Why Metrics are Key to Maximizing SEO Performance
Jesse and Sue come in with a recorded listener question in this episode regarding how frequently a business should expect reports and metrics from their SEO firm. Are you working with an SEO company that isn’t providing regular updates on the progress of your SEO goals? Jesse and Sue discuss the necessity of using metrics to create actionable goals for your SEO, and how providing those metrics is one of the key elements of providing excellent SEO service to clients and business owners.
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What you’ll learn
- Why metrics are vital to setting SEO goals.
- How often you should expect metrics from an SEO firm.
- What to look for when receiving metrics on your SEO progress.
Transcript For Are You Getting Metrics From Your Current SEO Agency? – 146;
Jesse Dolan: There’s definitely room to kind of argue what’s important and what’s not as far as metrics, but the bottom line is you can’t be flying blind. You really can’t do SEO without some kind of metrics, internally, to provide the service. Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics, where we bring you tips and tricks to get found online. I’m your host, Jesse Dolan, here again today with Sue Ginsburg. How’s it going Sue?
Sue Ginsburg: Hi. Really good, thank you.
Jesse Dolan: I know we have a topic loaded up here that you’ve been kind of passionate about, we’ve kicked it around for a few weeks. Talked with the person that called in the question here and who recently became a client and it’s something that’s going to get your blood boiling a little so try not to cut loose in all the profanities and just go crazy here with exploitive. Let’s keep it clean, but why don’t you kick it off with the topic and kind of set the stage for us here today.
Sue Ginsburg: Sounds good. Okay. This question comes from a listener who called in, which we love, telling us he wants to improve on his rankings, wants to improve. He knows he needs SEO. He’s been working with a firm for about a year now and he asked us, should they be getting reports on what work was performed? Meeting maybe a few times a quarter, a year, whatever. And what goes into SEO and getting his company ranked?
Jesse Dolan: So we’re going to play the audio here of the message that Bryon called in and left for us Sue, and good spot to remind everybody, if you do have a question, we do answer them right on the show here. If you haven’t noticed by now, the topics that we talk about here, especially with the episodes that you’re on Sue, are submitted by our listeners, right, by our audience and clients in some cases too. This one is from Bryon and he called in, left a message and we shipped Bryon off a t-shirt. Before we even kind of put this episode together, he’s had the t-shirt and he actually sent us in a picture that hopefully is popping up on the screen right now, showing him wearing his Intrycks t-shirt proudly and he actually had it on when we had that last Zoom meeting with him too.
And I did as well. And I do again today. So it was fun joking about being twinsies with that. So if you do have a question out there and you want to submit it to us, you can do that. Go to localSEOtactics.com, scroll down to the bottom to submit a question, but then also there, once you click that link, you’ll see a phone number to call in and leave your question as a voicemail. If you do that, like Bryon did, we’re happy to send you off an Intrycks t-shirt and feature your question on here. We’ll play the audio like we just did for Bryon and you can give a shout out and a little promotion for your business as well so it’s good for everybody.
Sue Ginsburg: And if you send us in a picture wearing the Intrycks t-shirt like Bryon did, you could be included maybe in a blog post on our website or some other five seconds of internet fame.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah. We would love to feature you. Obviously, right? That’s that’s fun for everyone.
Bryon: Hi, Bob, Jesse and Sue. My name is Bryon. We have a party rental business in Medina, Ohio, and our website is partyfavoreventrentals.com. Our email’s email@example.com. We’ve had our website live for four years. We have solid rankings. We want to improve on our rankings and performance.
My questions are, we’ve been working with an SEO agent for some time now, should we expect monthly reports or updates on SEO work performed? And should we be doing any phone calls, Zoom meetings a few times a month, et cetera? And how much time does an SEO agent spend on a website that they’re working on per week? And also, how long should we expect our SEO agents to take to improve our site’s mobile performance? Thank you.
Sue Ginsburg: He asked how long until he should expect to see performance and reports. And I thank Bryon of Party Favor Rentals. Love that he asked this question, such a fun, interesting business, outside of Cleveland, by the way, of bounce houses and other things that… Literally, his business, he brings smiles to people. How great is that?
Jesse Dolan: Right.
Sue Ginsburg: Anyway, yes. This is a topic that makes my blood boil and I’ll go into that in a minute. So the quote of the day, with all due respect to his firm that has been providing SEO and not giving him metrics reports or any other updates, you may not get what you paid for, but you will pay for what you get.
