Is There a Standard Template for SEO Reporting?

Discussion 2: Is There a Standard Template for SEO Reporting?
Dangol
Fellow Masterminds, I am having a bit of trouble with SEO Reporting to my client. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
First, my client asks for a weekly report. When I send him easy to understand data with a bit of summary, he says "We need more technical data".
Next week, I sent him a better, more technically detailed report (Still, easy to understand), he doesn't even read the report and says, "We can't understand anything".
I spend more than 50% of making a report. Is this normal?
Is there a standard template for SEO reporting?
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[filtered from 21 Answers]

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Charlie
I feel your pain! Firstly, I'd have thought maybe weekly reporting is a bit much.
You can use tools like Google data studio to make reports – you tried that?

Charlie
https://sheetsformarketers.com/data-studio-templates/
50+ FREE Data Studio Templates to Automate SEO Reporting + Lots More
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Owais
https://datastudio.google.com/overview
Google Data Studio Overview

Matt
tell him the level you're willing to report and to stop pretending hes el jefe. clients are pricks and think cause they are paying you $$ they can ask you this and that. seriously.
ask him to tell you exactly what and how to report to him, and you then are able to produce…but I bet he doesn't even know what to do with the data. clowns.
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Patricio 🎓 » Matt
I can relate with this lol
Colby » Matt
I'm sure people love working with you lol

Patricio 🎓
You need to make boundaries, to be honest. One thing I have learned dealing with clients (we have 100+ active subscriptions btw) is that you need to be firm on your ground and give them firsthand what they can expect from you. Many, many, many, many, many of my clients are not very good people. Some are downright racist (I'm not American so my accent needs some work) but at the end of the day they chose to deal with my team and I and they are dealt with accordingly.
There can be sometimes you can do favors for them however it shouldn't be to this point. Frankly, as long as you deliver them the results that you actually have set, that's all that you owe them. That's what they are paying you for.
Also, a weekly Search Engine Optimization (SEO) report doesn't sound like a good idea. I would say stick to a monthly report. I think a weekly report is more reasonable for a paid ads campaign.
Also, we use Google Data Studio for our monthly SEO reporting.
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Lori Appleman 🎓 » Patricio
My head of engineering is in Bangladesh. He has a heavy accent but hes actually quite fluent in English. So far I have one prospect give me grief about him not be in an American and I told him I
Dangol ✍️ » Patricio
Your comment is much appreciated, thank you very much 🙂

Chetraj » Dangol
1- what are the kpis they want to know understand that.
Like are they interested in rankings / sessions / leads / quality of leads / sales (if e-commerce sites) – increase in conversion/sales rates. They are the basics.
2- for each required put up segments – first/second/third metrics etc
3- explain what happened in the month and what is the reason behind / what to expect moving forward.
4- detailed down what you did through the month — dot points, not like all details.
5- put down points what you are doing next – dot points, not details
6- prepare a report and convert it into a pdf.
7- show keyword rankings that shows keyword ranking gains + analytics data ( agency analytics has a great dashboard – but it has costs. See if you can afford considering how much the client is investing)
8- download LOOM – it's a video recording software. Walk through the report, explain what is what and then send that recording to the client.
That shd work like charm – cheers
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João » Chetraj
This is really good! Thanks for sharing
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Dangol ✍️
Thank you for sharing, this is brilliant!
Chetraj » Dangol
Good luck 👍

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Johnson
I send video reports if I can 5-10 doing a talk over the screen, it's easy to understand and non technical.
If they want technical say sorry no you as it's is standard procedure this is what we do monthly and not weekly

Zain » Johnson
Good idea. I'll implement this

Mufti
Same thing exactly happened with me few months back. Now, I use SEMrush report templates and things are working smooth now.
The client wants visual representation of things and data and SEMrush reports are on an other level on this.
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Colby » Mufti
Visuals are 💯
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Oliver
Great reporting is free now!
Use Google Data Studio Templates configured to report on and auto send to your clients email address based on their specifications.
One dashboard for analytics & performance data & one based on SEMrush or SF technical performance data showing onsite improvement.
Definitely caveat to the client that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a long play and reviewing performance on a week to week basis is counterintuitive.
Feel free to DM me if you need clarification or want links to Google Data Studio (GDS) templates 🙂
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Jonathan
There's only one report they need to see, where do they 'rank' for their top 10 keyword expressions. If not in the top 10, you need to explain why. One report, 10 lines, this weeks rank and the last few weeks rank that's 10 row, one heading and about 8 columns.

Lori Appleman 🎓 » Jonathan
I couldn't disagree with this more. The only thing they need to know is if they're organic traffic is rising and that the percentage of their organic traffic that makes a purchase is rising as well. To focus on a specific keyword is to apply such a narrow scope, in many cases to phrases a smaller site won't rank 4 for a while. Quarterly, you can go in and cover their top 50 or a 100 keywords and how that's changed over time. But I would also make sure that report also tells them how many keywords they now have ranking in the top 3, and top 10. And also how many of their pages now rank high. In the real world sites rank for hundreds if not thousands of keywords many of which are long tail or ate phrases you may not have even thought about. If you're focusing only on the narrow range of highly competitive core terms you're setting yourself up to look like a failure when you may actually be doing a really good job.

