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Offering monthly rankings reports has been historically one of the key methods SEO agencies use to prove they are performing well.

But are they worthwhile?

A good campaign might start off with by the SEO company agreeing with the client on a list of keywords that the client would like to target.

This keyword list can then be refined according to likely search volumes and profitability and a final keyword list is created.

Every month the SEO company can then deliver a report showing that the rankings are getting better and better across all the keywords.

The client is happy that targets are being met and the SEO company is happy to be able to prove they are performing.

The problem is that rankings are a poor measure of success and most companies want hard ROI data rather than rankings reports.

Most e-commerce sites would much prefer a monthly report showing how they had earned £7000 from a particular keyword last month but that the keyword is now earning £9000.

This data is far more valuable than the fact a ranking has changed from 5th to 4th.

I have worked on sites that have been able to dramatically improve revenue without improving the rankings purely by making changes to encourage Google users to click on the search results.

Things like compelling titles and interesting snippets can make all the difference in competitive niches.

This month try to make sure you are looking at all the information about your site rather than just a snapshot rankings report.

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Published 1 February, 2008 by Patrick Altoft

55 more posts from this author

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Adam Crawford, Head of SEO at Momondo Group

I wouldn't blame this purely on the SEO agency. Most clients want to see position reports, and rightly so IMO.

They can provide a useful performance benchmark, and act as a reminder to clients and agency for the need to act on recommendations and link strategies to target new keywords. Your referring keyword reports from web analytics don't show you the keywords that aren't working for you in the same way that position reports can.

However, they're are just one piece of the jigsaw. Agencies and inhouse teams should be drawing on all useful performance indicators. Positions are one; typically onsite traffic and actions/conversions are more insightful, not to mention resulting actions that occur offsite (e.g. store visits, phone calls, etc.).

These articles that crop up every now and then stating how position reports are dead would be far more useful if they stressed the importance of a balance of performance indicators rather than "this one is bad for all, this other one is good".

over 8 years ago

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Patrick Altoft, Director of Search at Branded3

I don't blame the agency at all, we offer very detailed rankings reports and find them useful ourselves.
In addition to this we include actual sales & ROI data so the client has a full picture.

over 8 years ago

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Lewis

Interesting post.

There is a huge range in concern over tracking rankings, with some companies doing hardly any at all and others concerned down to the finest detail.
As the market place hots up it really is going to be companies that track all their variables that will be most competitive.

There is one guy called James D. Brausch who uses a software to test every single variable on his website, right down to a punctuation mark and also with the option of 'nothingness'. He says it results in a significant rise in business.

I left his link under my name.

Best wishes for 2008

Lewis

over 8 years ago

Michaela Carmichael

Michaela Carmichael, Marketing Freelance Consultant at Freelance Marketing Consultant

Despite providing some clients with analytics results and regular reports they aren't interested and refuse to make changes, but take the results as confirmation of their assumptions. Those that have access to drill down to the minutia of information in the reports never log on to view the report!

over 8 years ago

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Manoj

One of the key problems with ranking reports that we find is that rankings are not uniform ---- they vary from day to day, location to location, why even computer to computer (!!). Undoubtedly, clients like to see progress, and for a large number of companies engaging SEO agencies, going up the rankings in search results is the expected outcome. As long as these variances are factored in and appreciated by the clients and the agencies, they would do fine.

over 8 years ago

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Kaya PPC, Internet Marketing Manager at Optimised Media

One of the key benefits of a rankings report is simplicity. It takes time to educate the client about in depth reporting. Agencies can provide all the detail they want in reports but many clients will just read the summary and the rankings report.

Kaya
OptimisedMedia.co.uk Website Marketing

over 8 years ago

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