Jesse Dolan: Oh, that’s good.
Sue Ginsburg: I didn’t make that up, Maya Angelou, who was an American author, screenwriter, actress, et cetera, big civil rights activist, best known for her memoir, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. And a little trivial tidbit here, she received several honors through her career and made history as the first literary, sorry. She wrote the first nonfiction bestseller by an African American woman, which made history, so-
Jesse Dolan: Right.
Sue Ginsburg: I thought that was awesome and, of course, very well respected. And yes, I do love this quote, especially for what we’re going to be talking about today.
Jesse Dolan: No, it makes sense too.
Sue Ginsburg: So yeah, isn’t that great? To put it mildly, this makes my blood boil. For most work done on your website, especially SEO, there are metrics to track for progress and insights that Google provide. You don’t even have to do anything other than set it up mildly and you have access to the metrics. If you’re paying someone to do your website SEO, that it is my parenthesis, very strong belief, that they owe you metrics to see the ongoing results that their work is producing.
It irks me to know, and when I speak to a business owner who says they haven’t seen metrics in months or ever, the beauty of online marketing versus other types of marketing is that it is trackable. You do and can look at metrics. Google makes these metrics available, and there’s so many other services that show you metrics for whatever you’re doing for your SEO actions. You’re entitled to see how your services are doing if you’re paying for them, that’s part of what you’re paying for.
So, I ask you, would you continue going to a doctor who said, oh, your cholesterol or your blood pressure needs to be watched, but then every time you went in and got tested for it, he didn’t tell you what he found? Do you think Weight Watchers or any other weight loss program would exist if they didn’t have a tracking program that when you went in to weigh yourself, they tell you it? Would you stay working with them if they didn’t tell you what you just went in and got weighed for whatever? How would you know if you’re succeeding or not? So, yes, I confess fully, this is a pet peeve of mine, when businesses pay for something and they don’t get it, and when you ask for it and are met with a look of disbelief. What’s wrong with this picture?
So I have a market research background, as you know, Jesse, and did a little qualitative study on this topic. Can you tell it makes me mad? Asking a few SEO firms that I know just a couple of questions. What metrics do you provide? How often do you provide them? Do your clients want to see metrics? How often? And what metrics do they want to see? What I learned, and this is not statistically significant, it’s just qualitative, directional, as they say, what I learned doesn’t surprise me at all. Every firm who responded provides metrics to their clients, the frequency depends on the clients and how well the SEO is doing. When the rank drops and suddenly crisis, it feels like a crisis, clients want to see metrics, talk to you, know what happened, what’s being done and get their rank up again.
When things are going well, they’re less interested in the meat of it and just interested in the top line, but they are still interested. You’ve heard me say many, many times that here at Intrycks, we are crazy about metrics. Not just because we think numbers are fun, but because of the insights that we can learn from them. These insights are actionable and they can and do direct us to improve your ranking, which is what we want to do. It gives us guidance into what we can be doing better to maintain your rank or to increase it. We look at what competition who ranks above you is doing so we can learn if there’s anything we’re not already doing to increase and overtake their rank. If a firm cannot or will not provide metrics updates, I would probe and ask how they know how their SEO work is doing and what directs them to do more of one thing or less than another. SEO is not throwing darts. It’s very intentional.
The bottom line is that as a business owner, I wholeheartedly believe, as you can tell, that you’re entitled to see metrics on any work you’re paying someone to do. I encourage anybody out there to ask upfront what metrics will be shared and how often. This is standard for SEO work and any reputable SEO firm has access to and can share metrics with you. In fact, if you’re not seeing metrics, I would ask for a fee reduction. I really think it’s that important and that embedded in SEO work that if you’re not getting them, then you should get a fee reduction for not getting part of what the service is. Again, would you pay for a Weight Watchers program or any other weight loss program that you went in for weigh-ins and they didn’t tell you what you weighed and how you were doing? Probably not. With that, I’ll get off my soapbox, toss it to you, Jesse. What metrics do you think a business owner is entitled to from their SEO provider? And what role do you think the metrics play in SEO work?
Jesse Dolan: Yeah, I think it’s a great conversation point. For me, one thing that in this topic, as we talked, really resonates is that, for an SEO firm, you’re relying on these analytics and metrics internally to help guide you, and you kind of mentioned or alluded to that. And so just by nature of, providing SEO, you do have to pay attention to those stats, those numbers, those KPIs.
