SEO is a notoriously misunderstood channel, making it hard to demonstrate your successes to your executive team and gain constant buy-in. 

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

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.

Continue reading to learn how to create an effective SEO report that will actually impress your executives.

Table of Contents: 


What Is an SEO Report?

An SEO report provides a detailed overview of a website's search engine optimization (SEO) performance.

It usually contains key metrics, insights, and analysis that help stakeholders understand how their website is performing in terms of visibility, traffic, and other important SEO aspects.

In addition, SEO reports are used by digital marketers and SEO professionals to identify opportunities and make strategic decisions to enhance search engine visibility and website performance.


Common Components of an SEO Report

Here are the key components typically found in an SEO report:

  • Keyword Rankings: Information on how well the website ranks for specific keywords, including ranking changes over time.

  • Traffic Metrics: Details about the volume of organic traffic, sources of traffic, and user behavior (like bounce rate, session duration, etc.).

  • Backlinks: Information about the website's backlink profile, including the number of backlinks, their quality, and referring domains.

  • Technical SEO: An analysis of technical issues like crawl errors, broken links, site speed, mobile-friendliness, and more.

  • On-Page SEO: An assessment of on-page factors such as title tags, meta descriptions, content quality, and schema markup.

  • Content Analysis: Insights into the quality and performance of the content on the website, including top-performing pages or posts.

  • Recommendations: Suggestions for improvement based on the analysis in the report, which might include content updates, technical fixes, or keyword optimization.


Qualities of a Good SEO Report: 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

Let's go through each of these qualities in more detail.


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 constantly add in new metrics or change your key performance indicators (KPIs) so it's important to choose KPIs that you can stick to over time (more on that later).


Make it Simple

Only report on the essential SEO metrics that matter most to your executives. Try to avoid bogging down the report with unnecessary details.


Show a Correlation

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

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


Be Comparable to the Competition

This refers to your capacity to measure your performance against that of your competitors, allowing you to understand how your metrics stack up against theirs.


See how a global hospitality brand corrected its YoY traffic decline and scaled its analysis for 800 unique sites.


Key KPIs to Track for Your Executive SEO Report

The overall process of SEO is quite simple:

  1. Create content 
  2. Rank for keywords on search engines
  3. Optimize the content to earn greater search visibility
  4. Gain organic traffic
  5. 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. These KPIs are as follows.

1. Pages Ranking

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

2. Overall Visibility

Your overall number of ranking keywords for your pages in the search engine results pages. 

3. Tracked Keyword Visibility

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

4. YoY Traffic

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

5. Organic Conversion Rate and Revenue

All of your work ultimately leads to this - earning revenue. This  KPI is where an executive’s head always is.


Creating an Executive Reporting Dashboard

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

Below is a custom dashboard to present to your executives that will 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 number of pages you have currently ranking reveals if you properly address your audience's needs.

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 showing that Google presents your pages to answer your target audience's queries — 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 ranking positions, the greater the chance of organic traffic.

View #3: Tracked Keyword Visibility

Monitor the visibility of your business's most important keywords.

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 spots to earn search visibility.

View #4: YoY Traffic

All of these metrics come together to prove 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

<< Editor's Note: This post was originally published in April 2021 and has since been updated. >>