Ready to learn about SEO reporting?
I’ve taught analytics for years now and spent hundreds of hours in SEO reports. The truth is, there are so many ways to slice and dice data, it can get overwhelming. In this post, we look at the reports that matter most.
Watch a video or read about it below.
What Is SEO Reporting? Key Takeaways
SEO reporting is the practice of showing your results for search engine optimization work. This is the practice of increasing visibility for a business website and assets in Google.
Generally, reports show top keywords, overall keywords, new visitors, overall visitors, and website conversion metrics. Learn more in the article.
What You’ll Learn:
- Dashboard set-up
- Year-over-year growth
- Month-over-month growth
- Increase in ranking for top terms
- Overall keyword growth
- Goal reports
- Earned links
- Growth of social media communities
- Growth of social media engagements
- Performance growth
- Mobile traffic growth
- Conversion rates by channel
- Conversion rates on a template-by-template basis
- Number of optimized pages
- Total work completed for time period
- Click-through rate for top pages in the SERPs
- Traffic by location
- Traffic by referral source
- Traffic and keyword growth for translated pages
- SEO reports FAQ
If you’re handling search engine optimization (SEO) for a variety of clients, then you should know that they’ll be expecting to see SEO reports that justify their investment in your services.
You’ll not only need to provide them with key performance indicators (KPI), but you’ll also need to make it easy for them to get at useful information. Whether it’s an SEO monthly report, quarterly, or yearly, there is certain information your client will expect to see.
1. Clean Dashboards for Quick Info
Your clients are like you in this respect: They’re busy. They want quick, easy access to important data that will show them the success of your efforts.
Dashboards are, effectively, the “executive summary” of your reporting. They give an overall, succinct view of how your SEO efforts are generating a positive return on investment (ROI) for your clients.
Ideally, you’re going to want to offer dashboards that are not only easily accessible but also configurable. You may have clients that are more interested in monthly growth than annual growth. You may have clients that are more interested in which articles are getting the most hits rather than where those hits are coming from. Follow the old maxim that “the customer is always right” and give your clients a dashboard that’s tailor-fit to their specific needs.
2. Year-Over-Year Growth
Your clients should be seeing an increase in traffic over time as a result of your work. That’s why it’s important to show them a report demonstrating year-over-year (YOY) growth.
It shouldn’t be a surprise to you that many businesses set budgets on an annual basis. That’s why the YOY metric is so important. Your clients can look at it and, if they see that your SEO efforts are producing results, they’ll increase the budget for the following year. That’s a win for everybody.
Generally, if there are no major technical issues, penalties or algorithm updates SEO companies should be able to achieve this.
3. Month-Over-Month Growth
Like YOY growth is important, month-over-month (MOM) growth is also an important indicator of success. This
That’s because people are impatient by nature. Your clients will want to see that your efforts are giving them some immediate return. A good SEO monthly report will show your clients that they’re consistently improving—it’s a bit more immediate than the YoY report and speaks to our inherent need for instant gratification.
The other benefit you’ll get from monthly SEO is that you can get more granular, tracking highs and lows caused by seasonality. Over time, you’ll be able to work with the client to take advantage of seasonal fluctuations for better results.
Your SEO services are, in large part, meant to get your clients to the top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) so that their links are more likely to be clicked. You should provide them a report that tracks performance over time.
So, let’s say you were tasked with ranking “XYZ Widgets” in February, for example, and found that you got that keyword up to Page 7 on the SERP rankings in March, then you’re going to want to show that client how you’ve improved since March.
A report that shows your clients that the keyword moved to Page 5 in April and Page 4 in May is something that shows the clients exactly how you’re making progress month-to-month. This report might also show clients that even if they’re not in position zero right away, there’s a clear path toward the top.
If you were tasked with ranking a specific keyword, then you’re sharp enough to know that there are related keywords that you should rank for as well. In fact, in some cases, the related keywords might be easier to rank (in terms of competitiveness) and/or better for your client (in terms of the number of monthly searches) than the keyword you were tasked with ranking.
That’s why you should offer up a report that shows how many related keywords you’ve ranked for your client during your SEO stint. You’ll show them that you’re making an online impact.