Hey, everyone, just a quick message about our free SEO audit tool on localSEOtactics.com and we’ll get right back to this show. If you haven’t taken advantage of it yet, go on out to localSEOtactics.com/freeSEOaudit, or look for the yellow button up in the top right corner, click that. And it’s going to take just a couple seconds, you enter in the page that you want to optimize, what you’re looking for the audit to score against, enter in that page, enter in the keyword you’re looking to get optimized for and enter in your email address, click the button, and it’s going to take a few seconds and then it’s going to send you off a PDF report via email.
It’s a great report. It’s going to kind of give you an overall score of some vital SEO areas for that page and for your website at large, even though it’s auditing this page that’s going to tell you some of the good things that are happening, some of the bad things that are happening too. Can give you basically a checklist of some things that you need and what you can do to improve your SEO for that page, for that keyword that you’re auditing. Now, you can use this as many times as you want. You can do multiple keywords, multiple pages, multiple keywords on the same page. You can even use this to check against your competitors, right?
If you want to do a little reverse engineering, see how they’re scoring for a certain keyword, what they may be doing good that you’re not, and some things to improve there. So lots of different ways to use it. Completely free. Again, go on to localSEOtactics.com/freeSEOaudit, or look for the yellow button in the top right corner of the website.
Now, depending on your opinion, what you think is important, there’s different recipes. Whether it be just number of back links, or keyword ranking, or traffic or conversion rates, there’s definitely room to kind of argue what’s important, what’s not as far as metrics, but the bottom line is you can’t be flying blind. You really can’t do SEO without some kind of metrics, internally, to provide the service. We’ve talked plenty of times, Sue, SEO is optimizing, right? Search engine optimization.
And if you just kind of think about it logically, how can you optimize something if you’re not really looking at those granular details, right? And we’ve mentioned that before, I think, on the show here. So, the dashboard that we have as SEOs are the analytics and the metrics and the various stats and numbers and things like that. So if we’re compiling those and looking at those internally to make decisions and help guide us on what to do for SEO, it is very easy to share, if not all, at least some of those, some distilled down version.
With the client and for us, that’s just part of, here at Intrycks, part of the process that we do. We’re guided on that stuff daily, weekly, monthly. We don’t meet with the clients and share them daily, that’s going to be overload when people are paying for SEO. Especially if you’re paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month, for professional services, right? Your examples of Weight Watchers and other things are great, but then you add into the actual cost when you’re paying somebody for professional SEO, it’s not cheap, right? So if you’re not engaging in those discussions on a regular basis, or at least getting provided just automatic emails, with PDFs or spreadsheets of these things, then I would be questioning, how is the SEO providing the service? What are they using to guide and what’s their decision process? And see if you can kind of pull the veil back and see what’s behind the curtain.
I like what you said about a fee reduction, right? If you’re happy with the work that your current SEO is doing, but you’re unhappy with getting provided stats, analytics, and the lack of engagement there, then I would first press, like you said, to get that stuff and if there’s pushback and hesitancy there, ask for a fee reduction. And especially if they’re saying like, you track that on your own, you go ahead and do that. Then, I mean that’s where you start to look. The business owner or the decision maker is starting to look at their own dashboard for performance and the SEO provider’s looking at their own dashboard, I mean, now you’re just asking for disconnect, right? And things will not be aligned. So I think the writing would be on the wall there, that there’s maybe not a long term future in that relationship.
And again, for us, we don’t share everything with our clients. It would be overloaded. They engage with us and they hire us to do the professional service and just take care of things, so the granular details, the micro movements, or some of the things we look at to make decisions, we don’t go through all that with them. They hire us to do that for them and provide results. So business owners, marketing managers, you’re looking for that 20,000 foot view, kind of the main things, and that should be provided on a regular basis. Now, whether you, as a business owner, decide to dive into that report this month, or just ignore it because you think things are going good, that’s going to be your prerogative and your SEO shouldn’t force you necessarily to engage with that and review it.
But bare minimum, you should be getting this stuff on some kind of regular basis. And quite frankly, I know for us at our firm, maybe we’re at a certain scale and size that some others aren’t, if you’re not getting these services, but the tools we use have so much automation built into these. It’s just check in a box and adding an email address to automate some of these reports, if a client wants it.
