by Tobias Hyldeborg, SEO & Webanalytics Specialist at Quisma.
Reporting on your marketing activities is crucial for finding your best possible marketing mix – be that digital/offline, performance/branding or paid/owned/earned. There are very few people in this world who think reporting is a fun assignment, which is why using dashboard tools will prove effective when saving your valuable time and enhancing your productivity.
What is Google Data Studio?
Google Data Studio is a dashboard tool that makes it easy to show advanced data in a simple and sleek way. You can manually connect with Google Sheets to show your own data, but the big advantage with Data Studio is their many connectors.
If you do reporting in Word, you know the struggle with copying/pasting data and graphs – and if you care just a little bit about aesthetics, you can make your own tables and graphs, rather than just copying/pasting data from different tools which just takes even more time.
With Google Data Studio, you always have the right data that is up to date and looks great. You can customize your dashboard in every possible way and there are literally billions of options on what data to show, how to show it and where to show it.
What Should a SEO Reporting Dashboard Include?
What to include in your dashboard will vary business to business. But there is some best practice on including data from your website, rankings, backlinks and technical. More specifically, that could be data from tools like Google Analytics, AccuRanker, Ahrefs and DeepCrawl.
Both Analytics, AccuRanker and DeepCrawl, have a so-called “Connector” for Data Studio. This means that you easily can connect these services and edit which data and which filtering/sorting you want to show on the dashboard.
Personally, I think every Dashboard should be unique. Even if you have several similar clients, there will always be some factors that are uniquely relevant for one client and not another. It can be a great idea to just start off with one of the many templates that Google Data Studio offers, but I would recommend that you fine tune it, by adding/deleting/editing the different areas.
If you’re a typical SEO, you love to work with small changes that can cut a millisecond of your page speed, creating amazing content that both your users and search engines love, getting that high quality link that your competitors are drooling over and writing metatags that skyrocket your CTR and makes the visitor want to read more. But to get permission to all these lovely tasks, you must show your client or manager that you create value.
Value in SEO can be many things: Rankings, organic traffic, Share of Voice etc. But eventually, it comes down to £, $ and €. How can we make sure that our client or manager understands the value we are worth and creating?
You may say that one single SEO Dashboard with ALL the data, would be the way to go, but in my opinion, you should create several. Below are some examples of different ways you can customize your dashboard to give most value for the individual recipient:
- One for the CEO that only cares about how much monetary value you have obtained.
- One for the brand manager that only focuses on brand-related terms.
- One for the programmers that only wants to see development in technical areas, such as page speed, 404 pages, Hreflang etc.
- One for your manager that gets most part of SEO, but doesn’t have time to dig into Analytics, your rank tracker, link building and crawler tool.
- One for your client that you manually update (at least) once a month with an Executive
Summary, deep dives on the areas/keywords you have worked with the previous month and, if you like, include a couple of articles on SEO, so your client is up-to-date with algorithmic updates and new features from Google.
A Simple Starter Dashboard for SEO
If you are completely new to Google Data Studio and building dashboards for your SEO reporting, you can use below data points for a starting point. You should always tweak the data so it fits you or the people that would use it. Even though the basic idea of a dashboard is that you do not need to update it every month, I think it is important to not just set it and forget it. If you have new campaigns, a site migration, new products etc. you should always update your dashboard so it reflects your site, KPI and responsibilities in the best possible way.
I’m recommending a few tools below, but feel free to change them with your preferred tools. Personally, I like to use the best tools in their field, instead of using enterprise tools that are mediocre when it comes to ranking, links and tech.
Google Analytics for Website Data
Google Analytics is a no-brainer. I would include a graph that shows organic traffic monthly over time, but also more specific data for priority one pages, like sessions, bounce rate and revenue. The priority one pages can both be pages that already attracts a lot of organic traffic, but can also be pages that are important from a more strategic point of view.
AccuRanker is the fastest rank tracker, and the best in any possible way, in my opinion. I would include Share of Voice score, which is an overall score given by how many keywords you are visible on, what position you have and how high the search volume is. This is the easiest way to compare you with your competitors with one single score.
I would also include average ranking data for your different tags. If you do not sort your keywords by tag right now, it is about time. Tags can give valuable insights on groups with several keywords, which you will not find if you are only looking at individual rankings.
On your priority one keywords, I would include more specific data, like how their rankings have changed since last month, if it is the correct page that are ranking and how the search volume has changed. If you want to go even deeper you can create a table that shows the difference in rank between Google/Bing and Mobile/Desktop.
As a SEO Specialist on the agency side, I am always busy. The single most important feature I look for, when finding new SEO tools, is that it can release time for other tasks. I should not spend several hours doing a SEO report, if the client just wants the basic stuff. AccuRanker is the fastest rank tracker in the world, and with their new connector to Google Data Studio, it helps me do my reporting even faster.
How to Use the AccuRanker Google Data Studio Connector
To use the AccuRanker Google Data Studio connector you need to have an AccuRanker account. Luckily you can just start by trying out their 14-day free trial, and I guarantee you will love the speed, simplicity and all the data that this tool provides.
- Make sure that you are logged into your AccuRanker account and that you have a Google Data Studio account.
- Go to the following link, to link the AccuRanker connector with your Data Studio account.
- First you need to connect your Google account, and afterwards connect your AccuRanker account.
DeepCrawl for Technical Data
DeepCrawl is brilliant for technical crawls of your website, that delivers actionable insights on thin pages, non 301 redirects, 404 pages and much more. I would include top issues and a graph that shows how you are performing on fixing these errors.
Ahrefs for Link Data
Ahrefs is the only of the four tools that do not have a Connector. This means that you still must update data manually on a biweekly or monthly data. I would include top five new links sorted on URL rating, and a graph that shows how many domains that are linking to your site.
Save at Least One Hour per Reporting
If you are used to do reporting in Word, PowerPoint, or Excel you are probably using much of your time just getting the numbers and data you want to show. By using Google Data Studio and tools that have Connectors associated, you can spend your time more wisely – by writing valuable insights on the dashboard or by fixing those 404 pages, writing a great blog post, hunting a high quality backlink, or tweaking your metatags to get a better CTR.
If you are working on the agency side, you could easily save up to a whole working day, by using a few hours building the dashboards you need, and afterwards using them repeatedly. Just remember – that even though a dashboard is a static shell that is updated dynamically, you should spend some hours quarterly or half-yearly to update the shell.
A guy that loves showing off great SEO results, but would much rather work on the things that makes these results, instead of copy/pasting data from four different tools into a dumb Word document every single month.