What should you include in your SEO report template?
To keep your clients happy, putting together a great SEO report is essential.
For many of your clients, SEO is a mystery. They don’t necessarily care about redirects or canonical tags. It’s your job to create the best SEO report template possible - one that every client will actually read and understand.
However, writing reports is an unwelcome chore for many SEO professionals. It can be tough to pick out the key information that belongs on a monthly report, let alone figure out how to present it in a way that will make sense to the client.
We help agency owners simplify their reporting process with templates and automated reporting. But whether or not you use AgencyAnalytics as your SEO reporting tool, the report pages in this article will give you a solid starting point for comprehensive SEO report.
Once you’ve covered all the basics, you can add more information on a case-by-case basis, depending on each individual client’s goals and level of involvement.
Let’s get started then. Here are the top sections to include in your monthly SEO report templates:
1. Report Summary
It can be intimidating to dive straight into a report full of charts and technical terms, so give your client an overview in plain English first.
Keep it simple and fairly short. If your client has only a few minutes, they should be able to read this introduction and have an understanding of what your report contains, even if they don’t know much about SEO themselves.
A good introduction lends structure and context to the rest of the report, so be thorough. Provide a breakdown of the following:
- Project Goals and KPIs
- Tasks Completed
- Results Overview
After reading the report summary, the client should understand the project focus and results. For example, they should know from the first page of the report that Organic Traffic increased by 15% and generated 50 new leads.
Finish the overview with a few notes on the next steps you’re planning to take towards the client’s goals.
2. Traffic Overview by Channel
Where is your client’s traffic coming from? One key section to include in your report is a breakdown of which channels – such as organic search, direct traffic, referrals, and paid search – are bringing visitors to your client’s site.
Don’t just provide specific numbers for each channel – compare them to each other, and look for trends in how the traffic is changing over time.
Too many SEO reports dump data without any context. By providing the full picture of website performance, your client can put the SEO and organic performance in perspective.
Clients will also want to see how traffic has changed since you began campaign. This is your chance to show just how much traffic you are now generating!
If your services focus on SEO, be sure to highlight changes in organic traffic so your client understand the overall impact of your effort in relation to their other channels.
In the next section, we will dive further into the results from that organic traffic.
Sudden peaks may indicate that something is either working very well, for instance a viral blog post or new PPC campaign started bringing in a lot more traffic, while a drop-off may indicate something abruptly stopped working and needs to be fixed. It is always a good idea to use the annotation feature in Google Analytics to provide explanations about these spikes and drop-offs.
3. Conversions via Organic Traffic
Ultimately, clients want to see what impacts their bottom line. This is probably the most important section of your report. It is when you can show clients the value you're bringing to the table.
First, it’s important to setup the Goals you want to track. Goals will measure things like leads and conversions.
For example, every time someone visits your “/thankyou” page, they probably purchased something and therefore they completed what you wanted them to completed. You can learn more about setting up Goals here.
Once you have your Goals setup, you can see how often your web visitors from organic search completed those goals. Below illustrates an example of this type of report:
In this section, zero in on your client’s organic traffic based on their Goals. Look at how these visitors behave on the site. Do they stick around, or do they bounce right away? Are conversions from organic traffic increasing, decreasing, or holding steady?
While more organic traffic is generally better than less, the key is the quality of the traffic. A low conversion rate coupled with high organic traffic might mean that your client isn’t currently attracting the kind of customers they need and you should reconsider the the keywords targeted. Or their are issues on the website itself preventing conversions. A high bounce rate can indicate the same problem.
Send this report over with a short analysis covering these points to help keep things clear and moving forward.
4. Landing Page Report
If you are writing content or creating new pages for clients, you definitely want to include a section on landing pages.
A landing page report provides additional insight on which pages generates the most traffic. Filter this report by “Organic” channel for a report that is specifically focused on SEO.
This is also especially valuable section for any client that you manage a blog for. They can quickly see which blog posts generate traffic, conversions, and gauge interest via the bounce rate.
