Chapter 2. Target Metrics

Use target metrics instead of comparing year over year

I’m going to dive into some of the aspects that Steph touched upon. My first tip is that you should use target metrics instead of comparing year over year in dashboards.

The reason is that your top management will be comparing this year’s numbers with last year’s, instead of looking at the forecast. What is the forecast? That’s something which goes all the way down in the organization, so sales and marketing, they’re not looking at last year’s figures, they’re focussing on what targets they’re going to reach? Therefore, we need to align the metrics and measurements that management are looking at with what the teams are aiming for.

So, when we’re building dashboards, we’re setting up forecasts. Forecasts could be usual stats like impressions and traffic but also more relevant metrics such as conversions, leads, conversion rate and average order value.

When you look at target metrics instead of year-on-year traffic (especially with the 2020 coronavirus pandemic), you can react more quickly if the target metrics are not being met for that month. If they are too ambitious or the site is not performing well, then you can adjust the targets. If you look only at year over year stats and perform 10% better than last year, it might look great from one aspect, but if the growth expectations are 20%, then you are actually off-target. It is important to use target metrics in your dashboard.

Reporting to the different stakeholders

SEO reporting, is so much more than just showing clicks, impressions, top landing pages and the statistics in Google Analytics. What we need to understand is, who will be reading the report? There are three types of people interested in SEO dashboards and reporting should be different for all three.

1. C-Suite

The C-suite are looking at business numbers such as the turnover generated from SEO. What leads and micro conversions have been a result of the work by the SEO team?

2. Marketing

They are interested in brand awareness and if this has increased over time. Their report should show if the clicks and impressions have increased over time due to marketing campaigns. Has market share increased and are we beating competitors?

3. Operations

As an SEO consultant, my clients working in the SEO team want to know about clicks, impressions and rankings. My client needs to know if the site is performing well. 

Christopher Hofman Laursen

Christopher Hofman Laursen

Lead SEO consultant at IMPACT Extend

Christopher is the lead SEO consultant at the agency IMPACT Extend. He helps omnichannel players in Denmark and big B2B companies with SEO. Christopher has also been a speaker at SEOday in Denmark in for three years running. He is excited about customer journeys, content and data. During the lockdown, Christopher has been very busy. He helped out his clients, done webinars at IMPACT Extend, been working on developing pixel tracking (as an alternative to rank tracking), and been working on Python scripts to automate SEO tasks.

Watch our Tea Time SEO session here:

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Whether you are meeting the C-suite, the marketing or the SEO team, SEO reporting is about understanding the data and knowing what to do with it. You need to ensure the dashboard is operational and there are actions from the report. For example, if we’re getting this amount of clicks or if we’re seeing these keywords performing better it should be clear what direction the business and the SEO strategy is heading.

One of the ways that we’re trying to do this at IMPACT Extend is if you look at keywords, for instance, we might have a list of keywords that we’re tracking. Then we go in and blend the data, the organic traffic data with conversions from Google ads. These search queries, you can see directly in Google ads. You can see if they’re converting, or if they have led to assisted conversions. If they have, we can add this data to our rankings and decide if these keywords are not just important for the SEO team, but also for the C-suite, marketing and the wider business.

If we have landing pages that are not performing as well, we could go in and put in demographic data there. We can then see if the content that has been written is tailored to the right market. For example, if the bounce rate for that page is high and the target audience is 50 plus, we would have a look at the demographic data. If we take a closer look, we can see that it’s actually 20-30 year olds who are digesting this content. Therefore the content should be edited and tailored for that demographic.

It’s important that we ask ourselves the question, “What do want to show from the report?”” and  “How can we use this data from a business perspective?”. We are getting all the data from BigQuery into Power BI so we can dissect any information we choose and have it ready for the three different business units mentioned earlier.

How to encourage usage of the dashboard?

From Power BI we can nudge users to view the dashboard by sending them alerts, which can be screenshots of the dashboard in their inbox, once a week or month – the frequency is up to you. I would not suggest more than once a week to your clients as it can be a little overwhelming. However, you could send it to the internal SEO team once per day and set up rules to get notifications if you are reaching more than a certain amount of visitors. This way you are not waiting until the end of the month to report on figures but SEO reporting is becoming a daily task. Just a few minutes a day to investigate surges or drops in traffic instead of leaving it until the end of the month.

My last piece of advice which has worked well for our agency is to start thinking about SEO reporting as a tool that you can use within the company on a daily basis. It is not to be used just once a month, forgotten about until the next time you run the reports. Make sure SEO reporting is integrated within the business as a whole, not just for the SEO team.

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