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What Your Monthly SEO Report Should Look Like

August 11, 2015

What you will learn: The specific items that should (and should not) appear on your monthly SEO report.

Who should read this article: Marketing leadership.

Look for Transparency and Appropriate Details

Reputable SEO companies provide transparent, detailed and relevant reports every month. This enables you, the client, to know exactly what SEO work has been done during the month, and what specific results have been achieved.

Transparent, detailed and relevant reporting gives you the ability to assess the value of your SEO campaign – and the true value of the SEO company doing the work.

SEO Report Essentials

A High-Level Summary. Each month your account manager provides customized details from his or her analysis of your campaign's SEO metrics.

Validated Leads. You want to see a benchmark month for validated leads, and then a year-over-year comparison for the current reporting month. These numbers show the campaign’s growth from the first month to the current reporting month, together with a year-over-year view of the current calendar month. (The key here is validated leads. Unless your SEO company has the ability to separate actual sales leads from other types of inquiries, such as personal phone calls and sales solicitations, the number of reported “leads” will be greatly inflated and you will overestimate the success of your campaign.)

Organic Traffic. You want to see a benchmark month for organic search traffic and then a year-over-year comparison for the current reporting month. These numbers demonstrate the campaign’s growth from the first month to the current reporting month, together with a year-over-year view of the current calendar month. Monthly numbers on direct and referral traffic should also be available, as SEO efforts increase those numbers as well.

Actions. Your SEO company must be transparent in the tasks it completes each month. While your main focus is validated sales leads and organic search traffic, understanding how your money is being spent and what tasks are working towards your goals are important.

Phone Calls. Every detail of every phone call should be available, including a way to listen to a recording of each call and the ability to download all data into an Excel spreadsheet. This data is the proof behind the count of how many calls were received. You need to be able to distinguish how many phone calls were sales leads vs. non-leads. If that information is not available, you can safely assume 40% of the phone calls are not sales leads. Phone call data to look for:

  • Date and time of the phone call
  • Recording of the phone call (in a .mp3 or .wav file format)
  • Marketing source
  • Segmentation of validated sales leads vs. non-leads
  • Keyword (if search engine other than Google)
  • Call duration
  • Caller name
  • Caller location (city, state)
  • Referral URL
  • Website entry URL
  • IP address
  • Browser type

Form Submissions. Every detail of every form submission should be provided, as well as a way to download all data into an Excel spreadsheet. This data is the proof behind the count of how many form submissions were received. You need to be able to distinguish how many form submissions were sales leads vs. non-leads. If this information is not available, you can safely assume 40% of the forms are not sales leads. Form data to look for:

  • Date and time of the form submission
  • Text of every form field
  • Marketing source
  • Segmentation of validated sales leads vs. non-leads
  • Keyword (if search engine other than Google)
  • Referral URL
  • Website entry URL
  • Pre-conversion URL
  • Conversion URL
  • IP address
  • Browser type

Items That DON’T Belong on Your SEO Report

Rankings. Companies reporting rankings are way behind the times. This is no longer a metric that professional SEO companies should be using.

Leads (that are not validated). See the earlier discussion of validated leads for an understanding of this.

Total Website Traffic. Believe it or not, some SEO companies report total website traffic instead of organic traffic. Make sure you see organic traffic in the report.

Yahoo. If an SEO company mentions Yahoo, it is behind the times. Only two major search engines count today: Google and Bing. Yahoo search is really Bing results.

Number of Phone Calls from SEO, without the data behind them. If you see the number of phone calls but no data behind those calls, how can you trust that those phone calls really took place? Or more importantly, were the calls actual sales leads? The truth is that you cannot possibly know for sure without being able to review the critical data points to verify the accuracy of your reports.

Number of Form Submissions from SEO, without the data behind them. If you see a total for the number of form submissions, but no data behind it, how can you trust that those form submissions really took place, or more importantly, were really sales leads? The truth is that you can't. You need to see granular form data to know your reports are accurate.

Questions about your SEO reporting? Contact Straight North for honest answers.

Call us at 855-883-0011 or request a quote online.

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