seo reportAn SEO report demonstrates the effect that optimization work has on client business. Why should a customer care about what you’re doing with their website? The report tells them exactly why. Let’s take a look at some components of SEO reports and why they matter.

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SEO Report Project Overview

The project overview highlights the project objectives. It can also provide a brief summary of results. This helps remind clients why they’re dedicating resources to SEO in the first place. It might be to increase sales, get people to subscribe or increase ranking for long tail keywords.

Whatever the case may be, make sure you clearly outline the project goals.

Work Completed

If you’ve rolled out any improvements – for example, optimized page titles or descriptions – generate an itemized list of what you’ve done. Did you submit a sitemap? Incorporate it into the report. Settled canonical issues or implemented redirects? Add these to your list too.

Basically, all work completed on the client site should be logged in some fashion.

Have you gained backlinks to the site? Make sure you reference these. Links from high domain authority sources are especially valuable.

Tip: Not every customer will want all the details, so it’s okay to summarize. Some clients, depending on their technical background, will ask for explanations. Be ready to offer more info on demand. Task and project management platforms can help you keep track.

Keyword Progress

For newer projects, the first few reports will typically revolve around progress made in targeted search engines. We tend to focus on Google and Bing. Currently, other search engines typically don’t have a measurable effect on overall traffic. Still, depending on the client, you might want to check out the Yahoo! and Ask data on occasion to be thorough.

Tip: Show progress! Demonstrate any change over the last few months or compared to the same time period last year. Make sure you have an initial ranking benchmark for comparison.

Impact On Traffic

Show how traffic has increased due to your efforts, such as better search engine ranking, link bait, or improved positioning of the customer’s brand in their niche.

Tip: This information is accessible on Google Analytics or other statistical software. Your client will value having the information compiled for them in one place.

Objective Completion/Sales

Make sure you define clear objectives toward the beginning of the project.

Sometimes you might be able to directly attribute sales to your SEO. Google Analytics Goal Tracking can help you determine the impact SEO has on revenue. For example, if a blog post generates clicks to confirmed online store sales.

In other cases, it’s important to attach a monetary value to other outcomes. This can be utilized later in the ROI analysis. For instance, an organization may have a dollar estimation per page impression, in view of different types of advertising.

Return On Investment (ROI) Figures

How often to include ROI analysis is debatable. For instance, for competitive sectors with a low ranking or new website, it’s likely that the customer wouldn’t see a positive ROI for the first 12 months or so. If these numbers come up, it should be explained that this is a necessary stage for future business success.

Tip: The ROI stats tends to work better when there is a bigger data set to filter through. You could potentially incorporate this in a quarterly, half year or yearly SEO report.

What’s Next

Keeping your client’s short and long-term goals in mind, round out your SEO report with future plans and next steps. Be sure you can back up any recommendations for a change in direction.

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Frequently Asked Questions About SEO Reporting

There are several search engine optimization diagnostic and measurement tools available in the marketplace, and many of them generate an “SEO score”. The SEO score is that tool’s estimation of a site’s success in following best practices with regard to SEP and/or technical optimization. For example, Yoast provides a readability and SEO analysis score color-coded according to the following:  green (good), yellow (may need some work), red (needs attention). HubSpot’s Website Grader will instantly email you a score out of 100 based on key metrics such as SEO, security, performance and mobile readiness. SEMrush’s Site Audit Tool calculates a total score based on technical errors and warnings that can impact search engine optimization.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) reporting presents the progress of keyword rankings and their influence on organic sessions and conversions over time. An SEO report should always focus on the metrics that are most important to your client, but typical components are:

  • Website traffic by channel, device and user type.
  • Engagement, shown by pages per session, average session duration or bounce rate.
  • Organic landing pages – to understand which pages are driving traffic to the site.
  • Conversions by channel
  • Page 1 and page 2 visibility (national and perhaps local rankings) for key terms.
  • Quantity and quality of backlinks compared to competitors.

When looking to hire an SEO expert – whether an individual consultant or an agency – we recommend that you follow the below steps:

  1. Read case studies and ask for examples of “success stories”.
  2. Ensure the agency or individual understands your company’s goals and any factors that are specific to your industry.
  3. Meet the individual or team and get a sense for work style and “fit” with your company.
  4. Check references.
  5. Consider moving forward with a preliminary project, such as a technical site audit or content audit, to get a better sense for expertise and workstyle.

Whether you’re working with a digital marketing agency or an individual marketing consultant, there are several different pricing models for SEO work. One example is project-based or fixed pricing for an agreed upon body of work. Pricing depends on the scope on the scope and complexity of the project, but would likely start at $3,500 per project for an agency and $2,500 per project for an individual firm. This type of pricing structure could be beneficial for a technical SEO audit, a site relaunch, updating local listings or perhaps for optimizing a large amount of content for a specific campaign.

Another example is hourly pricing for work requested on an as-needed basis. Pricing is dependent on geographic location and the experience level of your provider, but will likely be $125/hr and up for an agency and $75/hr and up for an individual.

A third pricing model is a monthly retainer in which a client will pay a monthly fee in exchange for a stipulated group of services. Generally, monthly SEO retainers include keyword analysis, on-page content optimization, backlink analysis, outreach efforts and regular analytics reporting. They will also sometimes include webmastering, content marketing and/or social media. Monthly SEO retainers can vary greatly depending on the provider and the included range of services, but they generally start at $2,500/month.