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A Guide to Google Search Console Reporting for SEO Agencies

A Guide to Google Search Console Reporting for SEO Agencies

When it comes to running a successful SEO agency, there is nothing more important than proving the value of your services to clients.

But without extensive reporting, your customers may not see or understand the full impact of your SEO campaigns.

SEO agencies rely on a variety of software tools to carry out their campaign efforts. But if you really want to prove SEO success, the Google Search Console is still the most important reporting tool to do so.

Unless your SEO software is built on the Google Search Console, no other tool can compete with Google’s comprehensive dataset.

Here’s why this free platform is one of the best to show the impact of your SEO efforts.

What is the Google Search Console?

The Google Search Console is a free platform that enables website owners to track keyword rankings, troubleshoot page experience issues, submit sitemaps, and perform other important actions that help increase SEO performance.

SEO providers should encourage their clients to create Google Search Console accounts and add their agency as a primary user.

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Since your agency provides your various services to clients, you can use the platform to prove their overall impact.

5 Reasons The Google Search Console is the Best for SEO Reporting

There are many different SEO software options available for agencies to use in their client reporting.

Beyond the obvious – the price (since there is not one) – here are some reasons why Google’s platform still outweighs most.

1. See 100% of keywords

The most important value proposition for any SEO agency is to help their client’s web pages place more keyword searches that bring qualified traffic.

But not having a 100% complete picture of keyword rankings means that SEO agencies cannot show their clients all the work their efforts have done.

Popular SEO software like Ahrefs and Semrush use bots to scrape the SERPs and collect keyword ranking data. These can only see about 30-40% of the keywords a given site ranks by.

See e.g. The difference in the overall keyword ranking for the same site below. The first appears in Ahrefs and the second in a rank tracker built over Google’s API.

Organic keywords in Ahref versus organic keywords in GSC Insights

It’s a big hole. This difference can be a reason why a client chooses to renew your services or move to another SEO provider.

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Nothing compares to keyword data from the Google Search Console because Google tracks all the keywords that your customers’ sites rank for.

It includes all the short and long tail keywords that bring users to their sites.

Because each relevant keyword phrase gives your agency an opportunity to help your clients reach their target audience, it’s important that you can show them all in your reporting.

2. Daily updates

With SEO software that relies on SERP scraping, keyword ranking information is always dated to the last crawl.

For high search volume queries, these bots scrape SERPs more often. However, for multiple niche keywords with smaller search volume, they are updated much less frequently.

If your SEO agency works with clients in niche industries that target lower search volume keywords, these limited updates can be a major barrier to your reporting.

Your SEO agency may have already driven improvements in keyword rankings faster and earlier than reflected in the tools you currently use.

However, the Google Search Console has daily placement updates. This means you can see SEO win earlier and faster, showing your customers the value of your services.

For those agencies that deliver smaller campaign windows, daily keyword ranking updates are even more important to show elevated rankings and performance metrics.

3. Impress data

One of the most important SEO KPIs for campaign reporting is exposure data.

Impression is the total number of times users see your webpage in the SERPs, even if they do not click on your result.

SEO professionals should use impression data in their reporting. Several impressions show that users are seeing your client’s SERP result and their online visibility is growing.

However, most ranking software does not contain display data.

For SEO agencies that deliver content, impressions are the key to showing that content drives more visibility on search engines.

In the example below, we can see in GSC that adding new content to the client side resulted in a big jump in views.

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By answering several of the user’s questions on the page, Google began promoting the page in more relevant searches.

In the next example, this SEO agency could really prove its worth using impression data.

Their on-site content services resulted in a steady increase in search engine visibility over the course of a years-long campaign.

4. Right clicks vs. estimated traffic

Other ranking tracking platforms estimate your organic traffic.

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They do this through a calculation of search volume, ranking position and average CTR.

But the Google Search Console tells you the actual number of clicks generated from organic search.

The problem with estimated traffic is that it can both overestimate and underestimate the actual amount of clicks.

For example, you can compare the estimated organic traffic of a software tool with the actual organic traffic of Google Search Console for the same page.

