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The One Report All SEO’s Should Be Presenting Every Month

I was conducting an inbound marketing review for a prospective client last week and one of the documents I came across was a monthly report from their existing SEO agency. You know the type. It had:

  • Top line conversion numbers
  • Traffic data for the month
  • A long list of keyword that are ranking

What is failed to include was any analysis, or perspective on what the numbers mean and how they could help the business generate more leads online.

I was struck that as a CMO, Director of Marketing or Business Owner that there was nothing here that could help them grow their business. No analysis, no action items or next steps.

What confounds me about agency SEO reports is that they don’t include data that is not only readily available but in a format and language that the client is already familiar with.

There is a data source that provides that sort of reporting and it is Google Webmaster Tools.

Google Webmaster Tools provides verified site owners with detailed reports about their sites visibility on Google

The screen shot below is search queries report from Google Webmaster Tool that I pulled from a client’s account.

gwt1

Note: As with all Google data, these are not total numbers but instead reflect just a portion of the data that Google has. But the sample size is big enough that we can draw some actionable conclusions from it.

Using the Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) data I showed the client that last month their website came up in 127,777 searches in Google last month, which resulted in 2,851 visitors to the website at an overall click through rate of 2.23%

A traditional SEO monthly report would show 2,851 organic visitors in March. A pretty dry number and one that is unlikely to get much conversation going with the client.

But the GWT numbers are the kind that will get a CMO, Director of Marketing or Business Owner talking and interested in hearing more. Impressions, queries, clicks and CTR are all metrics that they are familiar because of PPC or display advertising. Being able to discuss organic search with the same language as PPC and display, takes a lot of the mystery out of SEO from the client’s standpoint.

GWTs also provides a list of organic keywords that have driven traffic to the website, filling in some of the missing data from “Not Provided”. While this can be useful, the hidden gem of Webmaster Tools is the top pages tab at the top of the screen shot.

When you click on that top pages tab you are presented with the following information.

GWT2

The first column is the URL of the most visited page on the site via organic traffic. It tells you how many times that page showed up in a search (impressions), number of clicks, CTR and average position.

Most CMOs, Directors of Marketing or Business Owners cannot tell the difference between bad seo and good seo. But they do understand data and can act on that data.

In my conversation with the client I pointed out that the most visited page on the website showed up in almost 13,000 searches last month, and received 1,263 clicks for a 10% CTR. But the data also showed that the average position for the keywords associated with this page was only 23.

I also pointed out the numbers with boxes around them, which indicate pages that have a CTR below 10%, and are underperforming compared to similar pages on the website.

Based on the data we agreed on some specific tasks and goals to work on for April. By looking at the keywords, copy and meta data on these specific pages I will be able to improve the CTR on these pages, which ultimately will lead to more traffic, leads and conversions on the site.

This is the kind of SEO report that I have found works best with a CMOs, Directors of Marketing or Business Owners. It presents SEO in a language that they understand and offers a platform for SEO’s to make recommendations for how to drive more traffic to their website.