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SEO | Apr 19
Elise Dopson on March 30, 2021 • 37 minute read
An SEO strategy without consistent reporting is like flying a plane wearing blackout goggles.
If you don’t know which areas of your SEO strategy are doing well, and activities you should steer clear of, how can you fly to the top of the SERPs for your ideal customers?
Unfortunately, creating an SEO report that your team or clients want to read is a tricky job.
It’s tough to know what you should include in an SEO report, the KPIs you should report on, and the detail your client actually wants to know. (Spoiler alert: It isn’t a 40-page document that waffles on and on.)
That’s why we asked 100+ SEO pros to share their thoughts.
We’ll share a complete 39-point checklist of things they recommend including in any SEO report, such as:
We all know the feeling: You open an SEO report and feel overwhelmed with the number of numbers in there. What do they actually mean? And where should you start?
“Too many marketers focus on raw data that is often presented in a difficult to understand way,” says Pixus‘ Atanas Valchev.
“Clients usually have little to no marketing experience so receiving a report without any sort of explanation can be frustrating.”
“It’s important to highlight the most important things about the report at the very beginning and explain what this means for your client’s business in simple terms. Go the extra mile by including an action plan for dealing with any issues and explore opportunities for improvement.”
Editor’s note: Want to stream your performance overview on TV? You don’t need any fancy tools. With Databox, you can stream any dashboard to your TV in just 2 simple steps. It works on any smart TV!
Chances are, you’ve got a list of SEO tasks that you’ve completed for the website you’re reporting on.
Jonathan Kelly of 1st On The List thinks: “A summary/breakdown of tasks can go a long way to letting the clients know that you are actually spending time on their SEO when numbers, graphs, and stats aren’t always on the up.”
“Sometimes SEOs tend to overestimate how much their clients understand what they are doing. Offering insights into WHAT you are doing can go a long way in establishing trust and showing your clients the value of your work, as often the tedious tasks SEOs do are exactly why they hired you in the first place.”
Daniel Wittler explains how they do this at Stodzy Internet Marketing: “I love to show off are pages that have been optimized for SEO, simple yet effective stuff like title tag adjustments, some tweaks on meta descriptions, or filling out alt texts on images.”
“If you show someone the tweaks you have made to their site and then a couple of weeks later their traffic goes up, you look like a marketing wizard. It’s amazing what small changes can do to a website and it’s traffic.”
Promo‘s Andre Guelmann adds: “SEO is very complex and we don’t know and can’t control most of the ranking factors, so it’s important to understand, if something changes, if it is, indeed, the result of one specific action you took or something beyond your control.
Did you know that Google receives over 75,000 searches per second?
Some of our marketers think it’s important to know how many of those searchers turn into website visitors.
“Tracking the organic traffic to your website’s landing pages is crucial for your SEO report,” says Anna Tatelman of Pelicoin. “The big picture of all SEO strategies is increasing the number of visitors who reach your site without the use of paid ads. When you monitor the organic traffic by landing page, you can figure out which of your SEO plans for certain pages are working well and which ones need improvement.”
“When measuring the value of your SEO efforts, one of the most critical metrics for measuring results is the actual amount of traffic generated by organic traffic,” says Rob Sanders of Socially Found. “Website traffic numbers give you an overall idea of your site’s performance but narrowing it down to organic traffic is a better way to measure the impact of your SEO efforts.
This can be viewed in Google Analytics by navigating to Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium and looking for “Organic Search” in the main table.”
Slawek Czajkowski of SurferSEO adds, “Organic traffic is the most critical metric included in the SEO report. In many cases, the change in traffic speaks for itself, but there are exceptions.
The traffic should be compared either with the previous month (for non-seasonal websites) or relevant last year’s period (for seasonal businesses). Numbers, along with taken actions, should be explained comprehensively for the client, especially if the change in traffic was a succession of our SEO strategy.”
