How to do reporting for SEO that showcases the most important results
Even if you are an in-house marketer or agency, regular reporting is expected to keep track of how things are going. An SEO report will support your work to show how a campaign is performing, demonstrating the return on investment (ROI), and will help highlight what is working well and what is not working so well, along with pointing out what the next steps will be.
However, most marketers would prefer to spend valuable time creating marketing strategies rather than reporting.
It may not be the sexiest part of marketing, but reporting certainly matters, and there are steps you can take to get the report set up right from the beginning and automate as much as possible going forward. However, automation can only do so much; if you fully automate your reporting, this can do more harm than good.
What Is SEO reporting?
SEO reporting is the process of showcasing your search engine optimization work results. The core objective of SEO is to increase the visibility of your business’s website across search engines such as Google.
On a broad level, these reports usually show the top-performing keywords, overall keyword rankings, backlinks, new website visitors, overall website visitors, organic website visitors, conversions, and other relevant website conversion metrics.
These are just examples of metrics that could be reported; the list could go on. Many SEO reports don’t actually tell the reader very much.
Most marketing managers know how to access Google Analytics to explore their website’s data. Churning out a generic monthly report displaying the website traffic from the past 30 days with some conversions thrown in is not enough and is below the bare minimum.
On the other hand, sending a 50-page report with every metric available in Google Analytics is not helpful either. Most of these metrics will not be relevant or applicable to your business.
The most important aspect of reporting is reporting on what matters for your business. This can be done by aligning the metrics being reported with your business objectives.
Focus on the most important KPIs that communicate your results
Reduce reporting friction and provide clarity with the data you highlight in SEO reports.
Do not include everything in the report that you monitor; instead, translate these into Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that highlight the progress you are making in terms of SEO towards these goals related to business objectives.
The KPIs should be customized to your audience’s profile and interests, depending on what information they need to see. For example, you may have a separate report for clients or directors with high-level revenue data, and your marketing team may be more focused on operations and activities.
Focus on conversions
Conversions drive your business, and in many cases, they make up the primary KPIs of any SEO campaign.
In essence, marketers develop SEO campaigns to drive website traffic and increase conversions that generate leads or boost customer acquisition. They are typically linked to your core business goals.
This is why we need to report on conversions. If we exclude conversions, we are primarily focusing on vanity metrics.
To establish the ROI of your SEO, we need to understand what value the SEO is bringing to the business. On the other hand, impressions and even search rankings can be considered vanity metrics; conversions relate more closely to what matters. One way or another, the metrics in your SEO reports need to align back to your business objectives.
Before setting an SEO report, you need to align with your management or client about the conversions that matter to the business so that you can include these in the reporting.
Stay focused on what the main objective of reporting is for your brand, and then communicate success and progress in relation to the business goals and objectives. Set milestones if that helps visualize how a particular metric can connect with a top-level business goal.
It is best to avoid what is known as a data puke, including a range of metrics that may be interesting but not necessarily related to your business objectives. Stay aligned with stakeholders in your company to explore how your reporting can help with their work by providing them with the insights they need.
Remember, even the best reporting is only part of the solution. SEO reports can guide on what type of content you might need to get the results you are looking for. However, you still need to have the resources to develop that content, whether that be an in-house SEO team, agency, or freelancer, that depends on the scale of the project and what stage you are at with your SEO. The first step would be assessing your current SEO needs and requirements.
If you have any questions about SEO or how to create effective reports, please feel free to contact our expert team at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.