Here’s a crazy statistic: According to a 2016 Econsultancy report, just 22 percent of businesses are happy with their SEO conversion rates.
This means the other 78 percent can’t be all that happy with their SEO efforts. Heck, they might not even know why they’re not satisfied.
This is why getting the utmost out of your SEO reporting is crucial.
That’s true whether you’re an SEO expert helping clients out or the owner of their own business trying to learn SEO on the fly. Here are six tips to help you along the way.
1. Make Sure Goals and Conversions Are Set up Correctly
One of the more routine rookie SEO reporting mistakes we see is not having goals and conversion targets set up properly in Google Analytics. Sometimes they’re not set up at all.
In fact, only 44 percent of small businesses do any kind of ROI tracking, Search Engine Land reports.
That’s pretty funny when you consider that 62 percent of those same small businesses say they believe their digital marketing is effective. How do they know?
You can set up goals for a destination, time on page, user interactions, pages and screens per session, and more.
You can also set up and assign a monetary value to goals and conversions, which helps give a much better picture of how your SEO is affecting your bottom line.
Learn more from Google themselves.
2. Automate Your Google Analytics Reports
This is one of those classic “spend a little bit of time now to save a lot of time later” recommendations.
You’ll have to use your Google Analytics dashboard to make sure you’ve got your SEO reporting set up exactly the way you like it. But once you do, download the free Google Analytics add-on for Google Sheets to automate your reporting.
Not only will this save you time on sorting through analytics, date ranges, and segments through the Analytics dashboard (it’ll save right to your Google Drive instead), it’s also readily shareable.
Another benefit of using this add-on, which pulls directly from the API, is that it will force you to take a close look at what all the most relevant metrics are for your SEO reporting.
You’ll streamline your thinking and receive a streamlined report in turn.
3. Analyze Your Growth Trends Separately
Speaking of refining your SEO reporting, this is a good time to remind people that you should be looking at all your growth trends separately.
There’s a tendency to lump all traffic data in together but to get a clearer picture of how marketing efforts going, you need to separate them out to identify clear trends.
It’s not enough to compare the traffic for AdWords campaigns versus your organic traffic versus your paid social one month.
Instead, you should dig down into each individual category, analyze their trends separately, and work backward to determine how each is affecting the other.
This is also a good methodology troubleshooting a sudden change in SEO results. The origins of an issue are not always where you’d think on first instinct.
4. Check Your “Not Provideds”
Ah, the dreaded (not provided) category. The bane of doing good SEO reporting.
If you’ve only got a small percentage of your overall organic search traffic coming in as “not provided,” disregard this. This category came about in the first place to protect the privacy of users who are logged into Google’s network.
If you’re at, say, 10 percent or less “not provided,” move on to the next point.
For the rest of you, there’s a workaround.
Go ahead and sign up for Google Search Console if you haven’t already. Then link your Analytics account to Google Search Console.
This will give you access to Search Console data in your analytics and shed light on those not provided keywords for your SEO reporting.
5. Always Look at the Big Picture
One of the reasons that Search Console data is so important for your SEO analysis is that it helps give you a full picture of how users are coming to your site.
Using the Dashboard function in Google Analytics, you can click “Add Widget” to customize an interface of all the data you or client specifically needs a birds’-eye view of on each login.
Here are a few of your options, though feel free to dig deeper:
- Organic Visits
- Mobile vs. Site Revenue
- Best Performing Organic Keywords
- Conversions and Goal Completions
- Bounce Rate
- Unique Visitors
- New Users
- Top Non-Branded Keywords
- Sessions by Bounce Rate (filter by campaign or source/medium, if you’d like!)
The sky’s the limit. This will help you compare search volume metrics (i.e. search visibility), how your goals and conversions, campaigns, and more, are performing at a glance.
If you have multiple clients, it’s good to create a custom dashboard for each one based on your understanding of their needs and objectives.
6. Have Active Meetings with Your Clients-or Yourself-on SEO Reporting
Customization, by the way, is very, very good.
Why? Because it shows that you understand your clients’ unique needs. Just like Google’s algorithm is always evolving, so should your reporting.
Goals change. Metrics change. Even users’ habits change.
Whether you’re presenting to a client or if you are the client, don’t treat SEO reporting sessions like a dull presentation.
Instead, think of it as an SEO conversation. Don’t be afraid of the results. Explore them together.
That way, you’ll be well-positioned to tweak settings, change methods, set new goals, and drop old strategies without having to make uncomfortable excuses. You’re in it to win it, and they’re in it with you.
When in Doubt, Ask the Experts
SEO can be a minefield, but even if you have it handled, there are other pieces of your business’s overall marketing picture that might need a leg up. Maybe you need a better PPC approach, a custom website design, a new social media approach, or a marketing strategy refresh.
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