Whether as an in-house SEO or while working at an agency, I've had to discuss SEO reporting for every site I've ever worked on. What data should we report on? How frequently should reports be created? What should the reports look like? On very rare occasions, the answers were entirely up to me to determine in which case I would fall back on years of experience to come up with a solution that suited the situation. More often though, I'm part of a dialogue where I try to translate what's being requested into what is actually needed. And sometimes, although rare, it doesn't matter at all what I say, as I'm given explicit instructions I have little choice but to follow. I'm going to look at the reports that I'm typically asked to deliver with the aim of describing a few tweaks that will hopefully make your own efforts more valuable.
No discussion about SEO reporting would be complete without mentioning ranking reports. While many would like them to go away, I've yet to work on an SEO engagement where ranking reports weren't requested as part of the deliverables.
What to Do
SERP Share of Voice
The share-of-voice report can be useful in highlighting how well-known or unknown competitors are performing in the SERPs (assuming you find rankings informative). In this report, the sum of rankings for each site for a given set of keywords is compared side by side typically using a pie or bar chart.
What to Do
Traffic and Conversions From Organic Results
If you could do just one report to demonstrate the progress of your SEO effort, reporting on organic traffic and the resulting conversions would be it. Such a report has the advantage of being easy for non-SEOs to wrap their heads around (as opposed to the share-of-voice report, which often causes a lot of confusion) while also showing the value of the SEO effort (as opposed to ranking reports, which just imply value).
What to Do
These three reports are the typical ones that I've been asked to deliver. There are, however, many more that I create to diagnose problems and to identify opportunities. These other reports aren't deliverables in and of themselves, but the actions they inspire make them very useful. Of course, some of these other reports are part of what makes up this SEO's secret sauce, but I'll still share at least some of them in a future post.
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Marios Alexandrou is the East Coast Director of SEO for Steak's Search Marketing team and has a background in web development and project management. While he loathes to tell people just how long he's been working with computers, he will admit that his first computer had just 16KB of memory.
His SEO experience includes work with both in-house and agency teams ranging from one-man shows to 20+ dedicated SEO strategists. He has worked with organizations of all sizes and across multiple industries including hospitality, financial services, publishing, and healthcare. He particularly likes to use his combination of skills to identify ways to scale SEO activities through process standardization and automation.
In addition to writing about SEO for ClickZ, Marios also writes on the broader area of Internet marketing for Infolific.
March 19, 2014