As a freelancer offering SEO services, clients will always ask for an SEO ranking report which they eagerly anticipate – with almost bated breath – hoping to see that their site has inched further toward the top position since the previous week.

While measuring rank is obviously an important and exciting metric in SEO, it doesn’t quite offer the full picture. This blog provides the perfect opportunity to explain, not only what to include in your SEO ranking report, but also identify some of the major contributing factors in getting to #1 in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

So, let me set the scene. ‘Rank’ refers to the position achieved in SERPs and is primarily identified by the keyword or search terms targeted by individual pages. Those with limited knowledge of SEO can be excused for thinking that keyword position is as simple as adding keywords to the right places on your web pages. This, unfortunately, will not lead to instant victory, which is precisely why we have to look at other influencing factors and include them in our SEO ranking report.

What Influences Ranking?

First and foremost your site needs to be search engine friendly. This includes ensuring that your site has an XML sitemap and a robots.txt file, amongst other things. You can run a free SEO audit to discover if there are technical problems that are hindering your site’s ability to rank well. If you’ve had to fix any pre-existing issues then you should also mention these in your SEO ranking report.

What is an XML Sitemap?

Learn more about it with our FREE SEO Guide

Other factors such as device, location and previous searches are, in my opinion, also contributing factors that will impact on your perceived rank position. But unless your client is willing to fly you to multiple locations to conduct accurate searches we, for now, have to depend on keyword tracker tools – like Keyword Tool from WooRank – which is accurate and simple to use.

How Do I Check Keyword Position?

Use WooRank’s Keyword Tool to track targeted keywords. With a whole host of capabilities, the tool is able to track competitors’ keyword position, provide precise monthly search volume, list keyword suggestions, as well as historical ranking data.

Keyword tool keyword ranking history

Using Keyword Tool is great for tracking keyword position, and the weekly email digests make reporting that much easier.

Although this is handy for your report, simply producing a table like the one above won’t reflect the full extent of efforts made in order to get the keyword to the position it’s at. We, therefore, need to provide a full picture of what has been achieved.

What Else Should Be Included in Your SEO Ranking Report?

External factors, also known as off-page SEO, have a tremendous impact on your site’s ability to rank highly, so I also like to keep on eye on the following metrics when reporting.

1. Backlinks: Because of the influence backlinks have on both DA and PA, backlinks are one of the most important influencing factors on page rank, which is why ranking reports should always be accompanied with a backlink analysis.

Use the WooRank tool to examine and monitor backlinks. Not only will it show how many backlinks your domain has, but you can also examine your competitors’ backlinks. (Use this info to develop a backlink strategy if you don’t already have one.)

Advanced Audit backlinks score

The above image shows the backlink score and counter for one of my clients (dark blue) vs their direct competitor (light blue).

WooRank’s backlink feature also details the source URL, the target page that it’s linking to, anchor text (links with keywords in the anchor text will help your site rank for that keyword), and quality.

Backlink Quality refers to the overall quality of the backlink and is determined by the PA and DA of the referring domain. Since the Penguin update backlink quality is now essential, so find out how you can build quality links here. Remember, that efforts you make in obtaining good, quality backlinks will improve your DA and PA, which will directly impact on a site’s ability to rank highly for specific keywords. So this really, really should be included in your report.

2. Site traffic from month to month: Use Google Analytics (GA) to investigate trends, traffic increases and compare results from month to month. If a particular keyword is doing well then this could be attributed to a shift in keyword position.

3. Organic traffic: Look at your organic traffic in GA go to Acquisition>Channels>Organic. From here you will be able to see which are your top landing pages as well as the keywords driving the most traffic.

4. User behavior: Getting a visitor to stay on your page and interact with your website can tell Google how well your content matches users’ needs. A high bounce rate, known as “pogo-sticking,” will be interpreted by Google as a sign that they made a mistake ranking your page. The good news for you is that this information is included in your Weekly Email Digest, so you don’t have to go searching for it.

As with any SEO report, you should always consider and revisit your original objectives. If you’re looking to increase web traffic or create content that converts that you should obviously focus your report findings around different metrics.

For me, an SEO report should be comprehensive and should look at progress holistically. By this I mean that every aspect of SEO should be considered and reports should ideally include not just movement in keyword position but also:

  • An overview – Use this to revisit previously agreed objectives. Highlight your progress to date and mention overall aims
  • Keyword performance – highlight any positive movement in the keywords you are targeting and tracking and also give a possible explanation as to why some keywords may have moved down in position
  • Backlinks – Report on additional backlinks that have been achieved since the last report
  • Work completed to date – Report on any technical and on-page SEO tasks that have been completed and highlight any positive results these changes may have produced
  • User Behavior – Use GA to measure and monitor your efforts to determine if progress can be directly attributed to the work you have carried out on the site
  • Identify next steps – If there are key goals or tasks that you need to work on over the coming weeks before the next report then identify them and provide deadlines.

Finishing Up

An SEO ranking report that focuses solely on the position of particular keywords will not give the entire SEO picture. It is therefore vital that you report on other factors such as off-page work completed to date and how this has directly influenced the performance of your site. If you don’t report on other factors mentioned above then you will be doing yourself an injustice. Find out how to quickly produce comprehensive weekly SEO reports.

Let us know how do you report your SEO progress.