However, don’t fall into the trap of considering Google to be the be-all and end-all of organic traffic, as Futurety‘s Dinah Adams says: “Always include user acquisition from organic channels, including Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Duck Duck Go.”
“Most SEO experts focus their work on optimizing for Google, which means that organic Google search acquisition is most relevant for SEO reports. However, changes in other search engine algorithms can affect your traffic and should be monitored regularly.”
You know how many people are arriving at your site through organic search. But how much do you really know about them?
Jasz Joseph of SyncShow thinks “it is helpful to know where your organic sessions are coming from.”
“As Google is crawling sites mobile-first, it is important to know if your users are also coming from mobile. From there, you can optimize accordingly,” Joseph adds.
“Besides knowing how your customers are finding you: organic search, direct, referral, social media, email, etc, one key metric that should be included in the SEO report is the comparison between mobile and desktop visits,” says Chris Russo of Nickerson. “This way, the marketing team knows what devices the customers are using to get to your website and can enhance the design, layout, and content accordingly.”
Amelia Whyman of Global App Testing thinks that within an SEO report, “you need to be able to see clearly which specific pages are getting more, or less, organic traffic, so you can track whether any changes you make have had a positive or negative impact on your ranking.”
“Let’s say you change the text on a pillar page, and the next month you notice a significant organic traffic drop. It could be plausible that your changes negatively impacted SEO, so this data could prove valuable in whether you should revert to the original text.”
Robbie Richards says: “One of the reports I like to provide in my Databox dashboards is a segmented view of organic traffic and conversions across the different areas of the site – blog, solution, product, feature and comparison folders.”
“This way, I can review overall traffic and conversion growth from organic channels, and then drill down and see how each area of the site is performing.”
“Clients really like this report because it allows them to get a more granular view into where, and how much growth is occurring. Overall traffic might be up, but the feature pages are declining. This reports quickly surfaces the problem and allows you to rectify it,” Richards adds.
“Non branded clicks,” says Charlie Whitworth of WhitworthSEO. “Although Google Search Console is by no means the perfect solution to this, it’s a great start and should inform the start of your analysis into how your SEO efforts are impacting non-branded performance. This can be easily interrogated and reported on using Google Search Console and allows you to track impressions and clicks and correlate with your implementation.”
“One thing that should be included in every SEO report is unbranded traffic. In other words, traffic from organic search queries that does not contain your brand name,” says Adept Marketing‘s Lincoln Rinehart.
“A website will always rank highly for its own brand in organic search. SEO really can only impact unbranded searches, and unbranded searches are the main source of SEO traffic and lead growth.”
Rinehart adds: “For this data, I refer to Google Search Console. I exclude queries containing the brand name. On a regular basis I also consult Google Analytics, Google My Business, and SEMrush.”
Given this usage, it’s no wonder why Google Search Console is the most popular SEO tool to pull data from:
“Generally, we want to see an increase in the number of keywords your site is ranking for. This means that you are casting a larger net and more people will see your website and brand,” Colin Mosier of JSL Marketing & Web Design says.
Nick Herntier of WebDesignsApp agrees: “I like to include the “organic” search results numbers from previous weeks and months [in an SEO report.] “This way the client can see if what I’ve been doing has helped increase their organic traffic (which SEO is meant to do).”
N2Q Consulting‘s Madison Hallen also advises to group “relevant keywords that are targeted toward buyer intent.”
“Searching for keywords on a tool may seem easy, but if you want to strengthen your SEO efforts, keywords must be creative, relevant, with proper searcher intent, with good search volumes and easy to average ranking difficulty.”
Fani Zacharopoulou of TalentLMS adds: “Looking at these frequently will help you understand how “visible” you are compared to your competitors. And it will help you identify issues that need to be fixed.”
“One metric that should be included in any website’s SEO report is keyword ranking,” says Bruce Hogan of SoftwarePundit. “This is the best way to monitor the progress of your SEO efforts in improving your rankings, and quickly detect any negative impact of Google algorithm changes.”
