Guide to SEO Reporting : What Includes and How to Do
To ensure that SEO is effective, you need to analyze the results and the promotion process regularly. SEO reports are used to systemize this information in a comprehensible and concise way.
An SEO report is a document that contains basic information about the work and outcome of a project over a certain period. It should be compiled by specialists directly involved in the SEO promotion process.
The Basic Structure of an SEO Report
A properly prepared report on an Internet resource can be divided into three main components:
- Analysis of the work done and the results for a specific period. You need to be as concise as possible in this part of the document and fully describe all the actions taken to promote the site and their results.
- The findings. In the summation of the results, it is necessary to highlight the procedures that have already yielded positive results, as well as those that proved to be ineffective. It is also worth it to emphasize the areas that will need to be worked on in the future.
- A plan for further promotion. For SEO reports for clients, it is good practice to tell the customer how to solve certain problems and give professional advice on how to achieve a goal. If the report is compiled for your personal needs, you should add notes to specific points for future work. This will make it easier to navigate through statistics and eliminate possible problems and shortcomings more efficiently.
Frequency of SEO Report Compilation
All reports are compiled for a specific period. Often they have to be drawn up regularly to better control the promotion process. This is what must be done if you are compiling an SEO report for a client. Monthly reports are considered the standard. During this period, you can see the results of site promotion, evaluate the dynamics, and analyze possible problems. In some cases, you may need quarterly or annual SEO reports to summarize the results for a specific period, analyze the effectiveness of financial expenditures, as well as for the internal challenges of the marketing department.
Furthermore, it is customary to draw up a final report at the last stage of SEO website promotion. This report includes all information for the period of SEO optimization and focuses on the positive dynamics of promoting an Internet resource in search engines. You can also include a financial component in the final report. In particular, check the actual and estimated expenses for all SEO optimization activities, analysis of their effectiveness, and further budget forecast for maintaining positions in the search results.
Henceforth, we will be considering monthly SEO reports, since they are the most in-demand in modern SEO. You can easily create a report for other periods by their example.
What information should be included in an SEO report?
Above, we reviewed the three main components of a standard report on site promotion. Let’s look at each of them in greater detail. The content of the SEO report must be stipulated in advance, but some points will be useful for controlling the process of SEO promotion.
Analysis of Behavioral Factors
In this section of the report, you need to provide comprehensive information about the behavior of users of the Internet resource. Time spent by the user on the site page is one of the most important factors in search engine optimization. The longer the visit, the better the effect it has on promotion. However, this rule is not the purpose of behavioral factors. The following sections are usually mentioned in the report:
- The average duration of a visit. This parameter shows how much time the average user spends on the site. By analyzing this indicator, you can conclude the value of the page content. If the user spends enough time on a single page, then its content is relevant to the request. Otherwise, the content of the page needs to be optimized.
- The average depth of browsing on the site. You can use this metric to analyze the number of pages viewed by the user in a single session. Increasing the depth of viewing can be done with useful content, a good design, and site navigation.
- The rejection rate. This parameter determines the percentage of users who only viewed one page of the resource. With the right approach to SEO optimization, the percentage of failures should decrease over the reporting period.
- The dynamics of the transition to the promoted pages. The analytics of traffic to target pages is a very important component of SEO promotion. In this case, it is important to notice the subsidence of the number of clicks on promoted pages in time and determine the reason for this. The reason for traffic subsidence is often the displacement of competitors or a decreased demand for the content presented on the page. Less often, this can be due to changes in the algorithms for search engine ranking reporting. It is difficult to rule out the latter reason because search engines do not disclose how their algorithms work. In such cases, it is necessary to use trial and error.
If a negative trend is observed in any of these points, you need to figure out and analyze what is causing this, and then eliminate it.
If an SEO report is being compiled for an online store or site that sells services, you can include the sales funnel analytics. The sales funnel is a tool that allows you to determine the main stages of decision making concerning the purchase of goods or services of a potential customer. After analyzing all the buyer’s steps, you can control their behavior, encouraging them to complete the purchase of a product or service. You can see how the sales funnel works in the image below.
