Launching a paid search campaign requires monitoring the results of the money invested into the ads. The concept of paid search is quite simple: For every dollar invested into a paid campaign, you expect to receive a certain number of site visits from conversions. However, understanding the value of paid searches and how it relates to your SEO (search engine optimization) strategy is a bit more complex.
There are numerous activities which go into an effective SEO strategy. Each activity often has its own set of KPIs (key performance indicators). It is essential to track each KPI individually and then tie them together to see how your campaign is performing. Putting everything together might seem overwhelming, but for those companies using the correct reporting methods, it becomes second nature.
Regardless of whether you use an external SEO marketing team or have your own in-house SEO experts, there are specific reports which should be used for every single campaign. These same reports are also valuable tools when used with natural search SEO strategies. It is important to mention there are several types of reports used for specific purposes and at various stages of campaigns. Some companies may only use the bare minimum, while other firms might utilize as many reports as possible.
Essential Baseline Reports
Before you even launch a new campaign, reports should be run to establish a baseline. Having a baseline makes it possible to measure the results of the campaign and compare output between reports at different stages.
1. Campaign Keyword Report: This report helps you evaluate and establish your SEO marketing budget for the campaign and its expected costs. The report contains a list of keywords relevant to the campaign strategy, the expected increase in site visitors, what is needed to rank in the top 10 search results, and whether it is beneficial to promote certain keywords.
2. Competitor Keyword Analysis Report: It never hurts to find out what your competitors are doing by looking at their SEO strategies and the keywords they are targeting. This report should contain information about what backlinks your competitors are using, too.
3. Detailed Website Audit and Analysis Report: Do not overlook your own website and its current content before launching a campaign. A website audit and analysis compares the existing site against the current search engine ranking criteria and guidelines. It also identifies page loading times, broken links, keyword densities, Meta tags, HTML tags, and page titles, as well as helps find other errors.
Use the output from the various reports to make changes to site content and adjust marketing strategies before rolling out your campaign. After any changes or updates are made, it does not hurt to rerun the reports.
Essential Weekly Reports
After a baseline has been established and the campaign is launched, reports should be run every week. Weekly reports are used to monitor the progress of the campaign and ensure its progressing correctly.
4. Campaign Ranking Report: Keywords and search rankings need to be checked weekly to verify there are no issues or problems, especially when launching a new campaign. Discovering errors at earlier stages is far less costly to fix and correct. A decline in rankings could signify several issues, like keyword oversaturation in the website content, a change to the search engine’s ranking criteria, or broken or disallowed backlinks.
5. Competitor’s Ranking Analysis: It is worthwhile to monitor what your competitors are doing and compare their rankings to your own. If you notice a substantial increase in their rankings, see what they are doing and adjust your strategy.
6. Backlinks Report: Building backlinks is one of the most time consuming tasks for effective SEO marketing. You have to be careful you do not backlink to the wrong sites as this could have a negative impact on your search rankings. In addition, this report identifies newly broken links.
Use the weekly report outputs to track the progress from one week to the next. Some key figures to include in your comparisons are the rankings of your competitors from one week to the next, your current keyword and search rankings, and the current backlinks you are using.
It does not mean your reporting and monitoring of your campaign is over once the campaign is concluded. One of the biggest mistakes companies make is not taking the time to do a final analysis of the campaign. Take the final batch of weekly reports and compare them to the initial baseline reports. Use this information to determine how much of a success the campaign was overall and evaluate your ROI.
In addition, any issues identified during the post-campaign analysis will help you develop new strategies to overcome them in future campaigns. Besides these reports, there is one final reporting tool you should utilize:
7. Enable Google Analytics Automatic Notifications: Google Analytics has tools where you can establish parameters for your website and pages. Based upon those predefined parameters, you can be alerted to problems as they are occurring with your website, like if the site stops receiving traffic from specific backlines or a search engine.
All reports need to be organized into a format everyone can understand. Keep in mind, while you might be able to look at a chart or graph and know where things stand with your campaign, other stakeholders might not. Do not be afraid to modify your reports to fit your needs and avoid reporting on irrelevant information. Feel free to insert text into the report to provide a better explanation as to a why something changed or what certain charts or graphs mean. Lastly, since SEO marketing campaigns vary, so too will your reports. Keep them customizable, adaptable, and flexible.