How do you immediately inform the distinction between a superb SEO and a nasty one?

Have a look at their SEO reviews.

  • Unhealthy SEO reviews – Purchasers get misplaced in pointless knowledge, don’t know what work was performed, and get no insightful feedback.
  • Good SEO reviews – Purchasers see key knowledge summaries and easy-to-understand insights and overview of the work performed.

I’ve seen many SEO reviews from consultants, in-house groups, and companies. I mentioned them with consultants from our Ahrefs Insider group. The conclusion? You’ll be able to’t create an SEO report template that covers every little thing essential with out understanding a shopper, their enterprise, and your obligations within the venture.

However what I’ve for you right here will get you as shut as doable to an ideal SEO report. That’s the most important purpose why I began discussing SEO reporting with consultants within the first place.

Earlier than you steal our SEO report template, let’s first study the next:

  • What an SEO report is
  • What the SEO report ought to include
  • How lengthy it takes to create one
  • SEO report template

Let’s get into it.

An SEO report is an outline of vital SEO metrics reflecting enterprise development, efficiency in serps, backlink portfolio energy, and web site well being.

It’s the primary useful resource on your shoppers, managers, or bosses that tracks the progress of your work and its impression. In any case, these stakeholders need to see that their cash is effectively spent on you.

And when you can’t win with SEO each month, an efficient SEO report ought to nonetheless convey that your work is more likely to have optimistic ROI within the lengthy time period.

This leads us properly to…

What and the way you report in your SEO efforts rely upon the way you arrange expectations together with your shopper. Whereas SEO reviews are dependant on a shopper’s enterprise kind, that is what everybody typically needs to see:

  • SEO KPIs – Consider SEO metrics which might be carefully tied to income development.
  • Rating progress – See how rankings of a very powerful key phrases have modified.
  • Natural visitors progress – Verify how the earlier two points translate into absolute visitors numbers.
  • Backlink development – See new, useful referring pages that drive visitors and/or move hyperlink fairness.
  • SEO well being – Know that the web site is doing effectively from the technical SEO perspective.

Your work doesn’t finish with simply dumping a bunch of metrics right into a doc, although. It’s essential interpret them. Your SEO reviews ought to convey the impression of your work in essentially the most succinct and coherent means doable. That’s how we made the template as effectively.

Now let’s get again to the expectations between you and your shopper. The report ought to primarily include what you’ve beforehand mentioned. If you happen to despatched an SEO report with out educating the shopper beforehand, you’d get plenty of questions and calls for to point out extra knowledge. That is even when the SEO report is ideal. That’s since you’re the SEO professional, not the shopper.

I’ll clarify all of the used metrics and knowledge as we undergo the slides in a while. However I additionally extremely suggest you to take a look at our articles on SEO KPIs and SEO metrics that truly matter. These will assist you and your shoppers be on the identical web page.

Primarily based on what I’ve heard, SEOs can spend wherever from half-hour to some hours monthly on every SEO report. This depends upon a number of elements:

  • Your obligations within the venture
  • Complexity of the venture
  • Your SEO expertise and data
  • Your knowledge analytics expertise and data
  • Reporting format you and your shoppers choose

Let me broaden on the final level. It appears most SEOs choose utilizing the nice outdated PDFs and decks for reporting functions:

Our SEO report template can be in a deck format as a result of it’s the best to make use of and browse for everybody. The draw back is you need to undergo new knowledge each month and put it collectively manually.

Some seasoned entrepreneurs choose to make use of automated knowledge dashboards like Google Information Studio, Tableau, or Energy BI. These could take you plenty of time to arrange initially. However they will replace all the info mechanically, saving you time in the long term. If you happen to’re questioning about this feature, we’ll be releasing Ahrefs’ GDS connector quickly that can assist you with that.

However again to the precise template…

As defined beforehand, our SEO report template (or another) isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. It’s merely an important place to begin to create an SEO report your shoppers will respect.

To get this performed from begin to end, you’ll want the next instruments:

  • Google Slides
  • Ahrefs
  • Google Search Console
  • Google Analytics (or options)
  • Skitch (or an identical app for taking and enhancing screenshots)


Click on right here to make a replica of the SEO report template.

You’ll be able to change the colour scheme to the model colours of your shopper, give it a little bit of your individual branding, make it look fancier, no matter you like.

Earlier than we get into explaining the rationale behind every slide, let me emphasize just a few issues.

To start with, be at liberty to tailor the slides to fit your shopper’s wants, in addition to your service choices. We’ve made this report back to cowl all SEO areas for month-to-month reporting.

Second, the kind of enterprise you’re doing SEO for must also be mirrored within the report changes.

If you happen to’re doing native SEO, you’ll in all probability embrace an outline of native rankings and native SERP options. E‑commerce shopper? It’s possible you’ll need to embrace Common Order Worth from the natural visitors and dive deeper into the technical aspect of issues.

