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How To Make An SEO Report (Templates Included)

Whether you're doing in-house search engine optimization (SEO) or providing it as a service to clients, the importance of reporting can't be understated. Without detailed reports, your SEO efforts would be shots in the dark, wasting time and other resources.

To help you avoid this, our guide will show you what a good SEO report should look like and how to create one.

What you will learn

  • What is an SEO report, and what should it include?
  • How to set SEO objectives and align them with business goals?
  • Which metrics should you choose for your SEO reports?
  • How to report on keyword rankings, technical SEO, and backlinks?
  • How to summarize your SEO report and make it more digestible?

What is an SEO report?

An SEO report is a document showing a data-driven overview of a website's health and performance in search engines. It shows how the most important SEO metrics change with time and outlines the main areas of improvement.

To create an SEO report, you need to pull data from analytics tools (Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Surfer, etc.) and present the key findings clearly.

The goal is to crunch the numbers and turn analytics results into actionable insights that show stakeholders if your SEO strategy is yielding the desired results.

With this in mind, your SEO report shouldn't:

  • Overwhelm the user with too much data
  • Use complex technical slang that the reader isn't familiar with
  • Set unrealistic expectations your SEO strategy can't meet

How to create an SEO report for clients

If you're creating an SEO report from the ground up, you'll need to roll up your sleeves and do quite a bit of work. To give you a shortcut and spare you hours of tedious research, we made a list of the seven steps you should follow:

1. Determine SEO objectives

While the main goal of SEO is to rank high in search engine results pages (SERPs), a comprehensive strategy can do so much more. Your SEO efforts can improve engagement, conversions, and many other metrics helping the client's business grow.

That's why you must decide what your client needs the most before setting your SEO objectives.

You'll most likely find this out during the initial consultation, so use it as a guidepost to determine the direction of your campaigns.

Understanding the client's goals also impacts the SEO tools you'll use.

For example, Google Search Console primarily focuses on search visibility data (keyword rankings, backlinks, etc.), while Google Analytics is more customer-focused and tracks metrics like session duration and bounce rate.

While you'll use both platforms, knowing what the client needs will help you decide what to focus on.

Make sure to communicate the main objectives of your SEO campaigns clearly.

This helps you avoid unrealistic expectations, which many SEO experts struggle with when building relationships with clients. Tell your client precisely what you aim to achieve and how it will impact their bottom line and other business results.

2. Choose SEO metrics and KPIs

After deciding on the main goals you're looking to achieve for your client's business, it's time to determine how you'll track your progress.

And since the goals will vary greatly between clients, so will the metrics and KPIs.

Still, there are some metrics almost every SEO report should include, such as:

  • Traffic: Number of sessions, organic traffic volume, traffic by channel
  • Engagement: Bounce rate, session duration, pages per session
  • Conversions: Click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, cost per acquisition
  • Keyword performance: Keyword rankings, indexed pages, search visibility
  • Backlinks: Total number of backlinks, number of domains, authority of referring domains

To track all of the above, you'll need to use various tools besides the basics like Google Analytics and Google Search Console.

For example, Surfer's SEO Audit tool lets you examine a page's performance using all the key metrics (keyword density, referring domains, missing backlinks, page speed, etc.). By creating a comprehensive SEO toolset, you can draft outstanding SEO reports that give your client all the data they need.

3. Report on technical SEO

A website's SEO health isn't only determined by how many backlinks and keywords it has — you must identify and fix all technical SEO errors to maximize its performance.

This is the part that confuses many people who aren't familiar with SEO, so you should approach it carefully to avoid encumbering your client with data they don't understand.

The first thing you should do is show your client some of the main technical SEO metrics impacting their site, most notably:

  • Site speed
  • Broken links
  • Crawl errors
  • Mobile-friendliness

Explain how each metric contributes to the site's rank, and provide a concise and detailed summary of all technical SEO tasks you've completed so far.

It's crucial for this section of your SEO report to use layman's terms to break down the most complex concepts.

That way, the client will see precisely what you've done for them.

4. Include keyword rankings

Abundant organic traffic is among the main goals of all SEO strategies, so examining the client's ranking progress is an essential part of SEO reporting.

There are several areas to cover here.

First, you should identify the most valuable/profitable keywords and show the client how their pages rank for them.

The goal is to target keywords with decent search volume but low competition so that the pages don't get buried under tons of established websites.

Your SEO report should highlight the importance of this balance because many clients might want you to target seed keywords that everybody wants to rank for.

Explain that there's no point in going after them because both you and the client will waste resources, only to end up getting stuck on page 5 of SERPs.

Your report should also cover the different SERP features your client's pages show up in. For example, if you're creating a local SEO report, your report should highlight that the client's business is placed in the local map pack. The same goes for the featured snippet, as getting a client's page in it is a major accomplishment.

5. Discuss ROI

Take a look at pretty much any SEO report template, and you'll see a section dedicated to the return on investment (ROI). It's an unavoidable part of reporting because, at the end of the day, your client wants to see tangible results of your efforts.