Software Path‘s Michael Carr recommends to “always include keyword rankings for highest traffic pages in a monthly SEO report.”
“This allows us to quickly identify potential root causes for organic traffic increases or decreases, based on keyword movement which is important to evaluate performance and determine areas for improvement.”
It’s standard practice to monitor search rankings weekly. But monthly SEO reporting, like Carr suggests, is the most popular frequency:
Carr continues: “Should a keyword ranking decrease, we’re able to pinpoint specific pages that require more attention. When we track keyword rankings, we can more accurately measure the outcomes of our SEO work.”
“I always find it incredibly satisfying to see improvements in the rankings for keywords on a page that has been the target of SEO improvement. It allows you to celebrate your successes and demonstrate positive outcomes to your business or clients around the keywords that are important to them.”
Austin Anderson of Circa Interactive adds, “When sending over SEO reports, it’s always important to highlight how individual pages are ranking in the SERPs and which keywords each of the pages are ranking for. When showing the client their keyword rankings report, you can lay out a strategy on how to link-build and create new content around target keywords in order to boost the rankings and organic traffic.”
“One metric that should be included in any website SEO report is average ranking position over time,” says Andrew Becks of 301 Digital Media. “In my experience, the best SEO reports aren’t just those that show SEO as a snapshot of a moment in time, but that show a historical trend to ensure that SEO rankings and overall performance are trending positively over a longer time horizon.”
Dan Rawley of Twinkl Educational Publishing says, “While reporting on the number of keywords ranked for is useful, without the context of being able to see their average position this is largely a vanity metric as keywords may be ranking several pages down the SERPs, where they’re highly unlikely to attract traffic.”
Alistair Dodds of Ever Increasing Circles adds, “This is the real barometer of your SEO efforts so it’s vital this is tracked in every report. If the business you work for is seasonal then ensuring you are comparing the results from the same month the year before is important. If your client is not seasonal then you have the option of comparing to the previous month as well as updating your overall 6-month trend line.”
Alexander Sirris agrees, “If I had to choose just one metric to include in an SEO report, it would be keyword ranking movements. I mean isn’t that why we’re all here, is to track whether we’re reaching the #1 spot or moving relative to a previous position. I feel like anything else would be sub-par. To use a metaphor, it’d be like if the NBA just didn’t keep score throughout their games.”
Editor’s note: Are you tired of sharing links and documents containing updates back-and-forth? With Databox, you can display beautiful dashboards on your TV so that performance is visible, easy to understand, and actionable for everyone.
Jamie Steidle explains that you can find average keyword ranking positions through Google Search Console, “as these are the terms that people are using to find your website.”
“Seeing these can help you keep up with your keywords and latest SEO strategies so you can improve your content with keywords people are actually using to discover you.”
“Inversely, you can use this information to find what you aren’t ranking, determining this keyword gap can help you with new SEO efforts. This information is invaluable,” Steidle adds.
Jow Lawlor of Digital Dynasty summarizes: “Whether they’re increasing or decreasing – is the one thing that should be in every SEO report. It’s exactly what the client wants to know as well as it keeps everyone on the same page with whether progress is being made or not.”
“One metric that needs to be included in any website’s SEO report is total number of impressions, and whether that number is climbing month over month,” says Nikola Roza of SEO for the Poor and Determined. ”Impressions are not clicks obviously, and clicks are better for business, but often behavior in total impressions count is a clear indication whether your SEO is working or not.
So, typically when you start a brand new SEO campaign it will take several months to get some steam going and get some tangible results.
However, before that steam, you can guess where the campaign is headed by the presence (or lack thereof) of smoke (impressions).
So, once you’ve determined your baseline impression count, that is X number of impressions for a 30 day time period, and 30 days from that point in time you have significantly more, then that you can assume Google is responding favorably to your SEO and you can assume that if you continue doing what you’re doing and is obviously working, you will get even more impressions, and what’s more, you will start getting clicks. First a few, but that number will quickly grow.”
