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Whether you conduct your SEO in-house or hire an outside SEO firm, reporting and analytics are always essential for understanding the successes or failures of your various online marketing campaigns.
The problem is that many agencies and managers report data in either a deceitful manner or waste time by reporting on unnecessary items.
It is very easy to “lie” with numbers and make things look a lot better than they really are. It is also easy to fall in the trap of getting lost in the numbers and not provide any meaningful data that can lead to action and smarter decisions.
Here are a few suggested metrics that I suggest tracking for your search engine optimization metrics. Also, keep in mind that consistency is essential

1. Traffic Numbers:

This is very basic, but you should see exactly how many visitors are coming to your website each month. Included in this section should be a breakdown of the mediums used to bring the traffic. This includes direct traffic, referral sources (links, social media, RSS), and search engines (organic, paid).
Tip: If you do not already have Google Analytics installed on your site, add it. This is a free tool that is essential for understanding your web traffic and SEO.

2. Site Metrics:


There are a variety of third-party metrics to analyze SEO efforts; however, not all are equal. I personally recommend using mozRank (mR), mozTrust (mT), and Domain Authority (DA) as they are great for benchmarking. These metrics use algorithmic scores that are based on a 10-point scale and provide helpful insights for the trustworthiness and “SEO Strength” of your website. The scores are updated monthly, unlike Google’s PageRank, which is only updated about every six months.

3. Keyword Rankings:


Perhaps the most commonly used, but not necessary the best metric for SEO reporting is keyword rankings. It is helpful to see how your rankings are improving, especially when they get into the top 20 and top 10 SERPs; however, I have also seen this metric severely abused. There are many paid and free software tools to track your rankings. If money is an issue, I would recommend using SEO Book’s free Rank Tracker.
Tip: Make sure the keywords being tracked are relevant and have a decent search volume. Additionally, see how many visits came through those keywords over the given time period.

4. Link-based Metrics:


Perhaps the most important element to ranking well within Google and other search engines is the ability to obtain high quality, diverse external links to your site. There are many ways to track this, but here are some metrics that I recommend tracking: number of linking domains, number of unique C-blocks, and total external backlinks.
Tip: Many of these can be found through paid and non-paid tools like Linkscape (SEOmoz), Majestic SEO, and Yahoo Site Explorer (free).

5. Conversions!!!


We could not have a discussion about tracking SEO without the topic of conversions. It is essential to have goals set up for your marketing efforts, so that you can track your return on investment. I highly suggest integrating web forms, landing pages, free downloads, and subscribe buttons to your website to help capture lead conversions.
Tip: Make sure that you are tracking your advertising, (Adwords, Facebook), e-newsletters and shopping carts (If applicable) to understand where you are getting the best ROI.

Conclusion:


I hope that this post will help you focus your tracking information. This is not an exhaustive list, but I do think it covers most of the essential metrics that every online marketer should include. If your SEO company does not provide you with these metrics, ask them to include it.
How about you? What are the most important metrics that you track?

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