What metrics should you include in an 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 an SEO report that your client understands.
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 for your reporting, the metrics 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 SEO reporting templates:
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 15% and generated 50 new leads and how that was achieved.
Finish the overview with a few notes on the next steps you’re planning to take towards the client’s goals.
Monthly Channel Overview
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.
Clients will want to see how traffic has changed since you began campaign. If your service 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.
Goals and Goal Completions via Organic Traffic
First, it’s important your clients are setup with Goals for you to track. Goals will measure things like leads and conversions.
In other words, setup a Goal that will show someone did what you wanted him/her to do. 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 your organic traffic or organic search affects the completion of these Goals. Below illustrates how you can run these reports:
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.
Landing Page Report
Beyond organic traffic, you should also report on where that organic traffic lands on your client’s website. A landing page report provides additional insight on which pages generates the most traffic. Filter this report by “Organic” channel.
This is an especially valuable report 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.
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.
Google Search Console
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 using to find them with a Google Search Console Search Analytics section. It provides a great overview of the search keywords that brought traffic to the site, as well as the clicks, impressions, click-through rate, and average position for each. It will cover any keywords you aren’t currently tracking in 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.
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.
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)
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 an SEO reporting template that you can use for every client and automate will save you hours of every month. But, there is a lot of information you could include! While it might not be your favorite part of the job, putting together reports can be a useful exercise for you and your clients alike. 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. Agency Analytics is an easy way to automate your data and easily gather your metrics to create a comprehensive report.
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!