Ready to learn about SEO reporting?
I’ve taught analytics for years now and spent hundreds of hours on SEO reports. The truth is, there are so many ways to slice and dice data that it can get overwhelming. In this post, we look at the reports that matter most.
Watch a video or read about it below.
What We’ll Cover:
- The fundamental SEO reports
- Growth reports
- Traffic metrics SEO reports
- Conversion and click-through rate SEO reports
- SEO reporting FAQ
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:
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 useful information. Whether it’s an SEO monthly report, quarterly, or yearly, there is certain information your client will expect to see.
SEO Reporting: Fundamental Reports
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. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
SEO Reporting: Growth Reports
Best SEO Reports to Show Keyword Growth
Now that you’ve gone over the initial SEO report setups and review of the pages optimized that you’re reporting on and how many, let’s get into how to show your client’s keyword growth.
6. Overall Keyword Growth
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.
You can find your organic keyword metrics in SEMRush, which provides visual data to overall keywords ranking, their volume and any fluctuations. If you notice that your clients top keywords are losing their positioning on Google SERPs, you’d want to point that out.
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 or where opportunity still lies.
7. Increase in Ranking for Top Terms
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.
8. 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.
Best SEO Reports on Social Media Growth
Social media can be a huge indicator of how engagement, branding and audience demographics are performing within an overall SEO strategy. Your clients will definitely appreciate seeing your SEO reports on social media performance. Below are two report types that include metrics worth mentioning.
9. 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.
10. Growth of Social Media Engagements
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.
Best SEO Reports on Performance Growth
The overall performance of a website should never be left out on any SEO report, as this is the very thing that SEO efforts aim to impact. A client’s website presence is determined by its general performance in Google SERPs. I’ll show you where and what to report on to show performance growth.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
SEO Reporting: Traffic Metrics
15. 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.
16. Traffic by Referral Source
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.
SEO Reporting: Conversions and Click-Through Rates
17. 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.
18. Conversion Rates on a Template-by-Template Basis
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.
If you see a significant spike in conversions for one particular template, find out why it’s working so well. Modern-day SEO and CRO is all about using the right templates.
19. 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?
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.
4. Why Are SEO Reports Important?
Any businessperson knows that you shouldn’t do anything without a plan. Such is the case with SEO, too.
With the data in an SEO report, you can decipher which types of content are producing higher rates of engagement and leading to a higher ROI. Other KPIs, like customer lifetime value (CLV) or click-through rate (CTR), may also be of interest. SEO reports can help you determine how you’re performing now and how you can improve that performance in the future.
5. What Does an SEO Report Show?
An SEO report’s specific features depend on where you access your report. At a high level, you can expect to see:
- How you’re ranking on Google for certain keywords or a set of keywords
- How much of your website traffic is organic (aka through search engine queries without the use of paid ads)
- The health of your backlink profile
- Technical and on-site SEO errors that may be on your site
- Sales and lead metrics (like ROI) that help you quantify the impact of your SEO and content efforts
6. How Do I Read an SEO Report?
When you open your SEO report, you’ll typically see some sort of SEO score. This value will give you a peek into how you’re faring overall.
Then, you can dig into the factors that contributed to that score, any warnings the report may show, and how many tests the reporting tool ran that you failed.
Don’t be alarmed when you see errors. This means your investment into an SEO report has already proven its worth!
7. What Does My SEO Ranking Mean?
When you do SEO reporting, you’ll run into data that quantifies your search engine ranking. This means how well you’re performing on Google and whether you’re reaching the top of page one for your target keywords.
SEO ranking scores typically involve the following factors:
- Page speed (now, this is more important than ever)
- Rate of organic traffic to your website
- Where you’re ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs) for certain keywords
- How many SERPs you’re showing up on
- Your click-through rates and bounce rates
- Domain authority (while not a top factor, it does play a key role)
- Backlinks to your content pages
8. Should You Get An In-House SEO Team?
SEO reports can tell you the best way to produce content, but they’re not going to produce content for you.
In-house SEO teams are not right for all businesses. Alternatives include:
- Hiring a digital marketing agency to produce a tailored SEO report and action plan
- Working with a freelancer to provide insight and guide SEO deliverables
- Having your marketing team go off of a third-party SEO tool to develop your future strategy
So when is an in-house SEO team right? Perhaps when you’ve grown enough and SEO has shown enough ROI that it makes sense to set aside a few folks to run SEO specifically.