Your monthly SEO reports tell you a lot. Not only about how your website is performing, but they also reveal a lot about the SEO agency that’s producing them.
Reports are very customisable and every agency has their own style, but no matter how they’re dressed up they should always show how SEO work is contributing to your SEO goals.
The following post is an outline of best practice reporting. Read through the information to see what should be included in an SEO report and how your agency’s report measures up.
When compared to the same period in the previous year, traffic and conversion performance are important metrics for SEO as they provide an objective way of measuring long-term performance.
The year on year performance is also unaffected by seasonal or month-on-month changes in demand, so you get a better ‘big picture’ view.
In most cases, conversions reflect actions taken by site visitors that result in (or contribute to) them becoming leads or sales. Downloads and subscriptions are classic examples of a ‘conversion’.
Measuring the increase and growth of conversions is an important metric because this helps you understand how well your optimisation efforts are working.
By looking at month on month conversions you can see if the changes you or your agency is making are resulting in improved revenue (or potential future revenue).
Although this can be tricky to measure (Google limits the availability of keyword data), partial data is available inside Google Search Console and Google Analytics.
This data is enough to be able to identify upward or downward trends in branded searches, as well as the proportion of branded searches to non-branded searches.
Your SEO agency should take steps to highlight this for you, as an increase in branded traffic may falsely inflate the organic traffic stats.
Your top performing landing pages reflect which pages are bringing in more traffic and / or conversions.
Your SEO agency should identify and explain which of their actions resulted in improved landing page performance. Positive findings can then be reapplied to other lower performing pages.
Under performing landing pages should be identified and a plan should be made to improve them.
Your top 10 (or first page) keyword rankings are the major drivers of your organic traffic.
Understanding which keywords have moved up or down within the Top 10 ranking positions provides a good basis for understanding the causes of traffic improvements or declines and, therefore, where to invest more optimisation time.
Your SEO agency should have a handle on changes within the Top 10 and why these are occurring.
Another key driver for changes in month to month traffic is search demand, which estimates how often users search for particular products and services. You may see months where rankings are up significantly, but organic traffic is down. In most cases, this is the result of lower search demand (or seasonality).
Your SEO agency should be aware of changes in your businesses seasonality and when to expect higher or lower search demand for your products and services.
Content impacts SEO performance in a number of direct and indirect ways.
Your SEO agency should provide insight into how content is performing and how they plan to use content to further grow your online visibility.
Declining rankings can be the result of technical issues on your website, but if things have not changed too drastically, this is most often related to stronger competition.
Tracking your competitors’ ranking performance for your targeted keywords is the simplest way of gaining intelligence on how their search visibility (or search engine market share) is improving or declining in relation to yours.
Your SEO agency should provide clear insight into threats posed by your competition and how these strategic measures should be initiated to counter these.
If your report contains all the above information and metrics in a clear and easy to understand way then they’re right on the money. If you find that something is missing it means that they’re not giving you the full story. We suggest you chat to them and find out exactly why they’re not providing you with this data.
And if you think your agency might be dropping the ball in some other areas as well, you can take our SEO Agency Performance Grader Quiz to find out exactly where they might be falling short.