Your Clients Need a Monthly SEO Report

By Megalytic Staff - June 13, 2018

Why You Should Report Once a Month, and How to Make It Look Easy
Agencies and marketers create SEO reports for clients to share their findings, establish trust and demonstrate accountability for their results. Clients, meanwhile, should green light those reporting efforts and thank those agencies and marketers for their hard work. Simple, right?
Not really. At all.

In practice, reporting your SEO results is a pain in the butt. It’s time-consuming. It’s stressful. And it confuses clients (“What are these metrics?” “What does this acronym mean?” “Why have rankings flatlined?” “Why am I paying you?”)

So why on earth would you choose to report more frequently than you do now? What could you and your clients possibly gain from monthly reports that you aren’t getting from your current “as needed” approach?

The answer: more than you’d expect.

This brief blog post will show you why monthly SEO reporting is too important to ignore. Furthermore, we’ve detailed five must-have sections to add to your monthly SEO report to ensure its success. 

Three Reasons Why Monthly SEO Reports Matter

#1: Monthly SEO Reports Increase Client Retention (Which Saves You Money)

You think your reports showcase what you accomplished for your client and how you accomplished it. That should get you points for transparency, accountability, and honesty, right? Your clients should love you for sending you those reports!

Maybe … In truth, some clients seem to question you even more after reading a report. And they have these expectations, which they got from who-knows-where, that results should be faster, better, and BIGGER than they are.

Is this the price you pay for being transparent and honest with your clients?

No. It’s actually the price you pay for not reporting often enough. There are many seemingly good reasons why you haven’t been reporting. It takes time to find problems and fix them. You may not have regular, positive results to report for months. But this is not an excuse to keep clients in the dark. Far from it, we have to report more often.

Many SEO agencies fear to provide too much transparency. But the real issue is that these agencies aren’t being transparent enough. “Report often, report regularly” should be the mantra of every digital agency and CMO in the business.

The more often we communicate, the faster we can head off doubts, and the more our clients trust us. That trust leads to longer-term clients, more referrals, and more business.

#2: Monthly SEO Reports Boost Client Empowerment (Which Saves You Time)

How many times have you begged the universe to give your client the barest chickpea of insight into what you do and why you do it? You know your client doesn’t have the time or desire to learn about 404 errors, canonical tags, and redirect chains. But if you can’t explain what you’re doing, your client can’t see the full value you’re bringing to his or her organization.

Here’s where regular monthly SEO reports can pay major dividends.

Monthly reporting empowers your client with more information about your operations. By providing honest assessments of what is and isn’t working on a more regular basis, you show the client that work is being done to improve their presence online.

Monthly reports will start saving time almost immediately. Client concerns are addressed sooner, before they cause project delays and cancellations. Meanwhile, clients have a chance to dive deeper into what you do with more granular reporting. That empowers those clients with knowledge, which leads to more impactful dialogue and a greater appreciation for the services you offer.

#3: Monthly SEO Reports Frame Client Expectations (Which Saves You Time And Money)

Tell us if this has ever happened: You send off a detailed and promising report on time and as promised, but instead of receiving praise in return, you’re reeling from questions and oversized demands from your client.

Where did your SEO report go wrong? How did their expectations get so out of control?

Under these circumstances, many agencies and marketers blame the report itself, or maybe even the client for their lack of SEO knowledge. But the most likely issue is the length of time between reports.

If your client hears from you just two or three times a year, they may become suspicious and even hostile toward you. You’ve been out of their mind for what seems like forever. And then “out of the blue” they come across that beautiful report you worked so hard on, and all they can think is “wow…it’s been a long time. Shouldn’t they have accomplished more?”

It’s a case of out-of-line expectations. And it’s caused by not keeping the client in the loop on a more frequent basis. Sitting back and waiting for the client to ask you for a report is just asking for trouble.

Shorter, more consistent reports are the way to go.

They help you address problems and manage expectations along the way. Your clients become less anxious and more understanding of the work you do (saving you time) and end up becoming loyal clients that last for years (earning you more money).

What Goes Into a Monthly SEO Report?

Below we’ll show you how to wow your clients with impressive monthly SEO reports. But before we do that, we have to lay a foundation.
SEO reporting requires two actions in order to produce amazing success. And they both happen early on in the client-agency relationship.

