How To Read An SEO Report: Add A New Skill

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Knowing how to read an SEO report will put you leagues, ahead of your competition. If you don’t know how to read and interpret the data on your SEO reports, how will you know what needs improvement? Let’s cover the important things.


How to Read an SEO Report

What we’ll cover in this article is the following:


  1. A common SEO problem and how we help fix it.
  2. Poor rankings are not always your fault.
  3. How to read an SEO report; and actually understand it.


But first…

What Is an SEO Report?

An SEO report provides an overview of SEO metrics and indicates a website’s performance.

It typically covers the following areas:

  • Organic traffic
  • Conversions
  • Backlinks
  • Overall site health

SEO reporting is an effective way for you to communicate to stakeholders, your boss, or your client — the impact of your SEO efforts on their business.

An SEO report should:

  • Focus on key metrics
  • Be easy to understand
  • Recommend actions to drive further growth

And on the flip side, an SEO report shouldn’t overwhelm you with too much data, use too much technical jargon, or set unrealistic expectations. Are you rolling your eyes at that? Yeah, me too. I can’t even believe I just said it. But, the truth is… it’s a line-by-line kind of thing. If this isn’t in your wheelhouse, you’ll get it if you learn a little bit at a time. You will get it, we promise. 

Don’t worry. We’ve got your back. 

Let’s go! 

A Common SEO Problem and What We Do to Help

RebelFish Local does an in-depth audit, starting with a citation report. In this case, a citation is a completed listing of your business name, address, and phone number anywhere that’s not on your website. We conduct an online search for all-things-you listed anywhere and everywhere… does that make sense?

That’s really what a completed citation is. So a citation audit is finding anything outside of a business’ website that could impact its local rankings.

Because the problem is Google doesn’t like it when your name, address, and phone number are mismatched, incomplete, or wrong on various local profiles around your area.

Google likes to be organized; frankly, it’s high-maintenance. Yes, we said it. It wants everything to be lined up properly. The problem comes when Google looks at all your business’ citations, and the algorithm basically says, “Well, I’m kind of confused. There are 10 different variations of the company name. Which one is the right one? We don’t know! So we’re just going to bypass.”

Then, Google gives that business traffic to the next guy. The guy, who is rightfully and equally annoyed but knows how to leverage the high-maintenance’ness (that’s a word now) of the snarky search engine. This leaves your business shadow banned in a way.

The takeaway is that if Google’s algorithm can’t decipher whether your business is credible, they’ll send potential business elsewhere. They don’t want to match a poor choice with a user, even though it might be the best choice. 

We know that YOUR business is the BEST CHOICE. That’s what we specialize in; making sure Google recognizes your business as the best option to match with the online searcher. 

Read on to learn more about SEO reports to beat the algorithm and change your position from not enough business to too much business. 


Follow this link if you’re still not ranking well on Google

Poor SEO Rankings Are Not Always Your Fault

Poor rankings are not always the fault of the business owner. So, there’s some good news. It’s always nice to be let off the hook. The bad news is that it can take some digging (we call that auditing) to find out what the problems are so that we can attack them. If you don’t know where you are, how can you know where you need to go?

Sometimes the site’s a premium site page you can’t touch unless you pay for it, but it’s still wrong that your rankings are affected by something out of your control. Sometimes the site has an error, and you can’t even get access to it, and sometimes the site doesn’t even have anywhere you can edit the profile.

We know… that’s too many ‘sometimes’ to deal with. 


how to read an seo report



Our goal is to get as many of those corrected or deleted as possible, and if we can at least hit a 60-70% correction rate, then it’ll change the tide in favor of the business as we build good citations. Quality citations equal increased authority. That’s what you want! 

Generally speaking, SEO companies will do a general surface-level analysis first. The in-depth audit will happen once you become a client. This is what RebelFish does as well. 



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How to Read and Understand Your SEO Report

There are four main elements to your SEO report:


  • Performance Metrics

Performance metrics provide data on the performance of your website. These numbers serve as indicators to track progress toward achieving desired goals.

  • Competition Metrics

Competition metrics gauge website performance compared to competitors using the same keywords. Google Analytics data produces an Organic Search: Competitive Position Map, positioning your site in relation to online competitors and revealing performance.

The Top Competitors list provides information about major competitors, including shared keywords, search engine visibility, and competition level as a percentage.

  • Organic Keyword Performance

The analysis of organic keyword performance is a crucial element in SEO strategy and should not be disregarded. Your SEO report’s Keyword Position Distribution chart will provide valuable insight into your keywords’ appearance and expected traffic across Google search pages. Analyzing the appearance of keywords on the first few pages of Google provides valuable insights for future targeting strategies.

