What KPIs should you expect in an SEO agency report?
There are many metrics to consider when building a digital strategy for your business. As a business owner or manager, it can be challenging to identify, measure and evaluate your website’s key performance indicators (KPIs).
You may have decided that an SEO company can help out. After all, great SEO companies are positioned to implement data-driven digital strategies and regular reporting, with the view to properly evaluate how these metrics are impacting your business’s bottom line.
Typically speaking, a good SEO company will provide you with a monthly (at the very least) analytics report, outlining any progress that has been made and indicating areas for improvement. Ultimately, an SEO agency report is based on transparency and accountability. It's a tool to empower business owners and managers by giving them an insight into another aspect of their business’s strategy.
Depending on the business, an SEO report should include a summary or work completed, website performance, keyword performance and business results. In this article, we'll break down each of these broad sections into specific items to look for in your SEO agency report.
Strategy and project management
It is important that your SEO agency provides a monthly breakdown of their strategy for your business. You're their client, so you should have a good idea of where they're spending a bulk of their time. Plus, it always helps to know what was changed, optimised and published.
As a guide, a comprehensive SEO strategy breakdown could include items such as:
- Account overview – The progress of strategy and how it has been implemented over the month.
- Competitor analysis – Identifying competing SEO strategies and new opportunities.
- Project management – A breakdown of tasks completed during the month, either by person or department.
- Key results – A breakdown of what has been achieved and what goals still need to be met.
- The following month's plan – A plan for the month ahead, including new opportunities, tasks and assets to be created.
Note that not all of this needs to be in a single document. Maybe your agency communicates this with you throughout the month. Or maybe they catch up with you during a monthly meeting.
However they communicate with you, it remains a good idea to formalise reporting processes in writing. This way, you can easily check to see if your SEO agency is following their strategy and completing the work that was promised you.
Assessing website performance
The goal of SEO is to increase relevant traffic back to your business website. That means the performance of your website should be a key part of assessing your SEO agency's performance.
However, understanding how a website is performing is not a cut-and-dry task. There are a range of factors to consider when it comes to website performance indicators. These could include:
- The authority of your domain name – The strength of your business domain name is usually assessed through third-party tools such as Majestic and Moz.
- Session and traffic data – Session data is simple to understand. What you should also know are additional metrics, such as the breakdown between new users and returning users. Think about how this data could help improve the rest of your marketing efforts.
- Traffic sources – This data will help you understand your most important digital marketing channels, including the share from organic search and referring websites.
- CTRs and CRO – It's important to assess whether inbound traffic is relevant to your business. And since Google's Rankbrain assesses the relevancy of page content to search engine users, on-page and content optimisation becomes a key part of SEO.
With these recommendations documented, it makes it simple to pass on content or development work to other teams' or individuals, such as your web developer. Business results improve when SEO works together with your other business functions. If your business doesn't have access to a range of specialist skills, a full-service digital agency could be a solution.
Assessing keyword performance
Keyword ranking is an essential part of a good SEO agency report. Keywords, of course, are the words and phrases the users on search engines will use to find your business. Keyword metrics measure the effectiveness of your keywords in driving organic traffic to your website.
Most SEO agencies should be able to provide a list of your top performing keywords, including their position change in search engine results. You should also be provided with an average change in the position of all your keywords.
This information is useful if you're targeting a specific keyword or a range of keywords. Analysing the position changes will reveal how effective the SEO strategy has been that month. However, note that 'long tail' keywords make up a large amount of search volume and this long list of unique search terms are unlikely to be revealed in the reports.
Aligning SEO with business goals
Establishing business goals is at the heart of a strong SEO agency report. A good SEO company is not just a partner that focuses on getting traffic to a website. Instead, the agency will work with their client at the outset to understand their business goals and build their SEO strategy to match these goals.
In other words, SEO should help the business acquire the right type of customers at the right time. It should generate sales of your best products and services.
If your business has an eCommerce aspect, such as a checkout or online store, then SEO agencies can integrate SEO data with your sales reports. Sales data is important to track because it can show you the real return on your SEO investment, helping you better understand the value of your digital business.
The future of SEO reporting
Forward-thinking SEO companies are investing in software platforms to optimise the reporting process. Soon, simple emails and PDFs documents will not suffice the data needs of a business. Clients should be able to access their SEO agency's performance data in the moments when they need it.
Ideally, these platforms help bring together business strategy with digital strategy. At the end of the day, the ultimate goal of SEO reporting is better communication, integration, growth and accountability around an SEO program.
Want to know more about SEO reporting? Talk to one of our SEO specialists in Melbourne today.
Digital360 on 15 May 2017
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