Search engine optimization ( SEO ) is often perceived as opaque and difficult to understand. The cause of this is often a lack of or not well-thought-out reporting. Because SEO is and remains data-driven. Sophisticated SEO reporting and appropriate tools make SEO measures comprehensible.

Why is SEO Reporting at all?

In e-commerce and more and more in the Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools service sector, SEO traffic is often an important pillar of the whole business. Compared to paid traffic, through search engine advertising (SEA), the cost of search engine optimization is relatively low. Often a third to a half of all visitors come across this channel. It is, therefore, all the more important to set up a good SEO reporting in order to constantly monitor the most important SEO KPIs. Only in this way can developments be monitored, evaluated and appropriate measures derived.

Because changes in the rankings – through a change in the Google algorithm or by newly added competitors – can have sensitive consequences for the entire business. A good SEO report compiles the most important key figures for all stakeholders – from the SEO team to the marketing manager to the management. He ensures that developments are quickly identified, risks counteracted and opportunities seized early.

Of course, SEO reporting is not just about identifying external changes. Above all, it helps to monitor and evaluate one’s own development. This is an important motivating factor for the team involved. In addition, an SEO report helps to critically question decisions taken, evaluate measures and also improve planning for the future. Regardless of whether you are doing in-house search engine optimization for your own company or if you want to improve rankings as an agency for other companies – without an SEO report you cannot make reliable statements about the website’s SEO performance and development.

What belongs in a good SEO report

A suitable SEO report, therefore, contains the most important SEO KPIs for different stakeholders. Providers of different SEO reporting tools usually find their own index. This returns the SEO performance in an aggregated form. Such a report is composed of the own rankings and the search queries for the relevant keywords of the own page. The own performance in the time comparison and also in the comparison to the competition is recognized by this index at a glance. He is, therefore, part of every SEO reporting.

There are also other KPIs that should not be missing in SEO reporting, such as:

  • Number of top 10 rankings
  • Strong ranking changes of important keywords
  • Listing of important threshold keywords
  • Number of backlinks and their source
  • Traffic and visits via SEO
  • Sales, leads, and conversions via SEO
  • Technical points such as load time, 404 errors or the uptime of the website
  • A performance report on the hours worked and incurred expenses
  • The Most Important SEO Reporting Tools: An Overview

SEO reporting via tools is intended to make reporting easier for professional SEOs and agencies and, at best, to automate reporting. There are a variety of tools directly from search engine providers such as Google or third-party. At one point, all tools are the same. They should represent the most important KPIs and thus enable them to be monitored. The most well-known third-party tools are Sistrix, Xovi or Searchmetrics. Directly from the search engines, there are the Google Search Console or the Bing Webmaster Tools. Furthermore, Google Analytics can also be used for SEO reporting.

The advantage of third-party tools is that the data is not collected directly from Google. Thus, other websites can be observed and analyzed, perfect for competitive analysis. In addition, you can orient the SEO reporting to the strengths and weaknesses of the competitors. From this, a suitable SEO strategy can be developed. One disadvantage of this type of data collection, however, also that, for example, keywords cannot be deposited directly. These are automatically determined by the tools. Therefore, these do not necessarily match the keywords on the one that is targeted for search engine optimization.

The Google Search Console (also known as Google Webmaster Tools) also provides data for search engine performance available. The difference to the other tools is that not only rankings and search volumes can be queried, but also how often the corresponding keywords were clicked. So Google Search Console data link information from Google SERP with data collected on its own website and combines it into a more comprehensive SEO report. However, this is only available for your own website.

No classic SEO reporting, but still information that is important for the control of SEO performance, provides Google Analytics. Here you can immediately see which visitors to the website came via SEO and which landing pages they visited or how the users move through the site. In combination with Google Search Console, Google Analytics can provide even more information than other SEO reporting tools. Because analytics also measures the behavior of visitors to the website. So you not only recognize which keywords bring a lot of traffic, but also which ones convert the best in the end and import the highest basket size.

In addition to Google Analytics, Google Data Studio can also be used for SEO reporting. To create reports, these must be set up first. Thereby different data sources are used. It can, for example, data from Google Analytics, Search Console and also Google AdWords. In addition, external data sources such as Bing Ads or Facebook can be used via so-called connectors. From a search engine optimization perspective, Google Search Console data is very important. SEO data from external sources cannot be integrated. There is a lack of comparability of different data, a targeted interpretation, and strategy development. The Google Data Studio is therefore suitable for an evaluation of paid channels in the SEAand Media Area. Targeted SEO reporting requires multiple data sources that Google Data Studio does not fully provide.

Often it is just a combination of the various SEO reporting tools that provide the best overview of your own development. The combination of different data and sources makes SEO reporting complete and meaningful. In addition to well-known data sources from Google Search Console, Google Analytics or Sistrix, as well as Xovi, your own data on visibility and keyword rankings are also available. The advantage is obvious. The comparison of the various data enables a comprehensive evaluation and targeted reporting. This creates a holistic overview of the SEO performance.