7 Essentials That Make The Perfect SEO Report
If you ask any marketer, creating SEO reports can be a daunting task. There are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to SEO—guest content and links, on-site optimization, page speed load time, design and website structure, and more—and creating a report for a client can be even more complicated. Because each client has a different audience, different industry, and in many cases very little knowledge of what SEO means and why it matters, it can get time-consuming. This is why having a system down for SEO reports is crucial to overall success for both you, the marketer, or agency and the client.
The moral of the story is that if you do the essentials well, your report will impress. Consider some of the essentials you need for an SEO report to help you create your processes below.
A Tip to Remember about Creating the Perfect SEO Report
Before diving in, remember that no matter what metrics you’re pulling, you should have the option to compare month to month, quarter by quarter, year by year, campaign by campaign, etc. Always use the comparison feature to create the best report! With that said…
Sometimes traffic gets a bad reputation because so many agencies focus only on traffic, but when you couple it with the other metrics on this list it is crucial. Plain and simple, your traffic should be increasing (the rest of the report can show you why). For this reason, we recommend putting traffic at the beginning of the perfect SEO report.
We also recommend using the Source/Medium section of the traffic report. While the other metrics can be important, it really depends on the company you’re working with. If you want to keep your report shorter, this is the report to pull. It will give you more specifics regarding where the traffic is coming from, thus helping you conclude where you should spend your time and money. For example, in the screenshot below from an anonymous client, you can see that while they did meet a donation goal (more on that later), their traffic is decreasing. Interestingly enough, however, Bing is shown to be even more important than Facebook, which is a surprising (and therefore great) insight when it comes to new initiatives and where to put the focus.
Get There: Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels
Conversion Rate and Goal Completion
All the traffic in the world is great, but it won’t get you too far if that traffic isn’t doing what you want it to do. In other words, convert (aka make you money). Your clients will likely be most interested in this metric, and therefore to create the perfect report we always recommend putting this at the beginning as well. Once you know the rate, it will help you better explain the rest of the report as to, again, why it is what it is.
The best way to illustrate the conversion rate to a client is through Goal Tracking. Essentially, this is a feature of Google Analytics that allows you to set a goal for yourself and see metrics towards that goal. For example, the anonymous client below setup donation goals that they tracked each time someone landed on the “thank-you-for-your-donation” webpage. This alerted Google Analytics that someone donated; thus completing the Goal.
Get There: Conversions > Goals > Overview
Landing Page Site Content
You may know where your visitors are coming from at this point, but it’s important to know where they go. If someone came from a Google organic search that’s great, but if you know that they landed on your most recent blog post that’s even better. This is the report that will help you find trends and see what people are actually clicking on that is bringing you traffic. Again, it helps the client know whether they need to spend more time designing their “About Us” page the same way they designed the blog, or if perhaps they need to publish more videos and less content. The conclusions are of course endless. Landing page knowledge is also a great way to see what keyword terms are doing well.
Get There: Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages
This is a report you don’t have to use Google Analytics for because Google created a great tool called PageSpeed Insights. This free site will not only tell you the speed of all of your pages but also what you can do to fix them. While this metric may not have been overly important in the past, success today demands more multimedia. Even one video can slow your site down drastically, and in some cases, you start to get into hosting issues and other more technical problems.
We recommend checking out your site once at the beginning of every week to make sure you’re on track, and always including this in an SEO report as it absolutely affects your traffic and therefore your SEO.
Extra: Time On Site and Bounce Rate
We call this “extra” because they might not be absolutely positively necessary for the average company, especially if you’re monitoring your page speed, but they’re good to have nonetheless. Time on site helps give you insight into whether or not the content you are creating is “sticky.” Pay attention to what sites you are monitoring for bounce rate and time on site, though. For example, if you see that users leave your landing page after 10 seconds, but that landing page is full of CTAs that take them off of the page, that is probably not a page to worry about these two metrics. Focus on your large pages, like pages with rich content and/or videos to see if what you’re putting out there is grabbing a viewer’s attention. If not, and it’s supposed to, use the other metrics in this list to make conclusions.
Rankings and Backlinks
There are tons of tools out there that can not only help you monitor the backlinks your gaining but also give you insight into your competitors and where there may be an opportunity. Many clients (and even agencies at times) forget that link building is more than just guest blogging. If there is a certain page on your website that is being linked to organically, such as a case study, it makes sense to continue promoting that article on social media to try and earn those organic links. The more authoritative links you earn the better your position on a Google SERP. This is why monitoring these backlinks and then following your ranking for certain keywords and pages is so important.
Future Recommendations and a Plan of Execution
This probably isn’t something you would normally think of when you’re buried in data and reports, but having a small section that shows you thought about what to do next is important. This is what will allow you to move forward. The very best thing you can do for your clients is to have a “recommendation” section at the end of every piece of your report discussed above. This is really the only part of the report that will turn your data into something that is actually valuable.
One thing to notice is that each section of this report touches on one section in Google Analytics. If you’re trying to keep your report concise, it’s important not to pull all data that has to do with traffic or all data that has to do with behavior. Keep your bases covered and everyone will walk away with a better understanding without feeling overwhelmed.