FOUND Friday

A weekly Google Hangout dedicated to discussing content marketing, search marketing, SEO and more.


Topic: Part 2 – Ways to automate your marketing and SEO reporting for improved insights and productivity

Erin O’Brien, President at GinzaMetrics

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Hi! Welcome to this week’s episode of FOUND Friday, a weekly web series dedicated to SEO, content marketing and analytics. This is the second part of a two-part series on automating marketing and SEO reporting to get regular updates and insights that’ll help make your life a little bit easier.


So last week we discussed how grouping, ROI, completing tasks and being strategic all at the same time can be really challenging for individuals and teams especially if you’re grabbing data from a lot of different sources and having to wade through different tools and platforms. I covered two ways to make your life easier last week. One is pre-sales and business development audits for agencies and event alerts or notification system. Keeping you up-to-date or informed when certain things happen, just like getting automatically notified and set that into digging to find that information.


Today we’re going to talk about two additional ways to use automation inside reporting to make your lives a little bit simpler and hopefully more productive. First off is using it to get daily, weekly, and monthly digest or overviews of performance. The second is to receive recommendations for improvements to your site and content. Kind of as a to-do list but receiving them regularly via e-mail or in a separate dashboard space so you don’t have to dig in and wade through other areas to get to those. We’re going to dive in.


First, I want to start with performance digest and why they help make your life easier. First of all, I go back to this idea that keep you from having to log in and compile data to get a sense of where you are with important metrics. It’s not that we don’t want you to log in to the platform, it’s that we don’t want you to log in not knowing what it is that you’re looking for necessarily or feeling like you haven’t sorted your data as well. Also, a lot times we know that maybe the first thing you do in the morning isn’t log in, maybe it’s something else. Getting these notifications or performance digest to let you know if you actually need to go and rearrange your dates or log in first.


The second thing that they can do is they can really help keep your team, your clients, contractors, executives, etc., informed of the key items that they should be aware of automatically with just relevant information that they need without you having to pull reports together on a regular basis. So it keeps everybody in the loop with just the information that they need as opposed to everybody getting a ton of data that maybe isn’t necessarily pertinent to them.


So when you’re putting these performance digest together, before I walk through actually putting one together, there’s a couple of things consider. The first thing is frequency. How often do you or the person that you’re sharing this information with actually need to be updated? Is it daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, some other timeline? Really consider how often is this information actually needed and how often is it actually going to be updated? Are we looking at you know something that really is updated daily and can have drastic change? Is that really weekly where you can do week over week or month-over-month comparisons? Or in some cases, are there different reports that may be are better quarterly? Maybe you want multiple versions of those.


The next thing is the depth of the information. These performance digests, in my opinion, aren’t meant to be full in-depth reports but really an overview of the core metrics needed for a specific reasons or rules. Since each of the modules are customizable, you can really decide how many rows you might want to include and whether you want to show all of your data or highlight certain competitor information, things like that.


Truncating the data down to the top five or ten rows or results can keep the recipient of your reports from getting lost in the information deluge or from simply skipping reading long tables altogether in which also happens. Sometimes when somebody sees a table that has a hundred rows in it in what’s supposed to be a weekly digest, that’s a little much consume on that frequency for a lot of people.


It’s also important to consider your recipients. Not just like, who all needs to be getting it. Did you actually include everybody? Did you over include? Are you sending it to people who don’t actually need to see it and are probably going to delete it anyway? But additionally, you really want to consider who’s getting it and how they’re going to consume it. For instance, somebody using the report to align their daily or weekly tasks may be reading it on a desktop or laptop computer, somebody who’s sharing information to the food chain maybe wanting to get this information embedded and as a PDF or maybe it’s like a busy executive who really is just going to take a quick snapshot, look at it on their mobile device just to keep an eye on what’s going on.


So really consider kind of who your audience is because there are multiple ways to export these reports. You know there’s PDF, html, kind of e-mail embeds and you can also export things via CSV and Excel files. So it really depends on how somebody is going to use the data later like does it stop at this at-a-glance e-mail thing or are they going to need to export it and use some piece of this information in some other report or data structure of their own?


