The gap between what business owners know about the inner workings of digital marketing and how the typical SEO company reports on their performance is enormous.

This gap is the cause of endless frustration on both sides of the business relationship.

Business owners tear their hair out every time they can’t find themselves at the top of Google’s search results, wondering what it is they’re actually paying for. Meanwhile, SEO providers grow hoarse explaining that SEO is far from a tick the box process.

That’s why we created this guide; so that you are informed enough to know which questions to ask your SEO company so that you can know if they are making progress or wasting your time and money.

Campaign Goal: Increase Your Business’ Online Visibility

A great SEO company will take the time to research the keywords that will actually bring qualified traffic to your business’ website. These search terms will include both short and long keywords, which show a clear user intent while still having the maximum search volume.

If your SEO company simply hands you a list of dozens of terms that your rankings have magically improved for, but they fail to also include the keyword traffic those terms generate – be afraid, be very afraid. SEO companies who operate campaigns like this often fail to deliver a return on investment because they show you results for irrelevant terms.

Real ranking results take time. There are many tasks involved with getting your business ranking for relevant terms, and only a few of them will be immediately visible to business owners. The initial stages of your campaign can be time-consuming, but it’s impossible to get long-lasting results without doing the following tasks:

  • Link building to improve your Domain Authority (finding opportunities, outreach, establishment)
  • Metadata changes on pages that aren’t ranked
  • Technical changes like site speed improvements and schema markups

Ask Your SEO

If you are concerned about your keyword rankings, ask your SEO company the following questions:

  • Are you completing the above tasks?
  • Do the search queries you’re targeting have obvious consumer intent?
  • What is the traffic for the queries you’re targeting?
  • How are the search queries you’ve chosen relevant to my business?

Campaign Goal: Increased Traffic to Your Business’ Website

When it comes to traffic KPIs, the most important thing to remember is that traffic results cannot be viewed in a vacuum – they must be compared to other factors. In order to qualify your traffic results you must look at the user metrics associated with your website including:

  • Number of pages per session
  • Bounce rate
  • Time spent on site
  • Number of conversions you’re achieving

One of the most common ways bad SEO companies mislead their clients is through improper traffic reporting.

By reporting on all web traffic (traffic generated from direct visits, search, social and pay per click) instead of just organic traffic, your SEO company can take credit for traffic they didn’t necessarily generate. They might even have the audacity to say that it’s your product or service that’s not saleable – they’re getting you the traffic, why can’t you convert!?

Ask Your SEO

If you’re unsure about whether your SEO company is reporting accurately, ask them these questions:

  • Are you reporting only on organic traffic, and if not, why?
  • Why hasn’t my increase in traffic been coupled with improved user engagement statistics (more pages per session, lower bounce rate, more time spent on site, more conversions)?
  • Where is the traffic to my site landing, and why?

Campaign Goal: Generate More Conversions

Increasing conversions is a key goal of any SEO campaign, so you need to have a thorough understanding of how your conversions are being achieved and reported on.

Conversions from organic traffic must be quantified and qualified:

  • Quantifying conversions means reporting on conversion actions and events.
  • Qualifying conversions means following up with business owners on the sales rates these conversions are achieving and adjusting campaigns accordingly.

A great SEO company will not only be able to tell you the number of conversions you’re making but also explain to you why they are converting.

You can expect your SEO company to be:

  • Setting up conversion actions (thank you page visits) or events (form submissions, button clicks)
  • Analysing and interpreting conversion data
  • AB split testing and tracking your results

SEO bad guys have a tendency to apply very loose definitions to a “conversion action”. Instead of tracking a form submission or click on your “call now” button, they’ll just track the amount of traffic that landed on your Contact Us page.

Or, worse yet, your SEO provider might choose to focus purely on rankings and traffic, not ever mentioning conversions or, worse yet, asserting that conversions are your job. This approach means valuable leads and sales are being lost to your competitors and you’re probably wasting manpower and other resources fielding low-quality enquiries.

Ask Your SEO

The conversion conversation is one that every business should have with their SEO provider. Conversions aren’t instant. They generally improve once rankings and traffic have been brought up to standard, but any SEO provider who doesn’t have proper conversion tracking measures set up has no way of evaluating the performance of your campaign in terms of return on investment.

  • What conversion tracking measure have you implemented?
  • Why are these the best measures for my business type?
  • Have conversions been increasing? If not, what changes are you making to improve conversion rates?

If you’ve got more questions about SEO, we can help you! Get in touch today to find out how we can bring your business front and centre.