The analysis of a promoted website’s traffic statistics is an important part of an SEO report. You can use it to get information about all the site visitors and traffic sources. Traffic sources are the channels from which users get to the site.
Google Analytics is the most popular service for checking traffic, and it is free. It is used by beginners in SEO optimization and professionals alike. It is often associated with the Google Search Console. This allows you to analyze search queries in more detail. Using the Search Console, you can monitor traffic and impression statistics, analyze the position of a domain, and search a specific page for any keyword.
But sometimes Google’s built-in analytics tools are not enough to fully understand the trends of Internet resource promotion. In these cases, you can use third-party services.
For example, let’s analyze the site traffic statistics Forbes.com that were conducted using SEMrush, which allows you to create an analysis report template.
In this case, we can see traffic statistics for the five main sources on the graph:
- Direct — direct traffic to forbes.com from links
- Referral — traffic generated by links placed on third-party websites or blogs
- Search — the site traffic from the search results for key queries
- Social — connections from social networks
- Paid — paid ad conversions
As you can see from the statistics, the majority of clicks on the forbes.com Internet resource comes from searches, which indicates high-quality SEO optimization.
In addition to that, you can analyze the number of clicks to the site by region:
As you can see, most of the traffic on forbes.com comes from the United States.
Additionally, the given table provides information about what kind of devices visitors are using to get to the site. Most traffic comes from desktop computers. This is how we do SEO rank reporting.
An SEO report should only include the sources that are the most relevant to the specifics of the site being promoted. For example, if a site is primarily designed to sell goods or services, then you must include conversion statistics for commercial keywords in the report. If it is a blog or any other non-commercial resource, then the report should contain an analysis of click-throughs for information queries on the page. It is possible to have a mix of these parameters if necessary. In addition to that, the report might include an analysis of traffic by region, for instance, if an online store is popular in several countries.
Sometimes it is necessary to include brand traffic in an SEO report. Brand traffic is traffic that leads to a promoted site based on search queries that contain the brand name. You should also specify the site position for the query. Using brand keywords to promote a site into the top of searches is not just for large commercial websites. With the right approach, brand keywords can also be effective when working with commercial, informational, and other projects. Especially if we are talking about a new brand that has not been promoted before.
If at the time of SEO-optimization the project already occupies certain positions on the brand or the work on brand requests is not underway, then such traffic is not included in the report.
Analysis of Backlinks
The backlinks profile is a critical factor in the ranking of an Internet resource, so it must be included in the monthly SEO report. This way the client can know the number and quality of sites that link to the promoted resource. Also, analyze the cost of purchasing external links and plan the budget for increasing the link profile further.
During the process of analyzing backlinks, special attention should be paid to low-trust Internet resources that link to a promoted website. This can harm the website from search engines. A list of such sites must be included in the SEO report. To solve this problem, you have to contact the administration of these sources and request that the links to the promoted site be removed.
Website Backlink Analysis of Forbes.com.
In the screenshot above, you can see the profile information of the external links of forbes.com. At the top of the screenshot, we can see the total number of external links, their dynamics over a certain period, and also the number of unique visitors to the main page of the site over a month. Additionally, we can analyze the subject of referring sites. They are conveniently grouped for this. This information will be useful in the monthly SEO report template.
Work Plan for the Following Month
The fully compiled SEO report, should include all the necessary data and analyze the successes and errors. After it’s done, You can begin drawing up a work plan for the following month. This plan should not only include new methods but how to correct existing mistakes.
If the report is being compiled for your use, then a detailed work plan is often not required, just indicate the main areas of activity with the necessary comments. If it is an SEO report for a client you need to discuss with the customer how they see the plan for future work, whether they need a detailed explanation of each item, or if just the general will be enough.
