If there’s one thing that’s unfaltering about SEO it’s that it’s a misunderstood channel.

You spend hours trying to put together a report for your peers or executives, only to find out they don’t understand the correlation between the SEO metrics.

If you could find that one secret dashboard, you’d be able to demonstrate your successes to your executive team and gain constant buy-in.

If you’re eager to see the dashboard, jump down and start using it! (We promise we won’t judge.)

Over our years of working with thousands of brands, we’ve realized a few key things about what works (and what doesn't) when it comes to executive reporting.

The Executive Reporting Framework

An executive SEO dashboard has four main qualities that make it perfect for demonstrating your work in a simple, easy-to-understand way.

  1. Consistency
  2. Simplicity
  3. Correlation
  4. Comparability

Keep it Consistent

Consistent reporting is the ability to view the same metrics week over week, month over month, or year over year.

You don’t want to add in new metrics or change your key performance indicators (KPIs). You need to choose KPIs that you can stick to over time.

Make it Simple

Only report on the essential SEO metrics. Unfortunately, no executive cares about how many pages you updated, or how many backlinks you built.

Show a Correlation

Choose KPIs that are the drivers of your ultimate goal. The first thing SEO can do for you is drive more (and better quality) traffic at a cheaper cost. Then comes conversions, typically.

Demonstrate the linear progression from rankings to organic traffic to revenue, to demonstrate the importance of organic search.  

Be Comparable to the Competition

This is your ability to compare against the competition, specifically, knowing what is the relationship between your metrics and that of the competition.

>>> See how a global hospitality brand corrected their YoY traffic decline and scaled their analysis for 800 unique sites <<<

The Process for SEO Success

The overall process of SEO is quite simple:

Create content that lets you rank for keywords on search engines, then optimize the content to earn greater search visibility so you can gain organic traffic and earn conversions and revenue.

Each of those 5 steps has an associated KPI that you need to track so you can tell the right SEO story to your executives.

1. Create Content

KPI: Pages Ranking

How many pages you have, and how many of them rank. The more URLs that rank, the more audience needs you are able to position yourself in front of and deliver on.

2. Rank for Keywords

KPI: Overall Visibility 

Your overall number of ranking keywords. 

3. Optimizations

KPI: Tracked Keyword Visibility 

This reveals how well you rank for the keywords that you’re focused on. A lot of keyword rankings may seem nice, but you need to strategically optimize to move your keyword set into the top 10 rank positions.

4. Gain Traffic

KPI: YoY Traffic

This is why consistency is key. Year-over-Year growth is what practically every executive wants to know from their SEO. They’re thinking: “How are we doing, and are these efforts paying off?”

5. Earn Revenue

KPI: Organic Conversion Rate and Revenue

All of your work leads to this, and this is where an executive’s head always is.

Executive Reporting Dashboard

We know that the executives want to see organic search investments lead to more ranking pages, traffic increases, and conversions and revenue.  

Below is the custom dashboard to present to your executives to demonstrate your ability to grow the SEO channel (and demonstrate a positive ROI). The following SEO report is built with seoClarity’s unlimited customizable dashboards, that let you drag and drop widgets to build the right view for anyone on your team.

Plus, the ability to integrate Google Analytics and Search Console centralizes your SEO analysis and reporting, and automated alerts also notify you when performance trends change.

Note: If you have access to conversion and revenue data — show it first.

Unbranded revenue is the most important. Even though revenue is last in the framework (i.e. after you drive traffic) it should be shown first. That is what executives care most about.

View #1: Number of Pages that Rank

The amount of pages that you have currently ranking clues tells you if you properly address the range of needs your audience has.

Remember: The more pages that rank, the higher the variety of needs you address, the higher the variety of keywords you can be found for, and the greater the variety of audiences you can get in front of.

Essentially, the more pages you have ranking in Google means that you’ve created content that Google finds interesting and authoritative enough to rank for something.

View #2: Overall Visibility

You want to see a positive trend that shows that Google presents your pages to answer the queries that your audience has — the more keyword rankings you have, the greater your visibility in front of the audience you want.

You also need to constantly work to improve your rankings in the top visibility positions. The greater the visibility in the top rank positions, the greater the chance of organic traffic.

View #3: Tracked Keyword Visibility

Monitor the visibility of the keywords that you’ve identified as being important for your business.

Share of Voice is a great metric to show this — you’ll understand your brand performance and popularity in the competitive landscape.

While your other metrics may be going up, it means little if your managed keywords don’t perform. You need your ranking pages to move up to the top 10 to earn search visibility.

View #4: YoY Traffic

All of these metrics come together to prove out one thing: Year-over-Year traffic. (And revenue, of course. But if you have that data, lead with it!)

Final Thoughts

Sharing SEO wins is hard when seemingly no one but you understands the channel.

When you follow a framework for reporting, executives will have better knowledge of how the organic channel is performing.

Remember to make your reports consistent, simple, correlated, and comparable; and always lead with revenue if you have the data available.

If you want more views, you can use this as a baseline and always add or edit the dashboard to focus on other KPIs. No matter how you choose to make this framework your own, always include:

  1. Revenue
  2. Number of Ranking Pages
  3. Overall Visibility
  4. Tracked Keyword Visibility
  5. Year-over-Year Traffic