Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential to modern digital marketing strategies. In today's digital age, businesses and organizations rely heavily on online visibility and search engine rankings to attract and retain customers. However, SEO can be complex, and measuring its effectiveness can be challenging. This is where SEO reporting comes in.
According to a recent survey, over 50% of marketers state that keyword rankings and organic traffic are the most prominent ways they measure the success of their SEO strategies. However, less than half of those surveyed felt confident in their ability to measure their SEO efforts accurately.
Hence, in this guide, we will cover various topics, including setting SEO goals, selecting and tracking key performance indicators (KPIs), analyzing website traffic data, and using tools like Google Analytics and SEMrush. It also provides practical tips for presenting SEO data to stakeholders, such as executives and clients, and using data to report ongoing SEO strategies.
What Is an SEO Report?
An SEO report is typically a document that analyzes a website's search engine optimization performance. These types of reports generally include a summary of the website's organic traffic, keyword rankings, backlinks, and other important metrics. These metrics help businesses and marketers understand their SEO strategies' effectiveness and identify improvement areas.
The content and structure of an SEO report can vary depending on the audience. For example, an SEO report intended for a client or executive may focus on high-level metrics, such as overall traffic and conversions, while an SEO report intended for an SEO specialist may include more detailed technical information.
Moreover, an SEO report can be customized to meet specific business objectives and can be used to track progress over time. For example, an SEO report may be used to monitor the impact of a new content marketing campaign, assess the effectiveness of keyword targeting, or track changes in search engine rankings over time.
What To Include in An SEO Report
While data is good, too much data can be chaotic. It’s imperative to highlight and include only the relevant data to help decision-makers make an informed strategy moving forward. Here are some sections that a company’s SEO report should include:
- An Overview
- Top 5 KPIs (also mention over what duration)
- Activities Carried Out
- Results Achieved
- Challenges Faced
- Plan Moving Forward
Key Metrics for SEO Reporting
As mentioned above, companies must highlight relevant data to make an informed choice. But what data should the results section of an SEO report include? Should it focus on monthly visitors or daily? Or should it check the domain authority or the bounce rate?
It should cover all of it and some more. Here is a list of the key metrics every SEO report must have to offer a clear picture and create an effective strategy moving forward.
When it comes to SEO reporting, website health is a critical area to monitor. Some factors you track include page speed, mobile-friendliness, site errors, indexing status, and security.
Organic traffic refers to the visitors a website receives from search engine results pages (SERPs) without any payment for advertising. Unlike other sources, such as social networks or direct searches, organic traffic indicates the website's visibility in search results for keywords relevant to its business or niche.
Therefore, an increase in organic traffic over time is a good indicator that the website's SEO strategy effectively improves its search engine rankings and attracts more visitors. For example, an SEO report would report a 10% rise in organic traffic.
Click-Through Rate (CTR)
The organic click-through rate (CTR) measures the percentage of users who visit a website after discovering its web pages through search engine results pages (SERPs). Here's the formula for clickthrough rate (CTR) in a structured format using mathematical notation:
CTR = (clicks / impressions) x 100%
So, if 1,000 searchers and 100 people view a website's page listing and click through to the website, the CTR for that page is 10%.
Bounce rate refers to the proportion of single-page sessions where a visitor leaves a website without interacting with any other page beyond the entrance page. It is a useful metric for evaluating user engagement on a website, as a lower bounce rate generally suggests that visitors find the website to be informative, engaging, or relevant.
The definition of conversions can vary for different websites, ranging from completing a newsletter subscription form to spending a lot of time on the blog page or filling in the contact form. It is worth noting that not all types of conversions necessarily result in direct revenue for the business. Still, if set right, conversion rates can reveal a lot about how customers interact with the brand.
Backlinks are a crucial ranking factor for Google search results. Receiving relevant backlinks from high-quality domains can enhance your domain authority. However, backlinks from domains that have not linked to your website before are usually more powerful than additional links from websites that have already linked to your website in the past.
If a company intends to increase its organic traffic significantly, it is essential to track not only the total number of backlinks and referring domains but also the number of new referring domains. By monitoring this metric, businesses can ensure that their link-building efforts align with their SEO strategy and support organic traffic growth.
Most of the commonly used integrated SEO tools (such as Moz, Ahrefs, and SEMrush) utilize a metric called Domain Authority (DA) or Domain Rating (DR) to measure a website's overall SEO strength. This score is computed based on various factors, such as the number of backlinks and the quality of referring domains, among other factors.
Tracking keyword rankings is crucial for businesses as it helps them understand how well their website performs in search engine results pages (SERPs). By monitoring keyword rankings, businesses can gain insights into which keywords drive traffic to their website and adjust their SEO strategy accordingly.
Date range comparisons such as year-over-year (YoY) and month-over-month (MoM) analyses are essential for tracking keyword rankings. YoY analysis compares the performance of a website's keyword rankings over 12 months, while MoM analysis compares the performance of keyword rankings from one month to the next.
Businesses can identify trends and patterns in their website's performance by analyzing the changes in keyword rankings over time.
Number of Keywords
Tracking the number of keywords is an essential aspect of SEO reporting. The number of keywords a website ranks for can give businesses a clear picture of their overall visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). It also helps to identify areas of strength and weakness in their SEO strategy.
When tracking the number of keywords, it is crucial to differentiate between brand and non-brand keywords. Brand keywords refer to searches that include the business's name or its products, while non-brand keywords are generic search terms related to the business's products or services.
By tracking both brand and non-brand keywords, businesses can evaluate the effectiveness of their brand awareness campaigns and their SEO strategy.
