how to make a report that generates insights and results – WAU
The SEO report proves the results achieved and allows the team to have an idea of what to do in the next steps of the strategy. Understand which metrics should be considered when building this report.
Is your SEO strategy generating real results in your Digital Marketing strategy? Can you prove these results to your customers or your boss?
One of the biggest challenges for SEOs around the world is not only to create content that rank or generate an increase in traffic, but to be able to present the impacts of their strategy with good reports.
And of course, a good report can not only present the current situation and the results obtained, but should generate insights to define the next steps.
Here you will see how to make a good SEO report, understand what are the main metrics we need to present, how to do a performance analysis and how to set priorities for the following months.
If you want to learn how to make a good SEO report, check it out!
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What is an SEO report and what are its goals
An SEO report is a document where you will organize the performance and the current moment that your strategy is, highlighting the positives, points of attention and the next steps for the strategy to obtain real results.
The big problem in general today is that we do superficial reports, which do not generate insights and often point to indicators that are not relevant to the company or client in question.
The main objective of a report is to understand the most relevant metrics and monitor their performance.
Let’s look at an example:
Would you say that the SEO strategy below is successful?
Let’s see, a considerable traffic of more than half a million hits in just one month and more than 46 thousand words indexed among the top 3 positions!
This is definitely a successful strategy, right?
Let’s suppose that we analyzed this strategy further and found the following numbers:
- Leads generated via organic traffic: 0
- Customers acquired via organic traffic: 0
The hard truth for many SEOs (myself included) is that traffic and number of indexed keywords are… vanity metrics!
In order to identify which metrics really are most relevant to an SEO strategy, it is necessary to have a very well defined little thing.
What are your goals with your strategy
No, the focus of any SEO strategy is not to rank for as many keywords as possible and generate a truckload of traffic.
As we saw in the example, a company can generate a million daily sessions and still not sell anything to that traffic.
For example, suppose I create a great strategy to rank for the following keyword with the WAU blog:
Wow!! 450 thousand searches per month!
But would it make sense for our strategy? Searching for “dog” on Google, after downloading a Marketing ebook, and finally hiring a content strategy is the natural path that no one in human history will ever follow.
I know this is a very radical example, but often our strategies are based on words like that.
And that is why, in order to define our metrics, we have to have our goals very well outlined.
Let’s look at some examples.
What would be good metrics for that goal?
- Organic leads;
- Branded Keywords (words directly related to the brand. Ex: Websites Are Us);
- Organic sales.
Your strategy may not need a traffic truck to achieve these goals.
What if your goal was to improve the perception of your brand in the market?
- Number of indexed keywords (focused on the persona);
- Organic traffic (of quality);
- Branded Keywords.
Educate the market:
If the objective were to educate the market, which metrics would be a good indicator?
- Keywords (of the market);
- Organic traffic;
- Content performance (Time on Page / Pages per Visit / Bounce Rate).
The first step, then, for you to be able to analyze your current moment with quality, is to understand exactly where you want to go with your strategy.
If you don’t know what you’re getting at, you’ll never know when you got there.
Now that we have clarified this starting point, we can begin our practical part. Let’s see how to make a good report.
To teach how to do the analysis, I will focus on the main points that are the main pillars of an SEO strategy.
The priorities, as we said, will vary according to your goals.
We will then see how to make an in-depth analysis that generates conclusions and tasks from the main points. Are they:
- Content Performance;
- Site Health;
- Backlinks Profile.
So let’s go ahead!
Important note: the purpose of the content is not to explain how you will organize your analysis. I don’t really care if you’re going to use spreadsheets, slides or even notepad.
The important thing for me is that you read this content and leave here knowing exactly what to analyze, how to analyze it and that your reports really take your strategy to the next level.
If traffic as a raw number can be a vanity metric, doing a thorough analysis of your traffic is far from an unimportant step.
Understanding your traffic is one of the most important factors for the success of your strategy.