The top 100 keywords for your site are listed in detail and ranked according to the amount of traffic they generate. Analyzing the correlation between traffic percentage and Google search page ranking can provide useful insights for selecting keywords to target in upcoming campaigns.

  • Earned Links

In the realm of SEO strategy, quality, and organic links play an important role. The final section of the SEO report assesses the website’s link-earning performance based on the number of links that were created without solicitation (these are your organic links). Obtaining a backlink from an external website can increase the credibility of your web pages, potentially leading to higher rankings in organic search results.

The SEO report will present an analysis of the backlinks acquired by your website within a 12-month span. It is crucial to recognize that the value of backlinks for your website may be impacted by their quality. 

It is recommended to steer clear of links that may be considered spam, as they can potentially harm your website’s ranking. It’s important to fix broken backlinks from reliable and authoritative sources. I think we can all agree that random links to porn sites are not a good look for any business; or in general. But it happens and it will hurt your business.

A few tools you can use to handle spam links:

  • Check My Links
  • Linkbird
  • Pitchbox (for auditing backlinks)


how to read an SEO report


If you do not feel like you want to guzzle a gallon of antifreeze at this point, here’s some more helpful information…

Seriously, we get it… it’s a lot if you’re not used to ingesting this kind of info. Or if you have ADHD. I’ve already been on all my social media accounts, looked at online menus for dinner, and browsed multiple clothing sites. The carts are full. The brain is full. 

But, if you’re still with us, a huge heartfelt thank you and congratulations! We appreciate your efforts and dedication to understanding this algo-craziness! That’s a word now, too.

There’s a learning curve, but we promise you will reap the rewards if you stick to it. 



Understanding your website’s analytics will help guide you to make better business decisions.

Ready for more?

Data is sourced from Google Analytics to report the following six figures:

Sessions: refer to the frequency with which users accessed your site within a given time period.

New page sessions: this metric is calculated based on the percentage of first-time visits.

Pages per session: refers to the average number of pages viewed by a user during a single session.

Bounce rate: This is calculated by determining the percentage of visits that consist of only one page. Bouncing occurs when a website visitor exits the landing page without any further navigation.

Average session duration: refers to the typical amount of time a session lasts.

Goal completions: this metric measures the total number of conversions, which includes inquiries made through the contact form and purchases from the online store.


Google Analytics generates these figures during a 90-day reporting period. The metrics provide information on the quality of user interactions with your website rather than just the quantity. The objective is to observe progress in all of these domains in the end. A decrease in metrics may indicate that current strategies are ineffective and require modification. To boost growth, consider increasing your efforts or exploring alternative strategies.


Local marketing segmentation can help your business in a number of ways!

Additional metrics provided by Google Analytics include:

Estimated Keywords: The number of keywords that bring users to a website through Google’s top 100 organic search results.

Estimated Website Traffic: this is for the upcoming month and is based on the assumption that the average monthly traffic will remain stable.

Estimated Traffic Cost: this refers to the approximate price of organic keywords in Google Adwords.

The figures have been derived from search engine performance data from the last 12 months. These metrics provide valuable information on the effectiveness of keywords in generating website traffic and tracking site traffic.

Traffic Chart for Organic Search: this shows the estimated monthly traffic for the 12-month period. Analyzing organic traffic data can aid in identifying fluctuations and patterns and help to determine the root cause behind them.



RebelFish Local SEO Report Checklist

We know this can be overwhelming, especially the more problems you find or are told you have by an SEO company trying to clean things up. It can be a lot. As a business owner, you’re expected to wear many hats, and this can be one of the heaviest ones to sport. But fear not; we’ve got you covered. 


SEO Audit Checklist:

  • Identify link-building opportunities.
  • Find potential information architecture improvements.
  • Find (and fix) thin content.
  • Identify (and nix) duplicate content.
  • Scan for keyword optimization.
  • Optimize metadata.
  • Identify page update opportunities.
  • Run page speed analytics.
  • Identify (and fix) toxic links
  • Know your top competitors and know the keywords they’re ranking for.



Expert tip:

Check Your Organic Traffic

This is one of the most important indicators of the success of your website when it comes to SEO. To see your organic traffic, go to Google Search Console and open the “Search results” report under the “Performance” section in the menu. 

How are you feeling about your ability to understand SEO reports and analytics? Schedule A Call with us today, and we’ll start your audit so that you can stop worrying about where you are and get some solid direction. Your business will benefit greatly from a quality audit.




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