Google Analytics is great at collecting lots of data for your clients, but once you create a graph or a spreadsheet showing traffic and keyword trends, many customers will ask, “What’s next?” There is no shortage of website data available, but the hard part is figuring out how to create a useful SEO report that will help clients improve their return on investment and keep them happy.
Reports are an easy element of SEO marketing to overlook. While creating a report by itself does not magically lead to more hits on a client’s website, creating an actionable report is an essential tool that will make you more effective and help you retain clients.
How to Present an SEO Report
SEO reports force you to sit down with your clients and discuss the goals of their SEO strategy, measure their progress, and plan for future growth and effectiveness. As you look at the various reporting tools available, you’ll need to think of various ways to present data to different clients and different groups within larger organizations.
SEO expert Max Thomas suggests that a report to a marketing team should include more data and metrics as well as analysis that makes it easier for them to report to their superiors, while a report to a boss or board will need to be stripped of search jargon and focus on analysis that summarizes your findings in a way that shows your SEO work is contributing to brand awareness and the bottom line.
Sam Crocker of OMD UK, writes on the SEOMoz blog, “there is no question that you will prepare a report differently for the Board than you will do for the developers or an in-house SEO. Make sure you know who will be reading the report and create different reports where necessary.” Different actions will be required by each segment of a company, and therefore be sure your reports target the specializations of each department—such as return on investment for the boss or keyword competition analysis for the marketing team.
One of the most attractive tools for generating an SEO report is Workbooks CRM because of its price tag (free) and its powerful ability to track the conversions generated from keyword traffic.
Daniel Bianchini of SEOptimise writes in Search Engine Journal, “Workbooks is able to track from first touch all the way through to conversion from the site, and then on to completion of the buying cycle. With all this information you are then able to produce incredibly insightful reports and calculate ROI down to keyword level, allowing better analysis of SEO and PPC campaign effectiveness and improved efficiency in the allocation of budgets.”
Besides SEO effectiveness, you need to be able to present why the current ROI justifies maintaining the current strategy, adjusting it, or giving it a complete overhaul. In other words, the profitability of your marketing business and your clients rests on presenting a clear, easy-to-follow report tied to the ways your strategy is paying off.
For a larger company’s SEO campaign, Analytics Canvas provides clear and simple SEO reports along with the added functionality of integrating data from the Google Analytics accounts for multiple websites. If you’ve ever been frustrated with managing multiple reports from a company’s various sites, this powerful tool will streamline your data into one report that allows you to capitalize on all of the data from your clients’ sites in order to create a complete picture of their market share and SEO success.
Analystics Canvas does not provide any unique data on its own. You’ll only be working with the data Google provides for queries, landing pages, and geography. It’s up to you to figure out how your brand is performing, but Analytics Canvas will allow you to integrate large data groups into charts that are easy to create so that you can present extremely broad trends and new opportunities to marketing teams and executives.
Recognized by Google as one of its top API developers, Analytics Canvas is not a free tool like Workbooks CRM. However, it should pay for itself with all of the time that it saves. If Analytics Canvas is a little too pricey for your budget, check out ShufflePoint.
Google Analytics Reports
As of October 2011, Google Analytics integrated Webmaster Tools data into reports, which SEO strategists had been clamoring for, but the data remains incomplete in the eyes of some reviewers.
SEO consultant Cyrus Shepherd writes, “The Landing Pages report shows how many times your top landing pages were shown in search results, again along with average position and CTR. Average position isn’t as useful in this report, as you don’t know the exact search query.”
In addition, the query report on the top 1000 terms presents the average position based on a metric that averages a page’s rank rather than simply presenting its highest position. While Google Analytics is easy to use and accessible, some of its tools will need refining before it receives a firm endorsement from many SEOs. Workbooks CRM provides a far more valuable insight into keyword tracking since it can tell you the exact return on investment for your keyword strategies rather than mere rankings. While Google Analytics provides helpful data for a marketing team, it still falls short of what you’d need for a report to a CEO or board.