And lastly, take into accout the template comprises largely made-up knowledge, insights, and eventualities. Don’t attempt to analyze the content material of it. Quite, use its construction as a information.

Let’s get began.

1. Title card

The primary slide is the best half to create.

Slide showing the title of the SEO report

Add within the date/month of the report, your individual emblem, in addition to your shopper’s web site URL. As soon as these are accomplished, you might be good to go.

It’s time to maneuver on to the precise SEO reporting.

2. Highlights

A highlights web page that summarizes a very powerful info of that month is an efficient intro.

Slide showing key highlights for the month

This may be mainly the primary and in addition the final slide {that a} CMO or CEO appears to be like at. Thirty seconds later, they’ll say, “Cool, good job,” and received’t hassle with the relaxation.

What kind of issues are you able to embrace right here?

  • Transient abstract of your SEO KPIs
  • Stuff price bragging about
  • Most vital duties accomplished throughout that reporting interval
  • Duties that require additional consideration

3. SEO KPIs overview

Subsequent, it is best to dive into the SEO KPIs extra. Whereas the earlier slide received’t minimize it for many shoppers, some will already be fairly happy. That is as we’ve coated what issues essentially the most on the primary two slides:

Slide showing data on progress of search visibility and conversions

As stated earlier, you might need to embrace totally different or extra KPIs, relying on the shopper and their enterprise kind. The rule of thumb is to decide on metrics as carefully tied to the enterprise’s income as doable.

You’ll be able to see essentially the most common SEO KPIs above: search visibility and natural visitors conversions.

Search visibility is the SEO model of one of the crucial vital advertising KPIs: share of voice (SOV). It’s mainly key phrase rankings on steroids.

To get the search visibility metric, create a venture in Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker. In there, paste the primary key phrases that embody what your viewers is looking for (you might want to end key phrase analysis first), tag it to allow filtering later, and also you’re good to go:

Rank Tracker page to add keywords, also features SOV

You’ll then discover the search visibility metric within the Opponents overview tab:

Competitors overview report results

Relating to natural conversions, the screenshot within the report is taken from a customized Google Analytics (GA) report that solely reveals the supply/medium dimension and chosen conversions to keep away from all of the litter within the default reviews. The conversions are then in contrast month over month (MoM).

If the shopper’s prospects undergo a fancy shopping for course of, you’ll additionally need to report assisted natural visitors conversions. You’ll find this in GA underneath Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions. These will full the image of the general impression of SEO on the enterprise.

4. Rating progress

The general search visibility KPI isn’t the one visibility metric that shoppers are considering. They’ve sure product classes or matters on the weblog that normally differ in relevancy and worth to the enterprise. That’s the place measuring search visibility for key phrase segments comes into play.

Slide showing data on ranking progress per keyword segments

You may get this knowledge by creating extra tags in your Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker venture. Scroll all the way down to your key phrases within the overview, test people who you need to tag, and assign the tag to them or create a brand new one:

Dropdown options for keywords in Rank Tracker

5. Cash key phrases rating overview

Whereas search visibility metrics are one of the best proxies to your natural development, most shoppers additionally need to see place adjustments of their most vital key phrases.

Slide showing key data on money keywords rankings

It’ll get fairly messy to current place adjustments of presumably a whole lot of key phrases in a deck. We must always, subsequently, fulfill the shopper by solely reporting on a very powerful key phrases for the enterprise, aka “money keywords.” You’ll be able to then embrace the remainder by linking to the exported spreadsheet if the shopper needs to see it.

Once more, tag these key phrases within the Rank Tracker. You’ll be able to determine whether or not a key phrase needs to be tagged like this based mostly on its enterprise relevancy and CPC. Or you possibly can simply undergo the key phrase checklist with the shopper.

6. Non-branded natural visitors progress

It took us just a few slides earlier than we acquired to the metrics plenty of SEOs and shoppers deal with first: natural visitors. The explanation for exhibiting this later is easy: Rising natural visitors doesn’t essentially translate into enterprise development. The web site can begin rating for key phrases that drive visitors however not income.

The general visitors quantity isn’t actually an important SEO proxy for something. To make it extra related, let’s section it into non-branded natural visitors solely:

Slide showing data on non-branded organic traffic progress

The explanation for exhibiting non-branded visitors right here is to keep away from attributing natural visitors adjustments to advertising actions unrelated to SEO. For instance, if the advertising crew launched an important PR marketing campaign or began airing mass advertising campaigns, your natural visitors would naturally go up simply from individuals wanting up your model extra.

To indicate a extra correct overview of natural visitors progress, merely apply a question filter in Google Search Console (GSC):

Query filter in GSC

Once more, you need to evaluate the present month’s efficiency with the earlier month’s and, ideally, even with the year-over-year (YoY) efficiency. Most companies are inclined to have seasonal swings, so some MoM comparisons could look unhealthy simply because the excessive season has already ended.