UKAD‘s Bezvesilnyi Artem explains why is this metric so important for his team:
“It helps me to analyze overall websites’ positions, keywords performance and then look for a way to convert impressions to clicks, clicks to conversions, and finally conversions to profits. Otherwise, if I see only growing impressions with the same clicks amount and/or conversion rate, it’s time to examine the keywords pool or content relevance, or website usability.”
Artem continues: “Impression examination works very well both for eCommerce, corporate websites, governmental portals, personal blogs, even single-page landings. And it doesn’t require any paid tools, the only thing you need is access to Google Search Console.”
“This gives you a view as to which keywords outside of the top 10 are really starting to gather more impressions. And it’s these keywords that can often present clear opportunities for more focus and optimization on the associated landing page,” Alistair Dodds of Ever Increasing Circles adds.
Sem Poell of Webiteers agrees: “In every SEO report the number of impressions – of the most important pages – must be visible, combined with the corresponding keywords for each page.”
“These metrics must be compared with the previous period to quickly recognize positive or negative organic growth. By making a link with Google Search Console, these metrics can easily be retrieved.”
*Editor’s note: Keep track of how many impressions your keywords are receiving with our Google Search Console Basics dashboard. It’ll show you the most important metrics pulled directly from your account, including your top pages and queries:
When including keyword data in your SEO report, Ben Capu of Fu Dog Media also recommends adding the search volume: “Ranking for low volume keywords is pretty much a waste of time and effort.”
“Some SEO companies will attempt to pull the wool over their client’s eyes by showing them rankings for keywords and key phrases that aren’t used in organic searches by internet users.”
“If you want to devise a useful SEO campaign, you need to target both low volume and high volume searches. […] It is important to go one step more to look at the volume of a keyword, and reexamine it often to look for industry trends and changes in what people are searching for.”
But according to Alexander De Ridder of INK Content Inc, you shouldn’t just report on the search volume for a keyword. You should include trend patterns for search volume because “you can’t interpret organic search visitor count results without search volume trends.”
“One particularly great way to showcase your SEO results is by comparing your clients’ trends to their immediate competition and industry,” De Ridder adds.
Brian Barwig of Integrate Digital Marketing adds, “In theory, as marketers, we should be able to dig down and determine the monthly ROI we provide for clients. This is a tall task for some though as many times, small businesses either don’t have the time or know-how to analyze how each of their new customers were acquired. Showing the total leads each month is the next best route, as it provides insight into how many potential customers we are sending the business. The business can expand on that further if they are able, and if not, they can at least see the monthly Total Leads trend.”
“Clients care about ROI and calls/sales,” says Jason Eland of Eland Consulting. “Traffic without conversions are just vanity metrics. If you can not show how many contacts are coming from your SEO efforts then you won’t be employed for long.”
“The key here is contacts because you cannot control the client’s sales process. However, you can show and address the problem with conversion data.”
Eland continues: “We use CallRail for call tracking, UTM tags, Google My Business insights, Google Analytics events, and conversion tracking. You might not capture all conversions but it is far better than not having any metrics.”
But according to Rob Ramirez of Digital Eagles, conversions aren’t just sales. They should relate to your goals: “This may differ from site to site depending on the goals set out by the business. For ecommerce this will likely be organic revenue figures. For service-based businesses they can include contact or quote form submissions and clicks to contact links like a phone number, email address, or address.”
To add to this point, 93% of the marketers we surveyed said that their SEO metrics were very important to other marketing efforts.
Webconsuls‘ John McGhee agrees: “Conversions are the culmination of every other digital metric, and typically the metric that is most important to the customer. Increasing conversions is the main goal of most marketing campaigns, and digital agencies should give updates on the status of conversion growth.”
Simba Mudonzvo of SEO for beginners says, “The whole point of any marketing campaign is to achieve some type of business goal (whether macro e.g. sales or micro e.g. leads, lower marketing costs, get more email subscribers, etc, so any SEO report needs to show how SEO is helping the client achieve its business goals.”