Lori Appleman 🎓
No. My clients get a monthly report. I also warn them up front that they won't see much movement for weeks if not a few months although it's rarely that long. Weekly is asking for trouble since keywords will go up-and-down by the minute so if you catch the wrong window it could look like you're losing traction when you aren't. It's kind of like weighing yourself throughout the day. It's only going to upset you without any value.
Alvin
Use data studio. There are many SEO templates out there that you can use.

Dangol ✍️ » Alvin
Tried Google data studio for both SEO and Ads report, they said it was too difficult to understand.

Hiru
had the same experience. What I did was to include comparison data with competitors, industry benchmark data, research data compared to website performance. that worked for me, may be you could try that as well. keep it simple, but information rich.
BTW, I don't see why you need to do a weekly report for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), only a monthly report would do.
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Dangol ✍️ » Hiru
Thank you for the info, I will give this a try.

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This may satisfy you: A Breakdown of What SEO Work Has Been Done a Month by Month
Discussion 1: Google Data Studio (GDS) | Free Website that I Can Manage All my Clients from | Like Sending Them Reports
Patel
If someone can help me out. I am just starting out my own agency and growing rapidly. I am unable to keep track of all my clients. At the moment I don't have huge budget but can someone recommend me free website that I can manage all my clients from? Like sending them reports, if they have any issue they can come there and just post a message and my team can take a look and fix it. YES I did say free because we are not making any profit because to get out portfolio we are making close to zero in profits. I know I might get some hate but I tried looking but could find anything had to turn to this community for help hopefully someone can help me?
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Steve
Setting aside the "you are going hate life in 6 months when most of the current free clients refuse to signup for more months and pay", we can have a long discussion about that if you like.
Take full advantage of Google for now. Setup a few Google Sheets to track all of your client's generic data and schedules and when they need to start paying.
Setup Google Data Studio (GDS) for all of your clients. Build one template report that you can copy for each client. Yes, very manual process, but you need free and this is free. I still use GDS for several clients and they love it.
Get a free account at Trello to manage repetitive tasks and share them with your team. Again, you can build a template system to replicate for each client.
Finally, billing. You need to start thinking about that now. Have you set up some metrics now so that you can show real progress to your clients? Show them that they really need to start paying you? Or are you just winging it and hoping that it all goes to plan?

Patel » Steve
Yes right now I am doing all my reporting with graphs and everything in Excel. But about Google studio need to look into that. Thank this is really valuable information.

Cory
Yikes… this is not an ideal business model.
I won't touch that one but to answer your question:
Google Data Studio is the answer you are looking for. If you're unfamiliar with GSD, it is Google's proprietary reporting and dashboard tool. There are endless data integrations (Search Console, Analytics, SEMrush, Ahrefs, etc.) and there are hundreds (if not thousands) of pre-built templates you can white-label and customize for your clients. Not to mention it's FREE. You'll definitely want to get familiar with this.
Another tool I recommend is Asana. This is a FREE project management tool that will help with daily tasks and progression.
I highly recommend checking out both of these options.
Best of luck!
Also… Slack. Another FREE tool. This one is primarily for communicating with your clients and internal team. You can set up individual channels for each of your clients and have discussions there regarding issues, work items, etc.
Just saw one of your comments about using graphs + Excel for reporting. Yikes again.
Google Data Studio will pull real-time data from your various integrations and allow you to deliver automated, scheduled reporting. The initial setup can be overwhelming and time consuming but, as I mentioned, there are free templates available and (unless further customization is required) you'll save a literal ton of time each month when it comes to reporting.
Last thing – I said I wouldn't touch the business model but I have to ask, how ironclad is this contract? What actions do you intend to take if a client refuses to pay for your services after 6 months? If you aren't well-versed in contract law or have legal counsel on your team, the efforts to collect this money may be more costly than the revenue itself (attorney fees). If they do retain your services, how do you intend to continue providing value?
I have to assume you and your team are looking to build trust, credibility, and results as quickly as possible so at what point do you begin seeing diminishing returns on your efforts? Do you have a plan, strategy, and resources that can sustain a 12+ month contract? Copywriters, link building, web development, UX design? How are you paying for and retaining these resources?
I understand the value of building a portfolio but your net loss could have been much less significant had you purchased a handful of domain names for various niches/industries, built and optimized the websites yourself, and used those examples as your success stories for your portfolio. Then, assuming the sites get any traction, you could resell any leads to industry competitors or sell the website + domain entirely and recoup some of your expense.
In my experience, small business owners won't ask for you to disclose contact information of previous clients for reference. Their budgets typically lend themselves to more modest campaigns. If you can adequately explain the value of SEO while also tempering their expectations, it's hard for them to pass, especially when all of their competitors are engaging in some form of digital marketing.

Patel » Cory
All of my contract are fully detailed and vetted by professional lawyer. So if they don't pay they go to court even that is specified in the contract. Also before the clients sign the contract I went over the whole contract with them so there is no hidden things in there.
Cory » Patel
It sounds like you have a better grasp on this than you've let on. My intention wasn't to question the business model but it's difficult not to. Anyway, I hope you find my recommended tools helpful and best of luck to you. Hope this can be a launching point for your agency. This is a great group with a lot of knowledgeable individuals (if you can look past the occasional snarky comment and memes). Once you're bringing in some revenue and are ready to upgrade your free tools to paid versions, we surely have some great recommendations for you.

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