September 9, 2015

Top SEO Reporting Tools

Breaking Down SEO Reporting Tools

Contemporary SEO requires that we stay on the cutting edge of reporting and SEO reporting tools. I’d even argue that accurately concisely reporting SEO performance is as important of a practice as actual optimization. I promise this is much more than just hyperbole to hook you into reading the rest of the article! Having a clear picture of your successes (and failures) lets you optimize more intelligently and reserve more energy for the outlets that actually boost traffic and kick to the curb those that are wasting your time. Hey, you’ve only got 24 hours in a day, don’t throw away time doing things that don’t work! Also, if you’re doing SEO for a client they’re going to want to know if the work you’re doing is actually helping them reach their KPIs. Being a reporting ninja is only going to help you maximize transparency, and client happiness and appreciation–and isn’t that what we all aim for? So, without further ado here are my favorite reporting tools that can help you get a better picture of your SEO performance and work smarter, not harder.

Google Analytics

Before we all let out a collective “duh” at the mention of Google Analytics for reporting, let me explain myself. We all know that Google Analytics are an indispensable tool in our SEO toolbelt, but a surprising amount of analysts have no idea how to make GA work for them. That’s where I can (hopefully) come in!

Something I like to do each month is to provide monthly performance reports for my clients. This keeps me accountable to them and helps everyone stay on the same page. That’s where utilizing custom reports makes my life, and very soon yours, so much easier. After sitting down with your client and finding out which metrics are important to them you can create a personalized report for them. Then at the end of each month you can send this report to them knowing that all of their most important metrics are included. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t keep investigating further for other areas of growth. But the time you’ll save each month not having to comb through Google Analytics will give you time to search and act on new opportunities!

Tools for SEO Reporting Blog - Google Analytics

Google Trends

Google Trends is always on my radar whenever I’m doing reporting. Knowing keyword performance over time is critical to give perspective to your performance. If overall searches for a pages keyword are down, but traffic is up, that’s a double win and you deserve recognition for creating great optimized content! On the other hand, it can also provide explanation for dips in traffic that are beyond your control.

One of my favorite graphics to include in any report is a graph that matches performance versus targeted keyword performance on Google trends. I’ll tell you how to make a graph like the one below in a few easy steps:

1. Go onto Google Search Console and go to Search Analytics (it’s hiding under the “Search Traffic” tab in the sidebar).
2. Click the “Pages” radio button to sort the information by landing pages and select the correct landing page. (To make this even easier you can click the dropdown button under “Pages” > click “Filter Pages” > and then type in the landing page’s URL).
3. Then click the “Queries” to get a report of keywords and the amount of clicks those keywords provided. This will give you a good idea of which keywords to enter in Google Trends as it will be fairly obvious which keywords pages are optimized towards.
4. Enter the keyword into Google Trends and filter for the appropriate time range. Google Trends will provide a score (out of 100) to quantify keyword performance relative to the past.
5. Map this onto a graph of organic traffic in a separate Y axis and you’re good to go!

Tools for SEO Reporting Blog | Organic vs Search Trend


Another great way to put some perspective into your reports is by performing competitor analysis. There’s more to this than simply showing your clients that you’re beating their competitors, even though being completely honest it’s one of my favorite things to do. Competitor analysis can account for a ton of niche-specific external variables that can influence performance. Also, it acts as a great benchmark as you continue your campaign.

My favorite tool for competitor analysis has to be SEMRush. It allows you to get a ton of insight on your competition, but for SEO reporting the most useful is mapping your keyword performance over your top competitors. Even though keyword performance is no longer the final word in SEO, it does give you some insight in your SEO performance relative to your competition. For example, if you see a huge drop in a competitor’s keyword performance, you can surmise that they were struck with some sort of penalty or optimized incorrectly for an algorithm update. Either way, keeping an eye out on the competition helps give you an idea of how the fruits of your labor compare to the other guy’s, and if you’re doing everything correctly will definitely make you look good the next time you meet with your clients.

Moz Open Site Explorer

Moz Open Site Explorer is an extremely powerful tool and the best part is that many of its features are free. This means that even the at-home analysts who don’t feel comfortable laying down the big bucks for SEO software can have access to the same tools that industry professionals use! Two of my favorite features are:

1. The “Top Pages” report shows your top pages’ performance on social media and the number of domains that link to those pages. This gives you a picture of how your pages are performing outside of traffic and ranking as well as identifies the social media outlets that are performing best for your content.

Tools for SEO Reporting Blog- Moz Open Site Explorer

2. Just Discovered Links” report identifies recently established links to your content. This helps keep you up to date on the sites that are linking to your content and creates opportunities of engagement with your recently established linking partners.

Tools for SEO Reporting Blog | Moz Discovered Links

There are a ton of tools out there for SEO reporting but these four have to be my favorite. I included them because they make my monthly reporting so much easier and I know they can make yours easier as well. Great reporting is the foundation for good SEO, so it’s critical to make sure that you’re using the best tools out there as using the right tools can make or break your SEO campaign.


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