How to Create SEO Reports for Clients
Creating concise, focused SEO reports for clients can be difficult due to varying business goals and the diverse roles within the industry.
Whether you work at a product company, digital agency, or as a consultant, it’s crucial to produce reports that all stakeholders can easily understand and gain valuable insights from.
To help you create an effective SEO report, this article will guide you through each stage of the process. You’ll learn how to identify your client’s goals, set clear objectives, and how to design data-rich reports that provide a comprehensive overview of your search engine optimization efforts. We’ll also introduce SE Ranking’s Report Builder, a simple tool designed to help you create SEO reports.
Why SEO reporting is so important
Getting reports on your website’s SEO progress is crucial, especially if you work for (or own) a digital marketing agency. Reporting helps in evaluating strategy effectiveness and in client retention because it keeps them informed. For agencies handling multiple clients, it’s especially crucial to optimize SEO reporting to save time and keep clients happy.
To create effective SEO reports, it’s important to have a comprehensive understanding of your clients’ key metrics, communicate results clearly, and automate the report creation process. SEO reporting helps agencies convey progress in a transparent way, which naturally fosters trust and nurtures client relationships.
Remember, even if you deliver great results, your efforts may go unnoticed if you don’t communicate them to your clients.
Common issues agencies face when creating reports for multiple clients
It should come as no surprise that managing multiple clients at once is a common challenge for agencies. Each client comes with their own unique needs and perspectives, and agencies must jump through hoops to meet them.
Let’s explore these challenges in closer detail.
1. Managing multiple clients can lead to errors or missed deadlines. This can lead to an overwhelming workload and increased potential for human errors and/or missed deadlines. Having too many clients can be especially problematic when clients require frequent updates or have varying reporting schedules.
2. Varying client business needs. Addressing the diverse needs and expectations of clients is no easy feat. Clients may prioritize different metrics or have distinct preferences for how their reports are presented, requiring customization that can be time-consuming and make it difficult for agencies to streamline their reporting processes.
3. Different communication styles. Clients may have different communication preferences, with some favoring brief numerical summaries and others preferring detailed explanations accompanied by visually appealing graphs. Balancing these varying communication styles can be difficult for agencies, but doing so is essential if you want to effectively convey information that satisfies both those who appreciate concise data points and those who value colorful visualizations.
4. Constant search algorithm updates. Keeping up with the ever-evolving landscape of SEO and digital marketing can be a nightmare for agencies. As search algorithms get rolled out more often, the performance of websites keeps changing, which means agencies must adapt their reporting methodologies to provide relevant, accurate, and up-to-date information to clients.
5. SEOs with varying skill levels. Some team members may excel at analyzing data and drawing actionable insights, while others may struggle to create clear, concise, and visually appealing reports. This disparity in skills can lead to inconsistencies in the quality and effectiveness of reports generated for different clients.
To tackle these obstacles, agencies must put more efficient processes to use, invest in ongoing team training, and leverage reporting tools for greater customization and scalability.
Determining SEO business goals
Before getting into the process of creating an SEO report, you’ll need to set effective SEO goals for your clients. Start by talking with them about their current SEO goals and conducting an SEO audit to see how they align with the client’s overall business objectives.
Remember that your practical SEO objectives may differ due to varying client niches and budgets. SEO isn’t an exact science, so if one website achieves good results in a month, there’s no guarantee that another website will achieve similar results, even a year down the line.
Some of the most common client goals include:
1. Improving rankings. Clients might want to improve their website’s rankings for particular keywords, pages, or by location. For instance, a client may be aware that the keyword “best car spoilers” generates the most valuable leads, so they might aim to secure the #1 ranking for this keyword.
2. Driving more website traffic. Clients may have a broader goal of increasing the flow of traffic to their website. To satisfy this, you must establish goals for both organic traffic and overall traffic (including referral and paid sources) and agree on the target locations, such as the country where the client provides services or global traffic focused on profitable markets.
3. Boosting sales and lead generation. Some clients may prioritize business-oriented goals like revenue over SEO-specific objectives like rankings and traffic. In this case, you can establish goals such as increasing the conversion rate, generating more leads, or boosting revenue. Achieve them by proportionally increasing website traffic, fine-tuning client conversion and sales funnels, or optimizing the website’s landing pages, calls-to-action, and checkout process.
Though these goals may differ in scope, they all serve the common purpose of improving business performance by increasing sales, generating more leads, and boosting brand awareness.
What to include in your SEO reports
So, what key data should be provided in your SEO reports for clients?
