SEO rank reporting. It’s one thing that most SEOs don’t pay close attention to. The reports you show to your clients may not always reveal the essential things they need to know about their campaign.
To be more specific, your SEO reports fail to let your client understand how your efforts are boosting their online business. This is the very reason why a client will find another SEO expert to work with instead of you.
While you’re passionate about the workings of SEO, the process per se, you need to understand that in the mind of a business owner, results are what matter most.
Perhaps you already know that very well. They pay freelancers like you to handle the details for them and therefore it is your job to show them that your campaigns generate paying customers.
But what if you weren’t able to elevate the ranking of your client’s website within the expected time frame? What if your efforts are still in the process of generating positive outcomes?
Because of this, it’s more important that your SEO rank reporting includes particular details that keep your client on board.
Avoid Limiting Your SEO Report To Keyword Ranking
Now before I actually teach you how to put together a great report, let me explain why you should stop making keyword rankings as your basis for SEO success.
Yes, rankings are useful and exciting to look at but remember that they do not paint the entire picture of SEO.
Cyrus Shepard of Moz discusses that keyword rankings alone fail to reveal more important aspects. As I’ve mentioned, rankings matter but they don’t matter as much as when you’re in a lower position on page one of SERPs but are enjoying more visitor action.
Such aspects include the traffic you’re getting, long-tail keywords, and your actual conversions. Higher keyword rankings do not always imply that you were able to meet your business goals.
What To Include In Your SEO Report
Finally, I’ll be discussing all the things your report needs to feature. These play a huge role in your client’s bottom line and will again promote understanding of what you do.
1. Keyword Ranking
The reason why we spend so much time researching keywords is that we want to gain more traffic and exposure. But again, it’s also important to check conversions.
While you cannot measure conversions in ranking reports, still, without keyword research, it’s impossible to optimize for the terms related to a business. After all, conversions start with traffic.
So stay informed of the ups and downs of your client’s keyword ranking. Keyword ranking will give you a good idea of whether your client’s marketing strategies are effective. A drop in your rankings also explains why you’re not getting the traffic you desire.
Have a list of keywords to track so that you will know which keywords brought your client the best possible results within a specific time frame.
These keywords help you better understand the search intent of your client’s prospects. Your client will then match their marketing based on that intent.
Do emphasize to your clients that ranking data is a valuable component of performance evaluation but is not the end all be all of SEO success.
2. Organic Traffic
You already know that keyword rankings strongly relate to traffic. But this time, let’s further explore the organic type of traffic.
Showing organic traffic in your SEO rank reporting is extremely important. Traffic from paid advertising, social media, and other sources is good. However, organic traffic still matters because again, it reveals searcher intent.
Make sure that you specify the pages where your visitors landed on.
Whether it’s a blog post or landing page, surely, knowing where they go helps your client boost those pages to increase conversions.
The options for improvements are endless. They can tweak a headline, choose a better call-to-action, and more.
Do remember that while ranking positions drive more traffic, factors such as rich snippets play a role.
Links. They remain to be one of the strongest Google ranking factors. The higher the number, relevance, and quality of your backlinks, the more important your site becomes to search engines.
Help your client understand that links impact search performance. Start by showing earned links in your rank reporting and then give an explanation of how the client possibly acquired those links.
Based on their current rankings, suggest effective link building strategies to improve them. Such strategies include but are not limited to:
- Building Pinterest-optimized images
- Repurposing content
- Submitting your site to good directories
- Guest blogging
- Creating an infographic and reaching out to linkers
Should you include all of your clients’ backlinks in your report? That wouldn’t be necessary especially if their site received a lot of backlinks.
However, choose the most important backlinks. These are the ones that have great metrics and sent you conversions and paying customers.
4. Average Time On Site and Bounce Rate
Knowing how long people stay long on your client’s website and their bounce rate is important. A high bounce rate and short average time on site reveal that visitors leave as soon as they land on a page.
Note that there is no “golden number” for these metrics. It will vary. Let’s say your client has a 2,000-word blog post which takes 15 minutes to read.
If the average time on site is 30 seconds with a bounce rate of 80%, this tells you that your client needs to improve on certain aspects.
Almost always, boring or irrelevant content is the reason. Other reasons include a poor internal link structure, flashy animations, a longer page loading time, and a bad landing page design.
5. Website Conversion
Conversion is the most crucial metric, one you shouldn’t miss. It may not necessarily indicate a sale but it signifies that a person took a specific action on a website.
This action, no matter how simple, can be taken advantage of by your client to drive potential customers down the conversion funnel. Of course, your client needs to set conversion goals to track.