6. SEO Report: Goal Reports
Any good SEO company will set up goals and/or eCommerce tracking in Google Analytics. The type of goal, of course, depends on the type of website. Your client or boss is going to want to see how many goals of SEO traffic is driving.
Goals include things like:
- Visit Duration
- URL Destinations
The idea is, you want your client to see a direct link between your SEO efforts and how they’re making a difference in helping the client reach their profit goals.
This is huge, as many companies don’t fully understand the “why” behind things like blogging or posting on social media—and goal reports help prove your value as a marketer. Keep in mind, it might be wise to run some benchmark reports before diving into goal performance.
7. Earned High-Quality Links
Everybody wants a link on Wikipedia. Unfortunately, not everybody is going to get one. That said, links are one of the more important metrics to keep an eye on—particularly with Google’s emphasis on reputation and authority, as per the EAT guidelines.
Because reputation matters now more than ever, make sure you’re tracking any new earned links that you’ve helped your clients land. You should highlight that in your reports so that they can see that you’re getting the job done, even if the SERP rankings or the inbound traffic doesn’t quite reach expectations.
8. Growth of Social Media Communities
If you are doing SEO right, you also focus your online efforts on social media to give your clients wider exposure online. Your reports should showcase how much their collective following has increased on various social media channels since you’ve been working for them.
With great followings comes a great number of engagements. You should also provide a report to your clients showing that their social media venues are yielding more and more engagements over time. Highlight the number of retweets, comments, favorites, and likes that they’re receiving as a result of securing your assistance in their digital marketing efforts.
10. Performance Report in Google Search Console
One of the newer reports in Google’s updated GSC platform is an overview report that tracks your site’s performance.
This is a good example of an entry report for your clients—showing them how SEO efforts are paying off. Here, you’ll find information about keyword performance, new high-authority links, as well as any hard-won appearances in the rich results.
11. Mobile Traffic Growth
If you’re not paying attention to mobile traffic, then you’ve already lost. The fact of the matter is that mobile technology is going nowhere but up, and your SEO efforts should reflect that.
You should present to your clients a report that shows how your services are reaching people who are using smartphones, particularly if they’re trying to connect with local users performing “near me searches.” That way, they can see their competitive advantage over their peers who aren’t paying attention to the mobile space.
12. Conversion Rates by Channel
You might have thought that conversion rates would be a no-brainer for inclusion in a report, and you’d be right. Conversions are more telling than click-throughs, as they give you more context around how your ads, emails, and content connect with people who are ready to take action.
You might also consider running conversion reports that look at conversions by device. While we recommend making sure all websites are fully-optimized for mobile, if there’s a notable disparity between desktop and mobile conversion rates, it could be a sign that something isn’t right.
If you’re not seeing the conversion numbers you were hoping for, it may be a good time to revisit specific landing pages or target a slightly different user segment.
There are plenty of good SEO report templates out there, and a template-by-template conversion report is another great way to find out what’s working.
14. Number of Optimized Pages
It may be that you were hired to work on a website that already had hundreds or thousands of pages. Your client knew you had your work cut out for you going into the effort but will still want to see a report highlighting the fact that you’re making progress.
The report should show many pages you’ve optimized versus the number of pages that are still untouched. Obviously, the former number should grow over time while the latter number shrinks. That will let your client know that you’re making a continuing effort to improve the website.
15. SEO Reports: Total Work Completed for the Time Period
What, exactly, did you do during the last month? In the last quarter? Did you add three articles with new keywords? Did you optimize seven additional pages? Did you produce articles for other sites and offer up backlinks?
Create a detailed report that outlines exactly what work was performed over the last month/quarter/whatever. Often, clients don’t see first-hand what you’re doing for their SEO performance, so it’s important that you document everything and share your results.
16. Click-Through Rate for Top Pages in SERPs
Another one of the important search engine optimization reports is the CTR for top pages.
Your client will want to see what kind of click-through rate (CTR) you’re getting on those pages that you’ve managed to rank towards the top. After all, a high ranking means nothing if nobody is clicking on the link, right?