Editor’s Note: If you use Hubspot and Google Analytics, this Marketing Overview dashboard shows you the number of inbound leads.
You don’t have to include the actual number of conversions in your reports, though. Blip Billboards‘ Auston Shong says: “Every SEO report should include the conversion rate for the website.”
Make sure you’ve got Google Analytics ecommerce goal tracking set-up to find this.
When you have, head to Conversions > Ecommerce > Overview. Click the “Organic Traffic” segment to view conversion-specific data from people who’ve arrived through search engines:
Shong continues: “Everything hinges on what percent of people complete a goal. It can be harder to justify organic efforts because results aren’t immediate but, keeping an eye on conversion rate is great for showing the impact of what you do.”
Piotr Olesson of Reef Digital adds, ‘When possible, to provide an accurate number of organic conversions (or leads) that are being generated throughout the reporting period. This is invaluable business information because it provides insights into:
“Every SEO report needs to have the top landing page traffic gains and bosses [because] it’s hard to make accurate decisions when you’re staring at 1000 URLs. I believe to segment out the top 10-20 URLs that gained traffic or lost traffic over a time period,” says Evie Digital‘s Dwayne Hogan.
Search Optimism‘s Sam Olmsted explains how to find this: “In Google Analytics, filter your view to only see organic results. This allows you to block out traffic from ads or referrals.”
“From there, look at your top-visited landing pages so you can see the first pages that visitors are getting to on your site.”
Ellie-Paige Moore of the bolt way adds: “By looking at the page level traffic, you will be able to find trends and see what people are actually clicking on that is bringing you traffic. This will then enable you to make future recommendations and know if any improvements could be made to other pages that aren’t receiving a lot of visitors.”
“I always include the value of search traffic in the SEO report. It’s the amount the company would have to spend on search ads to get the same number of visitors,” says Vishal Srivastava of Trainedge Consulting.
“It’s important because the role of SEO is to deliver targeted traffic. The conversion, and sales, are the end results but not something the SEO team can control. So the value of search traffic is the value the SEO team delivers to a business.”
You can find this data for any site in Ahrefs’ Top Pages report:
“You should always include page speed in your SEO reports,” advises Frank Spear of Awesome Motive.
“Sites that load quickly tend to have a higher SEO ranking when compared to similar sites that are not optimized for speed. Individual page speed reports can help you find a correlation between your SEO score and how fast your website loads. This factor is vital for growing your small business or helping your large-medium sized company thrive.”
“Based on 3G loading speed, users leave the page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Thus, slow page speed is penalized by the search engines. Hence, lowering the ranking on both mobile and desktop devices.”
Magnus Matthiesen of Obsidian says, “There’s a huge potential to optimize the page speed. Page speed has a big impact across all other channels as well, as it directly impacts bounce rates and conversion rates.”
Again, you can check the loading times for your website inside Google Analytics. Head to Behavior > Site Speed tab to find out how long it takes for your site to load, along with some suggestions from Google themselves:
“At a minimum, an SEO report should include referring domains,” writes Eric Mellmer of Proline Range Hoods.
“Referring domains give insight into the scope of your website – in other words, how vast of an audience it reaches. These are a valuable metric because referring domains tell you that other people see value in your site (it’s content, your products, etc.)”
“If you can communicate to people that you can provide value to them, they’re more likely to link to you – and you’ll consequently obtain more traffic,” Mellmer adds.
Jim Milan of Auto Accessories Garage explains that “tools like Ahrefs allow you to filter out no-follow links which don’t contribute to your site’s domain authority.”
“You can export the followed links into Excel, sort the sheet by date (“First Seen”), and then eliminate any links that were not acquired since the last SEO report,” Milan adds.
Brooklin Nash agrees: “You should always include backlink monitoring, even if you’re not actively building links.”
“Report on new links from top domains, lost links and any domains that you’ve disavowed. Including backlinks in your SEO report will not only create a bigger picture of your client’s optimization but also give them insight into their organic presence elsewhere on the web.”