There's not much point in boosting organic search traffic and other metrics if they don't result in revenue growth.

To report on your campaign's ROI, you should start by identifying all the costs associated with the campaign. In some cases, this will be a flat fee the client pays you paired with any extra costs.

Then, you should highlight all the metrics that directly impact the bottom line, such as:

  • Number of leads
  • Conversion data
  • Dollar values of each conversion

You can get most of the data you need from Google Analytics, but you may also rely on other SEO reporting tools used to track your campaigns.

Once you've gathered the necessary data, compare the generated revenue to the campaign's cost to calculate the client's ROI.

Besides showing your client that your campaigns are worth the investment, ROI tracking lets you set the course for your future SEO tasks.

As you create SEO reports, you'll start noticing what works and what doesn't so that you can tweak the strategy accordingly.

For example, you may notice that some landing pages perform better than others, so you can double down on the most effective ones to boost the campaign's ROI further.

Besides the ROI itself, this part of your report should include:

  • Top-performing pages that drive the most revenue
  • Any valuable insights from the past month and suggestions for the next steps

6. Report on backlinks

Link building is an ongoing effort that can take a while to yield results, so your monthly SEO report should keep the client posted on the progress you're making.

To paint a clear picture of the site's backlink profile, include the following in this section:

Number of backlinks—This is the total number of links leading to the client's site at the time of reporting.

The authority of referring domains—Google is big on authority by association, so the SERP rank of your client's site is significantly impacted by the domain authority of the websites linking to it. Having a bunch of poor-quality sites leading to your client's pages does more harm than good, regardless of the high number of backlinks.

Acquired and lost links—Besides the total number of backlinks, your client will want to see the relevant changes in your SEO reports. Some referring sites may take down the content leading to the client's pages, and you'll want to check if this is the case so that you can suggest a replacement backlink.

Anchor text—The specific page a link leads to must relate to the anchor text. Otherwise, the content might not be seen as relevant, so your client's site could lose some SEO points. To avoid this, always assess the anchor text and add it to the report.

Tools like Google Search Console and Surfer's SEO Audit can help you find the relevant data you need for the backlink section of your SEO report. Run the client's pages through them regularly to keep tracking your link-building progress.

7. Simplify your SEO report

The SEO reporting process doesn't end once you've crunched the numbers.

An equally important part of it is making sure your client can navigate the report and get the key insights without confusion. That's why a quality SEO report must contain:

  • A summary of key insights (changes in SEO rankings, site audit results, organic traffic progress, etc.)
  • A breakdown of the main activities completed in the previous month and an action plan for the next one
  • Any outstanding results or red flags that should be addressed promptly

While creating SEO reports, make sure to put all the data in a proper context so that the client understands the real-life implications of your efforts.

For example, you should go beyond saying there was a "12% month-on-month increase in organic search traffic."

Explain which of your tactics resulted in the increase and which pages performed the best. This gives your client more insight into your work and how it contributes to their goals.

When you get to any sections that involve advanced SEO reporting—like the technical SEO overview—avoid adding unnecessary data or complex terminology.

While you should elaborate on the issues you've fixed, focus on the results more than the nitty-gritty details of how you achieved them.

Key Takeaways

  • An SEO report is a data-driven summary of a website's performance in search engines. Creating custom SEO reports for your client monthly shows them all the work you've done and how it has impacted their online growth.
  • Before you start drafting a report, you must identify the client's main SEO objectives. This can be more traffic, organic conversions, backlinks, or anything that has a positive impact on their bottom line. You'll then choose the metrics and KPIs to track according to the objectives.
  • All SEO reports have a few universal sections you should cover, including keyword optimization and ranking progress, technical SEO, ROI, and backlink profile. You can get all the data you need from SEO analytics and any content marketing tools you use.
  • When reporting on backlinks, go beyond their number and focus on metrics like domain authority and anchor text. Backlink quality is an important ranking factor, so don't exclude it from your SEO reports.
  • Make sure your report highlights the metrics that directly contribute to revenue growth—conversions, leads, etc. This will show your client that your efforts are yielding concrete results and will get them excited about working with you more.
  • Your SEO report should hit the sweet spot when it comes to the amount of details you'll include. Don't go overboard or overwhelm your client will data. Instead, keep your report to the point and break down any technical concepts they might be unfamiliar with. Make sure there's context behind all the data you present so that the client doesn't feel like they're looking at random numbers and charts.


Creating a perfect SEO report takes time and practice, but getting it right is worth all that effort. A quality report can keep your client engaged with your services and ensure they want to stick around for more. Not to mention that each report determines your future tactics, ensuring you don't waste time going in the wrong direction.

Here's a quick final tip: instead of building a report from the ground up—which can take forever—use a template to minimize mundane work. You can grab our SEO report template to speed up the process; just remember to tailor the template to each client.

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Screenshot of Surfer SEO Content Editor interface, displaying the 'Essential Content Marketing Metrics' article with a content score of 82/100. The editor highlights sections like 'Key Takeaways' and offers SEO suggestions for terms such as 'content marketing metrics