Since I started to present at board meetings a few years ago, it’s been interesting to understand how board members/investors think about a business/industry. As Marketing, you’re just a tiny piece of the whole puzzle (which was my first humble learning). It is even more important to use your time with them wisely.
As marketers (and SEOs specifically), we talk a lot about the measurement of success and the way we report to our manager > manager > CEO > board. After seeing Aleyda Solis present this deck at Friends of Search and participating in the SEO MBA, I digested a lot more information about optimizing reporting up the chain. But… what we forget to talk about is the level above your bosses, bosses boss: the board & investors.
Regular Reporting Frameworks
Domain Authority, External Links, Referring Domains, # of Optimized Pages – All standard metrics for the average SEO, I bet. I’ve also reported on many of those types of metrics. They’re good metrics, but do they create a comprehensive reporting framework that can be used to strategize your SEO? I wouldn’t say so. In my blog post about Input Metrics for SEO, I wrote about some metrics mentioned previously that can add value but on the other side of the spectrum. To influence the output.
What to improve? Business-Focused Metrics!
The metrics that you report on need to be focused on the business or industry. What does that mean? They need to have an angle that can support understanding the context of the business/industry and the trajectory it’s going at.
Examples of SEO Metrics for Boards & Investors
Let’s look at a few examples of metrics that might make sense to show to a board or investors. Remember, a lot of what they care about is understanding your category and its opportunity for growth (of your business) there.
- Search Volume: Some of these metrics could, for example, be very simple. Certain keywords and your average position could sometimes be enough. If you’re in the
red shoespace. Just overall search volume for that keyword might be enough to give you an insight into how the industry is performing. Because investors often want to know if a certain category is growing, and the top volume keyword (short head) is often enough to give a proper indication of industry size (close to it being TAM, which we’ll address right now).
- Keyword Categorization: Extend this initial one and try to take all keywords in a category. If you’re a shoe e-commerce shop, just gather all your Search Console data with the word shoe. This will likely show the volume on a monthly basis and see what the direction is. Combine this SEO data with your PPC data from Google or Microsoft, and you likely get an even more accurate insight into how search impressions are trending.
- CTR Position Analysis: You can be gaining tons of impressions, but with additional search features (local pack, more ads, featured snippets), you’ll, over time, lose click-through rate. With the pandemic, we also saw a shift in more people going back to desktop usage, impacting overall CTR trends a bit. The analysis of CTR & by position is something you can do yourself, powered by Google Search Console data. Showing this insight will help indicate where growth is coming from. Did CTRs increase per position, or did you actively improve positions.
- Keyword Gap Analysis: In the past, I have already blogged about how to approach this. You can find it here. Keyword Gap analysis can tell you if competitor X that you’re competing against in niche Y is delivering many more clicks & impressions on keywords that you’re not ranking for yet: opportunity. Knowing what this opportunity is and being able to go after it is in my opinion, just as important as already ranking well for stuff.
- Competitive Metrics: A no-brainer, but how are you stacking up against your competition. Sometimes this means that metrics like Domain Authority could be useful or knowing the number of referring domains, but don’t mistake them for leading metrics. They’re not. In itself, they’re useful for benchmarking at best.
- Brand Traffic %: It does need to be clear how much you’ve invested in brand-related efforts during this time period! If you don’t, it skews the view, and people want to know what has moved the needle as it creates a playbook that can determine where to invest more.
What are your thoughts on this topic? How would you extend reporting to make it relevant for the board and investors? Feel free to ping me @MartijnSch