17. Traffic by Location
Your client has a lot of new traffic thanks to your SEO efforts. That’s great, but where is it coming from?
As a good SEO professional, you already know that there are various country-specific versions of Google all around the globe. However, your client might not know that.
Give your client a report that shows the top locations of inbound traffic. Show your client that you’re getting results from all over the world with a report that details the various countries where keywords show up in the SERP rankings and their respective CTRs. Down the road, this information is a gold mine for targeting opportunities, timing social media posts, and more.
In today’s multichannel world, you’ll want to track which channels are delivering the best possible outcomes for your client.
Is Instagram outperforming LinkedIn? Are you getting more traffic from Google Ads or Facebook ads? How are your inbound marketing efforts stacking up? What about email?
The point is, this report can reveal where marketing dollars will go the farthest, as well as whether some areas aren’t worth the trouble.
19. Traffic and Keyword Growth for Translated Pages
When you are ready, one of the best things you can do in SEO is to translate your website into new languages and get those pages ranked. It can literally double your business or more. If you do this for a client, they will want to see the keyword growth and traffic for those new sections as part of your SEO reporting.
SEO Reporting FAQ
1. What Are Some of the Best Tools?
If you want to produce high-quality reports, you’ll need to enlist the aid of one or more tools. Different SEO reporting tools come with different strengths—for example, some are more focused on backlinks, whereas others get deep into keyword research and performance. Here are a few of the best tools:
- SEMRush – Allows you to create custom reports with drag-and-drop features. Beyond that, you can produce out-of-the-box reports about keyword rankings and on-page SEO.
- Majestic SEO – If you want to show your clients who’s linking back to their websites, Majestic has you covered. The service uses one of the largest link indexes in the world.
- Raven Tools – “The Best SEO Tools & White Label Marketing Reports.” That’s the promise of Raven Tools, a suite of applications that makes it easy to show clients what your SEO strategy is doing for them.
- Ahrefs—Best known for “backlink profiling,” Ahrefs is ideal for reporting on areas like broken links, top pages, and organic keywords.
- Moz—Moz covers everything from technical SEO issues to keyword research, backlink analysis, and more. This platform is ideal for compiling keyword lists you can build content around, as well as making predictions about ranking for specific keywords.
- Google Search Console—If you’re not already signed up with GSC, get on it. The Google reporting tool is free and comes with a wealth of action-oriented reports that can help you uncover opportunities, errors, and user engagement.
2. Can I Produce Branded SEO Reports?
Yes. Most of the services that offer SEO tools also allow you to create branded reports.
If you’re browsing through an SEO service website and notice that it advertises “white label reports,” that means you can brand those reports. The “white label” is essentially an empty spot where you can include your company name and logo.
Keep in mind: with some tools, you’ll need to go beyond the cheapest level of service to gain access to white label reporting. Otherwise, you’ll get a report that uses the logo associated with the tool.
Stay away from services that don’t offer white label reporting if you want to produce branded reports.
Stay away from services that don’t offer white label reporting if you want to produce branded reports. If you’re using SEO reports internally, it might not matter so much. However, if your business is built around managing SEO for different clients, handing them a report that says “Moz” or “Raven Tools” on it might not come with the professional look and feel you were hoping for.
3. How Do I Handle Local SEO Reporting?
Here are some tips for producing local SEO reports:
- Include location-specific keywords – Make sure that your keyword reports include relevant location names. For example: “Dentist in Columbus” or “Raleigh plumber.”
- Focus on devices – Often, people searching for local businesses do so with a mobile device. Make sure your reporting includes a breakdown of reach by device.
- Use local-specific tools—Screaming Frog, Moz Local, and Whitespark immediately come to mind, but you’ll want to make sure you’re tracking citations, local keywords, NAP consistency, and customer feedback.
- Embrace social listening—Local businesses depend on a comprehensive Google My Business profile—and a big part of that is collecting customer feedback. Tools like Mention or Social Bakers can help you listen in on what people are saying about your brand across channels like Facebook and Instagram, as well as Yelp, Google, and more.
Wrapping Up SEO Reports
Were there any SEO reports I missed?