No matter what kind of products or services you provide, your corporate website or professional blog is a major key to getting leads and closing deals. However, most niches and industries have stiff competition for search engine real estate. This means that, especially when it comes to search engine marketing, SEO matters. One way to ensure that your goals are being met is with an SEO report.
What is an SEO report?
An SEO report is something that an agency would send to their clients, or an internal marketing professional would submit to their marketing leader, as to how your organic search engine optimization efforts are performing with respect to:
- Traffic: The number of people who are visiting a website or blog.
- Rankings: How well a website is doing on search engine results pages. In other words, are they buried on the second page of Google, or proudly displayed at the top of page one.
- Leads / Conversions: Is the website proving effective at bringing in leads for your sales staff? Or for sites that allow direct purchases, are people buying as a result.
- Competitive Analysis: What works for the competition, and what are their weaknesses on the website? How can marketers address those insights?
- Backlinks: How often other websites are linking to yours. This improves your domain authority
It’s no wonder that most marketers should provide an SEO report. In fact, 93% of marketers consider SEO to be important to other types of marketing effort, and not just search engine-based marketing. Continual improvement is, as always, the goal.
An SEO report should not just include numbers and charts but also words which detail your plans, actions, outcomes, and recommendations for the future. These factors give you a complete picture of your metrics, as well as what is working best for your brand. Here’s what the questions look like.
What has been accomplished so far?
Here, you’ll outline how far your company or client has come. For instance, you might’ve started out on page five of SERPs, yet you’re now at the top of page two. Alternately, you might be on page one for certain keywords, but down further on other important search terms.
What are the activities are done and their impact?
Any complete SEO report should indicate what efforts have been undertaken so far. One reason for this is that it helps you show clients or management that you are doing something. Examples in the section could include an increase in blog posts, concerted SEO writing, and the inclusion of video or ADA-compliant features.
Further Reading: 10 Top Tips to Increase Your Blog Post SEO
Recommendations to boost growth.
Finally, your report should include suggestions on what to do next. In other words, what will improve the website SEO over time? In some cases, it’s more of the same, but in others using different techniques or changing strategy may be in order. Of course, it can be a bit of both.
What to Include in Your SEO Report
Below is a summary of all of the different metrics that you could possibly include in your SEO report. Some are more important than others, but at least you should understand the potential of scope what you might want to consider for inclusion to showcase your work.
Note that technical SEO metrics such as broken links or 404 errors were not included as these are numbers that might not necessarily show the business impact of your efforts. However, you should obviously be monitoring and resolving them on a daily basis! Sites with a lot of technical issues aren’t places where people want to linger.
Web Traffic Metrics
The first section of your SEO report should include information on your web traffic. As we all know, traffic is king because it not only gives us a measure of success, but the goal of SEO is to increase traffic. These metrics are produced by both basic SEO techniques and more advanced ones.
Overall Traffic (Users / Sessions / Pageviews)
Simply put, this part of your SEO report analyzes your total traffic from all sources. However, you should also break it down. The “users” metric tracks how many unique users visit your site. This is typically determined with a cookie or by IP address. Sessions refer to how many times people visit your site, without regard to how many pages they visit. So, if I visit your site and view three pages, this counts as one session. Finally, pageviews track how many times each page on your website is viewed.
Traffic to Key Landing / Sales Pages
Here, you’re simply telling the readers of your SEO report how many times certain pages are visited. Only, unlike with the “pageviews” statistic, you’re only interested in certain pages. For instance, it could be a web form, lead magnet, or promotion page.
Search Engine Traffic
This metric focuses on traffic that originates from search engines. In particular, we’re talking about the organic search results and paid placements. Search engine traffic is a great measure of overall interest in your company.
Visit Trends By Source/Medium
In short, why are people visiting your site? Is it because they saw an ad on another website, or through social media? In addition, do customers prefer your video or audio content over what’s written?
Visits to Branded vs. Non-Branded Content
If you do a lot of content marketing, then there’s probably a mix of branded and unbranded content on your site. This section tracks when each is visited, and how often. And, it helps you see which types of content are getting the most clicks or are most effective.
Further Reading: How SEO and Content Marketing are Linked
No matter what kind of content you produce, and regardless of industry, for people to progress down your sales funnel they need to engage with your website. Using the information in this part of the SEO report, you can fine-tune your sales funnel to be more effective and move beyond basics.
Your bounce rate is simply how often people navigate to your website and then leave immediately. It is compared to the overall number of visits.
Average Session Duration
Once someone lands on your website, how long do they linger? This is calculated as the total time on your site, regardless of how many pages are viewed.
Average Page Views per Session
Each time a user visits, how many unique pages do they view? Here, it doesn’t matter how long they stay on each page.
% New Sessions
Out of your total visitors, how many are visiting for the first time? If you’re doing a brand awareness campaign, this is a metric to watch carefully.
