How to Create an SEO Report Your Clients Love (+Template)
SEO is one of the most popular marketing disciplines for more than a decade now, and for a good reason. It provides an excellent return on investment and in the long run, it’s more sustainable than any other paid marketing option.
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It’s no surprise then that there are so many agencies specializing in SEO. On the other hand, there are countless potential clients looking for SEO services. And if you run an agency, you know that there are some hurdles with SEO clients. Primarily, the reporting.
Today, we’ll show you how to create a beautiful, functional SEO report that your clients will understand immediately. That way, your job will be easier and your clients can make smarter business decisions. Oh, we’ll also include an SEO report template.
Let’s get started.
What is an SEO report?
An SEO report is a document containing the most important metrics and KPIs on the work you did for your client or in your company. This document helps your clients and managers up to date with the progress on your SEO campaigns so that they can keep up with the progress and make more informed decisions about future campaigns and budget allocation.
What should an SEO report include?
Just like all other types of marketing reports, it depends on the client and the specific work you’re doing for them. However, there are some basics you need to cover in each good SEO report.
- An overview of the main KPIs and metrics
All clients want to know the most important results for their business objectives. Make sure to include metrics such as new backlinks, organic traffic, keyword movements (improvements in rankings), and others. We’ll get to metrics in detail in a second.
- An explanation of high-level results
SEO can be hard to understand for people who don’t have marketing expertise. Your client hired you as the best SEO expert they found, so make sure to explain the results you’ve achieved in a way they can understand. Summarize the most important results: why they happened - or why not.
- Visualizations that make it easy to understand performance
Explaining a 10% increase in organic traffic becomes a lot easier if you show it with a graph. Your report should have a variety of great visualizations. They’re effective and make it easier to understand (the lack of) performance in SERPs and conversion rates.
8 most important SEO metrics to include in an SEO report
As mentioned, the contents of your SEO report largely depend on the type of work you do for a specific client. However, there are some general KPIs and metrics you should strive to include in your SEO reports. Here are some of them:
- Organic traffic
- Branded vs. non-branded organic traffic
- Top keyword rankings (movements and the average position)
- New and lost referring domains
- Average click-through rate (CTR)
- Conversions from organic traffic
- Time spent on page
- Page load speed
Of course, this is just a starting point and you can dive deeper into each of these SEO metrics in your reports. For example, you can highlight the performance of specific landing pages, show technical SEO issues, show your link building efforts in more detail, show how you address core web vitals, etc.
Now all that is left to do is create your first report.
How to create an SEO report in 6 easy steps
Even if you’ve never created one before, getting your perfect SEO report doesn’t require a lot of work and digging into spreadsheets for hours. Armed with the right knowledge and tools, you can create one in under 30 minutes. Here’s how.
Consider your client’s reporting needs
Not every client needs the same information included in their SEO report. In fact, using one cookie-cutter template for all clients is definitely a bad idea. Instead, consider the following criteria when choosing what to add to an SEO report for a specific client:
- How much they know about SEO already (on-page, off-page, technical SEO knowledge)
- Whether they worked with SEO professionals before (in-house or through agencies)
- How long they’ve been with you and how familiar they are with their existing performance
- How big of a role SEO plays as an acquisition channel for the client
- What they really need to see vs. what is unnecessary information
Over time, you’ll get to learn just the right elements to include in an SEO report for specific clients.
Get a good reporting tool
Creating reports manually is so 2010. Why would you bother creating Powerpoint presentations or Excel sheets when there is a better way of doing things?
When you use a tool such as Whatagraph, you can get all of your SEO data in one place and visualize it in a way your clients can understand and act on. More importantly, with SEO reporting tools, you can cut down the admin time spent on creating reports from hours to minutes.
Choose a tool that won’t break your budget, is easy to use, and has all the data sources you need. Speaking of which…
Connect your data sources
A good SEO professional spends their time using a variety of different tools. To create a good monthly report, you want to make sure that the report tool you’re using has a direct integration with your daily tools and applications. This includes platforms such as:
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Google My Business
- SEO Monitor
And the great news is, Whatagraph has an integration with almost all of these tools. All you have to do is connect your clients’ accounts and you’re good to go - you can show your marketing efforts in one click.