Artem Klimkin shares the link-related detail they put into SEO reports at Linkshero:
Summarizing, Virtual Storm‘s Storm McManus says: “You should always include an audit of the website’s backlinks in each SEO report and identify which are potentially toxic and which are deemed high quality.”
“This will give you a great idea of how to move forward with your backlinking strategy to support a website’s rankings.”
“The one thing that every SEO report should include is a list of any redirects and/or redirect chains that are happening,” says Jill Caren of 2 Dogs Design.
“This is something that many website owners have but do not know or understand how they are negatively impacting them.”
According to T3‘s Jordann Wilson, “every SEO report should include internal site search queries.”
“They are essentially a mini focus group for your website. These queries are a great source for guiding content creation and paid search keyword development.”
Google Analytics helps you to find the terms people are searching for on your site. Head to Behavior > Site Search > Search Terms:
Insightland‘s Irena Zobniów thinks: “Every SEO report should include keywords positions versus competitors’ positions. It helps you then plan your link building strategy and further actions. Thanks to it, you can see how the positions change in time and optimize your SEO actions.”
“Dwell time is an underrated, but super important metric,” says Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media Studios. “It’s the one user interaction signal that correlates with quality and is a likely search ranking factor. Dwell time is the average time on page when the visitor comes from search. Check dwell time for specific URLs. If anything clocks in lower than the site average, go improve those pages by adding detail, data, examples or contributor quotes.
A lot of marketers worry about bounce rate, which isn’t irrelevant. It impacts marketing outcomes, but it’s not a search ranking factor. In case you’re wondering, the average bounce rate for visitors from search is 55.6% according to our Bounce Rate Benchmark Study, which looked at 500+ websites.”
Do you offer local SEO services? Google My Business listings are likely part of your service offering.
David Sanchez of Digitalis Medical thinks you should include the number of visits to that profile because it “shows how often your local client is displayed in the Map Pack above all the organic results!”
“It proves that your work is providing brand awareness in addition to organic traffic to their site. It also helps to diagnose issues with clickthrough rate, and any gaps in online reviews.”
*Editor’s note: Include key insights from your client’s listing inside your SEO report with our Google My Business Insights dashboard. It shows your top-performing listings, the total searches by source, and how many actions have been taken as a result of your listing:
“When you are creating a report for SEO the key performance indicators (KPIs) must be clear for those reading it to understand whether they are an SEO or a CEO,” says Michael Field.
“I often see SEO reports created that mostly report with no focus in mind and just comparisons of data with no clear story.”
Field explains: “Reports that contain KPIs should be in conjunction with a well-revised target to measure progress, be these sessions, links or certain user actions. Having this in place allows you to dove quickly into the items that fall behind yours or your team’s own expectations.”
“There is nothing worse than having an in-depth SEO report that is filled with stats and data points but no actionable items or analysis. For the client to value an SEO report, it needs to communicate why the numbers are important and what can be done to see improvements,” Joshua Waller of Ontario SEO adds.
Kumo‘s Tieece Gordon agrees: “It’s always important to remember that clients generally don’t have as strong a grasp on SEO as you do meaning it’s up to you to help them understand why things have gone the way they have – both good and bad.”
“It’s probably more difficult to determine a single element that’s applicable to every single report as they should be geared towards the website in question and its purpose.”
Gordon adds: “I’ve honestly wasted a lot of time in the past reporting on metrics that a client simply doesn’t care about.”
“Most clients’ eyes will glaze over when they numbers and data metrics from third-party tools,” says Igor Avidon of Avidon Marketing Group.
“Most of them don’t know the tools or understand the metrics’ significance. Therefore you should always explain in plain language in each report what the data says and what it means for the client’s campaign.”
Metrics and data don’t mean much if there isn’t any context around them.
That’s why Nick Eubanks of From the Future advises to “baseline data to benchmark performance against. Best practice is MoM, QoQ, and YoY, but for some industries are also good to include YTD as well as WoW performance; like Ecommerce for example.”
