We have seen it countless times– complete confusion when it comes to what your SEO firm is actually doing for you.

The email or question comes from marketing directors, small business owners or even CEOs of major corporations and the statement is always the same– “I’m just not sure what my digital agency is doing. They send me these reports and I can’t understand them.”

We are always happy to review these mysterious reports for our clients, colleagues and friends. That’s the easiest and best way for us to discover what they are or, more importantly, are not doing. At Cement, we pride ourselves in holding ourselves completely accountable to our clients. We never gloss over analytics or data to make our work and performance look better than it should. 

We thought we should share the key analytics we review when auditing another SEO agency’s work. The numbers never lie and if you gain access to these analytics, you’ll know if your investment is paying off. Bring this cheat sheet to your next meeting with your SEO agency and ask for these analytics.

1. Month to month comparison of organic search traffic. 

Ask for a month to month comparison of unique visits to you website coming via organic search. The keys here are unique visits and organic visits. This number should be steadily increasing from month to month. To rule out cyclical changes in the market, also compare month to month year over year.

2. Month to month comparison of unique visitors. 

Often, SEO agencies will show you the number of visits your site has received. This is a great analytic to look at, however, for your quick audit you should look at unique visits only. What’s the difference? Unique visitors are the unique individuals who have visited your website over any given period of time. Visits are the number of times these unique visitors have visited your website. So, one unique visitor may have come back several times. Ask for unique visits and look for an increase here as well.

3. Time on site, organic keyword visits. 

A good SEO firm won’t just send visitors to your site. They will also ensure these visitors are qualified, ensuring they are the most likely to actually purchase your product or service. To check the quality of the visits ask for the average time on site by organic search visitors. It’s also awesome to compare these to the time on site of visitors coming from social networks and/or referrals sites versus your direct traffic visitors. In many cases, when auditing other SEO agencies, we find time one sites of less than :30 seconds for many of their keywords. This is completely unacceptable and you should ask them to correct this trend. Aim for an average time on site of over 2:00 minutes.

4. Ask for your goal tracking analytics. 

Google Analytics allows you to set up goals to track. For example, if a visitor fills out a contact form on your website, goal tracking allows you to see where that visitor came from and exactly what pages they visited on your site before completing the form. This can be incredibly beneficial and should guide SEO strategy moving forward. For example, if Keyword X doesn’t lead to goal conversions, but Keyword Y does– then your firm should be targeting Keyword Y. If your SEO firm doesn’t have goal tracking set up on your website, you should be concerned.

In the end, when it comes to SEO– trust your marketing gut.

Above all, remember that excellent digital marketing should make an impact on your business. If you aren’t seeing an increase in leads from your website– something is wrong. If that’s the case, please contact us for a free audit of your website and digital property.

View our SEO case studies here.