Would you rather tell your agency clients that your optimization effort ran 13,000 clicks or 28,000 clicks?

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If you associate your GSC account with Google Analytics, you can also know what actions these users take on your site when they come from search.

5. Query-specific metrics

Most likely, your customers will rank by very specific keyword targets.

The Google Search Console can help you show improvements to the exact, high-quality search terms they want to dominate.

Below you can see the performance metrics for a single keyword.

Shortly after this agency started its campaign, the average placement position for the target keyword took a big leap. Thereafter, it steadily improved in the following weeks.

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Because the location of the location improved so markedly, more organic traffic followed shortly after.

Having keyword-level metrics instead of just page-level metrics can make a huge difference in campaign reporting.

Sometimes clients can come to your agency with some shots on. They may not be happy unless they rank by the specific keyword phrases they had in mind at the start of their campaign.

Having more detailed data to present to them can be the difference between a bored or satisfied customer base.

4 Google Search Console reports to use in client campaigns

If the accuracy and completeness of GSC data makes you more likely to use the tool in your reporting, here are four SEO reports that you can start using in your client campaigns.

They are super easy to generate. They can also help your SEO agency prove value in the various SEO services or supplies your agency offers.

Inquiry report

This report can help you show clients which keywords are driving the most organic traffic to their site.

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To truly prove the impact of your services, choose a date range three months before and after your campaign. This helps clients see their SEO progress.

To generate the report, go to the Search Ability tab in your Google Search Console account and click Export in the upper right corner.

This generates a spreadsheet with all the keywords that brought traffic to your client’s site in the selected time period. It also includes their clickthrough rate and average placement for the keywords.

Depending on the type of services you provide to your customers, it will determine which areas of the report you most want to focus on.

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For link builders or digital PR professionals: Point out improvements in average keyword positions. White-hat backlink services should drive higher rankings across all keywords. For content creators: Point out any increases in overall keyword ranking overall. The more relevant content you publish on your customers’ websites, the more queries they should appear for. For technical SEO professionals: Focus on improved clickthrough rates if you optimized page titles or meta descriptions for your clients’ web pages.

Backlinks report

For those SEO professionals who focus on off-site SEO strategies like link building and digital PR, the Links feature in the Google Search Console can help you show backlink progress.

With this feature you can see your customers’ external links, internal links and top linking sites.

If your agency is working on building backlinks to a particular page, you can use the Links feature to review backlink metrics for any page on your client’s site. That is, as long as the site has links pointing to it and has been indexed by Google.

These link reports contain all links to the page, whether they are dofollow or nofollow links. When you earn new backlinks to your client’s site, they appear in your link reports.

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In general, it is better to have several websites (or referring domains) that link to your customers’ pages. This will help raise their authority in the eyes of the search engines.

If you are earning new referring domains for your client during their campaign, please direct their attention to this report.

Core Web Vitals reports

If you provide technical SEO or web development services, the page experience feature of the Google Search Console can help you show your agency clients how your work has made their site more search engine friendly.

These reports show daily page experience metrics and whether the pages were incorrect or not.

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Some clients may arrive at your agency with a lot of technical debt. Showing how your technical optimizations help them meet Google’s page experience standards can be an important expression of your SEO agency’s value.

Index coverage report

For SEO agencies that serve corporate clients or brands with large sites (with 500+ landing pages), the index coverage report can help you show how any technical improvements your agency applied resulted in a maximized crawl budget.

The report shows the index status of all URLs in a web property.

For SEO professionals who use robot tags to help promote certain pages over others, this report can help you show your clients the impact of these meta tags.

This report is likely to be valuable for SEO agencies providing technical optimizations and services.

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However, if your agency is creating new content for your clients, it can be very valuable to show them that those pages actually end up in Google’s index.

Why should my SEO agency use Google Search Console?

To keep it simple, the Google Search Console is free, accurate and comprehensive.

The volume of Google data helps your SEO agency show your campaign wins faster and more convincingly.

If you want your agency clients to renew their campaigns or increase their budgets, Google Search Console reporting can help you do just that.

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Image credits

All screenshots taken by the author, August 2021

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