Making Sense of Monthly SEO Reports

Reading Analytical Business SEO ReportYour monthly SEO report should be a treasure trove of useful data. It should offer clear current & historical performance indicators of your internet marketing activities. It should also contain observations and recommendations for tweaking both your website and marketing strategies. Any report is only useful if it’s easily understood & actionable. Here is an example report we offer our clients for perspective.

Organic Search Traffic

Website visitors arrive on your website from many different channels – these channels are usually (but not limited to) organic search, paid search, direct traffic and referring websites. If your website marketing is focused on organic traffic or free clicks from search engines, organic traffic visitor trends are what you need to be looking at to identify if your marketing effort is  driving visitors to your website. While visitors are great, the real goal is to convert these visitors into paying customers. To track that important metric, you want to look at how many opportunities or phone calls and emails that are coming from this visitor segment. If your organic marketing campaign is both bringing in more organic visitors each month and leading to more conversions your campaign is on the right track!

Paid Search Traffic

If utilizing paid search marketing via text and image ads on Google, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, LinkedIn is your focus, there are specific metrics that are more important than others. When you factor in contextual ad campaigns, display ad campaigns and remarketing ad campaigns the amount of reporting and data can get overwhelming very quickly. The one metric we tend to focus on is cost per lead – which is the advertising cost divided by the number of conversions in a given time period. Let’s say you spent $10,000 last month and received 100 combined calls and form submissions – this would give you a cost per lead of $100. Ideally over time this cost per lead value will either remain consistent or become lower over time. Many clients tend to focus on cost per click, average position, click thru rate, etc. while what should be front & center is the ROI of advertising spend.

Referral & Social Traffic

Referral clicks, or people arriving on your website from clicking a link on a different website can make up anywhere from 10% to 50% your overall site visits. For instance if you have a Houzz profile and have included your website link in your profile, visitors can click your website link from your Houzz profile and will be taken right to your website. This would show up in your analytics reporting under the referring website segment. It is very important to keep track of these visitors – specifically  who is converting and the referring website the people who are converting came from. See a lot of people coming from Yelp and converting? Perhaps advertising on Yelp would be a good next step to increase the number of conversions in the future, provided the cost per lead is within an acceptable range. Social clicks are people coming from Facebook, Twitter, etc. and can be very important per your individual marketing efforts.

User Engagement and Website Load Time

Each month you should be looking at user engagement metrics such as site-wide average time on site, average number of pages visited and average time it takes for your website to render. These metrics help report on user engagement. Keeping a close eye on these will allow you to identify and remedy website issues. It is also important to compare your pages against other similar pages to find opportunities for improvements. Keeping close watch on your website load speed time is critical – the time it takes for your website to render directly impacts your site visitors, whom often times will close a page taking too long to load. Pingdom offers a great tool to check your site load time.

Use Data That Matters

At the end of the day (or month) the specific key performance indicators (KPIs) that you use to gauge your website performance and marketing efforts should be directly matched to your marketing objectives and activities. These KPIs should be decided on during the planning stages of any marketing campaign, then clearly tracked via ongoing reporting. The time effort & money invested into internet marketing campaigns are only properly utilized when clear & actionable reports are being created, read & discussed by key members of both the client and marketing service provider.