“Let’s hop on a call to go over this report.”
Did you hear that?
That was the collective sigh of SEOs all over the place.
If we’re being trustworthy, most of us in all probability view reporting the identical manner we view taking out the trash or folding the laundry. It’s a chore that robs us of time we might have spent on extra necessary or satisfying issues.
Adding to the frustration is the fact that many consumers don’t even learn their stories. That’s proper. All that point you set into pulling collectively your knowledge and the report is likely to be ceaselessly resigned to the dusty nook of your shopper’s inbox.
In the phrases of Mama Boucher, reporting is the satan.
Hear me out although… have you ever ever considered reporting as a shopper retention device? While reporting is one thing that takes your time away from SEO work that strikes the needle, reporting can also be important if you wish to have a marketing campaign to work on in any respect.
In different phrases, no reporting = no worth communicated = no extra shopper.
The excellent news is that the reverse can also be true. When we do SEO reporting nicely, we talk our price and maintain extra shoppers, which is one thing that each company and advisor can agree is necessary.
That all sounds good, however how can we do this? Throughout my six years at an SEO company, I picked up some reporting ideas that I hope you’ll be capable of profit from as nicely.
P.S. If you haven’t seen it already, Moz’s personal Meghan Pahinui wrote an incredible publish for the Moz weblog on creating related and interesting SEO stories utilizing Moz Pro Campaigns. Definitely test it out!
1. Report on what they care about
I’ve seen my share of stories that highlighted metrics that simply didn’t mirror any of the shopper’s fundamental targets. Your shoppers are busy — the primary sight of one thing irrelevant and so they’ll lose curiosity, so make your stories rely!
My course of for figuring out what I ought to report on is pretty easy:
- Identify the enterprise goal
- Create an SEO plan that can assist obtain that objective
- Execute the plan
- Report on the metrics that greatest measure the work I did
In different phrases, select applicable KPIs to match their enterprise targets and your technique, and keep on with these on your reporting.
2. Set particular objectives
You: “Good news! We got 4,000 organic visits last month.”
Client: “Why wasn’t it 5,000?”
If that’s ever occurred to you earlier than, you’re not alone.
This easy step is really easy to overlook, however be certain your objectives are particular and mutually agreed upon earlier than you begin! At the start of the month, inform your shopper what your objective is (ex: “We hope to be able to get 4,000 organic visits”). That manner, whenever you overview your report, you’ll be capable of objectively say whether or not you missed/hit/exceeded your targets.
three. Eliminate jargon
Your shoppers are professionals in their very own fields, not yours, so be certain to depart the shop-talking to Twitter. Before sending out a report, ask your self:
- Have I outlined all probably complicated metrics? I’ve seen some SEOs embody a mini-glossary or analogies to elucidate a few of their charts — I like this! It actually helps disambiguate metrics which might be straightforward to misconceive.
- Am I utilizing phrases that aren’t used outdoors my very own echo chamber? Some phrases change into so ubiquitous in our instant circles that we assume everybody makes use of them. In many instances, we’re utilizing jargon with out even realizing it!
Simply put, use clear language and layman’s phrases in your shopper’s SEO stories. You received’t serve anybody by complicated them.
four. Visualize your knowledge in significant methods
I as soon as heard a shopper describe a report as “pretty, but useless.”
They had some extent although. Their report was filled with pie charts and line graphs that, whereas important-looking, conveyed no which means to them.
Part of that “meaning” comes right down to reporting on the metrics your shopper cares about (see #1), however the different half of that’s selecting the way you’ll show that info.
There are some nice sources on Moz about knowledge visualization equivalent to Demystifying Data Visualization for Marketers, a video of Annie Cushing’s discuss at MozCon 2014, and A Visualization Prescription for Impactful Data Storytelling, a Whiteboard Friday video by Lea Pica.
Resources like that can provide help to rework your knowledge from metrics right into a story that conveys which means to your shoppers, so don’t skimp on this step!
5. Provide insights, not simply metrics
I bear in mind the primary time somebody defined to me the distinction between metrics and insights. I used to be blown away.
It appears so easy now, however in my earliest days in digital advertising, I principally seen “reporting” as synonymous with “data.” Raw, numeric, mind-numbing knowledge.
The key to creating your stories extra significant to your shoppers is knowing that pure metrics don’t have intrinsic knowledge. You must unify the information in significant methods and pull out insights that assist your shopper perceive not simply what the numbers are however why they matter.
I discover it useful to ask “so what?” when going by means of a report. Client’s rating on web page 1 for this listing of key phrases? That’s cool, however why ought to my shopper care about this? How is it contributing to their objectives? Work on answering that query earlier than you talk your stories.
6. Connect SEO outcomes to income
I’m going to be trustworthy, this one is difficult.
First of all, SEO is just a few layers faraway from conversions. When it involves “the big three” (as I prefer to seek advice from rankings, site visitors, and conversions), SEOs can:
- Most immediately affect rankings
- Influence natural site visitors, however rather less immediately than rankings. For instance, natural site visitors can go down regardless of sustained rankings attributable to issues like seasonality.
- Influence natural conversions, however even much less immediately than site visitors. Everything from the web site design to the product/service itself can have an effect on that.
Second, it may be troublesome to attach SEO to income particularly on web sites the place the last word conversion occurs offline (ex: lead gen). In order to tie natural site visitors to income, you’ll wish to arrange objective conversions and add a worth to these conversions in your analytics, however right here’s the place that will get troublesome:
- Clients usually don’t know their common LCV (lifetime buyer worth)
- Clients usually don’t know their common shut charge (the tough share of leads that they shut)
- Clients know, however they don’t wish to share this info with you
Everyone has a unique reporting methodology, however I personally are inclined to advocate for not less than making an attempt to attach SEO to income. I’ve been in sufficient conditions the place our shopper dropped us as a result of they noticed us as a cost-center somewhat than a profit-center to know that speaking your worth in financial phrases can imply the distinction between maintaining your shopper or not.
Even although you’ll be able to’t immediately affect conversions and even when your shopper can solely provide you with a tough ballpark determine for LCV and shut charge, it’s higher than nothing.
7. Be obtainable to fill within the gaps
Not every part will be defined in a report. Even in case you’re in a position so as to add textual content commentary to elaborate in your knowledge, there’s nonetheless the chance key level can be misplaced in your shopper fully. Expect this!
I’ve seen loads of shopper reporting calls go nicely over an hour. While no two conditions are alike, I feel beginning with a report that incorporates clear insights on the KPIs your shopper cares about will do wonders for shortening that dialog.
Your shoppers will be capable of perceive these insights on their very own, which frees you up so as to add context and reply any questions with out getting slowed down with back-and-forth over “red herring” metrics that distract from the primary level.
I wish to hear from you!
What about you? Every SEO has their very own reporting greatest practices, wins, and horror tales — I wish to hear yours!
- What reporting trick do you could have up your sleeve that might assist your fellow SEOs save time (& their sanity)?
- What’s your greatest reporting wrestle and the way are you making an attempt to unravel it?
- What’s an instance of a time when reporting performed a task in salvaging a shopper relationship?
We’re on this collectively — so let’s be taught from one another!
And if you’d like extra the place this got here from, please contemplate downloading our free whitepaper: High-Impact SEO Reporting for Agencies! It’s full of recommendation and useful ideas for utilizing stories to speak worth to your shoppers.
Read the whitepaper