Right? It’s really not something that takes a large investment to be able to provide this information, right? Whether you want to sit down, Sue, on a Zoom meeting, right? And get multiple team members and have a giant collaboration. Okay, as an agency, as a firm, that’s going to cost you some money in labor and resources. But just providing some kind of automatic emails and stats on a regular basis, or even like we do all the time, a quick Loom recording, right? Just to send that off and keep you up to date. It’s not that hard. It shouldn’t be a sticking point and we do find that that is a sticking point or a friction point between businesses and who they’re using sometimes. And like you said, it just gets your blood boiling kind of gets you questioning what’s really being done.
And unfortunately with SEO, it is one of these industries where there’s a lot of smoke and mirrors. There’s no standard recipe or certain way to execute it so any agency can have their own way to do it, their own recipe, what they do for SEO and how they deliver those results to clients. And so again, there’s spectrum for what all that entails. But the bottom line is, if you’re paying hundreds or thousands of dollars per month for a service, you should be getting something tangible or some kind of communication, something to keep you up to date. And you shouldn’t have to be asking for that. Right? Or feel like it’s pulling teeth to get to that information, so…
Sue Ginsburg: Right. I just wanted to share a real life story of how actionable insights that we learn from metrics are, it’s not the metrics that are guiding us, it’s the insights that we learn from interpreting them.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah.
Sue Ginsburg: In the beginning of the pandemic, we have a dental client who had to close like everybody did in the beginning of the pandemic. And looking at their metrics, we happen to see that the number of searches on teeth whitening was suddenly 10 times more than the next closest thing in the dental category. So we talked to the dentist and he said, yeah, sure, you can feature that, highlight that, emphasize that, whatever. And we started doing that so that when he was able to open, I think it was two months later, whenever dental clinics were able to open when the pandemic first hit, he actually got six to eight new clients for the next few months because we looked at the metrics, learned that suddenly people were interested in teeth whitening and made the change to correspond with that. What if we weren’t looking at the metrics? We would’ve missed that opportunity. Or hadn’t shared that with him. So there’s a real life example of how metrics can give you insights that guide you and when you take action on them, can make a big impact on your business and bring you in new business.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah. That’s a great point, it’s not just the numbers and the stats, it’s what those tell you and then the action items from that. So, yeah. Perfect.
Sue Ginsburg: Okay. If you remember one thing, and one thing only, I want business owners to know that what they can expect from their SEO provider is metrics. From, if you’re paying for any reputable SEO firm to do it for it, do provide SEO to you. Metrics is part of that package. It’s absolutely part of your deliverable when you’re paying someone to do SEO for you. And if you aren’t getting status updates, whether it’s quarterly, monthly, or they’re not answering your question regarding metrics, I would seriously ask the service provider, why not? And think about finding an SEO provider who does, because it’s not… It’s the rule, not the exception. And that should be part of what you’re getting for what you pay for, so-
Jesse Dolan: Yeah.
Sue Ginsburg: Back to the quote of the day, which I didn’t make this up, Maya Angelou. You may not get what you pay for, but you will pay for what you get. Thank you, Maya Angelou. And thank you, Bryon, for bringing up this great question. And I sincerely, genuinely really hope that if any other business owner out there or marketing manager is not seeing metrics, ask for them. Ask how your SEO firm knows what’s working and what isn’t, and make sure that you either get the metrics you want or get a fee reduction for not getting them.
Jesse Dolan: Yep. And just a little shameless plug. If you’re looking for an agency, who’s going to give you metrics and have regular communications. And if you’re not getting it right now, just reach out to us. It’s right in our DNA, so… All right Sue, any other closing thoughts or is that good for this episode here?
Sue Ginsburg: Nope.
Jesse Dolan: Cool.
Sue Ginsburg: That’s about it. And please make sure you get what you deserve.
Jesse Dolan: Right on.
Sue Ginsburg: From your CEO provider
Jesse Dolan: Like Bryon, like I mentioned earlier, if you do got a question, we’d love to hear it. Go to localSEOtactics.com, scroll to the bottom, click the button, submit a question, type it in. We’ll use it on the show. If you call and leave the voicemail, we’ll send you off a fancy t-shirt and just like Bryon, we’ll give you all the internet fame that we can muster up. All right, everyone. Hopefully this helps you out. We’ll catch you on the next episode.
Sue Ginsburg: Yep.
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