In this Video Tutorial, Adam and Chad discuss using SEO Reporting Tools successfully. In this Video Tutorial, you will learn how to make your SEO reporting tool useful in a practical way. SEO reporting should present information on keyword research, establishing a baseline for rankings, monthly search volume, and traffic per keyword phrase, for starters. Good seo reporting tools should also pull data from Google AdWords, Google Analytics, and some of the more expensive data sources such as SEOmoz and SEMRush. Watch the video below to learn more.


Good afternoon, Adam.

Good afternoon, Chad. Today we're talking about SEO reporting tools. There's a lot of neat software out there and a lot of hype, of course, and a lot of blog posts, so many gadgets you could try. So the question for today is, how you make SEO reporting tools most useful in a real practical way, when you're constrained for time and, of course, you're trying to get your rankings up as fast as possible?

Yeah, so, with SEO reporting tools, one of the things that I think-- there's a couple different parts in the SEO process where they come into play. At the beginning, with the keyword research and sort of establishing a baseline, there's a couple things there that I think you want in an SEO reporting tool. One is, you want to be able to, like I said, establish the benchmark for a current set of rankings. And with personalized search, we know that's hard, but you need some baseline. So a logged-out, cookies-clear type of a search is a good place to start. And then, of course, going forward with rankings, you always want to watch how your rankings change over time. I think that's one thing that's really important.

The other thing is, with the keywords you're selecting, you want to get a sense of what the search volume is, so you get a sense for any given keyword that you do rank on, what's the opportunity, and then how much of that opportunity are you capturing based on your current ranking? So, some of things we do in our SEO reporting tools are that, right next to your current ranking, we show the estimated monthly searches. That's reported by Google AdWords. And then we also show from Google Analytics the number of hits you've had on that term.

Now we know that the not provided sort of obscures that a little bit. But it does give you a sense, especially when you're looking at things over time, of whether or not your traffic on that term is going up, and then what a guess would be on what your relative share of the total traffic is. So those are a couple of things that come to mind immediately. Do you have any ideas, Adam, on how to use SEO reporting tools?

Well, I heard you say two major categories as you're thinking about these reporting tools. One is research, and the other is feedback over time. So in the research arena, you're looking at that opportunity. Is there really going to be value for me here? And then, competition, how hard is that going to be to achieve. So, I think that's a really important one, because if you had done the wrong path, that's a lot of wasted effort. So, certainly, a lot of manual effort goes into that type of research. It can be automated with many different SEO reporting tools.

And then that feedback loop, I think, is really, really important. I remember struggling with that, really for months or even years, when first getting into search marketing. I can remember running reports by hand, and looking for myself in Google, and just not appreciating the scale of which you really need to operate to do well. So, that feedback that many of these SEO reporting tools can provide to you, in daily, weekly, or monthly reports, is really helpful.

But I would probably coach people to not obsess, either, because they have a tendency to look at these sometimes like stock reports that zig and zag sometimes, day in and day out. And you really need to take the longer view, the monthly view, or the quarterly view, so no matter what reporting tool you're using, recognize it's a slow process.

And the other thing I might add is, I find the tools that are most useful sort of integrate the data with the workflow, right, because knowing what I need to do and what I've done, or what I've forgotten to do-- which really isn't about a search engine ranking, a position, or competitive research at all, it's more about my activities-- is half the battle. Because it's real easy to get lost in these cool reports and gee-whiz stuff and spend hours, when really, you need to be plugging away, making good content, getting buzz, attracting links, syndicating your work everywhere and anywhere.

So, the tools that are most useful in my mind-- and what we've modeled ours after, of course-- are those that integrate data, but then keep you focused on that incremental, day-to-day discipline that's ultimately going to get you to rank.

That's a great point. I have a question for you. So, what about link metrics and tracking links? How do you think that plays a part in SEO reporting tools?

I think that's a valuable addition. I'd like to know when I lose a link, when a competitor gains a link, or if I'm tracking an important one, something changes with it, as well as aggregates. So I think that's important, both down to very small, minutia tracking for important links, as well as at the aggregate, to see if things are trending in the right direction. So I think that's a good addition, too.

I know one of the things-- and people watching this video may be, as you said, looking at other tools-- but I know one of the things that we found is as we've grown, it's been really cool to be able to subscribe to some of the data sources that, when we were smaller, we just didn't have the budget to subscribe to. So, things like SEOmoz, and SEMrush, and other tools that we're able to pull data in from.

And, like I said, we always could go to those on an a la carte basis, and say, well let me go grab some data from here, and gram some data from there. But the scale that now, we can bring that data together and actually run customer metrics and publish that together with other information, I think, makes the value of the SEO reporting tool a lot. It increases the value of it, and it's been something that's really fun to be a part of.

Yeah, good point. For example, I could go in SEOmoz and it's like, oh great. I have a domain authority of 52. That's awesome. Well, what was it last month? Was it 51 or 48, I can't quite remember. What about three months ago, was it 44 or 45? So, to have a reporting tool that's going to show your SEO progress as you're chugging away at this, month after month, and your domain authority is slowly ticking up again, really incrementally, is really valuable to keep that motivation going on those dark days when you're wondering, boy is this really what I should be doing? I think looking at data over time is one of my biggest things, because it really helps drive that day-to-day motivation.

Right. We could probably go on and on about this, because we put a lot of sweat, blood, and tears into building out an SEO reporting tool, and it's something that I think we both have a lot of passion for. But we could probably break that down and have some more discussions about that in some other videos coming up soon. Anyway, well, thanks for your point of view on this, if anyone has questions about SEO reporting tools, be sure to give us a call.