5. Keyword Rankings
Keyword rankings are an essential part of any SEO report. They’re a good indicator of whether your overall strategy is working, or whether you might need to try something else.
When you onboard a client, you want to identify a handful of target keywords you begin tracking from the beginning of the campaign. Add these keywords to your template to easily show progress in the SERP.
In addition to the keywords that your client is ranking for, look at the search terms that are actually bringing traffic in. Is there a lot of overlap between the two groups?
Ranking number 1 for a campaign isn’t going to mean much to a client if it brings in zero traffic.
If those target keywords aren’t also generating traffic, you may need to revise your strategy to focus on keywords with a higher search volume or look at your click-through rate in Google Search Console to see if you need to better optimize your titles and meta descriptions.
While keyword rankings are a strong indicator of performance, you don’t want to send a keyword ranking report alone. Including overall search traffic for the client and organic conversions is a far stronger indicator of a great campaign ROI.
6. Google Search Console
You know which keywords are ranking now, but how many clicks are they generating in Google?
Google Search Console provides tons of valuable information about how Google interacts with your client’s site. There’s plenty of information here that you can quickly fold into a report template for clients.
Give your client information on which search terms people are clicking to find them. You can find this under "Search Analytics" in your Search Console Account. Or it is also accessible in your AgencyAnalytics dashboard.
In addition to showing an overview of all keywords generating clicks, also show impressions, click-through rate, and average position for each. It will cover any keywords you aren’t currently tracking in your keyword rank tracker.
Google Search Console also provides warnings if a site has any problems, such as issues with indexing or security. If you get any of these warnings for your client’s site, include that information in your report - as well as a summary of how you fixed the problem.
7. Backlink Overview
Building a healthy backlink profile is one of the biggest challenges SEO professionals face. If you are providing link building services to clients, then you want to report on it too.
However, you don't need to dump a giant list of all backlinks the client has. Remember: too much information is only going to distract from the success of your SEO!
The backlink overview section of your SEO report template should contain:
- The number of backlinks you gained for the clients
- The quality of the links you gained
- Top Anchor Texts
- Number of any links were lost
- How much traffic your new links are bringing in (referral traffic in the Google Analytics Report)
If you want to show clients the exact backlinks you built for them, check out our backlink manager tool. This can let you keep track of all backlinks you've built for a website and then quickly add it to your SEO report.
Other General Considerations
Every report you write should be tailored to the individual client’s goals and their understanding of SEO. That’s not to say you can’t use a template – templates can save you a lot of time. But don’t send the same cut-and-paste report to all your clients.
Clients who like to be more involved in their SEO will probably appreciate having more information to dig into, while more hands-off clients might be happy just to know that their campaigns are moving along in the right direction.
Do your best to structure each report in a meaningful way. Depending on the data you’re working with, this may be easier some months than others.
In general, always provide context for the numbers and data you’re reporting on. Demonstrate your progress by comparing current data to past months’ data, and point out how this progress translates to the client’s goals. Show the client how you’re helping them make continuous progress.
It’s okay to highlight flattering data in your reports, but don’t use it to cover up problems. The client has a right to know about failures as well as successes. If something didn’t work out the way you thought it would, it’s okay to say that you need to change direction or give it more time. As with anything else, honesty is the best policy.
Creating a process for SEO reporting is going to save you hours every month. But, there is a lot of information you could include! Create a template that highlights the most important data, while not overloading a client with extra details.
While it might not be your favorite part of the job, putting together insightful reports is key to retaining long-term clients. Clear, well-written reports help your clients understand how your hard work is helping them, and they give both of you a clear idea of what you’ve already accomplished and what needs to happen next.
AgencyAnalytics is an easy way to automate your data and gather metrics to create a comprehensive report. You can create your own template in minutes with our free trial - get started here.
Written by Joe Kindness
Joe is the CEO of AgencyAnalytics, but often spends his day programming, designing or executing marketing tasks. And like most Canadians, he can be found playing or watching hockey!