Make sure you check these off your list before providing monthly SEO reports to your client:

  • You’ve discussed the frequency, the benefits, and the limitations of your SEO reports with your client. Set a standard out of the gate. Your client should be told beforehand that they will receive monthly reports from you, that those reports will describe the past month’s activities and results, and that they will prepare the client for what’s to come next month.
  • You’ve discussed client objectives and goals. You can measure results for clients all day. But if the results have no relevance to the client’s objectives, it’s a waste of everyone’s time. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the client’s objectives before you send a single SEO report.

Having the basics in place will go a long way toward keeping clients happy and ensuring that your reports lead to productive conversations with the client about your work and the results being achieved.

The Five Parts to an Awesome Monthly SEO Report

Branded Cover Page

Time-crunched agencies and marketers will race against the clock to produce a polished and detailed SEO report. In their haste, however, they tend to gloss over or even forget to add a professional branded cover page.

This is your report’s first impression. Give it the full brand treatment—your logo, your company colors, a unique design—the works. On top of that, you want to give it a personal touch. Every report cover page should be addressed to the client you’re sending it to.

How Client Relations Benefit: The reason we report is to increase client trust. A professional cover page sets the stage for that trust by showing you put the time in to create a strong first impression.

Executive Summary

In broad strokes, you showcase what you achieved for the client over the last month, and address progress related to larger projects which are in the works (ad campaigns, blog renovations, etc.)

Focusing on cold hard numbers is the key to a great executive summary:

  • 10% increase to blog traffic
  • 15% increase to company landing pages from organic search
  • 100+ sign-ups to the company newsletter

Importantly, you may also want to add what isn’t working, since that information is equally useful to your client, who may choose to pivot away from certain SEO techniques.

How Client Relations Benefit: Some clients do not have time to take a deep dive into an SEO report. They want to know what’s working and what’s not, fast. By giving that information to them on a single page, you’re saving them time while keeping them informed.

Detailed SEO Analysis Review

No SEO report is complete without a detailed analysis of what you did for the client. Where it gets confusing is what you put into the report. With the amount of changes you make every month, the report could fill a Game of Thrones book. Trimming back is required.

The best way to tackle this section is to break your SEO activities into categories, and then create high-level overviews of what you did within each during the past month. Categories such as keyword optimization, inbound traffic results, link generation, and site crawling, provide a great structure for your report.

For each category, focus on the high-level achievements that month.

DO: “We removed 20 bad links” “We’ve achieved Google page 1 for 4/5 of your target keywords.”

DON’T: “We removed this link on page X, and this link on page Y.” “We redirected page Z to remove the 404 error.”

How Client Relations Benefit: Clients appreciate the opportunity to review your activities and see what’s working and what’s not. By providing a monthly, granular look at your tasks and priorities, you make it clear that you are accountable, honest, and open to discussion. All of which leads to a stronger business relationship.

Quarterly/Yearly Trend Review

You want to give your clients the context needed in order to interpret their monthly data. Adding quarterly and yearly comparisons beside your monthly SEO results is a great way to provide that context.

By establishing a context for the data, you can more easily point out to clients what’s working and what isn’t. Additionally, when/if the numbers go in the wrong direction, you can put the severity of the problem in historical context. Maybe it’s just a blip in an upward trend. Maybe it’s a seasonal variation. Or, if there really is a problem, you can describe how you plan to turn it around and get back on track.

How Client Relations Benefit: When clients can see the big picture, they are less likely to freak out about monthly ups and downs. SEO changes take time to work. When they can see how you’ve performed over the long haul, and compare that with a monthly variation, clients are more likely to trust your work and stick with you.

Next Month Preview

Tell the client what’s working, what’s taking longer than you expected, and what isn’t working at all. Once you’ve confirmed that, be sure to:

  1. Show how you’re doubling down on what is working with a preview of next month’s tasks.
  2. Tell them of any issues that came up, and how you plan to solve them to get things back on track. Or explain that larger projects will need time to show their full results (be as exact as possible as to when).
  3. Clearly point out what didn’t work at all, and how you’re scrapping tasks that are showing limited or no value to their organization.

How Client Relations Benefit: You can head off concerns and increase client trust by setting expectations for what will happen next month.

Do You Want Monthly SEO Reports for Clients, But Don’t Have Time?

If you as a marketer or digital agency act in an honest and transparent way, you make it clear to your client that you’re holding yourself accountable for the results, which in turn increases trust and client loyalty.
One of the most effective means of showing accountability is to offer frequent SEO reports. Don’t let a busy schedule prevent you from realizing these benefits of monthly reporting.

Reports don’t have to take hours or days to complete. With the right platform, they can be generated and distributed to clients automatically. If you’d like to see an example of how Megalytic makes it easy to generate a detailed SEO report, have a look at this blog post.

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