Watch out right here. GSC solely supplies 28-day views and comparisons by default. Thus, you might want to choose customized dates to check complete months. Bear in mind to check the identical variety of days. Let’s have a look at a state of affairs the place a month has 31 days (e.g., in such a case, begin the comparability on the final day of August to account for under 30 days in September).

Your shopper may get a big quantity of visitors from Google Uncover or Google Information. If that’s the case, it’s in all probability price dedicating a separate slide to it.

7. New referring domains highlights

Subsequent up is the backlink profile—showing the shopper what new, attention-grabbing protection they acquired previously month.

Slide showing key data on new referring domains

Nevertheless, it is best to solely report on backlink profile adjustments in case your actions within the venture affect the buying of recent hyperlinks. That may vary from creating hyperlink bait content material to planning and executing outreach campaigns. I point out this as a result of hyperlink constructing is very often a separate exercise from many SEO tasks.

In case you are accountable for backlink profile development, go to Ahrefs’ Website Explorer, test the Referring domains report, and filter for brand spanking new referring domains previously 30 days (as you possibly can see within the slide).

We present the highlights of the newly acquired referring domains sorted by Area Score (DR) rating as a result of it’s a strong and easy-to-understand proxy for bettering backlink profile development.

If you happen to have interaction in outreach actions and see a brand new referring area gained from that, you possibly can spotlight it within the screenshot in order that the shopper can differentiate earned and purchased hyperlinks.

8. Hyperlink constructing progress

This slide is designed to allow you to go into additional element about your hyperlink constructing work performed in the course of the month.

Slide showing data on link building progress

It will possibly embrace:

  • The pages you constructed hyperlinks to.
  • Any standout, new referring pages.
  • The variety of hyperlinks these pages acquired.
  • Your hyperlink constructing statistics, e.g., prospects contacted and success fee.
  • Any insights you deem related, e.g., exceptionally good or unhealthy hyperlink bait content material.

Ahrefs’ Greatest by hyperlinks development report in Website Explorer is sweet to incorporate right here as a result of it reveals you pages that obtained essentially the most backlinks previously 30 days.

Reality to be advised, there’s rather more to evaluating hyperlink constructing than the variety of hyperlinks and DRs of referring domains. However that’s related for hyperlink prospecting earlier than launching outreach campaigns, not for SEO reporting. Your shoppers don’t must dive into all of the nuances.

9. Technical SEO well being overview

That is the place you’ll give a snapshot of the web site’s well being that takes under consideration all technical SEO errors and points.

Slide showing Health Scores for this month and last month, respectively

To get this knowledge:

Go to Ahrefs’ Website Audit, arrange a venture for the shopper’s web site in case you haven’t performed so already, and let the software crawl the web site. Relying in your crawl settings, Website Audit can recrawl the web site periodically, offering you with all the present and historic technical SEO knowledge.

You get the Well being Rating on the overview web page after every crawl is performed:

Various data on technical SEO overview page

If that is your first time crawling the web site, use this Well being Rating as a place to begin. You can begin referencing month-to-month comparisons in your second report.

Now, you might be considering that one metric isn’t sufficient to replicate the entire state of technical SEO. And also you’re proper. However you’re normally not sending SEO reviews to builders or different SEOs who can simply perceive extra in-depth info. Because of this, the Well being Rating is one of the best proxy for a client-friendly, technical SEO metric.

Once more, this doesn’t imply you shouldn’t report on extra technical SEO metrics, and so on. Some tasks contain enormous web sites and sophisticated, technical SEO duties. In such conditions, it’s probably the shopper will welcome crawling and indexing statistics, particulars about a very powerful points, and so on.

10. Subsequent month

After exhibiting your shopper all the info and reviews, it is best to give them a plan of a very powerful SEO duties you’ll be engaged on subsequent month.

Slide showing "to-dos" for next month

A fast to-do checklist that summarizes your most important focus for the next month will suffice. It should additionally function an anchor on your subsequent SEO report.

Last ideas

So there you may have it. A totally customizable SEO reporting template to present to your shoppers. In case you skimmed by the article first, right here’s the hyperlink once more:

Click on right here to make a replica of the SEO report template.

Reporting will in all probability by no means be anybody’s favourite exercise. Nevertheless it’s essential that you simply nail this to have happy and well-paying shoppers.

To wrap up, I need to thank everybody who shared their reporting insights with me over time. I’m additionally grateful for Ahrefs Insider members, who proactively reached out with their data and reviews earlier than I even began creating the template. And particular due to Gyorgy Bolla, the search efficiency lead at Westpac, who launched me to enterprise SEO reporting—the one space I wasn’t accustomed to.

Suppose there are extra metrics or slides this SEO report template ought to have? Bought any questions? Ping me on Twitter.