SEO Reporting Tools
Manually tracking and reporting all relevant data can take time and effort. However, companies can use various SEO reporting tools to create a comprehensive SEO report within minutes.
The Arena Calibrate platform offers an all-inclusive marketing reporting dashboard that seamlessly integrates with top channels. Its user-friendly interface eliminates the need for technical staff during setup and onboarding.
With this platform, users can effortlessly track their key performance indicators (KPIs), receive automated insights, and become the campaign expert their team requires.
A plethora of SEO reporting tools and features, including Google Analytics, are readily available on Google's platform. These reporting features offer a wide range of capabilities, such as real-time activity monitoring, audience reporting, acquisition, behavior analysis, and customizable reporting features.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console (GSC) is a tool that helps monitor and diagnose a website's SEO performance. It is designed specifically for use with Google Search. SEO experts often rely on GSC to perform a comprehensive SEO site audit, which involves resolving crawling, mobile usability, and indexing issues, among other things, before embarking on a project.
GSC can be used alongside Google Analytics to view user experience comprehensively.
Bing Webmaster Tools
Bing Webmaster Tools is a free toolset provided by Microsoft that helps website owners and SEO professionals monitor and improve their website's performance on the Bing search engine.
The toolset provides valuable insights into how Bing crawls and indexes your site and detailed reports on your site's search performance, such as clicks, impressions, and click-through rates.
Looker Studio, formerly called Google Data Studio, is a Google tool that has evolved significantly over time. One of the main advantages of this software is its excellent integration with other Google services such as Analytics, Search Console, Ads, and YouTube.
Companies can create customized reports with crucial KPIs and incorporate lead and customer information by setting them up properly. For clients in the eCommerce industry, sales data can also be integrated into the reports.
Other Trusted Third-Party Tools
Businesses can also use a plethora of third-party tracking tools that are extremely convenient and easy to use.
SEMrush is a comprehensive marketing tool that provides an all-in-one solution for businesses. It includes all the essential features of an SEO tool, such as link building, rank tracking, keyword research tools, and various content, advertising, and market research tools.
Ahrefs is a widely used SEO reporting tool that provides valuable insights and advanced SEO capabilities such as a backlink checker, keyword generator, and traffic and ranking analysis. Its complete toolset includes site auditing, identification of common SEO problems, and continuous monitoring of your SEO health and any issues that arise.
Moz is a comprehensive SEO reporting tool that allows users to track their website visibility, traffic, and ranking. It offers basic and advanced SEO features, including site audits, backlink analysis, rank tracking, and keyword research through Moz Pro.
Supermetrics is a tool that can be integrated with Google Data Studio to extract data from essential tools such as Ahrefs, SEMrush, Google Analytics, and others. It also can integrate with Google Sheets or Excel, enabling users to generate spreadsheets easily.
Most Effective SEO Reporting Samples & Templates
It’s meaningless to continue investing in an SEO strategy if we don't know which activity generates results. So, here are some of the most common SEO reporting templates and samples we offer at Arena Calibrate.
Campaign Summary Template
Easily access reports from multiple platforms in a single location.
Website Summary Template
Evaluate performance metrics like conversions, sessions, and bounce rates across all channels for your website.
Google Search Console View
Keyword performance data, including positions and clicks, are presented visually in both summary and chart formats.
SEO reporting in the past could have been more effective and easy, as businesses had to grab data from each platform and compile it all in a cluttered spreadsheet. However, with the introduction of tools like Arena Calibrate, businesses can now create comprehensive and well-designed reports with data from multiple platforms within minutes!
SEO Reporting FAQs
How often should SEO reports be generated?
SEO reports should be generated on a regular basis, at least once a month, to monitor the performance of your website and make necessary adjustments to your SEO strategy. However, the frequency of reporting may vary depending on the size and complexity of the website, as well as the goals of the business.
How can I measure the success of my SEO efforts?
To measure the success of your SEO efforts, there are several key performance indicators (KPIs) to track. These include organic traffic, keyword rankings, backlinks, and conversion rates. By monitoring these metrics over time, you can determine if your SEO strategy is working effectively or if adjustments need to be made.
Additionally, it's important to track the ROI of your SEO efforts by analyzing how much revenue or profit is generated as a result of increased organic traffic and conversions. Regularly reviewing and analyzing your SEO reports can provide valuable insights and help you make data-driven decisions to improve your website's SEO performance.
How do I interpret the data in an SEO report?
Interpreting the data in an SEO report requires a basic understanding of SEO metrics and how they relate to your website's performance. Some important metrics to consider include organic traffic, keyword rankings, backlinks, and domain authority.
When looking at organic traffic, it's important to analyze the trends over time to identify any spikes or drops in traffic. Keyword rankings can provide insights into which keywords are driving the most traffic and which ones need more attention.
Backlinks can indicate the quality of your website's content and authority, while domain authority can help you understand how your website compares to others in your industry.
It's also important to look at the context behind the data. For example, a drop in traffic could be due to a technical issue on your website rather than a decline in SEO performance. Overall, understanding the data in an SEO report involves analyzing the metrics in relation to your business goals and identifying areas for improvement.
What are some common SEO reporting mistakes to avoid?
One of the most significant mistakes is failing to set clear objectives and goals at the outset. Without clearly defined objectives, it's hard to know what metrics to track and measure.
Another mistake is overloading the report with too much data or irrelevant information. This can make it difficult to identify the key insights and takeaways from the report. It's essential to focus on the metrics that matter and present them in a clear and concise way.
Closely related to the above points, another mistake is failing to provide context or benchmarks for the data being reported. For example, simply reporting on an increase in website traffic is only very useful if you provide some context, such as comparing the current traffic to previous periods or industry benchmarks.