I Hate Paperwork!
Do you hear that? Our eye-rolling detector is beeping! Someone out there is about to complain
that all this documentation is useless!
In our expert opinion, the Monthly Report is a cornerstone of a well-balanced plan. Why? Because
we firmly believe that data is useless unless it’s interpreted in a meaningful way.
A seasoned SEO professional confesses:“One of my first SEO projects was when I worked at a web
development firm, and SEO was an add-on to building a website.With SEO being a new service, we
had no established system for documenting or reporting on this work.I diligently performed all
the tasks for the initial discovery phase of the project: choosing keywords,assessing the site and
its competitors, and making recommendations for next steps.With each of these tasks, I worked
closely with our client and e-mailed him all of the related data.
“At the end of the project, my boss (who didn’t know SEO but certainly knew business best prac-
tices!) suggested that I put together a final report.What did I do? I printed out my previous docu-
ments and data,stapled them all together, and slapped on a title page.
“What a disaster! The client had nothing to show his boss, nobody wanted to wade through the
data, and I wasted more time re-explaining everything I had done than I would have spent writing
up a summary in the first place.Worse, all of the added value from my work—the thought,
research,discussion and analysis that had gone into our choices—was lost!
“Luckily,the client was forgiving. But I learned a hard lesson with that project:Document what you
do and write it with a close eye on your intended audience!”
Have you guessed yet that the SEO pro quoted here is one of the authors? Lucky for you,you can
learn from our mistakes! The point of week 4 is not just to document your work,but also to do the
analysis and mental sifting that allows you to write about it intelligently.The way you tell your
is what will ultimately separate you from the SEO hacks and newbies out there.Your
Monthly Report is a team builder, a boss pleaser,and a mental reinforcement for your SEO learning
curve, all wrapped in a sensible white-inkjet-bond-paper bow.
Monday: Keywords, Landing Pages, and Competition
You’ll start your Baseline Monthly Report with a description of your activities from
Weeks 1 through 3: what you did, what you discovered, and the important choices you
(and your team) made. We’ll start you off with a possible first sentence for each:
Your Keyword Choice
“Top priority keywords were chosen based on an analysis of popularity with searchers,
relevance to our site, and competition.”
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