How to Create an Actionable SEO Report

Reporting on SEO results includes more than a few metrics. 

An SEO report should be actionable. And clearly outline the steps you’ll take to fix issues and improve rankings. 

This means collecting website and search data. But also identifying how you’ll continue to grow a site to meet business goals. 

How to Create an Actionable SEO Report:

What Is an SEO Report?

An SEO report summarizes essential SEO metrics to tell a story about a website’s performance. It covers insights related to keyword rankings, organic traffic, backlinks, overall site health, and more.

Effective SEO reports provide actionable steps based on data. Like this report on organic search positions created with Semrush’s My Reports.

Organic Search positions

An SEO report lets you communicate your efforts to stakeholders. Whether you’re creating a white label SEO report for a client or an internal team. 

Focus on the most critical metrics. And include wins and areas of improvement. Along with the actionable steps you’ll take for better results in the future. 

The Importance of SEO Reporting

  • Creates opportunities to adjust your SEO strategy
  • Proves the worth of your work
  • Prioritizes the right SEO tasks
  • Measures effectiveness

How to Create an SEO Report

Sign up for a free Semrush trial to follow along with the tutorials in this guide. And create an actionable report that highlights your SEO results. 

You can manually pull data from Google Analytics or Google Search Console. 

But Semrush gives you a consolidated view of website performance. Because it pulls data from both platforms and search engine results pages (SERP).

Let’s get started. 

1. Set Objectives

Hundreds of SEO metrics exist. But not all are relevant to your report. Include only the ones that support your business goals. 

SEO reports typically cover the following metrics:

  • Organic visibility 
  • Organic traffic (or sessions)
  • Branded vs. non-branded traffic
  • Keyword rankings and position changes
  • Google Business Profile metrics
  • Backlink growth
  • Organic click-through-rate (CTR)
  • User engagement
  • Conversions 
  • Customer lifetime value
  • Cost per acquisition
  • Return on investment

Analyze the most important metrics for your business or campaign.

SEO KPIs you should track

For example, you’ve just opened an online flower shop selling sustainably sourced flowers. Which differs you from some competitors. But no one knows about you or how you’re different.

Focus on awareness KPIs like organic visibility and keyword rankings. To ensure more potential customers discover you. 

2. Collect Data

Semrush aggregates data from multiple sources. Eliminating the manual process of analyzing data across platforms. 

So you can focus on analyzing data, not collecting it. 

Keyword Rankings

Reporting on your highest—and lowest—keyword rankings is vital. 

But also consider keywords with SERP features, the total number of keywords in Google’s top 10, and the average ranking for all your tracked keywords. 

Semrush’s Position Tracking automatically tracks and analyzes keyword positions. 

If you’re new to Semrush, start by entering your domain and click Set up tracking.

Positions tracking

Then, click + Create project to start a new project.

Create project

Paste your URL under “Domain” and name your project. ClickCreate project.

Create project

Next, specify your targeting parameters.

Select your “Search engine,” “Device,” “Location,” and “Language.” And your business name (optional). 

Click Continue to Keywords to specify the keywords you want to track.

Continue to Keywords

If you know which keywords to track, put them into the box under “Only Keywords” or “Tagged Keywords.” Click Add keywords to campaign to add them to your report.

Add keywords to campaign

Or import keywords from txt or CSV files, another campaign within Semrush, or your Google Analytics account. 

Not sure which keywords to track? Click Semrush suggestions for ideas. Follow the steps to get keyword recommendations. 

Next, click Start Tracking to build your report. 

Start Tracking

Now, view the “Landscape” report. Adjust the date to your desired time frame. 

Here, you’ll see a brief overview of how well your domain ranks for selected keywords. Including “Visibility,” “Estimated Traffic,” and “Average Position” on the SERP.

Position tracking

Next, get an overview of how many keywords you have in the Google top 3, 10, 20, or 100. Including how many keywords have improved or declined. 

Rankings Distribution

Switch to the “Overview” report to see individual rankings. 