Figuring out which data to include in your SEO reports depends on the type of service you provide, but most SEO reports for customers feature information on keyword rankings, traffic, and technical website health. You can also incorporate other metrics such as conversions, performance of landing pages, speed and Core Web Vitals, backlinks, and competitor overviews.
These data points play a vital role in SEO, as the main objective is to drive more traffic by improving search engine rankings and ultimately increasing conversions. With SE Ranking’s SEO report generator, you can easily create insightful and professional reports that showcase the value of your SEO efforts to your clients. This powerful tool enables you to create great looking reports that are comprehensive and customizable. With them, you can cover a wide range of SEO metrics and easily tailor them to your clients’ needs.
Note that SE Ranking provides several tools and features that agencies can benefit from. This robust SEO software for agencies provides everything you need to effectively manage and optimize your clients’ online presence, ensuring the best possible results in search engine rankings and overall digital marketing performance.
In addition to providing rankings summary reports to give your clients a big-picture view of your work, you can also include a section that details how their web pages are currently ranking for their target keywords across all tracked locations. This allows them to see their exact positions in the SERPs.
To provide a quick summary of your clients’ rankings, you can start your SEO reports with a project overview that includes the average ranking position, the number of keywords ranking among the top 3-10 search results, and the search visibility of the target keywords.
Note that SE Ranking offers one of the highest-rated and top-reviewed SEO rank tracker tools on the market.
To give your clients the freedom to see their ranking progress over time, you can include data on the first and last dates of tracking. This will ensure that clients can see the overall progress on top of your hard work.
To provide more data between the first and last days of tracking, you can throw in a brief rankings history table to show how your client’s rankings have changed over time without showing data for each day. This can help you identify fluctuations in rankings and whether they’re due to search engine updates or a seasonal trend.
You can take advantage of SE Ranking’s Rank Tracker API to pull specific keyword position data on demand at scale.
Depending on the client, you may also want to include a keyword position report showing your client’s rankings versus the competition. After all, your SEO success is contingent upon the performance of your competitors.
To provide more details, consider including Google Search Console data in your reports, such as impression growth and a breakdown of clicks/impressions by country, URL, and keyword.
One of the first questions that your clients may have concerns the origins of their traffic and ways to boost the quality of it. As a matter of fact, getting more organic traffic is one of the most (if not the most) frequently set SEO objectives.
If your clients share this same goal, then you have to make sure your SEO report contains Google Analytics data on their traffic, specifically focusing on organic traffic, while also providing fundamental details on other channels like paid or referral traffic. Your report should also encompass data related to your specific activities, such as managing a paid campaign, which should include detailed data on PPC channels. This applies to all other channels as well.
Moreover, don’t forget to include goal completions and events that hold significance for your client.
Including data on engagement metrics like the engagement rate, average engagement time, and bounce rate can also be useful for quickly spotting any issues with user behavior on the client’s website.
Note that with SE Ranking, you can connect Google Analytics (GA4) and include all the necessary data in your SEO reports, including data on your clients’ organic and paid traffic.
Website health score
To get a quick overview of your clients’ website optimization status, consider using the website health score metric. By including this information in your SEO reports, clients can gain valuable insights into their website’s performance, identify potential issues, and take necessary steps to improve their site’s health.
With the help of tools like SE Ranking’s Website Audit, you can assess technical factors like page speed, mobile-friendliness, CWVs, crawlability, indexing, and security to generate a numerical score that represents the overall health of a website. This score can serve as a benchmark for tracking improvements over time.
Aside from the overall health score, it’s worthwhile to break down the assessment into specific categories and suggest recommendations for each. This will help your clients prioritize their efforts and focus on areas that need the most attention.
Also, in your SEO reports, highlight the progress made towards improving the website health score over time. This can help demonstrate the value of your services and showcase the concrete results of your work.
While discussing SEO goals with a client, you’ll likely have a list showing the pages on their website that generate the most revenue or have the highest potential. It’s definitely worth including their performance and optimization score in the report.
If you notice that a page isn’t performing as well as expected, SE Ranking’s On-Page Checker can help. It provides a deep technical audit of the designated web page and assesses how well it is optimized for the targeted search query.
Much like the Website Audit tool, On-Page SEO Checker examines the page’s metadata, URL structure, content, images, keywords, links, speed, and everything else that you’d need to make sure the page is performing at its best in search.
Use this info to help your clients by giving them an idea of what strategies are working and which ones aren’t. For example, maybe they need to spend more time on managing content and less on optimizing page design.