A couple of examples of performance digest that I’ve seen in the Reporting Center and that we use are Executive over Review Reports. These usually include things like Traffic Summary, Goal Completions, Ranking Trends like some [5:16 inaudible] of competitor analysis, keyword and content ranking, trend reports. This is popular for SEOs and agencies who want to know what the latest updates are for their keyword and content especially important for sites that are looking at things like universal search elements, local rankings or how do I want a group set up to understand the performance of like campaigns, market segments, product features, things like that where you can really understand rankings and drill down into just specific rankings for a specific group segments, which really helps out in terms of these at-a-glance reports as well.


Social Trends we see put together, just to keep an idea of where you and your competitors are in terms of some social information. Sometimes this is really good for agency teams where you’re comparing web search and social like organic traffic. That way they can have social, segment it out and then look at that alongside search performance.


Competitor Movement – this is more of like an overview of where competitors are for your targeted keywords, their ranking trends, their top performing content, how they’re performing on social, really just keeping an eye on things. Depending on your organizational size and structure, this is just something I see done more monthly. It’s bigger rollup for larger movement but some people are really looking at it daily and weekly because they have a large team and what they’re doing for their own organic efforts at content creation and social efforts is really closely tied to understanding overall market movements. It really depends on how your organization is set up.


I’m going to go ahead and share my screen and I’m going to walk through setting up one of these reports so that you can take a look at how to do this inside the Reporting Center. When you’re in the GinzaMetrics reporting platform, what you’re going to see here actually is – this first report that I’ve set up is going to be a sample report of an executive summary report inside of a demo platform.


What we’re looking at here is the things that I’ve chosen to add into this particular executive summary report. It includes a traffic summary that is filtered by date range, marketing channel performance which really shows at a glance where the traffic to the site is coming from. For example, is it a lot of it direct or organic or paid? Obviously, this is a demo account so there are different things here that I’ll show you can be added into the filters. Also, Goal Completions and Site Potential Traffic. We’re also looking at Search Engine Performance Summary and Discovered Competitors. These are all things that might just be at-a-glance information that you might want to share with somebody.


I’ll walk through how to set one of these executive sites up. Obviously, you can pick and choose different modules. The first thing that I did was I gave the report a title so that I can find it in my Reporting Center area and then I chose to save the report as a dashboard. One of the reasons I always save my reports as a dashboard is because that allows me to see really quickly without having to download or generate the report exactly what anybody else that would view the report would see. So you can see that there’s all these different dashboard options that you can see in here, so I can click through and take a look at what my different report options look like.


I also made the dashboard visible to site users instead of it just being a private report that I would receive or have to generate to send somebody. You can also pick themes from theme libraries. So you can see things like various test themes. It’ll add different logos, different headers to it. You can create your own themes depending on who you’re sending it to. Maybe it’s for external people so you might want to make something that looks good for your clients. Maybe it’s for internal but you want to label it and brand it like it’s thrown, not so available.


You pick your e-mail scheduling timeline and who you want to add as a recipient. And if you don’t want it scheduled as an e-mail, you leave it as no e-mail and then what you can do is because it’s always available as a dashboard, you can give your user that you want to have this information a link directly to the dashboard where they’ll be able to access immediately that version I just showed with complete information or you can push your reports live on demand, and I’ll show you that in just a minute.


From there you get to pick and choose your different chart modules and table modules. So what I’ll do is I’ll click into a couple of these chart and table modules so that you can see a little bit about how the granularity works. You can give things labels to explain that this is marketing channel performance. And what you can do is you can add captions and information here to give a little bit more information about what’s included in each chart depending on who is receiving this.


You can also pick if you want to display it in a one or two-column layout. You saw it in the example that I showed that goal completions and potential site traffic were shown side by side as two-column layouts. Sometimes this helps to give it a little bit more compact view for things that don’t necessarily need as much page with. Especially if you’re doing daily or weekly tracking, a lot of times you don’t need as wide a book column space so that two-column layout works really well.


You have to pick a date range so you’ll see that you can actually pick a lot of different things here. Previous seven days and last seven days will actually start the report based on when you start it versus last week and previous week which actually just goes by calendar weeks. Similar with months and years and quarters as well.


You’ll also see that you can do daily, weekly, monthly granularity views. What that’s used for – I know we never saw this last week but just to reiterate for folks who may have missed that segment, what we’re talking about here with daily, weekly, monthly is let’s say you want to pull yearly or quarterly reports, because we do daily tracking and daily data updates, obviously trying to fit 90 or 365 bars inside of a chart in export version of this report would be really busy looking. So rolling it up to weekly or monthly views will help you.


