As an SEO it is essential to report on the metrics that will show the progression of the project that you are working on.
These reports need to provide the client and yourself with actionable information, whilst also being able to outline your KPIs clearly. All reports should ideally include metrics from both on-site and off-site activity, providing the client with a clear understanding of what improvement has been made.
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To ensure that you are reporting on the correct areas during the initial stages, you should arrange to have a meeting with your client.
Before any SEO project can start you need to have a (kick-off) meeting with your client to understand everything about the project. This meeting should include, but not be limited to, knowing the objectives, system limitations, potential target keywords and reports required.
When it comes to discussing the reporting, there are a few areas that you should get the client’s feedback on before creating your report.
- How often would you like reports?
- What metrics do you (the client) want reporting on?
- What search engines would you (the client) like to target?
The three points above are not the only areas you should be talking about when it comes to reporting, but you get the idea. In today’s market, the majority of clients tend to have a good idea of what they would like to see in their weekly/monthly/quarterly reports, but some are still unsure.
Below are some suggested metrics that you can report on for any website, whether it be ecommerce or informational, that you could discuss with the client.
Keyword visibility is still a good indicator of how any SEO project is coming along, and is still a report that EVERY client wants to see.
- Compare target keywords/phrases against identified competitors – this will allow you to see how you are comparing to your closest competitors and what needs to be done to improve.
- Report month-on-month keyword/phrase movement – showing the progress of your target keywords on a monthly basis. You should also chart the report over time to show a visible representation of any improvement.
- Run report against target search engines – make sure that you run all your target keywords against all target search engines so you know your visibility across the board.
Driving non-brand traffic to the website should be one of your main KPIs for any SEO project; therefore reporting on this is essential.
- Split by non-brand visits by search engines – split the following metrics by search engines to give you a much more granular look across your non-brand SEO campaign.
- Top non-brand keywords/phrases driving traffic – reporting on this metric will help identify which keywords are converting higher and will identify where improvements need to be made.
- % of non-brand traffic vs organic traffic – with non-brand being the main target area, you can see what the organic split is and any movement over time.
- % of non-brand traffic vs search traffic – seeing how non-brand traffic is compared to organic brand and PPC will identify the significance of the work being done.
- % of non-brand traffic vs total traffic – this metric will show how much non-brand visits are contributing to the overall traffic received from the website in general.
- Landing Pages – run a top landing page report to see which pages are receiving the most non-brand traffic. This report can also highlight any areas that might benefit from seasonality or yearly trends.
- Non-brand Traffic Driving Keywords to Landing Page – once the top landing pages report has been compiled you can dive further into this metric by identifying the keywords/phrases that drove traffic to those pages. Understanding which keywords generate traffic to certain pages will help you improve the relevance of a specific page.
- Time on Site – the time on site report will provide an average time each individual has spent on the website. This report should focus on the non-brand keywords, looking at which keywords/phrases are keeping the user on site for a large amount of time, whilst looking at the other end of the spectrum and seeing which keywords might need to improve.
- Pageviews generated by non-brand traffic – for a website that does not offer a service or sell products, a pageviews report is a good metric to base a conversion on. Some websites also make money through advertising based on a pageview model. Knowing which non-brand keyword/phrase is generating the most pageviews will help you identify which keywords are more valuable.
Landing Pages Report - creating a second landing page report that includes brand terms will provide a better indication of how many pages are indexed within the SERPs. You can then compare this number to the number found within GWT and your CMS to see how much of your website has been indexed.
Top Referrers – the top referrers report is a great indication of which websites drive you traffic over a period of time. It also provides you with a source of links to analyse and potentially improve the anchor text that used to link.
Link Building Report - not many people seem to disclose their link building reports to the client, but for me it is an essential report that you should be providing. It is quite simple really; record EVERY link you create, with the date, URL where it is hosted, the anchor text and destination URL. If this is done every month you can show the client exactly what you have created, where you have created it and how many links have been created over a period of time. This is the minimum that the client should receive on a monthly basis, although a more thorough report can be time consuming.
The above SEO metrics are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what can be reported for any SEO project. This post only discusses metrics that can be used on every website; I haven’t even considered the complex reporting for eCommerce websites, which is an entirely different post altogether.
Do you agree or disagree with any of the metrics that I have mentioned above? What other metrics do you use across all your websites? I will be interested to hear your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter @danielbianchini.