Building backlinks is an essential part of SEO, which is why you must provide your clients with key data on backlinks in your SEO reports. This includes domain and page authority, new and lost referring domains, and anchor texts.
Begin by analyzing your client’s website using the Backlink Checker. Usually, you won’t need to present the full list of backlinks to your client—brief insights like new backlinks are typically enough. Still, if your client requests the full backlink report, it’s best to download it separately and present it to your clients as part of the full SEO report.
Consider including a dedicated section in your report that highlights the top backlinks acquired during the reporting period. This can ensure transparency with your client regarding guest blog posts or other backlink sources. Clients will appreciate being involved in choosing websites for partnerships and backlink building.
Conversions and other business goals
It’s no secret that your clients are most interested in their financial bottom line. By including conversion data from Google Analytics in your SEO reports, you can demonstrate all the hard work you’ve been doing and emphasize the value that your client’s business is getting from working with you.
If your client is trying to boost their website’s sales, form completions, downloads, or newsletter sign-ups, you must add conversion-related KPIs.
You and your client can use this data to easily see which pages lack proper optimization for bringing in money. This provides a clear roadmap for next month’s tasks. Plus, you can always see what’s working for other web pages and apply those tactics to less successful pages.
Google Business Profile metrics
In addition to the data points mentioned above, Google Business Profile (GBP) metrics are becoming increasingly important for local businesses because they provide insights into how customers interact with the business online. These metrics mainly include profile views, customer actions and reviews.
For example, let’s say your client’s business is experiencing high profile views but low customer actions. This could indicate that you need to help them improve their website or messaging processes to better convert profile views into actual customers.
Additionally, Google Business Profile metrics can help you identify trends over time. For example, you may notice that your client’s business is receiving fewer profile views or search appearances in one month compared to another previous month. By identifying these trends early on, you can take corrective action to ensure that your client’s business’s online presence remains strong.
Integrating your GBP data with SE Ranking’s Local Marketing tool and incorporating it into your reports can provide you with crucial insights into how customers interact with your clients’ online presence. This will empower your client to make informed decisions, improve their online visibility, and drive more customers.
Tips for building an SEO report
Creating a custom SEO report is essential as every website project has unique needs and goals. This requires you to take an individualized approach rather than a one-size-fits-all solution. Well-designed SEO reports offer valuable insights into website performance and can identify areas for improvement.
Still, crafting an effective SEO report isn’t always easy, given the multitude of metrics to consider and the vast amount of data to analyze. Knowing where to start can be a challenge in itself.
Design: Don’t underestimate the layout
When designing the layout of your SEO report, strive for a balance between effectiveness and readability. Create visually appealing reports with a clean and consistent design containing all necessary data.
Incorporate a mix of tables and charts as visual aids to help clients understand the data. Ensure that your data on ranking positions, backlinks, and other metrics are organized to show how it’s all connected and how it affects your goals. Sporadically including data points can make it difficult for clients to understand your overall strategy and may hinder your efforts.
Group all related KPIs together to give readers a clear understanding of the direction of your SEO strategy. Start with the most critical data and gradually include lower-level details as you progress through the report.
Using headers and sections not only makes the data easier to grasp but also adds a professional touch to your report. Make sure your report can be visually scanned with ease, allowing readers to quickly find the information they need.
Progress: What’s been done
Begin your SEO reports with an executive summary that concisely presents your client’s KPI/OKR progress. This will help them understand the bigger picture before you start diving deeper into the details. At the beginning of the report, include a list of completed goals and any client-requested tasks that have been added to your to-do list.
When working with a new client, it’s essential to prioritize addressing critical technical issues before initiating content and link-building activities. Make sure the site’s robots.txt file and meta tags are being set up properly, fix broken pages and/or links, and address duplicate content issues, among other concerns that could be identified during an audit. To communicate all of this information effectively, include a technical website audit report in your SEO report.
Even when a client’s website is healthy and optimized, it may still lag behind its competitors in search engine rankings. To address this issue, include a competitor overview section in your SEO report. This data allows you and your client to compare their website’s performance (in terms of its rankings and search visibility) to that of the client’s top and direct digital competitors. If a competitor outperforms your client or leads the pack in organic search, you can identify this trend, analyze the competitor’s website, and determine which of its strategies have been successful and why.
Recommendations: What’s next
Take advantage of the comment sections in each section of the report to provide clients with additional information. This is especially useful in times when you’re unable to explain details and provide context. Consider adding comments, recommendations, explanations, or notes to ensure that your clients fully understand the situation.
It’s also important to support data from the executive summary with clear and thorough explanations. As you progress through the report, use text blocks to emphasize noteworthy points and insights.
