Analytics, Analytics, Analytics is all we hear these days. From predicting traffic jams to determining when it will rain, we rely on analytics to determine the pattern and behavior of specific variables. A website is no different in this regard- SEO reports are generated by agencies to show their clients the activity of the website as well as some off-page factors that heavily weigh on their ranking in search engines.
However, all too often, clients are presented with countless pages of reports that look more like a Rorschach Test or a Jackson Pollock painting rather than specific key insights in what strategies can be implemented to achieve business objectives.
The main objective of an SEO Report should be to show their client whatever their doing is actuality working and is achieving results that positively impact their respective business. With that being said, it’s important to ask yourself what is it that a client would consider progress:
- Are they interested in getting more traffic to their website?
- Improve overall sales?
- Increase Rankings on Google?
Regardless of their exact company goals, agencies need to create reports that are specific, straightforward, and easy to understand to remind their clients why they are investing in SEO in the first place. If a report is too long, the client will lose interest right away. If the report is too short, they may wonder why their paying for this service.
This article will discuss some information that should be included in every SEO report and why it’s imperative that your SEO agency understands exactly what you are looking for.
1. Identify Your Objectives
What is the current SEO goal and does it align with your company’s business objectives?
Before any of the reports can or should be generated, the number one question is determining what you’re setting out to accomplish. Its crucial to outline your SEO goals clearly at the beginning of the process. A good agency will guide you to understand exactly what is possible, what is likely and what is farfetched. Setting realistic expectations will help both the client and the agency get on the same page.
For instance, we had a client that said that they want to rank on the first page for a keyword in a city that was populated with thousands of business doing the exact same thing. When this occurs, An SEO Agency should explain what it takes to rank in that industry for those keywords so they can be acquainted with the factors that Google values.
30% of something sounds a lot better than 100% of nothing.
Unfortunately, the short answer is: you can’t rank for those keywords. However, an Agency will be able to show the keywords that are highly attainable that still have a good amount of traffic. I explain to all my clients that it’s better to focus on keywords that have some traffic and little competition versus focusing on keywords that generate a lot of traffic with thousands of competitors.
2. Outline Your Process
What work will be done to meet these goals?
This is where a good digital marketing agency will show what they have done to help their client achieve their business goals. You may see a list of all the work that the company has done and an explanation as to why it’s important in the first place. This may be on page issues such as fixing missing meta descriptions, resolving 404 pages and optimized targeted keywords in the right areas. Unsparingly, clients want to see that their investment is actually paying off.
Of course, there is no way around it. An SEO report will be full of measurements all over the place. However, don’t let this intimidate you. A good Agency will try to paint a picture or tell a story a to what all these numbers mean rather than just dumping it off on a piece of paper. If you have a question, don’t be afraid to ask if. There are no bad questions. You’ll be surprised as to what you can discover just inquiring about a specific category of the report.
However, if you come across a report that is either too small (less than 2 pages) or too long (over 8 pages), that is the sign of a bad story.
3. The Good And The Bad
Show what is working and what needs more attention?
Unless you have never focused on any marketing channels, chances are that you have had at least some success in the past. Let your agency know where it was. An agency can help you rank higher on search engines but they can do a much better job if the process is more of a collaboration rather than just a one-sided story.
If you want to rank for keywords in your specific city, let your agency know this and see what strategies they have in place to get you to where you want to go. An SEO should be viewed more like a roadmap that shows a client exactly where they have been and where they want to go, as well as what it takes to get there.
See if the report highlights and breaks down the good, the bad and the ugly. What I mean is that an effective SEO report will illustrate what is working and what needs more work and time. I have seen many clients who think that SEO is some magical tool that takes a few days to implement but sadly it is not; it requires a lot of work on the part of the agency and some patience on the part of the client.
4. Future Actions
What are the next steps that should be taken?
The last page of any report should summarize what was included in the report as well and the next steps that need to be taken to either improve and continue the success of the website.
Don’t be fooled with positive reports in the beginning; the truest test of a good SEO campaign comes in the form of time when you are able to see progress from the first report to the most recent one.
Regardless, every company should be focused on improving their digital footprint because if you’re not, rest assured your competitors are!