Reporting is one of the most under looked areas of choosing your digital marketing or SEO company. You can easily be baffled by large looking spreadsheets full of impressive data. But the reality is that this is quite easy to do. The only things you should be seeing are the only two things you are paying for: Results and Work. Miscellaneous microscopic data about your onsite or offsite can easily be a distraction used to confuse you. If you have very good SEO in place already, your site ranks well, gets lots of relevant traffic and converts that into business, then these details can become important to make the difference between position 2 and position 3 for example. But if you are starting from page 7 then they certainly aren’t.
If however, you aren’t in that fortunate position, and are looking at getting a consultant or professional SEO agency to help you out, then you obviously haven’t got the basics right, so that kind of data and reporting is fairly meaningless at the start. For instance, you shouldn’t start worrying about your cars paintwork when the engine is broken. Many people do however, and can be misled with distractive and almost dishonest reporting.
So What Should I Really Be Getting In My Reporting?
Well, as mentioned earlier, you would to see your progress in the search engines for which only simple, regular ranking reports will suffice. These will track the movements of your already chosen and agreed upon relevant key terms. It takes time for them to move, but once you see this movement forward in terms of steady ranking reports, then you know you are with and agency that can get results and is being up front with you.
Your next question should be “is this progress the result of good or bad SEO (white hat or black hat)”? Well, this is where the second area of reporting comes in, the work carried out. You should see your onsite work, content and optimisation and that is always carried out early on (although sometimes ongoing), so that is fairly simple and understandable. But after that, you should see reports of offsite work carried out, i.e. back links created, the content that was written and the sites they were placed upon. There are many different types of links, and it’s likely that your site already has some, so as long as you see good quality, obviously relevant links pointing towards your site in reasonable numbers, you know your SEO agency isn’t cheating and creating tons of low quality punishable blog links to your site. Obviously they may not report on this, but you can check this by comparing your initial onsite report (which has your current back link number in it) to a later report showing the same thing.
Once you have seen positive results and you understand the process explained by your campaign manager, then you your rankings and work reports will be easily understandable, verifiable and relate to your results.
Once you have started getting that all important relevant traffic from relevant key terms, then you can start looking into your analytics more. Otherwise your analytics can only show data of a site that isn’t performing, so this data is way more important once rankings have been achieved.