“Overview” report

Scroll to the “Rankings Overview” report to see individual rankings. 

Under the “SF” column, view all your keywords with SERP features. “Intent” tells you how many of your keywords are ranking for buyer-intent keywords. Like transactional (T).

Rankings Overview

Organic Traffic

Next, report on the amount of organic traffic your keywords send to your website using Semrush’s Traffic Analytics tool. And assess your site’s performance compared to competitors.

Paste your URL into the search bar and click Analyze.

In this example, we’re using “” 

Traffic Analytics tool

In the “Overview tab, you’ll find high-level traffic metrics. 

Including “Visits,” “Bounce Rate,” “Average Visit Duration,” and “Unique Visitors.”

“Overview” tab

But this initial data doesn’t isolate traffic from organic channels. Scroll to the “Traffic Channels by Type” to segment organic search traffic. 

Uncheck other source boxes to isolate “Organic Search” and “Direct.” Or view it side by side with other channels. 

This shows how your search traffic has changed over time. On the right side of the graph, you’ll see actual traffic numbers for the selected time frame.

Filter by various time spans by clicking the date dropdown.

Traffic Channels by Type

Or click the frequency dropdown to filter by “Daily,” “Weekly,” “Monthly” or “Quarterly.”


Click View full report to see more data on your organic search traffic.

View full report

This automatically opens the “Traffic Journey” report. You’ll see high-level metrics that describe how your “Total Search” traffic has changed over the past month. 

Traffic Analytics

Scroll down to see a “Traffic Journey” graph, a visual representation of how much traffic enters your site from any given channel. And where web visitors go when they leave. 

“Traffic Journey” graph

This data can help you illustrate how well you convert impressions on SERPs into actual website traffic.

New Inbound Links

Report on the number of new inbound links or backlinks to your site. Using Semrush’s Backlink Analytics tool. 

Type your domain into the search bar, and click Analyze.”

Backlink Analytics tool

The Overview tab will display high-level metrics. Like the number of “Referring Domains” and “Backlinks” pointing to your site.

The percentages next to the blue numbers indicate how they’ve changed over the past month.


You’ll also see an “Authority Score,” a proprietary Semrush metric that measures the overall quality of a website or a web page. 

Authority Score

A higher score indicates a high-quality website. It’s calculated based on the number and quality of backlinks and site traffic.

An increase or decrease in your Authority Score could explain a shift in keyword rankings or other SEO metrics.

Scroll to see a visual representation under “New and Lost Backlinks,” of new and lost backlinks. 

Click View full report to see the full list of links you’ve gained and to record the actual number of links for your report.

New and lost backlinks

This automatically opens the “Backlinks” report.

You’ll see the same high-level metrics again. Along with two bar charts that segment your links by Backlink Types and “Link Attributes.”

Backlink Types

Report the difference between follow and nofollow links. Follow links help with SEO. Nofollow links are used for indexing purposes and tell Google not to pass on link equity.

Scroll down to see your site's full list of links. Click New in the menu above the list to isolate recently acquired backlinks. 

Click “New”

A backlink is considered new if less than a month has passed since Semrush first discovered it. Click Time period to filter your report by a specific time frame.

Click “Time period”

Collecting new follow links from high-authority domains can improve your ranking chances for target keywords. And drive more traffic to your site.

Report on new links and Authority Scores of the domains that link to your site. 

SEO Site Health

Regularly audit your website health for technical issues or on-page optimization opportunities as part of your SEO report. 

Semrush’s Site Audit tool collects both.

Enter your domain and click Start Audit to begin.

Start Audit

Click + Create project. Paste your domain name under “Domain” in the pop-up box.

Create project

Click Create project.

Specify your site audit settings. The number of pages you can audit depends on your Semrush subscription level. 

  • Free: 100 pages per audit; 100 pages per month
  • Pro: 20,000 pages per audit; 100,000 pages per month
  • Guru: 20,000 pages per audit; 300,000 pages per month
  • Business: 100,000 pages per audit; 1 million pages per month

Leave the “Crawl source” as-is for now. 

