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An SEO Reporting Interview with Cyrus Shepard

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[PM] In a Whiteboard Friday earlier this year, you discussed SEO reporting and KPIs for SEO, such as “assisted conversions.” Could you share some more KPIs to include in SEO reports and explain how to tie KPIs directly to business objectives?

[CS] The most important thing about setting business KPIs in SEO is that they should originate from the business side of things, rather than the SEO side of things.

That said, some common KPIs in SEO reports include:

    • Sales
    • Account signups
    • Downloads
    • Leads
    • Important pageviews
    • Referral traffic
    • Ad revenue

In the end, the business structure should define what a good KPI looks like based on the individual funnel. 

[PM] You discussed reporting on content performance in that same Whiteboard Friday, could you explain in a bit more depth how to measure content performance and which tools are available to help with this process?

[CS] At Moz, we built our own custom dashboards because tools in the industry to measure content performance are so lacking. There's a huge opportunity here!

Basically, whenever we published new content, we measure traffic, social shares, and new links. Over time, we slice and dice this data to see who our top-performing authors are, what topics perform best, and which headlines performed better than others.

If you want to track your own content performance metrics, some great tools are Google Analytics, Moz's Link Explorer, and BuzzSumo (for social metrics).

[PM] You also mentioned the importance of highlighting and prioritizing SEO opportunities within your reporting. Could you provide some further recommendations on how to get your changes implemented in a timely manner?

[CS] So many bad SEO reports simply include long lists of things that are wrong without considering the business impact. Is fixing this element really going to move the needle? How can the business best prioritize our limited developer resources?

When delivering SEO reports, it's best to focus on 2-3 top priority items at a time and give very clear instructions on how to address each issue. Any more than this and the client/boss is forced to pick and choose and may do so without first understanding how each priority fits into the larger picture. It also helps to lay out the business case for each recommendation and clearly define what the business may expect by implementing the changes, as well as include a timeline of expected results.

Cyrus Shepard
Cyrus Shepard
Cyrus is an SEO and online marketer who specializes in understanding Google's ranking algorithms. He currently works with Moz, a software company that helps businesses increase their visibility in search. He is a frequent conference speaker and blogs about his findings on the Moz blog.