SEO Report: What Is SEO Reporting?
The purpose of SEO reporting is twofold: First, an SEO report can be used to identify areas of your site that require improvement and secondly they can be used to monitor progress and measure impact.
Don't worry, we won't stop there. If you're new to SEO we're going to be exploring the role of SEO reporting, why it's important, what it should include, and assess how it can help with your overall SEO strategy. So let's start from the beginning.
Do We Need SEO?
Yes. Did you know that there are over 4.6 billion webpages on the internet today? That's a lot of competition. The bad news for website owners is this figure grows daily, but the good news is that SEO is probably the most effective way to improve your site – making it more visible and highly competitive.
SEO is the process of optimizing various elements across your site (and away from your site) to enhance the experience for both users and search engines. Without SEO, sites can perform badly and never make it to that coveted number 1 spot in search engine results pages (SERPs).
More importantly, SEO ensures:
- Your site can be crawled and indexed: Search engines use 'bots' to crawl your site. They then stores information about the the pages it finds in their indexes.
- The best user experience: Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird and mobile first indexing work to ensure that site owners provide the best possible experience for their users.
- Improved rankings: Let's face it – this is everyone's goal. Search engines reward quality, high performing sites, which is why SEO is so valuable. If you optimize your site, it's likely that your site will rank highly in SERPs.
- Increased traffic: If you can get your site to poll position then it's pretty likely that you'll see an increase in traffic. Reports show that top results typically achieve a 30% CTR.
SEO Reporting for Site Analysis
To identify the areas that need improvement across your site you'll need to execute an initial SEO report or audit. You can either do this manually by going through our SEO checklist for any site, or you can use a tool that will assess your site for you.
An auditing tool should examine key areas of your site including:
An assessment of your website's or page's SEO help search engines to determine the content of your pages.
- Technical elements: These include title tags, meta descriptions and assess whether H1 tags are being used appropriately (1 per page, unless you're using HTML5).
- Indexed pages: This allows you to check that all your site's pages are being indexed by search engines. If the number here is dramatically different to what you think it should be, you should look at potential causes.
- Links: How many in-page links are there? Are broken links being detected?
- WWW resolve: Have you set your prefered domain in the relevant webmaster tools.
- URLs: Use Google Search Console's URL parameter tool and remove underscores (_) from your URLs.
When Google detects someone searching the web on a mobile device, it ranks websites according to how mobile friendly they are. Your SEO reporting should assess a website's…
- Responsive design and/or mobile viewport presence
- Mobile page speed and make recommendations about how to optimize
- Mobile compatibility
- Font size
- Touch screen readiness
As mentioned above, Google likes websites that work well for users. SEO reporting should include things that enhance the user experience like:
- Custom 404 pages
- Doctype declaration
- Language specified
- Use of Structured Data Markup
- SSL secure (HTTPS)
Backlinks are a strong ranking signal and should therefore be assessed for quality. Use a tool to explore:
- The number of backlinks
- How many backlinks your competitors have
- Quality of backlinks
- Number of referring domains
Audits should also explore how successful you are across social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Connect your accounts so that these can be properly assessed and monitored. Adding the sameAs property to your semantic markup will help search engines make the connection between your website and your social media profiles.
A tool with an SEO crawler feature will be able to highlight any crawling issues such as:
- Duplicate content: This can be detected in page content, titles and meta descriptions
- Thin content: If content is too thin then the chances are the keyword density will be poor. Check and rectify any thin content found.
- HTTP Status: Looks for pages that return any HTTP codes that could indicate issues
- Indexing: Identifies any pages that may not be indexable and provides an explanation why
- Canonical URLs: Identifies pages that contain canonical tags and the canonical URL
Assessing where your site ranks for specific keywords is vital. Good SEO reporting for keywords should include:
- The keyword you are targeting
- Its landing page
- Current ranking
- Previous ranking, and change in position
- Search volume
If you are creating a dedicated SEO report just for your keywords, you should also include report on your competitors' rankings.
SEO Reporting for Monitoring Progress
Whether you produce weekly or monthly SEO reports you will want to monitor the impact of your optimization efforts. When you implement something flagged up by your report run the review again to see what effect it has had.
If you're not sure what you should be including in your SEO report be sure to check out our guide on constructing a template for reports. Use the same template each time you conduct a report so that improvements can be easily monitored and measured.
Key Points for Your Report
Make sure that your report includes tangible benefits to the work carried out on your site. These will include:
- Changes in web traffic: Use Google Analytics to measure changes in the number of visitors. As the visibility of your site improves you should see an increase in web traffic. Look at the traffic sources. Has the traffic from 'organic' sources (people finding your site through search engines) increased? You can also monitor your landing pages to see how users enter your site. If you're optimizing these landing pages then web traffic through here should also improve.
- Rank position: Monitor any changes in rank position (where your site ranks for specific keywords), as this gives you a good indication of how effective your efforts have been. The Keyword Tool in Woorank will show you how keywords perform over time to make this easier to monitor – handy!
- SEO Score: When you first conduct your audit you will be given an SEO score. This can either be given as domain authority, page authority or as a score between 0-100. With Woorank you can easily see your progress by looking at this score which changes as you optimize your website.
Hopefully, you're no longer left wondering, 'what is SEO reporting?'
We have identified that SEO is the best way to improve your site for both users and search engines and is effective at getting your site ranking higher and increasing web traffic.
SEO reports are a vital way of finding out what and how to optimize your site. Use these reports to initially prioritize optimization, by evaluating which areas are going to have the biggest impact on your site. Remember that it is worth using an efficient auditing tool to conduct reports and measure progress as you go. These can also be extremely valuable if you need to justify a budget spend or time spent working on SEO.