You can also pick search engines, devices. You’ll see here we’ve got iPhone, you can pick different countries and things like that. That’s in there. Because we’re in marketing channel chart, one of the things that you can actually sort by here is what type of traffic. These are examples of the types of traffic that we’re tracking to pull in for your site.


Other things that you can see here that I’ll mention really quickly is Discover Competitors. Obviously when we’re discovering competitors, this is an example of a chart where you might not want to show 500 rows in a daily executive summary or a weekly executive summary. Usually maybe top five is going to be good enough for you.


Once you do that, you can again save your report and you save in your custom dashboard, you can also export this again. What it will do is it will generate the report and send it to you when it’s done. Now, where you get to seeing all of your reports is in your Reporting Workflow Center. Remember that I mentioned that there’s a lot of different ways to take a look at your report so you can get PDFs, you can get html, embedded e-mails. You can pick whether or not some things a client facing report. You can also generate them on demand.


One thing that I mentioned last week that I want to mention again for ease – I mentioned it with pre-sales audits but I want to mention it again with executive summaries specifically especially if you’re kind of in the agency side – is that you can copy this report template to all sites. What this will do is this will take this template and apply it to any site that you add or any site that you’re tracking. Because we offer unlimited reports, this is a really great option because even if you don’t need it, it’s there but it also means you don’t have to spend the time generating it for every single client or every single site that you’re tracking. So hopefully this can save you some time.


The next thing I want to talk about is Recommendations Report. Obviously, there are a lot of people out there who are responsible for making regular improvements to site and content performance and that can be a cumbersome task when you have to dive in and see what’s going on every day. One of the things that I recommend doing is either on a daily, weekly, or maybe monthly basis, having a list of all recommendations and errors sent to yourself.


This is a sample version of that report and at the top I’ve included a recommendation summary. It tells me what types of errors there are, how many there are in there. What I’ve done is I’ve actually chosen to segment out and put in content recommendations, page layout, probability recommendations, etc. You’ll notice that recommendations are sorted by importance, difficulty in risk. What this should do is help you understand or prioritize what it is that you need to take care of first so that you can really dive in and prioritize either your workflow or a team member or a contractor or agency partner.


The next thing that I’ve shown here is Errors for Duplicate Page Titles so that I can get a list of all those and figure out where I might need to make some changes. I’ve also got the opportunity to add in things like http errors and other potential errors like redirects, etc. to pull in and see this information. A lot of this can be used to really quickly at a glance say, “Hey, these are some top errors that are going on inside of the site right now. How can I fix them?”


Same thing as setting up the previous report, what you’ll do is you’ll just go in and you’ll pick the chart and table modules, again give yourself a title, but I’ll help you understand what’s going on in here. For this one I picked Recommendation Summary. Then inside of the actual recommendations area down here, I picked Recommendations and then I selected each of the different recommendations. I did one module of content, one module of page layout, one module of crawlability. Another thing I did was I did Page Indexing and I selected Duplicate Titles. You can add that in.


You’ll also notice that there are a number of other things in here that you might want to consider adding for recommendations, maybe something like Search Engine Comparisons, maybe something like Improved/Declined Keyword Activity. Declined Keyword Activity will tell you all the keywords that you have dropped drastically in ranking for over the time period selected so you can pick seven days last week, last month, etc.


You can pick search engines, devices. You can even pick keyword groups so if you specifically only care about things that are declining for a particular group of keywords. You can even pick for you or your competitors. Sometimes when it comes to recommendations, these are things that people want to see. Also ranking trends, etc. You may really want to play around and sort through the Reporting Center to see what all you can include inside of your report to make your life a little bit easier.


That concludes what we were talking about for today in terms of what’s going on in the Reporting Center and how to automate what you’re working on to really make the platform work for you as opposed to you having to dive in and work through the platform. It’s also really helpful for one-man armies who meet a lot of information without having to do as much digging around themselves or for really big teams where what you’re really focused on is sharing information that’s relevant to each team member or people outside of the team as quickly and efficiently as possible so that you can actually get back to doing the real work of marketing strategy and tactical implementation.


That’s all the time we have for today. We’ll see you next time.

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