Reporting & Analysis

To summarise, the best practice approach to SEO is as follows:

Site Performance Audit
Objectives Setting
Project Plan
Keyword Analysis & Selection
Content Development
Site Structure Optimisation
Link Building
Search Engine Submission
Reporting & Analysis
Maintenance & Improvement

As with any marketing campaign, it is essential to continuously monitor the results of your search engine optimisation efforts over time. Plus, it’s important to measure where you are in relation to your objectives set at the start of the SEO campaign.

If you want to take monitoring your SEO campaign seriously, there are some basic things you need. Firstly, a quality web stats package and a search engine positioning tool to make checking your positions as easy as possible.

The only problem with stats packages is that they can provide so much information and you can spend hours going through the reports without actually learning anything about trends. It’s therefore worthwhile building your own Excel-based Report that can provide a simple central location for measuring metrics that you are interested in tracking and improving.

At a minimum you should produce the following reports regularly as monthly trend reports:-

Unique visitors – You need to monitor the number of unique visitors to your site and which pages they are visiting.

Search phrase positions – You need to constantly monitor search phrase positions and the traffic these positions are generating. It’s no use getting great positions on search engines if they are not generating traffic.

Conversions – There is no point in driving traffic to your site that does not result in conversions. You should track the number of conversions your site generates over time to truly show the return on your investment.

Link Popularity – It is important to measure link popularity (number of links to your site) on all the major search engines to measure the effectiveness of any SEO campaign and especially link building campaigns.

Search Engine Inclusion – You need to measure how many pages of your site the search engines are indexing.

The vast range of excellent web traffic tools is already well documented; however, very few tools are great for measuring conversions. Your conversion tracking tool should ideally enable you to track conversions by a range of variables, such as Conversion by Country, Conversion by Search Phrase and Conversion by Referring URL.

The best tool we have found for this type of advanced conversion measurement is ClickMetrix (www.clickmetrix.net).

Tracking which referring search phrases are generating the best conversion rates split by number of conversions and/or sales revenue. As part of a search engine optimisation campaign this is crucial as it gives feedback on which search phrases are generating actual conversions on your site – meaning you can focus your SEO efforts on search phrases that are delivering conversions rather than just traffic

Conversions by Referring Search Phrase

Perhaps the most crucial statistic to be aware of is the bounce rates of first time visitors. Bounce rate shows how many visitors arrive at your site but leave without going any deeper into your site. This is important because your site may be driving loads of traffic from search engines or linked sites, but if a large proportion of people are bouncing then it could be a sign that your site does not look appealing or that you are not offering enticing links to further information on other pages.

Bounce Rates of First Time Visitors

More articles like this are available from www.clickthrough-marketing.com.

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About the author:

Phil Robinson is an online marketing consultant with over 17 years experience in marketing planning, internet strategy and online acquisition. In 2004, Phil founded ClickThrough, an ethical search marketing agency. He gives best practice training for businesses, runs seminars and writes books on digital marketing.