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Posted 02 April 2010 - 04:10 PM
Posted 05 April 2010 - 02:16 PM
Traffic trends are easily seen in the web statistics of Google Analytics or whatever stats program you use. Rank is just too nebulous to be all that useful as a metric. If I had to do rank reports in today's world with Google's dominance I'd use a little tool like the Google Rank Extractor one I developed for my own use and released into the wild. That's not even a shameless plug since I make exactly zero from making it available. Sure GRE doesn't offer complete data (no tool does) but at least it offers spot on accurate data for those hits it records. Accurate in as what the client saw, not what I may see when performing the same search from a different system with different personalization from a different location.
And of all of the stuff available what do I personally find most helpful?
Well, one of the first things I set up for every e-commerce site I create is a spreadsheet. Each day I record the number of sales and gross receipts. It's a simple little thing really. No ranking data at all in it. Just dates, sales and money made. And it's the first thing I work on every single day.
For newer sites I can tell at a glance whether things are improving or not. It's easy to see. For older sites where I have a year or years of history I can not only tell you whether things are improving, staying steady or headed downhill, but I can give you an estimate of how much money I'll make from any of my sites for any week or month of the year. With seasonality automatically factored in.
From a business perspective knowing what income to expect is the most important bit of data to have at your fingertips IMHO. Because if something doesn't reach its expected level it gives me a quick heads up that I need to dig a bit deeper. While if things are stable or improving I save myself the time of doing the digging for no reason.
That's probably not very helpful to you, unless you can convince your clients to let you see the sales data. But if you can get your hands on it I encourage you to take the time to set up a spreadsheet and update it religiously. That way when (not if) a client comes to you grousing about ranking fluctuations you can counter it with the fact that the site is making them more money. Money and cash flow is always more important than the rather useless metric of Rankings is to real business people.
Posted 06 April 2010 - 12:46 AM
expand on title tag and description
strengthen content, make it linkworthy
create landing pages as necessary
take link building action (directories, articles, coupons, bloggin)
engage in social media
Then I see results. Trend type results which may be meaningful if it correlates to number and dollar amount of sales (just as you emphasized).
It's a dual edged sword - a combination of an activities and statistics. It's nice to be able to correlate an activity to a result. See a site's activity/traffic grow parallel with inbound links or a particular inbound link is useful, especially if the trend translates to dollars and cents. Without making this overly complicated, I made up a fairly simple spreadsheet that can be used in combination with an activities list, both dated.
Posted 06 April 2010 - 06:21 AM
Just following on from what Randy mentioned, as someone who has been on both sides of the SEO fence i.e. client receiving a monthly summary and an SEO analyst producing a summary, I can tell you that a basic summary report can get very irrelevant and a waste of time. When I used to receive summaries as the client , we would receive keyword lists with traffic, rankings for keywords, total visits, total average bounce rate, etc. initially we liked the fact that traffic was growing and we were ranking for keywords (even though we hadn't asked to rank for most of them!). But eventually it dawned on us that the reports weren't really targeted at our business and our bottom line. What we really wanted was a report that showed how much money we were making from our SEO efforts, so no keyword reports, no traffic reports, no bounce rates, just a report that showed an increase of blue widgets sold per month and how it was attributed to our SEO efforts.
So herein lies the problem with monthly summaries, they don't really tell you much and only serve to try and justify an SEOs large expense. Most clients have access to Google Analytics or some other stats package, so they will already know about keywords, visits etc so I don't see the point in providing this kind of info.
Personally I feel that summary reports should reflect the goals and objectives of the web site such as how many forms were filled out, how many widgets were sold, how many newsletters were registered for etc. You can create summary reports based around these metrics and they make much more sense to the client. e.g. The article on blue widget holders written last month has generated X amount of traffic for 'widget holders' and those visitors then went on to purchase.
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