In this post, I will walk through the life of a Local SEO client for us, and the reporting process that accompanies an effective relationship.
But before we can get to the actual reporting, there has to be a substantial amount of work done.
Getting Started On The Right Foot
The first report we give our clients contains a snapshot of their local presence in an easy to understand graphical format.
It’s easy to get excited about the technical ‘nerdy’ side of local SEO but generally it confuses a client when we talk about citations, links, and NAP without proper, simple explanations.
So You Think You’re Tough, eh? Put em Up!
More ‘on-the-ball’ clients will have clear picture of their competition, will know the major players in their area and check them out regularly – both online & offline.
Collecting competitive data and forming a detailed comparison of a new client vs competitors is an important step for two reasons:
As a local search agency/consultant it gives you:
- A benchmark to start from
- An easy way to demonstrate your work down the road (i.e. how far you’ve come!)
We start by using a BrightLocal’s Google+ Local Wizard tool, as it provides a side by side comparison of your current Local SEO competition. Size ’em up!
Be sure to take notice of each business’s citation count, and also where those citations are. After cross checking these results with a tool like getlisted.org (now Moz Local) you will be well on your way to understanding what you will need to work on to better compete with, and eventually overtake, the competition.
Being able to present this to a customer in an easy to view format gives them a clear view of what they’re up against, but it also creates value by helping you demonstrate the work that needs to be done. This is an important part of any project. After all, if you have the customers best interests in mind, you’ll want to empower them and educate them to create shared goals & collaboration to help achieve your marketing objectives. This helps to unite all parties and create a common goal.
Plus, everything is awesome (video link) when you can see your competition’s citations, reviews, and more all in one place – it shortcuts the research phase by 5x.
Turning the spotlight on the client
After we can see what the client is up against, we like to see the state of the client’s local business listings.
Running a report on BrightLocal’s Local SEO Check-up tool helps us figure this out pretty quickly. Creating this report generally tells us right out of the gate if their local presence was ever professionally managed or not. Furthermore, it’s another piece in the roadmap we can use to create an actionable items checklist of the tasks we need to accomplish.
Hint: We’re a bit obsessed with tactical, actionable roadmaps. If the client sees fit, they can take the actionable strategy we give them and have someone else tell them our work was worth it! We’ve been in this game long enough to know the power of good relationships & that our success lives & dies by our performance. As a service business in a competitive market it’s essential to always deliver for customers and never give them a reason to look elsewhere.
Now Onto Monthly Reporting!
So, now that we’ve completed the initial audits, we set an expectation for the project and create an actual roadmap of what’s going to be done with a clear timeframe we are comfortable with and the client is happy with. Over promising at this stage leads to trouble & pain down the line.
Now we can take a deep breath knowing that the monthly reports can illustrate the progress which is being achieved by the agreed upon strategy, holding everyone working on the project accountable, and keeping the client in-the-know.
We like to be held accountable and we do this in several ways:
For example WHEN we tell client’s we’re going to…
- Create more high quality citations on trusted sites!
- Fill out your profiles completely!
- Make sure all the data is correct!
- Correct any mistakes in existing citations!
- Make unstructured citations on high authority sites from your area!
- Make certain your business’ information is correct on Google Places!
- Make certain there are not multiple listings of the business on any site, but particularly any Google products!
Then WE DO these things to the BEST of our ability in the agreed upon timeframe! And, crucially, we report on it to show the progress.
Types of Local SEO Reports We Use
Having a detailed strategy with clear, regular reporting enables us to keep a focus on the major aspects of all local campaigns. We like to present our results in the context of wider marketing and business goals and benchmark clients against key competitors to show that we’re getting one over on them!
For our local clients, we focus on 5 key areas, or ‘modules':
- Conversion Reporting – We track and show our clients what type of success they’re having
- Cross Platform Local Visits – We try to show the direct visits their local exposure is providing for their brand.
- Local Ranking Reports – Ranking in all major engines vs competitors!
- Issue Reporting – Sometimes things are not awesome and they need to be addressed and fixed!
- Reputation Management – Providing clients with a monthly snapshot of what their customers are saying is essential to their online success. However that’s just a piece of the puzzle! If they take these reviews to heart and learn from mistakes, they can build a GREAT business!
Some of the tactical information we provide in our reports are:
- Any tweaks to on-site issues
- A list of any newly minted citations (Yeah we take credit… Keep that NAP Consistent!)
- Any citations that we have corrected (due to lazy previous efforts)
- A list of any more citations that we have located that have incorrect information
- An overview of any new reviews
- Reminders and suggestions to help gain more positive reviews
And last, but certainly not least…
- Any ranking improvements
- The increase in conversion data as a result of our efforts (a more meaningful piece of business data than rankings)
By consistently following this reporting template, we have been able to retain a high percentage of our clients long term. The power of good reporting shouldn’t be underestimated because if you’re able to provide a clear view of the actions take made and the progress made customers will trust you, value you & stick with you.
With this approach, we take our clients to, well…
We are always looking for new ways to improve our reporting and give more satisfaction to customers. We’d love to hear what other agencies do differently to us and how it works? And if you’re a local business owner we’d love to know your thoughts – so please leave us a comment or 3 and we’ll be sure to answer and get the debate going.
If you’re a client what do you like to see reported on? If you’re an agency what do you report on? We would love your feedback!