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Creating an SEO Report that Your Clients Will Love

Christopher Jan Benitez wrote this on July 6, 2016

To be an SEO specialist, you have to really love search.

It isn’t just a job or a means to an end. You’ve got to be passionate about the industry and driven to rank pages.

What motivates us is the journey — the glory is in the strategy and execution. We love

  • devising a sustainable link building strategy
  • crawling sites for technical SEO issues
  • spying on competitor rankings and tactics

If this sounds like you as well, you should get a job as an SEO specialist if you haven’t already.

The problem is that our clients do not care about any of that.

For clients, it’s about one thing and one thing only: results.

Reports Bridge the Gap Between SEO Firms and Their Clients

 

To a business owner, the perfect SEO package would look more like a straightforward transaction where it’s clear how much extra revenue they’ll generate by earning those top ranks in the SERPs.

Problem is that results can’t be guaranteed, nor can profits be guaranteed even in the event that improved rankings are attained.

Such is the burden that SEO specialists carry as hired guns. They’ll always need to align their expertise and passion with their clients’ expectations.

Enter SEO reports.

As a search expert, you need to understand that your efforts serve as an investment to the success of the client.

You will be paid for your specialty, but you need to explain to people why you deserve the amount of money you are getting from them.

Therefore…

You need to demystify search optimization for your clients through SEO reports. Click To Tweet

In this post we’ll cover

  • the standard metrics and goals you need to cover in your reporting
  • the tools you need to build a strong report
  • best practices of SEO reporting
  • some examples of great reports

What Do Businesses Want Out of SEO?

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The purpose of SEO is to get websites atop their target keywords on Google (and Bing/Yahoo, if you wish to include it in your report). This will all be done based on the plan you’ve developed for any given client.

However, when it comes to reporting don’t obsess over the details of your plan. That’s not why you got hired.

Your reports should focus on providing clients an overview of the work you’re doing.

Therefore, you need to keep the report short and sweet. Focus on the most common and important metrics and goals that can really have an impact on your client’s bottomline.

Here are a few of the biggest ones to consider mentioning in your report.

1. Keyword ranking

Let’s start with the most obvious.

Assuming you or your client have conducted enough keyword research to determine which keywords are high-value to their business, you’ll need to regularly monitor where their site falls in the rankings.

Tracking the movement of keywords and whether they are going up or down will give you insights about wether or not various techniques and tactics you employ are moving the needle. For example, a prolonged drop off may indicate that your SEO strategy isn’t working particularly well, and vice versa.

Just don’t get too distracted by over analyzing day to day shifts, and don’t get clients involved in them either. They’re completely normal.

Lastly, providing actionable items based on your keyword findings give clients reassurance that you are on top of things.

2. Organic traffic

Organic traffic numbers are usually directly correlated to organic search rankings.

Netting some increased traffic due to ranking positions is expected, but factors such as rich snippets and rich cards can help maximize the CTR you’ll achieve on the SERPs.

Also, it helps if you observe best practices and always fill metadata segments with compelling content.

3. Average time on site

The length of time your visitors’ spend on any given page on your client’s site can be pretty a pretty telling statistic. If they’re engaged, they’ll most likely stay longer and maybe even visit additional pages and posts.

If they leave in a hurry, consider that there may be issues with the page loading speed, formatting or content quality.

4. Bounce rate

This metric indicates the percent of visitors who only briefly visited a single page on your client’s site.

Since you need to quantify visitor engagement by measuring the bounce rate of a site, you’ll need to encourage them to click on other pages and increase their chances of converting into a sale.

That conveniently brings us to number 5…

5. Goal conversion

If your client has specific pages they want to optimize for search, then you’ll need to set up conversion goals to track their respective performances.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to doing this if you’re not already familiar with how to go about it.

This will help you analyze which course to take when further improving how clients are faring fare in terms of their end goals.

6. Earned links

Link building is still one of the biggest factors that determine search rankings. That said, explaining how link building works to clients is tricky. You may need to explain why other sites are more valuable in getting links from compared to others.

If you do decide to provide specific links to your clients in your reports (this isn’t necessary in many cases), be sure to focus on the most relevant inbound links and explain the following criteria.

  • Trust signals – Does the site with your backlink have good metrics (high Domain Authority or Trust Flow, social shares, etc)?
  • Referral traffic – Are lots of visitors from sites where you got backlinks clicking on them?
  • Conversion rate – Are the visitors performing your client’s desired action after visiting your page from the site where you earned a backlink? This will help you determine the quality of visitors you are receiving from the site.

Tools to Help You Build an SEO Report

Building an SEO report manually is possible but time-consuming. If you want to generate a quick report without having to compromise tracking your metrics, consider using the tools below.

Ahrefs

There’s no shortage of keyword research and rank checking tools in the market. But some of the strongest offer other features to help you gain insights when building your SEO reports.

Ahrefs is one of the most popular and for good reason. Not only doest it specialize in providing fresh and accurate daily rankings but it will also track and manage your backlinks.

As if that weren’t enough, the tool will also help you generate white label reports that you can use as a basis for the SEO reports you’re going to disseminate to clients.

Google Analytics

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A prerequisite to every SEO report, this indispensable tool will provide most of the statistical SEO analysis that you need to present to your clients.

Make sure that you have the Google Analytics login details of your clients’ sites in advance. That way you can create a more comprehensive report (and one that you can use as a comparison point in future reports).

What’s more is that most rank checking tools allow GA integration. Sweet!

Cyfe

Should you decide on using multiple tools to collect SEO data for your reports, you may want to consider using a single dashboard like Cyfe to host all of the findings in a single place.

The problem with using multiple different SEO tools for data gathering is that you’ll have to constantly flip from window to window when extracting relevant information.

With Cyfe, all of the information can be found on a single dashboard. The tool also lets you create branded real-time reports based on historical data to help you inform clients of your overall progress.

DashThis

Creating an SEO report that is heavy on numbers and figures comes with it’s own challenges.

You may find yourself needing to create a report that simplifies all of the data into a visual presentation.

DashThis does exactly this. It compiles all of your findings into an easy to understand visual format. Not only does the tool help cut down the time in creating SEO reports, but it also makes them much easier for your clients to understand.

RankPay

At the risk of sounding like a shill, I’d also recommend checking out RankPay SEO services.

They provide turnkey solutions to your link building strategy, which can be pretty crucial for your SEO campaign and reporting purposes.

Best of all, you’ll only pay have to pay for it if results are delivered. This is usually a surefire win for clients and something they would love to hear.

Simple Best Practices for SEO Reports

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SEO reporting can be troublesome if you’re new to it. You might not be sure what to include or how best to present data that can be complicated to outsiders (your clients).

Hopefully, this article has helped by creating a launch pad. Remember the following quick-tips as well and you’ll do fine!

  • Keep it short and sweet – Stick to the talking points and present complementary data only if necessary. Keep your clients focused on their goals.
  • Provide actionable items – Make sure to communicate and show that you’re on top of it. Regardless of how the customer’s SEO performance has fared up to this point, detailing the next move helps express to clients that you’re prepared and will continue to take the necessary steps towards success.
  • Make it visual – Believe it or not, 80% of people are more compelled to read colored visuals. You know what that means. Liberal use of images (specifically colorful ones) will help your clients process information in the report more effectively and completely.

What about you? Do you have experience building SEO reports and want to share your expertise? What tools do you use and what best practices do you observe? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Christopher Jan Benitez is a professional freelance writer. He has helped small businesses achieve their goals by implementing a strong content strategy that emphasizes their unique selling points and promoting created content using effective online channels and methods, in particular, social media marketing and search engine optimization techniques.
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