SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and refers to the common practice of optimizing websites so that they rank as highly as possible on a relevant google search.  Studies state that the relationship between how highly your website ranks on Google and how much traffic it gets follows the famous Pareto (or 80/20 principle). In other words, it is a complicated way of saying that the difference between first and fourth on a particular search phrase (such as “computer maintenance”) could be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars (depending on the size of the niche).

An SEO report will tell you what you need to accomplish to attract more visitors to your site. At Chicago Ranking, we structure your reports in a logical way, beginning with initial reports, moving onto weekly reports and then finishing with your post-campaign report.

The first report (as the name suggests) is conducted before you try and improve your site ranking for specific keywords. This report will give you an idea of the plan to execute your SEO campaign. It will also give you vital information about the potential traffic gain when it reaches the first page. You may also get an idea of how costly and time-consuming it will be to get into the top 10 due to the competitiveness of the keywords. For this reason, many would recommend chasing “long tail” or more obscure keywords as you can obviously more easily win a less hotly contested prize, and these long tail keywords may nonetheless still prove to be highly profitable.

Your initial audit should also include an analysis of your competitors; this will let you know what keywords they are promoting, what websites are bringing them links and traffic and the viability of whether you should compete with competitors links directly or be a bit sneakier. Of course the foundation of your initial report is gaining knowledge concerning your site itself, so conducting a full website audit report will let you know about important factors including (but not limited to) page titles, meta tags, keyword density, HTML formatting tags and broken links. With this knowledge, you can ensure your page follows the proper search engine optimization standards.

Once your SEO campaign gets underway, you will, of course, want to keep track of it using Ongoing Reports (usually sent out on a monthly basis). These reports will let you monitor the progress of your keyword rankings, so obviously if they go up, that’s great. On the contrary, you can check if the plummet, allowing you to diagnose the problem.

You’ll also want to keep your friends close and your enemies closer by keeping an eye on your competitors rankings as well; hopefully you are flying by them like Usain Bolt but if not you may wish to see what you are missing (and perhaps how to counter their strategy). It’s also a good idea to follow the progress of links since link building is an integral part of an SEO strategy. It is also a very expensive and slow process so watching it is essential to make sure you are getting enough bang for your buck. The report should (at the very least) include Link Source URL, Link destination URL, Anchor Text, Backlink’s and the number of external links on each linking page.

In summary, if you want to make the most of your SEO campaign as with all things knowledge is power. Begin with a professional initial report letting you know your strengths and weaknesses (as well as those of your competitors) then test again once you’ve started and as you continue to ensure that all is going well. Finally, make sure your link building efforts are not going to waste by keeping track of this metric. If you follow all this advice you can be confident your SEO campaign will produce the desired results.