Reece Mack says Trek Marketing “likes to use set metrics across the board—total visitors, unique visitors, bounce rate, and time spent on page to name a few.”
“This allows the client to see the growth (hopefully) of our work over time and provides us with an opportunity to not only build trust and expertise but also to educate the client on how to read the data accurately.”
“The number of top three keywords should be included on any website SEO report,” says Tony Mastri of MARION Marketing Agency. “While this doesn’t directly translate into leads, it is an intermediate step that can indicate whether your SEO strategy is working. It is also a signal that you’re developing the necessary expertise, authority, and trust to show up for your target commercial keywords.”
“Personally, I enjoy calculating a website’s link value,” says Jared Carrizales of Heroic Search. “This can be used in an SEO report, as well as upfront in the sales process. There are many ways to calculate this, but I like using Ahref’s traffic value metric.
For example, let’s assume that a website has a traffic value of $99,400 per month. Once divided by the total amount of linking root domains (2,980), you get a link value of $33 per month. That doesn’t sound like much, but assuming that each link will stay live for approximately 30 months, you get a TRUE link value of $990 (30 months x $33).
Including this calculation into an SEO report can very clearly illustrate how valuable each link can be over the course of its lifetime. Calculated on a rolling basis, it can also show how link building is a worthwhile endeavor for sites that are early in their digital marketing process.”
“Bounce Rate – UX metrics are extremely important but aren’t utilized or explained enough in SEO,” says Arash Ghaemi. “The purpose of improving your rankings is to get in front of the right users so they click on your results. Google records all sorts of UX metrics that we probably don’t even know about.”
Avinash Chandra adds, “Bounce rate is that one metric that should be part of any website SEO report because it is the indicator of whether your content is appealing to your target audience or not.”
“User behavior is one of the metrics that matter most to us,” says John Donnachie of ClydeBank Media. “For our team, behavior demonstrates a deeper look into the effectiveness of our content. When combined with landing page, exit page, bounce rate, and session duration we can better understand whether or not we are hitting the mark with our content.
“The most pertinent metric is ultimately, the money-metric,” says Paul Martin of PeriscoPe.
“SEO has a history of smoke and mirrors, and the industry still often perpetuates this in its reporting, which only further clouds the importance of the organic channel. Yes, rankings, share of voice, links, long tail, etc., are all important to move the needle, but they’re a means to an end. The focus of the report should always be on whatever the money driver is for that specific business.”
Mike Kazmirchuk of SupportYourApp takes a slightly different approach.
“I’d suggest you start tracking the real impact of your SEO efforts,” says Kazmirchuk.
“You can use a metric. But I’m more into combination charts. And the chart that should be included on any website SEO report is pretty simple: it’s a time series with two Y axes – one is for organic sessions, and another is for revenue from those sessions.
If you (for some reason) do not measure revenue or have a complicated business model with not that straightforward attribution model – you still can use this chart. Just use conversion rate instead of revenue.
To put this data in one metric – simply divide your revenue by the number of organic sessions and you’ll get Revenue Per Session. You can then multiply this number by 1,000 – to calculate revenue per one thousand sessions (RPM) – if that’s more suitable to your business.”
“I feel an overlooked metric in SEO reports are assisted conversions,” says Matt Bassos of Vuly Play. “Search traffic is often the first touch point to a website, so understanding how contributes to the overall conversion funnel is important for the client to understand. Google Analytics provide valuable data regarding assisted conversions and allows you to see conversion attribution through different steps of the consumer journey. This let’s you shape other areas of your digital marketing, for example how paid traffic interacts with organic search queries.”
Mark Rushworth of WMG says, “Organic goals/revenue for whatever goals/revenue metrics that are important. Ideally, there’s a revenue value assigned to each goal allowing for ROI reporting on a commercial level.”
Editor’s note: With Databox, you can visualize your goals against current performance so you can make adjustments when they matter most.