The problem is that our traffic analysis is often extremely superficial. We usually do the following:
I compare the organic traffic of my month of October with the previous month.
Come on! What an incredible number. We increased our traffic by 8%. Almost 70 thousand visits more than the previous month.
Therefore, we deduce that our SEO strategy is a success.
However, this is an absolutely poor and superficial analysis of your numbers. Despite this growth, if we analyze the month of October more deeply, we will see that the growth was not the desired one.
An interesting analysis is that you understand how your annual growth is and the percentage of annual traffic that each month usually brings to your blog.
This will give you a better perspective on your monthly performance.
Take, for example, a comparison from January to October in the last two years on our blog:
It is interesting to see how the years follow a growth pattern. If we look at 2016 we will have a similar graph.
January is usually a month with lower traffic, as well as July and December – which are seasonally weakest months.
Note, however, that in 2017 May was the best month of the first half and as October it was already much higher than that month.
In 2018, our month of October grew much less than in May. Which shows that this year we can’t keep growing that we had in previous years.
The blog grew little in the second half of 2018. Which shows that our analyzes cannot be limited to the month vs. month and percentage of growth between them.
As we have seen, traffic for traffic does not mean much. And not even the green numbers in Analytics from one month to the next.
It is essential, according to our objectives, to know what are the most important metrics and results to monitor.
As an example, I will point out three interesting indicators that I like to follow here at WAU and that you can apply as well.
Of course, you can add other metrics and analyzes focused on your specific situation.
As in the previous example, an important indicator that we follow here is the expected growth for the year.
In line with the growth of previous years, we make a projection and consider the traffic that each month usually represents annually.
From that, we have a growth projection.
So I can see that the growth in the second half was not satisfactory, not because there was no increase month by month, but close to the performance potential of those months, the growth was low.
As I have used this example before, I am not going to dwell on the expected traffic. Let’s go to the next KPI.
As we said, traffic for traffic is a vanity metric.
It’s no use having a liquor store and the traffic on my site is mostly children and teenagers.
So, there are some data and metrics that will help indicate whether the traffic you receive is exactly made up of the visitors you want.
The first and most important factor is conversions. They are the primary indicator of whether your blog visitors are really the persona you want to attract.
For this, it is essential that you have conversion points on the website and on your blog, leading your visitor through the sales funnel.
After all, your ultimate goal is to convert you into a customer and / or promoter.
This analysis helps to understand the visitors and the failures at each stage of the funnel. You often generate a lot of conversion at the top of the funnel, but that still doesn’t guarantee that it’s the visitors you want if they don’t follow the customer journey.
You can track these conversions through automation tools like Hubspot, Mautic, Mailchimp and RD.
Or you can create goals and conversions within Google Analytics to track the quality of your traffic and the results generated by your visits.
It is important to always remember to segment the traffic in “Organic Traffic”, after all we want to do an analysis of the traffic that comes from Google.
LIBRARY: AUTOMATION TOOLS GUIDE
Best automation tools: 6 options for your company
The complete RD Station guide: tutorial for using the tool
Full Hubspot tutorial: learn how to use the tool
MailChimp: the complete tool tutorial!
Pages per visit, average duration and bounce rate
These are three other very important traffic indicators that help to identify the quality of visitors and their content.
If the audience you are attracting consumes more and more pages of your site, stays on your pages for a long time with each visit and usually interacts with your blog, it is a sign that you are attracting the right people.
Although it is not as efficient an analysis as conversion analysis, they help to demonstrate that this analysis can often indicate a failure of our conversion points, rather than the quality of our traffic.
Most visited pages
The most visited pages are an important factor for you to understand the value of your pages and the performance of your blog as a whole.
For example, some of our content here at WAU has enormous value for us because it brings a high volume of traffic. Especially when that traffic has great potential to go through our sales funnel.
A good example is our Digital Marketing post:
That content alone generated more than 25,000 visits on our blog. And he is a gateway for many customers here at WAU.
