Reporting is an incredibly important part of our jobs. After all the actionable SEO work is done, we have to find a way to show our bosses and clients what we did and why it matters. But it’s an aspect of SEO that feels unbalanced. It’s not the most important thing we do — saving folks from site migrations gone wrong, writing and optimizing amazing content, building authoritative links, those are among our top-tier tasks — but let’s be honest: reporting keeps the lights on.

The trouble with reporting is that it tends to take a disproportionate amount of time, and the end result usually feels messy and rushed. For something that pays the bills, SEO reporting doesn’t always reflect our very best work.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Reporting can be streamlined and optimized, just like anything else in SEO. Better reports will save you and your organization both time and money, and your clients will have a clearer view of your progress — which usually makes for happier, more informed clients in general.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to create reports that better educate your clients, grow trust and rapport with them, and accurately portray the fruits of your labor, highlighting ways to streamline the process and allow you to focus on delivering results — not just talking about them.

What you’ll learn:

Get ready — we’ll cover a lot in this mini guide (is it really mini? Compared to some guides, yes!). Take a look at what you’ll be learning below, and don’t miss the final chapter, where we’ll plunk all our favorite reporting resources and templates for your perusal.

Chapter 1: Reporting 101

Learn the basics of reporting and what can be done to streamline and improve the data you provide to clients and team members.

Chapter 2: Building a Relationship

Establish expectations with clients, strengthen the partnership, and showcase your hard work.

Chapter 3: Content, Keywords, & Rankings

Learn how to analyze keywords, SERPs, and content marketing efforts in an effective way that leads to better reporting.

Chapter 4: Link Building

Convey critical information about your link building efforts, including domain analysis, links lost or gained, and link equity.

Chapter 5: Technical Site Reporting

Include important technical SEO elements in reporting to keep improvement top of mind and on track.

Chapter 6: Bringing it all together

Tell a story through your reported data to give clients key takeaways from past performance and set goals for the next reporting period.

Reporting Templates & Free Resources

We’ve compiled some helpful resources to keep your reports beautiful and easy to put together.

What tools you’ll use:

There are two crucial components to successful SEO reporting:

  1. Data from your website analytics software (Google Analytics, Tableau, Adobe — whatever works for you)
  2. Research and insights from your SEO analytics platform

Many of these tools can generate customized dashboards and automated reporting so the data is ready for your analysis as soon as it’s past the reporting period.

Additional should-haves before starting:

In order to develop effective SEO reports, It’s important to have a clear understanding of SEO itself, as well as which metrics are most important to you and your clients in order to measure progress and success. SEO metrics won’t be the same across every organization or even every client, and neither will the business goals you’re speaking to. Things like campaign goals, strategy, and team activity all play into which metrics need to be followed and analyzed during each reporting period, so be sure to have a handle on what your client wants — and know how to get there.

If you’re not familiar with SEO, or if SEO is a new addition to your marketing responsibilities, spend some quality time with The Beginner’s Guide to SEO.

If you’re having trouble pinpointing business goals or how they tie to SEO, watch this 12-minute-long Whiteboard Friday.

If you’re struggling with telling a story that highlights your business against a competitor’s, read through The Guide to SEO Competitive Analysis.

We’ll sprinkle other helpful articles and resources throughout this guide, so keep an eye out!