SEO Report Tools
There are various services and tools available to compile quality and effective online SEO reports that make it easier to work with statistics and provide useful information on SEO optimization. They also allow you to make an SEO report template that can be used in the future. Some services allow you to do this automatically, and some even provide free SEO reports. You can also use SEO ranking report software for this purpose. You should not abuse such services, as the key to a good SEO report is the conscious study and analysis of every essential item. Let’s look at the most popular services that allow you to automatically create an SEO report, as well as samples of SEO reports.
For optimizers who prefer to use the Google Analytics tools to analyze site SEO data, they can automate their work, which will save a lot of time on web analytics. By using the free extension for Google Sheets, you can make your work more creative, focus on results, and not waste time with routine operations.
Using this extension is very simple. Let’s look at an example of installing Google Analytics on Google Sheets.
- From your account, go to Google Drive and create a new spreadsheet.
- To install an extension, go to the “Add-ons” tab then “Configure Add-ons”. After that, enter Google Analytics in the search bar and install it according to the instructions.
- To create an automatic SEO report, go to the “Add-ons” tab, select Google Analytics, and then “Create a new report”.
- After filling out a short form and specifying the necessary data, then we only need to go to the “Add-ons” tab and select “Get a report”.
After completing these simple steps, we will automatically receive a ready-made SEO report on the selected Google Analytics project. After this, it is necessary to optimize, filter, and sort the received data, and then the site promotion report is ready.
Automatically Creating a Report on Semrush
SEMrush is a popular SEO analysis service for Internet resources. It includes numerous tools for analyzing various statistics. For example, you can use SEMrush to get incoming traffic statistics, analyze search results, backlink profiles, find out the budget and advertising strategies of your competitors, and much more. Let’s look at a website analysis report sample and how to quickly and easily use this service to create an automated SEO report while having the ability to quickly adjust it to specific requirements.
First, you need to create and login to your account. In the personal account on the left, we can see a set of the available tools for analyzing any Internet resource. To do this, just enter the site address in the main window and choose the desired statistics.
To create an automated monthly SEO report go to the “My Reports” tab on the toolbar.
The “My Reports” tab in the Toolbar
On the reports page, you can see a gallery of ready-made templates. In addition to this, we can create a new template that can be used an unlimited number of times. On the page below, you can see the ready-made reports and the date they were created. If it is necessary, you can download them as a PDF.
As an example, we will create a monthly SEO report on forbes.com using an already prepared template. To do this click on the “Monthly SEO report” template gallery. After that, we will be asked to complete a short form. In the screenshot below, you can see the first stage of creating a report.
After specifying all the necessary parameters, select “Create Report”, we will automatically generate a document that will contain statistics on traffic, keywords, and backlinks. On the left side of the toolbar, there are various tabs with statistics and analysis that you can drag to the main report window and adjust their location to your liking.
The screenshot below shows the workspace of the service.
Thus, the SEMrush service allows you to create a full-fledged automatic SEO report for a month in just a few minutes. Moreover, it can be edited easily and supplemented with the information agreed upon by the client.
Other General Rules for Making SEO Reports
Every SEO report should contain complete information about the site’s promotion and planning work, but it should not be redundant. Therefore, when first drawing up your document, you should consider its structure. It should be simple and clear.
When you are compiling a report for your own needs, you can omit some details and limit yourself to only clear notes and comments. If it is being prepared for a client, then you need to stipulate all the points they want to see in the final version of the document in advance.
It is necessary to always compose SEO reports intelligently and individually. This does not mean that it would be a mistake to use a template. On the contrary, templates significantly simplify the preparation of optimization reports. Special attention must be paid to the quality of the information provided, meaning it should be clear and easy to understand.
In a client’s SEO, you should show the customer that you are interested in promoting the resource, convince them that all of your actions are aimed at achieving a positive result.
You should never hide negative information and the failures in search promotion, especially by hiding behind the achieved results. Be honest with yourself and the customer. Describe possible solutions to their problems and allow them the opportunity to choose one or several of them. Honesty and responsibility are the keys to fruitful cooperation.