Keeping your clients informed about your plans for the next month based on their website’s current SEO performance is also very important. Doing so creates transparency and a sense of collaborativeness, both of which are essential for a successful working relationship.
Steps to building an SEO report
Building an SEO report can be a time-consuming and tedious task, especially if you’re doing it manually and without the help of specialized tools. If you decide to do it this way, you’ll need to collect data from various sources, such as Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and other SEO tools. After you’re done collecting data, compile it into a meaningful report that provides insights into the website’s performance.
This process can be error-prone and time-consuming, especially for new team members who are not familiar with the tools and processes involved. There are, however, steps that you can follow to build an SEO report manually, including identifying your key metrics, gathering data, analyzing data, and presenting your findings.
But you probably don’t have time for all of that, especially if you have dozens of clients and several SEO leads.
That’s why automation tools, like SE Ranking’s report generator tool, are available. These tools streamline the SEO report-building process and make it (and you) more efficient.
With this tool, you can quickly create custom SEO reports tailored to your specific needs and your clients’ requirements. Choose from a wide range of pre-built templates or create your own report from scratch, and then customize it with your branding, logos, and other design elements.
SE Ranking’s Report Builder has an intuitive interface and user-friendly design, helping you save time, reduce errors, and provide more accurate and actionable insights into your client’s website performance.
Let’s walk through the process of using SE Ranking to create an SEO report for your client.
Begin by finding and accessing the Report Builder, which can be located in the top navigation bar.
Please note: The tool might be hidden under the ‘More’ button depending on your view’s zoom level.
When you using our drag-and-drop SEO reporting tool, choose the type of report that you want to make: a one-time manual report or an automatic report scheduled to be made regularly.
At this stage, you can create your own custom templates from scratch. But if you want to save time, you can also make use of our pre-made templates under Manual and Scheduled reports.
Since the drag-and-drop Report Builder’s settings and customization options in both manual & scheduled reports are similar (except for how they are sent out, which we’ll discuss in the next section), we’ll focus on creating a manual one-off SEO report.
To begin, decide on the date range to be covered in the report: You have the freedom to set any time frame. Next, select the format in which the report will be saved and sent to the parties involved: PDF, XLS, or HTML. From here, select the template to be used for your one-off report.
Note that we will dive deeper into SE Ranking’s templates in the SEO report templates section of this article.
For now, notice that, in terms of actual SEO data, there are numerous sections of the platform appearing on the left hand side, each of which are available to be included in your reports.
To add a section to your report, select one of them, and then click on the green plus icon next to it to add it to the bottom of your report. Alternatively, you can drag-and-drop it to wherever you see fit. Just specify the data for each section in the report, and click ‘Save’ before moving on.
Beyond data specifically related to your client, you can also incorporate data from SE Ranking’s standalone tools in your reports, including the Backlink Checker, Competitive Research, and Keyword Research. Leverage this data to show your clients the competitive environment in which they are operating.
You can also customize the cover page, logo, page header, and add Title, Text, Image, and Page Break blocks to further personalize each report.
Some sections in the Report Builder, such as the Website Audit, Competitor Overview, and Marketing Plan, deserve special attention, so let’s break them down in more detail.
The Website Audit identifies areas of a website that need improvement in terms of performance, pages, metadata, content, links, images, speed, usability, and more.
You can even compare the crawl results of two different periods to make it easier for end readers to see what has been improved.
No website exists in a vacuum, so the next step is to include a competitor overview section in your SEO report.
Data from your website audit enables you and your clients to assess the site’s ranking performance and search visibility in comparison to that of its top direct digital rivals. With this data, you’ll know whenever a competitor is speeding past your client or is getting way ahead of the pack in organic search. You’ll then be able to conduct a deeper analysis of that competitor’s website to figure out what they’re doing differently.
One easy way to incorporate your to-do list into your report is by using SE Ranking’s SEO Marketing Plan. This tool provides a list of 52 steps to help you optimize a website, including major on- and off-page SEO issues, and allows you to add your own tasks as well.
This tool enables you to add every client request to your to-do list and report on its progress at the end of the month.
SE Ranking’s Report Builder also lets you customize each section so that it only includes the data that you and your clients need.
Sharing your SEO report: Manual vs. Automated (Scheduled)
You should now have a clear understanding of how to design your report and which sections to include. Most reporting platforms, including SE Ranking, let you send one-off reports on demand or on a set schedule.
The Report Builder provides a versatile solution for creating and sharing SEO reports with clients.
