Not sure how to create SEO reports for clients? Find out which key metrics to include in your SEO reporting and tips for making the perfect SEO report.
Determine KPIs & Client Goals
Before creating an SEO report for your client, it's a good idea to set expectations and determine your client's goals and KPIs.
In search engine optimization or SEO, KPIs (key performance indicators) are one or several metrics that are tracked to measure goal progress.
In relation to SEO, your client's goals might be one or several of the following:
- Improve keyword rankings
- Increase brand awareness
- Increase website traffic
- Generate more sales
Understanding what your client considers progress will help you determine which SEO metrics to focus on and track. Find out more about the metrics commonly used as KPIs in SEO reports below.
Understand SEO Reporting Options
I recommend learning a bit about SEO reporting software and its features while determining which metrics below are most important to your client's goals.
This will help you choose SEO software that can report on the right metrics.
Also, keep in mind that SEO reporting tools and all-in-one SEO software present metrics in unique ways, and some may not include all the metrics you need to report on. You might require combining reporting from multiple tools for large SEO campaigns.
What to Include in Your SEO Reports
Depending on your client's goals, consider including the following metrics in your SEO reports.
1. Keyword Rankings
SEO reports commonly include tracking keyword rankings in search results to show changes in a website's search visibility over time.
While Google can show different search results to people depending on their location, browsing history, and other personalization settings, tracking keyword positions still helps to gain a general sense of SEO performance for groups of keywords and site pages.
Keyword rank tracking software is used to track and organize groups of keywords for multiple search engines, locations, and devices.
While you can check keyword rankings manually, it's much too time-consuming to do this for SEO campaigns, especially when you're tracking separate groups of keywords for many different pages.
Here's a list of the leading rank tracking software on the market. Some are complete SEO platforms, and others are more dedicated to tracking rankings. However, most keyword tracking tools provide ways to create SEO reports to share progress.
2. Website Traffic
Website traffic or the number of visits to your client's website is an important SEO metric to include in SEO reporting. Your client will likely want to see how changes in rankings and search engine visibility have affected the quantity or quality of website traffic.
The most convenient and free way to monitor and report on website traffic trends is by tracking your client's website with Google Analytics (GA). With GA, you can check traffic based on source, such as visits that came from search engines, referring sites, or direct from the browser bar.
GA also provides other metrics related to user behavior, such as bounce rate, session duration, pages visited, and user location. These metrics can help determine traffic quality and key areas of your client's website to focus on.
You can also use Google Search Console (GSC) to get an idea of which keywords are driving traffic to certain pages and which pages are receiving the most clicks from Google Search. You can also connect GSC to GA to see the data in one place.
2. Conversions & Goals
While keyword ranking improvements have the potential to increase website traffic, your client probably cares most about website conversion actions that lead to more business. The type of conversions to track depends on your client's business and goals.
For example, a service-based business often wants to see an increase in leads through website forms and phone calls. On the other hand, an e-commerce store might prefer an increase in online sales. Understanding your client's goals early on will help you prioritize SEO activities to focus on and the right SEO metrics & KPIs to track in your SEO reports.
Along with tracking website traffic, Google Analytics can help you track conversion actions and create goals based on these conversions. Use goals to measure how often users complete specific actions. More about Google Analytics goals here.
You can create goals for form submits, phone calls (which requires a call tracking software integration), and online transactions (such as for a Shopify store).
A goal can even be that a visitor is from a specific location, viewed a specific page, or a combination of actions.
Here's an example of SEO reporting in Google Analytics that displays Organic Search traffic and Goal completions (in this case a goal is a phone call or website form submit).
3. Site Performance
It's a good idea to report on and regularly audit your client's website for potential performance issues and opportunities to improve user experience. You can include this type of info under a website health section in your SEO reports.
Many SEO reporting software and all-in-one SEO software provide site auditing features and ways to report on website health. Example issues include fixing any broken links and unnecessary link redirects, compressing images to smaller file sizes for faster page loads, and leveraging browser caching.
You can use Google's PageSpeed Insights tool to check a page's loading speed, including potential issues and possible optimizations. You can also use Google's Lighthouse tool in Google Chrome browser's Chrome DevTools to audit page performance, accessibility, SEO, and more, and take screenshots of specific issues if needed.
It's good practice to check site performance on a regular basis. It also helps to detect critical issues and share them with your client sooner rather than later, as you might require additional resources like hosting access or developer support.
4. Content & Links
You might want to report on the content and links you're optimizing and creating, depending on the size of the SEO campaign and if your client would like SEO reports to include updates on work done alongside results-based metrics like rankings, visits, leads, or sales.
If you plan on posting new pages of content or blog posts as part of your SEO campaign, you can show a lot of value by providing a content schedule as part of your reporting, including the topics you plan to write about and how the content would help the SEO strategy moving forward.
Check out Semrush or SE Ranking if you're looking for complete SEO reporting for content, link metrics, and more. Both SEO software suites offer free trials and can detect and report on new backlinks that your client's site acquires over time. You can also share detailed internal linking reports as you optimize page content.
In terms of content, Semrush provides helpful features for brainstorming, optimizing, and reporting on content ideas and on-page SEO insights.
5. Plan of Action & Recommendations
Conclude your SEO report with a section on your plan of action for achieving continued results and goal targets. It can also be helpful to provide a recommendations section for your client if you believe there are some actions your client or client's business can take to accelerate results.
I hope this post gave you a better understanding of what to potentially include in your SEO reports for clients. Ultimately, there's no one size fits all SEO report.
Some clients prefer simple high-level reporting, some prefer detailed reports, and some prefer brief calls or email updates. Unless you have to follow an SEO reporting template as part of a company, if you're running your own SEO business, it's up to you to determine what to include in SEO reports and manage expectations.
Either way, it's a good idea to be prepared to report on any of the SEO metrics shared above in any format, whether through a detailed report or a brief chat.
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