We’ve already talked in depth about the importance of proper SEO, and subsequently, the importance of tracking your SEO successes and shortcomings. Once you’ve admitted that SEO tracking and reporting is a priority, our previous article (What does the perfect SEO report look like?) explains the basic gist of how to set up an effective and attractive SEO report.
And now, we come to the next, crucial step: deciding how to go about creating this awesome report! There are a multitude of options for you in terms of marketing reporting tools, ranging from web-based reporting software, to Excel and/or other client-side reporting platforms.
So, how do you decide what’s best for you?
We all know Excel (and the multiple other spreadsheet tools available) as an almost limitless but very complex calculation and graphing tool. Digital marketing reporting initially started with Excel; the process includes endless hours of copying your data from each of your tools (Moz, Google Analytics, and everything else), and pasting the data into Excel. Then, you actually have to MAKE your reports… and this is where you might realize that using Excel isn’t as sustainable a method over the long term as you thought it would be.
Sure, there are now numerous plug-ins and add-ons that enable these tools to compile data from a wide variety of sources and automate the process. And while some marketing specialists have the need (and the ability) to take full advantage of the powerful capabilities this option provides, for most, the complexity of this combination is overkill. Honestly, Excel is amazing for data mining and statistical analysis, but for reporting, it’s a bit much.
Let’s break down the pros and cons of using Excel to make your dashboard reports, shall we?
Pro – infinite flexibility
We promise you, we tried very hard to find more advantages, but this is pretty much what it is.
Flexibility: that’s the advantage of Excel.
Con – time-consuming & offline
So yeah, Excel is nice because you can choose everything you can put into it, but it’s supremely time-consuming, and the end result is often more complicated than what your audience wants or needs anyway.
It’s also super expensive (particularly for a large agency), to have your best employees spend hours and hours creating the hundreds of reports needed for all your clients (take a look at our calculator to see exactly how much time is wasted!). An automated tool saves that money and time, and allows SEO marketing specialists to spend their time creating real value (therefore generating more profits)!
Tedious and time consuming: what, are you made of time now?
If you’re anything like us, your first time in the office, when you were put in charge of making a SEO report, you were super psyched for choosing the metrics and KPIs you wanted. You went through your data, finding your clicks, positions, sessions, conversions, page authority… you took your time to create the perfect Excel report that represented all the hard work you’d done.
Then, you showed your report to your boss or client. They had been asking for a report showing your SEO results, but when you finally showed them, they were less than interested in the report itself. Maybe you chalked it up to them being busy.
But after another 5 or 6 times of taking the time to create your reports and no one really taking the time to look at them in depth, you’re just not having much fun anymore. And obviously, you have other things to do with your time that are more important… like maybe a keyword research for your next SEO campaign, on-page optimization of meta descriptions, and so much more.
Let’s be honest, you’re a lot more valuable when you’re optimizing your SEO instead of copy-pasting data into an Excel spreadsheet.
How about you dump Excel for your reporting, and instead go for a specialized tool, one that was created precisely with your needs in mind?!
I’m not going to lie here, of course, I’m a fan of DashThis for SEO reporting. So although each online tool you might find will have a different set of features, there are certain features that you should look for to make sure that your online tool truly makes your reporting life easier (and yes, DashThis has all of them).
By going for a web-based option, you can create amazing reports that your clients will actually want to look at, in a fraction of the time it used to take you. This extra time can be used to create more value in your SEO campaigns… and your boss and clients will love you for it.
To me, the most amazing feature of DashThis and other tools like it is the fact that you can connect so many different sources into the same place. Ranging from Google Analytics, Moz metrics, and everything else I might need, all my important data can be under one figurative roof.
I can also easily show my client their month-to-month progression. Whether for their positions and CTR from Google Search Console, MozRank and MozTrust, or their conversion rate or landing page visits from organic traffic from Google Analytics, everything will be in one, easy-to-read report.
DashThis is obviously a very powerful tool, but it’s super easy to use, which makes life easier.
Oh, and another cool feature is that you can include the cost of your services directly in the dashboard, so if your client doesn’t know that much about SEO, they’ll still be able to easily understand their true ROI.
Powerful + easy-to-use = putting that time and money to better use… like generating great ROI for your clients.
And what does a great ROI mean? It means contract renewal… right? :)
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