In my last post, we started break­ing down the process of stan­dard­iz­ing on met­rics, the first step in the SCORE method­ol­ogy. I talked about three impor­tant ques­tions you should ask your­self as you start out: why, who, and what. In this post, we’ll fin­ish up by look­ing at the where, how, and when of tech­ni­cal SEO met­rics.

Any­time you start a cross-enterprise action, you’re going to need to know where it might be unco­or­di­nated with GRC (gov­er­nance, risk, and com­pli­ance) activ­i­ties. Some com­pa­nies take a piece­meal approach to GRC, while oth­ers are more inte­grated. Either way, avoid the temp­ta­tion to put this off. GRC non­com­pli­ance is no fun and hard to explain to your boss.

For starters, you’ll need to ask if your plan meshes with your company’s gov­er­nance struc­ture, processes, and pro­ce­dures. Does it add unac­cept­able risk in terms of data secu­rity or access? Will it com­ply with all reg­u­la­tory require­ments and laws?

Next, where will you find your tech­ni­cal SEO met­rics? This ques­tion relates to tools and prod­ucts you can use to pro­duce the met­rics. There are lit­er­ally hun­dreds of these out there, lots of them free. At Adobe, here are some of the pri­mary tools we use:

Mov­ing down our list of ques­tions, how will you dis­trib­ute and report your met­rics? To answer this you’ll need to get clear on who your con­sumers are and exactly what data they need. I talked about this in my last post. C-level man­agers will prob­a­bly want sum­mary reports, but ana­lysts often want more num­bers to dive into.

Dash­boards have become an indus­try stan­dard for stor­ing and shar­ing infor­ma­tion, but don’t default to a dash­board just because they’re the cur­rent shiny object. In the inter­est of giv­ing your stake­hold­ers the data they need and noth­ing else, look for the sim­plest solu­tion for the job. Maybe some peo­ple only need an email. Alter­na­tively, an in-person meet­ing may be the best way to share data, espe­cially if you expect the audi­ence to ask many ques­tions. You might also ask if any­one needs an inter­ac­tive report.

Fig­ur­ing out the how of report­ing leads directly to the last ques­tion: when will you count and dis­trib­ute your met­rics? Krista LaR­iv­iere at gShift Labs says SEO report­ing is an art and a science.

I think she’s right. The monthly report is stan­dard oper­at­ing pro­ce­dure in the indus­try, but maybe your needs are dif­fer­ent. Thought lead­ers are going to give you dif­fer­ent opin­ions about how often you should take spe­cific met­rics. The idea is to think through your own needs and build in the when com­po­nent early in your process. Even if you tweak the sched­ul­ing later, you need a defen­si­ble place to start.

I’ve now led you through the six most impor­tant ques­tions to look at as part of the stan­dard­ize on met­rics step. If you go through them care­fully, you should have a good roadmap for the rest of your SCORE process. You’ll prob­a­bly come up with other issues that need to be addressed that are unique to your orga­ni­za­tion. That’s fine. The point is to be proac­tive and plan ahead. This is the best way to add value to your SEO func­tion and show that value to key deci­sion makers.