You can check out this story better in our case on the 2 million reais blog post!
Monitoring the performance of your pages, then, is essential to understand your traffic as a whole and, especially, to understand traffic drops and growth.
The standard analysis when we want to analyze the pages of our website / blog is to select the month (or quarter or week) and compare it with the previous month.
This is a necessary analysis and should really be done constantly. However, it can hide some precious information.
A good tip is to reverse this search:
This is because the selected month is the one that Analytics will use as the basis for the comparison, that is, it will show the pages with the most access for the month chosen initially.
See the difference of the analysis:
When the base was October:
When the base was August (I changed September to August because the results had a more significant change to the example):
When you use the previous month as a base, it will be easier to identify pages that performed very well and are not performing now.
A good example of this was when we had an indexing problem with our Content Marketing page.
Despite being one of the most important content on the blog, after all it is our core business, it is not content that receives a huge number of traffic. As such, it is not usually among our top 10 most visited content.
When I made this inversion between months, I realized that the post Content Marketing was in the top 20 in the first weeks of December, however in the last ones it had its accesses zeroed.
Maybe without this inversion, I wouldn’t have noticed, since we were still in first place on Google (but with another page), and normally it is not among the most accessed, calling attention for a drop in traffic.
This little story just demonstrates the importance of this investment and to keep looking for more information with the data we have.
Identifying reasons for fall or growth
More important than finding declines or growth, is to understand why a page lost traffic or gained.
Here are some analysis suggestions that can, and often are, the reasons for traffic variations:
- Gain / loss of positions in SERPs.
- SERP Features gain / loss – as Featured Snippets, People Also Ask, Carrousel.
- Organic page CTR dropped – refers to the percentage of clicks that SERP’s organic results receive. Google often places a knowledge graph or panel, increases the number of ads on the page, affecting the number of clicks on organic results.
- One tool that helps to see the CTR of a specific results page is Moz’s Keyword Explorer.
- Seasonality of the keyword – Some keywords have a huge traffic variation at certain times of the year, for example: panettone, easter egg and World Cup.
- CTR (Content performance) – The number of clicks on a specific page fell in the SERPs
- Growth consistent or not with the expected in that period;
- Traffic on the most important content;
- Conversion performance and traffic quality.
Opportunities (Next steps):
- Identify opportunities from falls and gains;
- Contents that lost positions;
- SERP features available;
- Seasonality, location etc;
- A good traffic analysis is essential to help in the analysis of content and keywords.
A good SEO analysis needs to go through the contents of your blog.
First of all you need to identify which are the most important posts for your website / company.
The most common thought is that the pages that generate the most traffic are the most important for a website. And this is not necessarily a reality. As we said, traffic can often be a vanity metric.
As an example, check out the pages I really consider most important to WAU:
There are several pages that generate much more traffic than the ones highlighted, but when we think about our market and the services that WAU offers, these are the pages that educate and lead our potential customers through our funnel.
Therefore, the main pages are not the ones that generate the most visits, but the ones that have the greatest business potential. Or a balance between the two, like the ones presented.
When identifying these main pages, we need to audit these contents. What is quality content? How do I evaluate whether my content really deserves to be on top of Google?
We’ll look at some key indicators to identify that quality, factors that tell Google whether or not content is quality.
The first assessment that your content needs to receive is: does it really answer my user’s search intent?
For this, it is essential to analyze the results that Google considers most relevant and the topics they address. I won’t go into too much here, in case of doubts we have a video in which I explain how to understand the user’s intention:
The next metrics are also indicators that this intention is being answered or not.
Time on page
The sign that this metric indicates is somewhat obvious, after all, the longer visitors stay on the page, the higher the quality indicator of the page.
After all, if the content was uninteresting, hardly anyone would read it until the end.
An important relationship when analyzing this metric is to make a relationship between time and content size. And compare it too