What SEO Metrics Should I Include in My Reports?

SEO reportSEO is usually a long-term strategy. It’s therefore necessary to provide clients with regular reports that measure progress, show that proposed benchmarks have been reached and—most importantly—assure your clients that SEO is a revenue center. So what’s the best way to measure progress? There are any number of SEO metrics that you can include in your reports. However, the best SEO reports use metrics that matter to your clients.

It’s important to realize that certain metrics (such as index-to-crawl ratio) are more interesting to SEOs than to executives. Here are some metrics to include in your SEO reports that are not only essential to measuring SEO progress, but also should interest your clients.

Total Organic Traffic

Although organic traffic is among the softer of SEO metrics, your clients will likely expect it in their reports. While advanced SEOs realize that measuring total organic traffic is hardly the be-all-end-all benchmark of success, it’s still an important overall indicator, especially when compared to overall traffic. Large fluctuations in organic traffic should prompt closer examination.

Content Analysis

Most SEO service contracts include collaborating with content providers to ensure that a large portion of content matches with search and social media demand. Though you might not include a content analysis in monthly reports, we recommend that you break down a client’s content by segment in quarterly reports. This can help them identify which media types, and topics, are best at driving traffic. A content analysis report can therefore help your clients maximize their content marketing ROI.

Number of Unique Keywords Driving Traffic

A low number of unique keyword driving traffic indicates a fundamental problem with SEO, a lack of content, or an exceptionally competitive industry. Over time, there should be an incremental number of non-branded keyphrases driving traffic. This has traditionally been a good metric with which to report overall SEO growth.

The usefulness of this metric began to diminish somewhat in November 2011, when Google implemented a policy that withholds keyword-based referral data for users that are signed into any of Google services (the same does not hold true for paid search). Though Google initially estimated that the percentage of hidden referral data would be in single digits, our own data demonstrates that this often is not the case. Currently, the percentage of hidden keyword referral data ranges from between 8 and 15%, depending on the customer.

The percentage of hidden referral data will correlate with grown or shrinkage of Google services such as Google+ and Gmail. As SEOs, we know that any amount of keyword referral data is better than none. However, it’s possible—even probable—that even as you increase your client’s traffic, the number of unique keywords that are driving that traffic might appear to drop due to the success of Google services. For this reason, you may, at some point, wish to reconsider the usefulness of this data in your reports.

Number of Landing Pages Driving Traffic

If you are working with clients that have multiple web properties or domains that abound with landing pages, your clients will likely want to know how many of those landing pages are actually driving traffic. Much like keywords, the number of unique landing pages that create traffic can be a viable barometer of SEO growth.

If particular landing pages aren’t driving traffic, it might be time to either optimize, discontinue, or allocate paid search resources to those pages. SEO automation tools can help suggest actionable recommendations to improve individual page performance.

Social Media Metrics

Make no mistake: social media data is now an integral component of SEO strategies. As the Web gets more social, your clients are going to be increasingly interested in the impact that real-time dynamics have on their SEO. In addition to including obvious social metrics like number of Facebook fans and Twitter followers, consider reporting behavioral metrics like number of unsubscribers and interactions-per-post. We also recommend including the percentage of their traffic that is being generated by various social media channels. This can be accomplished by implementing a sharing plugin like AddThis in order to accrue social analytics.

Video Views

Video is often an important component of a brand’s content marketing efforts. Whether your client is hosting videos on their site or embedding videos from video-sharing sites like Youtube, it can be beneficial to measure video views over time. In addition to measuring video views, we recommend using Google Analytics to create a custom segment that keeps track of all of your clients’ pages that contain video. You can therefore compare the way that their pages with videos perform compared to pages that are simply text-based.

 Leads from Organic Traffic

Even if your client isn’t using a customer relationship management (CRM) tool, it’s possible to use content management systems like Joomla, Drupal or WordPress to capture leads that are generated through organic channels. Of course, the easiest way to generate organic lead data is by using a CRM app like SEO for Salesforce. Through CRM integration, you can go beyond reporting organic lead generation to actually report organic ROI.


About Jesse Davis

Jesse Davis is a content marketing copywriter at DemandResults. He graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in history. In his free time, he blogs, writes fiction, plays guitar and spends far too much time on social media sites.

8 Responses to “What SEO Metrics Should I Include in My Reports?”

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