Is your client looking to get more email signups? Pages per visit? Views for your product videos? Downloads? Clicks on specific links? These are possible conversion goals. Anything that helps your client generate income is worth tracking.
Read this guide by Google on creating and managing goals to better illustrate to your clients how these contribute to their success.
6. Future Recommendations
No SEO rank reporting is complete without your recommendations. As an SEO specialist, what are some tips and strategies you can give to clients based on their site findings?
Wrap up or end every section of your report (keyword ranking, organic traffic, etc.) with a bulleted list of actionable strategies.
These should be easy-to-understand instructions on the changes that need to be implemented. Data is useless if there is no action that follows.
SEO Rank Reporting Tools You Should Use
Creating SEO reports from scratch is time-consuming. Instead of paying for and using individual services to measure your client’s site performance, below are reporting tools that pull data from these various services and show them at once.
If you want an all-in-one SEO rank reporting tool that shows all the metrics you like (all the ones mentioned here and more), Agency Analytics is for you. Click on a metric and it’ll give you more details.
Does your client want to know their current ranking locally and globally? This tool shows you their accurate ranking.
When it comes to backlinks, Agency Analytics lets you look into Majestic Metrics (Trust Flow and Citation Flow) so you know which links to keep and remove. Also, you can demonstrate the progress of your client’s link building by showing before and after results.
Saving you a ton of time and effort to come up with a good report, Cyfe lets you set-up your dashboards within minutes. What you’ll love about Cyfe is that it shows your clients all the KPIs that impact their SEO – especially return on investment.
The fact that you can monitor anything with Cyfe (unlimited dashboards so you check anything) makes it an attractive tool for serious SEOs.
Not to mention, you can share dashboards with any member of your team. Also, you’ll be able to personalize the look and feel of your reports with their custom themes.
3. Raven Tools
Similar to Agency Analytics, Raven Tools automates marketing reports and lets you see everything in a single dashboard. There’s no need for you to jump from one platform to another just to gather data.
Integrated platforms which include but are not limited to Majestic, SEMRush, and Google Analytics. Raven Tools also features various social media platforms.
Perhaps one downside with this tool is that it does not show you competitive ranking data. However, it tells your clients which keywords are bringing them results.
When conducting research on a website, simply enter a URL and Raven Tools shows real-time information. If you want to perform a complete site audit, you can also do that using 7 technical SEO areas: search engine visibility, content, links, etc.
Tips To Create An Effective SEO Report
Here are tips to make your reports as readable and compelling as possible.
1. Keep your findings organized and visually appealing.
With data coming from multiple sources, it’s important that you present them in a systematic a appealing way. Since people love visuals, use different colors to represent various metrics.
This compels your clients to pay attention and read the data presented. Don’t be afraid to use images to get information across because this elicits a better response from clients. Be sure to include your logo.
Organize data into categories. Use graphs whenever possible. If you could use the color scheme that your client uses for branding, that would even be better.
2. Focus on data that influence your client’s success.
SEO rank reporting should be done to allow for improvements. Therefore, include pieces of information that drive clients to take action.
What are the key metrics that clients can do something about today? Use the metrics we just discussed and add some more depending on what you find. Include comments and recommendations throughout your report.
For example, if your client has a significantly low conversion rate because of a poor mobile experience, suggest ways to improve on that.
Provide possible solutions such as increasing speed, using the right call-to-action button size, and limiting your choice of colors.
At the same time, paint a picture of what their conversions would look like following the improvements. You could calculate the lost sales associated with poor user experience and present that to your client.
3. Keep it simple and straightforward.
The KISS principle applies to SEO rank reporting. Pick only the right data to display in your reports so your clients don’t get overwhelmed with too much information.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, if your client has hundreds of backlinks, you don’t need to show a list of every single one of them.
Select the most influential ones along with their metrics. It would help to show previous values and compare them side by side with current ones.
4. Don’t be scared to report your KPIs.
Some SEOs are afraid to report KPI data especially if reporting numbers are not in your client’s favor. The last thing you should do is to panic.
Communicate these important KPIs and again, explain to your clients that a single KPI doesn’t represent your entire SEO performance.
Recall what we’ve discussed about keyword rankings.
Also, it can take some time before a KPI can improve depending on your client’s current situation. As long as there is actionable data, enhancements can always be made over time.
Remember that clients who leverage your service do not fully understand SEO rank reporting. They may or may not know aspects of SEO that work together to influence their entire search performance.
It is your job, through SEO rank reporting, to show them current values and suggest improvements in an understandable way. The right tools and tips will help you come up with a great presentation.