their bottom line, they may only care about one SEO metric, or they may never have set up their own reports in the past. Whatever the case, SEO reporting is a key factor to the success of every single one of my projects. And since SEO can touch every aspect of online and offline marketing these days, it’s more important than ever to understand the successes of your SEO campaigns.
Here are a few helpful tips to ensure you’re getting the most from your SEO reports.
Identify Your Reporting Needs
If you fall into the category of people who don’t know what your SEO reporting needs are, start asking yourself a few important questions. What are your global business key performance indicators (KPIs)? How does SEO help achieve your goals? What do you consider a successful SEO engagement? Your SEO reporting team can help point you in the right direction as to which reports will help you the most. But be ready to share your thoughts and requirements in order to ensure your reports benefit everyone who looks at them.
Pull Actionable Insights
What’s the use of numbers if you can’t do anything with them? When your SEO team reports data, they should also report on insights derived from that data. What happened with your SEO campaign that month, and how did it affect results? Were there any search engine algorithm shifts that may have helped or hurt rankings? And how are those links you’ve been building improving rankings/traffic/conversions? That information will drive the rest of your SEO campaign so that you know how to change plans based on results seen.
Act and Review
Once your insights and action items are documented based on the data that is seen, you and your SEO team must act upon those insights. If the data calls for an increased social media outreach plan, create one with your social team, and ensure it’s executed in an SEO-friendly way. If your SEO team sees a need for more onsite content creation to capture newly expanding traffic trends, work with your content marketing team to build out content based on SEO recommendations. Then, once those action items are addressed, review your analytics again to see what impact they had. And start the cycle all over again.
Regardless of your SEO program, you need to ensure your reporting is as detailed and results-focused as possible. Combine your internal goals with your SEO team’s expertise and available analytics tools and packages, and you’ll not only have strong, actionable SEO reports, but you’ll also have results to show for your efforts.