SEO Strategy Has Changed, But Has Your Reporting Structure?

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As SEOs, we all generate ranking reports for our keywords on a regular basis. Maybe weekly or monthly,  but we all do it at some point. With so many changes in the last few years (or months, even!)  do you really think ranking reports are the only metric to track SEO efforts? I don’t think so, because:

  1. Now SEOs have to use lots of keywords variation while doing link acquisition, because exact match anchor keywords can be dangerous.
  2. Google moved entirely to secure search and stopped providing keywords data in all Analytics tools
  3. Hummingbird update has changed the way it serves results. Now Google understands the user search queries and serves the results based on its understanding, instead of just keywords typed-in.

With these updates, how can a small ranking report of ONLY targeted keywords prove SEO efforts? It cannot. Efforts of SEOs are no longer limited to targeted keywords, so why should we limit our reporting?

As a SEO, you put effort into increasing accessibility, content marketing, quality link acquisition, and generating social signals just to get rankings in search engines. But these efforts also help websites get referral traffic (if quality content marketing or link acquisition is done) and increase in brand awareness (if social media strategies are successful). Also, when using diversity of keywords in on-page and off-page optimizations, you also help increase search engine rankings for other (non-targeted) keywords. Are you all reporting these metrics to your clients or bosses? If not, you are undervaluing yourself and your work.

So, how do you make sure you are reporting all of the benefits of your work? The reports I recommend for any SEO Campaign are as follows.

Activities Report

Pretty self explanatory, but often overlooked. This report should include all the activities you completed. For example, what content you marketed and where, what infographics you distributed and where, and any other action you took that resulted in benefits for the client. 

Monthly Activities Reporting

Monthly Activities Reporting

Ranking Report

Ranking Report should not be limited to targeted keywords, but must be on wider scale.

  • For Example: If you are targeting “Sport Shoes”, and while optimization you also use different variations like “white sport shoes” and “red sport shoes”, then you should also include them in your ranking report.
Keywords Ranking Reporting

Targeted + Variations of Keywords Ranking Reporting

Total Reach Report

This should include direct, referral, and search traffic. Why? Because your efforts may help increase brand awareness, so direct traffic and content and social media marketing referral traffic would increase as well.

Total Reach Reporting

Direct + Referrals + Search Engines Traffic Reporting

Endorsements Report

This report should include increases in the total number of backlinks, domain and page authority, increase in social engagement, etc.

Endorsements Reporting

Above Graph Shows Number of Links Increased, and Below Graph Shows Number of Facebook Likes Increased

Conversions Tracking Report

For every business, conversion is the ultimate goal. So, this is one of the most important metrics to track and report. It can be based on the number of inquiries, average time on site, decrease in bounce rate, and so forth.

Conversions Tracking Reporting

Increase in number of Leads (contact request, quote request, etc.)

Google’s algorithm has changed tremendously in last few years, and as a result the efforts required to achieve search engine rankings requires more effort and different strategies. In the past, SEOs only needed to focus on getting a high number of back links. Today, SEOs focus on quality links, webpage accessibility, social signals, and quality content. Why, then, has our reporting remained mostly unchanged?

With the change in efforts, you must change your reporting structure as well. After all, you should take credit for all the results of your work.

Have you changed the way you reported to your customers or bosses? Did you notice any changes in churn rate, increased satisfaction, or another area? Please share your feedback and experiences in the comments below! 

Image Credit #1: Taken from, and edited.
Image Credit #2 to #6: Screenshot taken on 02/21/2014 of’s Reports.

Altaf Gilani
Altaf is VP Marketing at Eminent InfoWeb LLP. He is passionate about Digital Marketing, but is handsomely experienced with Search Engine Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Usability and Web Analytics.
Altaf Gilani
Altaf Gilani
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  • sirish kumar

    thanks Altaf for sharing and the role of SEO has been changing day-to-day with recent/over night updates coming from major search engines. It seems that every activity is coming under the seo’s.

    • Altaf Gilani

      Yes, you’re right Sirish. SEOs are not more just SEOs, they need to work on all aspects of Digital Marketing to gain search engine rankings. And that is why I took this initiative to write post on how reporting structure needs to be changed with the changes in activities.

  • Pascal Cote

    That’s a very nice article! It’s also important to state that these reports, if sent to your customers, can be a reliable proof of the work you do each week or each month. It’s pretty hard to “measure” the real effects of SEO, but by doing this, you help the customer to understand a bit better the work you do every day.

    Thanks alot!

    • Altaf Gilani

      You’re right Pascal. By sending this reports, you can not only make your client aware about your work but can also increase transparency and trustworthiness for long term relationship.

  • Travis

    Reporting in my mind should cover the ways in which you are helping the client reach more customers. Are you getting them more traffic to their site? Did you rank a keyword and simultaneously see a spike in traffic? Are your links sending referral traffic?

    At the end of the day, the client wants to know what you are doing to help them make money and not what you are working on. Each report should be as unique as the client it is going to.

    • Altaf Gilani

      I understand and agree with you Travis that as a marketers our work is to increase the traffic to website, and if it increases client / bosses can experience it, without reporting too. But as SEO is all about being patient on initial stage, most of all clients ask for reports and it is of core importance to build trust.

      This becomes even more important when you’re handling only SEO side of a business, instead of entire Digital Marketing. Also still many SEOs are sticked with the number of keywords they are being optimizing in a specific campaign. So they need to understand that optimization for exact match keyword game is over and they need to think broad and report broad.

  • Rohit Vedantwar

    Thanks for information shared about reporting. Yeah no doubt SEO techniques are changing day by day but reporting system were not changed like that, your mentions for report will surely help SEO people to work on their reporting system.

    • Altaf Gilani

      Thanks for stopping by and writing word of appreciation. I am glad that I could help Rohit.

  • kevin pike

    We just updated our agency SEO reporting two months ago with a complete overhaul and new API data pulls. Happy to see we are keeping up ūüôā

    • Altaf Gilani

      wow Kevin, I am glad to understand that Industry has been so proactive! Keep it up!

      BTW, have you done anything new then what I’ve suggested? Just curious to know.

  • Emma Smith

    You did a great job because it will help lot of people who are doing SEO reporting in old Structure. But our agency also updated his SEO reporting Structure. Thanks for your great information.

    • Altaf Gilani

      Hey Emma, I am glad that you have changed reporting structure.

      Does your reporting look similar to mine or you have done anything new then what I’ve suggested? Just curious to know.

  • ThatsRight

    My clients only care about 1 thing. More customers, that’s the only report they want to know about.

  • aimstechnology

    Good report format .we need to update the reporting format now . Also Main aim of the client is to get all keywords in 1st page.. Can you please suggest which off page tasks we need to perform (like.Social Bookmarking, Classified Submission….. ) This will help us lot . Thanks