“Domain authority, If I could only include one metric to indicate how well a website is performing, it would be this,” says Dan Lacey. “This is a number out of 100 which indicates how well your website is going to rank in search engines and takes multiple factors into account, such as your technical website setup, on-page optimization and particularly your inbound link profile.
Every time your domain authority gets higher, the next number to reach gets harder, so it can be really difficult to achieve high numbers. Once you do achieve a high domain authority, everything else becomes much easier, including ranking your website highly for some popular keywords.
An added bonus is that it becomes much easier to persuade popular people in your industry to feature or guest post on your website if you have high domain authority, as linking to their website then gives them a very valuable backlink!”
“For your team, I’d say pages visited,” says Toni JV of JVT Media. “Your homepage will most likely always be number 1, but we want to keep track of what pages do the best in terms of traffic. This way, we can understand what sorts of things our target audience is interested in, and optimize future content to be more enticing to them.”
“Clicks, specifically from Google Search Console, says Daniel Liddle of Green Park Content. ”This is first-party data from Google and not skewed by potentially not adequate analytics set up on a site.”
Alex Darwin of HOME Agency says, “A website can’t rely solely on brand exposure, that’s why it’s important to keep perspective on the number of organic clicks coming from searches with commercial intent. Classify the search terms highlighted by search console and measure whether your client’s commercial clicks are improving over time.”
Matt Slaymaker of Folsom Creative adds, “When we create SEO reports in Databox, we pull metrics from Google Search Console to build our dashboards. Of all of the metrics we present to our clients, one, in particular, seems to be of great interest – Queries by Clicks & Position. This is a great metric to measure because it allows our clients to see what are the terms their potential customers are searching for the most, and how we currently rank for that keyword. We then monitor the performance over time to see how an improved keyword rank is leading to more organic clicks.”
”Organic Entrances is an often overlooked metric to include,” says Collin Tate of Simplexity Marketing. “Getting visits to deeper, low-authority pages is important to ranking for more diverse, relevant search terms. Seeing an overall rise in organic traffic is a big ego-booster and a feather in your cap when reporting out to your client.
But which pages are responsible for the traffic increase? Looking at a landing page report and including the number of Entrances from organic helps you and your clients gauge just how effective your SEO efforts are.
Reporting organic landing page entrances to show your client that you’re hyperfocused on driving more traffic to all pages and not just one or a few.”
“The URLs with biggest % ΥοΥ growth in clicks,” says Apostolis Lianos of ON.marketing. “This metric shows you which pieces of content (pages) had the biggest growth so you get an instant and brief idea of what worked for you in order to repeat it.”
“Something which, surprisingly, many people miss off their SEO report is actions,” says Digital Quokka‘s Andy Chadwick.
“It’s all very well providing keyword ranking movements, increases/decreases in organic traffic or errors that are in Search Console, but what good is the report if you don’t explain to your client the actions and insights off the back of them.”
Chadwick continues: “By including actions and insights off the back of your report, you are not only signifying to the client you know what you are doing but you are being transparent as well as making it easier for yourself to prioritise and plan your own workload.”
BrandExtract‘s Michael Pyndus adds: “Seeing metrics and analytics is great but your client (or boss) needs to know what it means, why it happened and what you plan to do to rectify something or take advantage of positive momentum.”
Moosend‘s Téa Liarokapi thinks these next steps “should be actionable recommendations based on the report. The data of the report clearly shows what actions need to be taken next, in order for the goal to be reached faster, so it’s only logical to base short-term strategies on them.”
To summarizing, Niamh Hogan of Web Clare says: “Letting the client know what to expect going forward is a crucial aspect of keeping them engaged with the SEO process over time.”
Feeling prepared to create an SEO report your clients will actually read?
In sum, these are 39 SEO metrics that are worth paying attention to. Depending on your business’s goals, some of these metrics may be more relevant than others. We recommend tracking the metrics that tie the most closely to your goals.
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