As mentioned earlier, SE Ranking offers manual reporting for one-time or occasional use. This feature allows you to send customized reports directly from SE Ranking, including all attached data. Once you’ve set up your reports, you will need to download the manual PDF reports and email them. This method is ideal for leads or one-time clients.
Agencies who work with clients on a regular basis can use the more efficient approach of automated (or scheduled) reporting, which lets you set up reports and send them out to specific clients at predetermined times. Reports can be shared daily, weekly, or monthly, and can be sent to up to five email addresses. SE Ranking’s automated reporting functionality streamlines the process and ensures that you consistently deliver insightful, data-driven reports to your clients.
You can also give your clients view-only access to SE Ranking’s Keyword Rank Tracker, Analytics & Traffic, and My Competitors sections through a guest link.
The guest link provides a convenient way for management, colleagues and/or clients to check in on the project’s progress without needing login credentials. If you ever need to revoke their access, you can just update the link.
You’re welcome to explore SE Ranking’s Report Builder and other powerful tools using our free 14-day trial.
How frequently should you send out SEO reports?
SEO reports are an essential tool for communicating your results to clients, monitoring website performance, and keeping track of progress towards SEO goals. Still, it isn’t always clear how frequently these reports should be sent out.
It all depends on the specific needs of each client. For some businesses, a monthly SEO report may be sufficient, while others may require weekly or biweekly updates.
The frequency of these reports should be determined through consultations with the client, taking into account their goals, budget, and other factors. Whatever the frequency of the reports, they should always be timely, accurate, and actionable.
By regularly sending out reports that meet these criteria, you can ensure that your clients are informed and confident about the SEO strategy you set in place for them.
Advanced SEO reporting
The steps covered in this article provide you with the foundation you need to create SEO reports for clients with reporting tools like SE Ranking’s Report Builder.
Still, internal reporting should also be on your radar. This may require a different approach where you not only track results but also provide a more in-depth analyses to your clients.
Many SEO agencies perfect their internal reporting strategies by utilizing tools like Google Looker Studio or Google Sheets alongside various APIs. These tools can help you create customized reports that meet your internal needs. With these reports, you can gain deeper insights into your clients’ SEO campaigns and make better-informed decisions for their benefit.
You can use Looker Studio, for example, to create detailed reports on keyword rankings, backlinks, website traffic, and more. Just connect your accounts to it. Similarly, Google Sheets can be integrated with various APIs, such as SE Ranking’s API, to extract and analyze SEO data in a more advanced way.
By leveraging these tools, your SEO agency can create custom reports tailored to your unique requirements, whether on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. These reports offer insight into your SEO efforts, highlight what is effective, and pinpoint areas that need improvement.
When combining tools like Looker Studio or Google Sheets with APIs, you can create internal reports that provide a more comprehensive view of your clients’ campaigns. This will allow you and your agency to not only track your clients’ progress but also delve deeper into their performance. This makes it easier to refine your clients’ SEO strategies and enhance their online presence.
SEO report templates
SE Ranking’s Report Builder tool offers a wide range of pre-made templates designed to cater to different reporting needs. It also allows you to create custom templates for added efficiency.
The full list of templates in SE Ranking’s Report Builder includes a general SEO report template, monthly traffic and rankings report, traffic overview, website health score, competitor overview, Google Ads report, and more. All templates are pre-made, saving you tons of time and resources.
Each template includes a dashboard that simplifies your report setup, and you can also add other sections with any SEO data that you think would be useful for clients on an individual basis.
By leveraging these pre-made templates, you can quickly create customized reports that present crucial information, enabling data-driven decision-making and the ongoing enhancement of your online presence. SE Ranking also allows you to design and save custom templates tailored to specific reporting requirements. This further streamlines the reporting process and saves you valuable time when generating reports on traffic, rankings, conversions, or any other type of data.
SEO reporting can help your agency identify areas for improvement and level up how you use your resources to benefit your clients. Effective reporting helps all parties stay open, responsible, and cordial, all of which are virtues that help businesses grow.
Use this blog post to make an outstanding SEO report for your own clients. Don’t hesitate to implement the steps outlined in this article in your own reporting process. And remember, you can always share your own ideas on how the SE Ranking team can further develop the Report Builder.
As a bonus, we’ve included an example SEO performance report that demonstrates the level of quality to aim for: Download sample SEO report
Bonus: Infographic on creating the perfect SEO report
Want to keep the points covered here in mind? Below is an infographic on the steps you’ll need to take to create the perfect SEO report for your clients. As always, we welcome your comments and social shares.