Tip: when choosing your marketing reporting software, make sure that it has integrations with your most important SEO data sources. Moreover, those sources should be included in a pricing plan that meets your needs so you don’t pay through the roof just to get Ahrefs access, for example.
Grab an SEO report template
Whichever reporting tool you use, you have two options: create a report from scratch or use an SEO report template. While creating a report from start to finish is not difficult, starting from a report is quicker and easier, especially if it’s your first-ever SEO report.
You can grab our SEO report after connecting your clients’ accounts to Whatagraph. Once you start using the report, it will automatically appear in front of you, populated with your clients’ data. You’ll get graphs, bar charts, tables, and various types of widgets with actionable insights for your clients showing your optimization, link building efforts and overall SEO strategy.
Of course, you can change and edit the report as you please, but this report has all the basics you need for an effective report on their website’s health that you can proudly show to your clients.
Our SEO report template was created based on hundreds of SEO reports that our customers send every day to their clients and managers. We included all the right widgets you need to highlight a website’s SEO performance and it’s the perfect starting point that you can remove from or build on.
Edit your report to your liking
The template is a great start, but you should adjust it to your work and the specific client you’re sending it to. This means changing things such as:
- Colors and the design
- The logos in the report
- Date ranges
Once you’re done, you may want to go a step further. With Whatagraph, you can white label your reports and completely remove all Whatagraph branding. That way, your reports look like you made them in-house and you get to take all the credit.
Add a section to explain your findings
Finding a business leader who fully understands SEO is like finding a needle in a haystack. Which is okay - you’re there to do the work and they’re meant to pay you for it. However, you’ll have much better communication with your clients if you explain what specifically you do in your reports and what it means for their business results.
To do this, simply add a section on top of your reports, summarizing the work you did for the client and explaining the results you achieved. This can include:
- Going through their backlink profile and showing the high-level overview of new and lost backlinks
- Explaining the impact of the latest algorithm on their search engine rankings
- Showing the effects of a reduced site speed on their keyword rankings
- Highlighting month-on-month organic search growth
- Showing the domain authority and domain rating growth over time
- The results of a site audit on your client’s website after search engine optimization
- Showing the best organic keywords to tackle in the upcoming months
- And much more
It’s only a few minutes extra per report but it can bring massive value to your clients. Moreover, it’s a superb opportunity to upsell the client and offer more services.
For example, here is how our customer MarketSolutions does it in their reports:
You can find out more about their reporting process in this case study.
Automate your report
The hard part of the work is done and now you want to make sure your reports get to your clients on time. Instead of sending them out manually, you can automate the precise time you want the clients to receive your reports.
Within Whatagraph, you can schedule your reports to go out weekly, monthly, quarterly or in some custom interval. That way, the clients always get fresh and up-to-date information about their website performance, target keywords, SEO rankings and more.
If you want to give them even more freedom in viewing their data, you can create an SEO client dashboard where they can access live data with one click. Compared to a monthly SEO report, the client gets more immediate access to their data.
It doesn’t matter if you work in-house as a marketer or as a part of a digital marketing agency. SEO reports are one of the most effective ways of proving the value of SEO as a channel and if you do them right, you’ll sweep your client, manager and other stakeholders off their feet.
And if you’ve followed the steps above, you may be wondering if it’s really that simple. It really is, if you use Whatagraph. All it takes is signing up for a free trial, and grabbing a template - and your report is done within minutes.
See you on the better side of reporting!
Published on Jan 21 2021
WRITTEN BYMile Zivkovic
Mile is the head of content at Whatagraph in charge of all content and communications for Whatagraph’s marketing data platform. A marketing heavy with almost a decade of SaaS industry experience, Mile has managed multiple content marketing teams without losing an ounce of his writing passion. The author behind some of the most-read pieces on our blog.
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