Common Mistakes Marketers Do With Their SEO Reports

SEOs find no shortage of data and are happy to fill page after page with them. 

The challenge is turning the data into meaningful reports according to client requirements. It will be, as such, worth your while to learn common mistakes in SEO reporting and how you can avoid them.

1. You Focus on Irrelevant KPIs

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the most critical section of an SEO report. This is where you show your client the gains and losses over the period in discussion. 

Each SEO report should focus on several connected KPIs to give a broader picture. Some of the common KPIs are: 

  • Organic traffic: These are visits to your website. The higher the visits, the higher the sales. 
  • Traffic source: It shows where you get the visitors from (Google, Bing, Facebook, etc.). 
  • Page traffic: It shows how pages on your website perform. This will show you such things as visitor preference with design/content. 

Tip: Not all SEO reports need to have all KPIs. This will be a waste of time and may confuse clients. Ask the client what they want to know. 

If they want a report on conversions, you need not include traffic in the report. 

Google Analytics lets you customize your reports:


Read: Which SEO KPIs You Should Measure (And Why)?

2. You Relay on Only One Source

Many SEO professionals use different tools to make SEO work. When preparing a report, however, they rely on one source or a tool for their data. 

This often, if not always, makes their report inaccurate. Different tools can throw up conflicting numbers for the same metric. 

Here is an example. You will see a difference in search volume for shoes on Google Keyword Planner and Clickstream


Because the former factors in variations of the phrase such as shoes. 

As such, it's wise to use data from multiple tools and platforms to prepare your report.

But won't the numbers clash? 

Yes, but there is a solution. Try to report trends instead of fixed metric numbers. This makes the report accurate even if individual numbers differ in different sources. 

Here’s a screenshot of Google Keyword Planner:


3. You Fail to Use Infographics

Not everyone is an SEO expert, and your clients don't have much patience. So, if you throw rows and columns of data at them, they will walk out.

To keep them in their seats, preferably on edge, use infographics. Not only do they make your reports look great they also help your audience understand them. 

Once you have their attention, you can guide them along with the numbers. You can explain the progress made and future course of action.

What you will need

To Make An Effective Report, You Need Just Four Tools:

  • SEMrush - You can prepare an infographics-rich report using SEMrush My Report.
  • Google Analytics - It can give you data on KPIs such as goal completion, bounce rate, and average sessions.
  • Google Search Console - Gives you data on mobile site performance, referring domains, and high-traffic queries.
  • Google Data Studio - You can use this to create visual dashboards of data that are easy to understand.

Here’s a screenshot of Google Search Console:


4. You Don't Recommend Opportunities

The primary job of your SEO report is to show progress. But, most clients expect a recommendation or future opportunities at the end of the report. 

Obliging them not only completes the report but may also win you some additional funds.

The same goes for the inclusion of insights. 

Providing insights will enhance the effectiveness of your report. It will ensure that you and the client are on the same page in understanding the report. 

Here's how you can do it

If you use a spreadsheet report, add space after each data set. Explain to the client the importance of the data and:

  • What trend it shows
  • How it can impact objectives
  • What is the best solution

Assume a storytelling tone when you explain these matters. This helps your client better understand your report. 

It will also improve your position in the organization from an SEO to a pathfinder.

You can use ahrefs to generate comprehensive SEO reports and write your comments alongside:


5. You Don't Include Technical SEO

Technical SEO deals with website health. It ensures Google crawls and indexes your website correctly. Some of the common technical SEO metrics include:

  • Site Speed: If your website loads slow (takes over three seconds), user experience (UX) will also be low. Thus, Google will rank you low in results. 
  • Crawlability: Your website should be well linked internally. These links help bots crawl the pages, and better crawling ensures timely indexing.
  • Broken links: They lead to 404-error pages. This will affect your UX and ranking.

You can use tools to find issues with technical SEO. These tools include:

  • Screaming Frog: It helps you find URL errors, missing meta descriptions, large images, etc.
  • SEMrush: You can use the Site Audit Tool of SEMrush to find issues with internal linking, HTTPS, markup, etc.
  • Google Analytics: This free tool works similarly to Google Search Console. If set up correctly, it will ease your technical SEO reporting.

Here’s a screenshot of SEMrush’s site audit results:


Enterprise SEO Reporting Mistakes Marketers Do

1. Not Showcasing Contributions in Customer Journey

A client looking at an enterprise SEO report will have three primary questions in mind:

  • What type of content or pages are converting?
  • What is the return on investment (ROI) on them?
  • Do I need to invest that much money in them?

To answer these, find out what SEO did in different stages of the customer journey. 

Here's A Description Of The Three Main Stages Of The Customer Journey:

  • Awareness: Customers search for solutions to satisfy their needs. Content designed for this stage spreads general information about the products.
  • Consideration: Customers have already shortlisted a few brands. Content intended for this stage strives to convince the customer to choose you.
  • Conversion: The customer makes the purchase. Content requires a compelling call to action. 

Tip: Make a funnel with keywords and topics. This can start with keywords that spread 'awareness' and end with those that make the 'conversion'.

Here’s an illustration of the funnel with keywords:


2. Adding Branded Terms with Generic Ones

Branded terms are names of well-established companies like Adidas or Puma. SEO doesn't affect traffic from branded phrases (Adidas sneakers, Puma shoes). Clubbing them with generic terms (shoes or sneakers) gives you inflated figures.

Factors Affecting Branded Terms Include: 

  • Brand awareness (Indicates how much people know about you)
  • Brand reputation (Indicates what people heard about you)
  • Seasonality (Conversions pick up or drop depending on seasons)
  • Public Relations (Company policy, dealings with government, etc.)

What To Do?

Keep your SEO report clean. Segment your keywords into branded and generic categories. You can also segment topics this way. 

If it's organic traffic that your SEO report focuses on, leave out the branded terms. This will help you get a clearer picture of your SEO efforts.

Here’s an example of generic and branded keywords:


SEO Reporting Mistakes - FAQs

1. What is the Biggest SEO Reporting Mistake?

Not having a goal. Ask the client whether they want to know something specific. It could be something like the rate of conversions over the past month. Start your draft only if you have a clear goal.

2. Do I Need SEO Tools to Prepare a Report

There are two ways you can prepare an SEO report a spreadsheet or a tool. Spreadsheet reports are flexible but a bit drab. If you want infographics, use a tool like SEMrush

3. What is the Most Important Part of an SEO Report?

Recommendations. This often comes after each data set or at the end of the report. Proposals or action plans give the report a natural conclusion. It also elevates the organization's SEO status to that of a pathfinder.

Key Takeaways

  • Set a goal and focus on metrics relevant to that goal
  • Avoid relying on one source for your metrics
  • Focus on trends to show progress instead of fixed figures
  • Recommend opportunities and plans in every SEO report
  • Offer a technical SEO section in the report
  • Use tools to turn data into infographics
  • Assume a storytelling tone to explain graphs to clients
  • Add a section after each data to compare cost and ROI
  • Highlight SEO contributions during the customer journey
  • Separate branded and generic terms while preparing reports

Rank Your Website

Brice Decker

Brice has been handling marketing projects for more than 12 years and he is providing consulting services on SEO, Social Media and PPC. He has a huge expertise in working at large corporations including Accenture Interactive & PwC Digital Services.


Brice Decker

Brice has been handling marketing projects for more than 12 years and he is providing consulting services on SEO, Social Media and PPC. He has a huge expertise in working at large corporations including Accenture Interactive & PwC Digital Services.

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