For this part of your SEO report, you want to track how frequently site visits result in conversions or sales. Depending on your website goals, appropriate conversions can vary: lead generation is often what you want, and not an immediate sale, for example.
- Conversion Rate: Expressed as a percentage, how many visits result in a conversion event?
- Number of Conversions: How many visitors convert into customers or provide a sales lead? This could be any of several actions.
- Total Revenue: How much cash is your website generating? The cash can come from any revenue source, including purchases, advertising sales, and subscription fees.
- Average Order Value: When someone completes a sale, how much do they spend on average? For most ecommerce brands, the goal is to always be increasing this number.
- Abandonment Rate: Out of 100 people that place things in their cart, how many leave without completing the order?
- User Registrations: If you have a community or subscription, how many people sign up as a site user?
When the word “SEO” comes to mind, most of us think in terms of actual search engine rankings, or how well a site performs on a search engine. Therefore, these statistics are critical to any SEO report.
- Number of Organic Keywords Ranking: How many keywords does your site rank for? Without paying for the privilege (i.e., no paid search)? Ideally, there should be several. If your strategy is adequate, you should see the rankings on your chosen keywords rise over time.
- Keyword Search Engine Ranking Tracking Visibility: Among all the keywords you’re tracking, how often do people click on your website from organic results?
- Search Engine Positions Breakdown: What is your exact search engine rank for each keyword you’re tracking? If you aren’t ranking high enough, then these are areas for improvement. However, stellar positions need to be defended.
- Average Search Engine Ranking: For this number, you’ll take the position number for each and average it. So, I might average rank ten across influencer marketing-related keywords.
- Competitor Search Engine Ranking Tracking: How high are your competitors placing on the SERP? Compare these numbers with your own for valuable insight on the SEO report.
- Search Engine Impressions: How many times does any page from your site show up in a user search? Organic results only, not paid results.
- Search Engine Clicks: When someone sees your site on the SERP, how often do they click? This number doesn’t take keywords into account, only the number of clicks.
- Search Engine CTR by Keyword: When someone searches a keyword, how often do they click on ANY link? This is reported for each keyword you’re tracking.
One of the most important advanced techniques for SEO is building backlinks. These are created when people cite, then link to, your website. Google and other search engines consider these to be an important measure of your website’s overall importance to the discussion around your keywords.
- Numbers of backlinks: This is simply how many backlinks there are to your website. It is blind to which specific site pages people are linking to. Therefore, a lot of the backlinks can be barely relevant.
- Notable new/lost backlinks: Websites gain and lose backlinks all the time, and for many different reasons. This metric simply notes which gains and losses are important, such as those involving a thought leader’s site.
User Experience Metrics
Think of “user experience” as the website equivalent of sales staff at a local retailer or employees at other customer-facing businesses. In this case, user experience or UX is a measure of how pleasant people find it to visit your website. Often, this includes speed: studies show that over 80% of consumers want a site to load within 2 seconds. Much longer, and they may leave, boosting your bounce rate.
- Average Page Load Time: Simply put, how long does it typically take for a page to load? This should always be below two seconds, but faster is usually better. Often, the number is expressed in milliseconds.
- Google Page Speed: This is a tool that lets you see how fast your pages load, but also gives suggestions for improvement. Google expresses the speed as a score, rather than an amount of time, because this gives insight into how you compare with others.
SEO Reporting Tools to Help You Write a Perfect SEO Report
Note that if you do a search for “SEO Report” you will find a number of SEO tools that merely audit the technical aspects of your website. This information is important, but correcting many of the problems these services will find can be done by your IT department or developer. In addition, the report will miss many important metrics. To build a true SEO Report based on what I mentioned above, I recommend the following free and paid tools:
- Google Analytics: This is a must for any website owner. On the Analytics platform, Google gives you different statistics about your website. For instance, ranking metrics and visit-related information is found here.
- Google Search Console: As part of their service to developers and site owners, Google provides information to help you improve that coveted ranking. For instance, you can provide sitemaps. In addition, they’ll give suggestions on how to improve your site from an SEO perspective.
- Google Page Speed Insights: Another useful tool from Google that helps you improve page speed. Here, they’ll indicate what might be slowing your website down. For instance, you might have too many plugins or code on your website might be conflicting with other code.
- SEMrush: This is an expansive platform for SEO and PPC operations, among other things. SEM stands for search engine marketing, and they have features for literally everything SEM related. With that said, they do more than report data: rather, they help you analyze the data and improve overall metrics.
Once you have gathered all the ingredients for your report, it’s time to present the data. Remember though, there may be a few less relevant numbers depending on the nature of your site. Bring all of these data points into Google Data Studio and you can now completely automate your SEO Report for your business or clients!
Any other important SEO metrics or KPIs that you would include in your SEO report? Please let me know in the comments below.
Further Reading: 11 SEO Trends Every Marketer Should Know
Hero photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash