Making Sense of Monthly SEO Reports

seo reports post

In the digital landscape, websites play a crucial role in various business models. The two common types of websites we will focus on are lead-based and transaction-based. Lead-based websites aim to generate qualified leads and gather information from visitors, while transaction-based websites focus on facilitating online sales. Analyzing and reporting key performance indicators (KPIs) for these websites is essential for measuring their success and making informed decisions. A good report should consist of a dashboard that consists of updated KPIs that are quantitative. It should also contain qualitative KPIs in the form of a spreadsheet or your company’s CRM software.

Lead-based websites goal is to convert users by capturing potential customers’ information, such as email addresses, phone numbers, or other contact details. Common examples include landing pages, subscription forms, and contact us pages. The focus for these websites should be qualitative KPIs. It’s great that last month your website received 30 conversions(quantitative), but the number you should be focused on is how many of those conversions turned into qualified leads or actual jobs(qualitative). The bottom line is if you are not qualifying your leads, you need too.

Quantitative KPIs for Lead-Based Websites: Online Dashboard ReportQualitative KPIs for Lead-Based Websites: Spreadsheet or CRM Report
ConversionsQualified leads/Jobs
Cost per ConversionROI
Traffic SourcesTime on Page

Transaction-based websites are designed for online sales and commerce. These websites aim to convert visitors into paying customers. Examples include e-commerce stores, booking platforms, and subscription services.

Quantitative KPIs for Transaction-Based Websites: Online Dashboard ReportQualitative KPIs for Transaction-Based Websites: Spreadsheet or CRM Report
Cart Abandonment RateROAS
Sales Funnel Drop-offsCustomer reviews & ratings

The bottom line is if you are not qualifying your leads, you need too.

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 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!

To view your website’s organic traffic in GA4.

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 (CPL) – which is the advertising cost divided by the number of conversions each time. If 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. Again, the bottom line is if you are not qualifying your leads, then you need to start.

One metric to determine quality of leads coming from your paid campaigns is Return On Ad Spend (ROAS), which measures revenue earned for each dollar you spend on advertising.

Calculating ROAS is simple. You divide the revenue attributed to your ad campaign by the cost of that campaign. For example, if you spend $1,000 on ads, and your revenue is $2,000, you calculate ROAS by dividing $2,000 by $1,000. This gives you a ratio of 2:1 or 200%.

Many clients tend to focus on cost per click, average position, click thru rate, etc. What should be front & center is the ROI of advertising spend. If you’re running paid ads your focus should be CPL and/or ROAS.

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% of 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. You can find the GA4 referral traffic by navigating to Reports Acquisition User / Traffic Acquisition Reports. 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. Social is referral traffic. Google separates what it determines is a social site. However, social traffic tends to be not as qualified as referral traffic. It should be noted that GA4 separates social organic and paid traffic.

User Engagement and Website Load Time

Each month you should be looking at user engagement metrics. Keeping a close eye on these will allow you to identify and remedy website issues. Reporting on engagement should include:

1 Engaged Sessions:

A session is engaged if one of the following conditions is met:

  • The session lasts beyond 10 seconds,
  • The session resulted in at least one conversion events,
  • The session resulted in at least two page/screen views.

2 Average Session Duration:

 The total time of engaged sessions / total sessions.

3 Engagement Rate:

Number of engaged sessions / total number of sessions.

4 Engaged Sessions Per User:

Number of engaged sessions / total users on your site.

5 Engagement Time:

The total engagement time on your website.

6 Average Engagement Time:

The average engagement time per active user.

Follow these steps to find your “engagement rate” and other engagement metrics in Google Analytics 4

  • Choose “Acquisition” from the “Reports” section in the left-hand menu.
  • Click “View user acquisition.”
  • View your “engagement rate” and other engagement data.

It is also important to compare your pages against other similar pages to find opportunities for improvement. 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, who often will close a page taking too long to load. Google Page Insights 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.