Creating the Perfect Website SEO Report for SEO Measurement
Every website should set up tracking at the very least through Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Both of these tracking tools are crucial to collecting data and making informed decisions about your site. You can’t just throw your website ideas at a wall to see what sticks. You’ll never know what will work and what won’t.
Aside from those two popular Google tools, there are also many third-party tracking platforms to use for tracking off-site metrics such as keyword ranking data. When a business hires an SEO consultant or agency, one of the first steps should be creating a baseline report to see the current site’s performance before you start your SEO process. Heck, even if you don’t work with professionals you should be creating baselines from important SEO metrics and KPIs.
As an SEO specialist, I can say with confidence that client reporting is vital. Again, it’s key to track progress, good or bad, to make informed decisions about your business and how you operate online.
What is SEO reporting?
SEO reporting is a collective view of how users are interacting with your website. Reports provide an overview of the most important website KPIs and how your pages are performing on different search engines amongst users.
Reporting on SEO metrics is a must for any website because SEO is a revolving door. Google is constantly changing the rules, and if you don’t adapt to how users are interacting with your site, you’ll be fighting a losing battle. Every report is sure to be different depending on the site owner’s goals and what they want to focus on.
The SEO KPIs You Should Be Tracking
You may be wondering, “What are the main KPIs I should be focusing on?” SEO reports should be centered around site health, user interaction, and rankings.
Let’s get more granular. Here are some of the important KPIs that you should be looking at when building an SEO reporting dashboard.
Organic sessions are important for SEO, since this is where you measure who found your website organically on different search engines. Measuring this KPI can not only help you optimize your SEO strategy, but also show time-over-time comparisons in your reports. The most accurate way to measure this KPI is by connecting Google Analytics to your website.
Percentage of New Users
Another KPI consists of tracking the number of new users visiting your site versus the total number of users. This is a good metric to report since you want to see if your site is generating new traffic. How is this KPI measured? Google will consider a site visit as a new user session whenever you visit a site for the first time and there isn’t a cookie present.
Pages Per Session & Average Session Duration
The pages per session KPI is the average number of pages that are viewed during a single session. It’s best to have a user engaged and interested in your website so that when they’re exploring your pages, the average session duration will increase.
Meanwhile, the average session duration KPI determines the average time spent on your website. This is another KPI that you can track with Google Analytics. It’s valuable in that it calculates the time that an average user spends on your website. Having a good session duration means users are browsing your website and not leaving early. That would cause the bounce rate to increase.
Bounce rate is another KPI to monitor, as it determines the percentage of sessions where users landing on your website don’t interact. It’s worth tracking because of the insight it provides; you can monitor the data and take a step back and evaluate it, if needed. That is, if you have a high bounce rate, many things can be going on. Your site may be slow, you may not have the content that users are looking for, or you may just not be doing a great job of inviting users in.
Revenue or Goals
Tracking revenue or specific goals are the most important metrics you should be keeping an eye on. If your website isn’t converting users based on completing a purchase or a specific task that you want them to, something isn’t working. If your website is ecommerce based, ensuring that you have enhanced ecommerce turned on in your Google Analytics settings is important.
If your site isn’t ecommerce based, then you have to make sure you set up specific goals or events within your Analytics. This could be in the form of a user filling out a form or clicking your phone number to call you. If your business is a service model, then goals like these are going to be super important.
Another KPI to add to your reporting dashboard is conversion rate. This helps you analyze the percentage of your traffic that is converting, either through a sale or a goal you have set up. This helps you determine if you are driving qualified traffic to your website. It can also lead you down the path showing that your user experience may not be optimized. You may be driving qualified traffic to your site, but the user could be having trouble with slow load times or elements on the site not working. These things will ultimately cause people to leave. This is why conversion rate is an important metric to track: it could help you uncover many realities about your site.
The last KPI to mention here is rankings. Whether we’re talking about keyword rankings or page rankings, it’s important to track position changes and leverage future opportunities with new rankings.
The best way to track keyword rankings is to use a tool such as SEMrush while leveraging something I talked about at the beginning of this article, Google Search Console. SEMrush or something similar will come with a monthly/annual fee, but Search Console is free, so it’s a no-brainer.
Analyzing this data at both the keyword and page level is key. Google Search Console will show you average position, impressions, click-through rate, and real clicks.
As an SEO analyst, I can tell you that this data is some of the most vital. If you are seeing a keyword or page getting a ton of impressions but underperforming in terms of clicks and CTR, that should tell you as the site owner that something is wrong. Something can most likely be changed, such as a title tag or meta description.
Filtering the Data
I just gave you a high-level overview of some of the most important SEO KPIs and metrics you should be targeting. Tracking them is the easy part. The hard part is analyzing it and piecing it all together.
Don’t be afraid to get granular. If you monitor all the metrics I touched on and constantly see green–or increases–there is a good chance you are doing something right. However, that doesn’t mean you’re perfect. There could still be a handful of underperforming pages that render those increases not as high as they could be. If you see red, then you need to take a step back and reevaluate.
The great part about using analytics tracking is that the data is filterable. If you want to filter the data in a certain way, there is a good chance the analytics platform you use can do it.
We love Google Analytics here at LSEO, and one of the best ways we like to analyze metrics is at the page level, but we don’t stop there. You can also filter data by device, browser, country, state, city, demographic, you name it.
Filtering is the best way to get more detailed and make informed decisions about what changes you need to make. Small tweaks are the way to win in SEO. A complete overhaul can only hurt some of the momentum you’ve already built.
Now You’re Ready to Track Your SEO KPIs
Clearly, it’s important to create an SEO report for your website and include the important KPIs for tracking. There are plenty of ways to create an awesome reporting dashboard. My personal favorite, and a favorite of the LSEO team, is creating a dashboard within Google Data Studio.
Data Studio lets you connect multiple data sources to create a dashboard that will update itself automatically. We love to use Data Studio with the connectors for Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google Sheets, and SEMrush. We can customize the dashboard and tables with the proper filters for the data we need or want to see.
Just because I talked a lot about the Google Suite of tools and SEMrush doesn’t mean that these are what you have to use. We’ve had many clients come to us that use other data sources, such as Adobe, Ahrefs, Conductor, etc. You can create awesome reports within all of those systems to monitor and even create a Google Data Studio report, if the specific tools you use have their own connectors.