Click Start Site Audit to begin. 

Start Site Audit

You’ll get an email when your report is ready. This can take up to 24 hours. 

Start with the “Overview” report, which provides a snapshot of your site’s health. 

View “Site Health” to see a score based on the number of errors and warnings found on your site. A higher score indicates fewer problems with your site, strong SEO, and a user-friendly experience.

Site Health

Scroll to "Thematic Reports" to view metrics like“Crawlability,” “Site Performance,” and “Internal Linking.” Click "View details" under any report for more information.

Thematic Reports

Scroll to the “Top Issues” report to find issues and recommended solutions. These are possible actionable next steps to add to your SEO report. Like editing meta descriptions or adding H1s.

Top Issues

ClickView details to see the full list of problems affecting your site. 

Filter by severity, categorized as follows:

  • Errors: Issues of the highest severity 
  • Warnings: Issues of medium severity
  • Notices: These aren’t considered issues, but Semrush recommends fixing

Issues details

Click Why and how to fix it to see a full definition of each issue and potential solutions.

Why and how to fix it

These instructions add depth to your SEO audit report. 

3. Add Action Items

After evaluating each data set, add action items to your report. Like this: 

Keyword rankings:

  • Optimize content on pages where you’ve fallen in rank by updating content or adding internal links
  • Create content to rank for new keywords by publishing new blog articles
  • Seek backlinks from sites with a high authority score, targeting specific pages
  • Remove backlinks from sites with a low authority score

Organic traffic:

  • Identify pages that are underperforming for organic traffic. Consider content optimizations. Like adding new content or updating content on the page.
  • Update titles and meta descriptions with new copy to improve CTR from the SERP
  • Create content to rank for new keywords for additional traffic opportunities

Inbound links:

  • Identify new backlink targets and send pitches
  • Identify toxic links and send requests to those domains to remove them

Site SEO health:

  • Update duplicate meta titles or description
  • Remove duplicate website content

4. Build Your Report

You could manually create an SEO report in a spreadsheet or Word document. But that would require manually assembling data, insights, and actionable recommendations. 

Semrush offers several SEO reporting tools and templates available with a free account. 

And automatically aggregate data from Semrush, Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and other tools.

Organic search positions

Automate SEO Reporting with Semrush

Semrush’s My Reports allows you to create beautifully designed and actionable reports in minutes.

It generates a PDF file with data from Semrush’s tools across your marketing channels.

Open the tool to view several template options. And a list of any previous reports you’ve created.

SEO Reporting

Choose a template. Like “Monthly SEO Report” or “Organic Search Positions” report. 

Or click Start from scratch to create a report that meets your specific needs. 

Organic Search Positions Report

Semrush’s “Organic Search Positions” template automatically pulls your domain’s top 100 keywords on Google. 

Click theOrganic Search Positions template to generate this report.

Add your domain. Select a location in the “Database” field and click Create report.

Organic Search Positions

You’ll see a report highlighting your site’s top 100 keywords, displayed in order of highest rankings. 

report highlighting your site’s top 100 keywords

Edit the data displayed in the table by clicking the pencil icon at the top-right corner of the “Organic Search Positions” report. 

Organic Search Positions

Adjust your data as needed. For example, “Position Type” gives you the option to show organic or paid keywords.

Position Type

The “Organic Search Positions Report” is a good snapshot of the keywords driving your visibility and traffic.

Backlinks Report

The Backlinks: Full Report in Semrush’s My Reports analyzes a website's backlink profile. And highlights actionable link-building opportunities.

This report requires you to compare yourself to a competitor. But also allows you to review your isolated data.

In the popup, enter your URL and your competitor’s. 

Backlinks: Full Report

Automatically import data from an existing project in Semrush. Or choose between importing Semrush’s Traffic Analytics or Google Analytics data.

Click Create report to build.

The generated report features an “Overview” section that includes your overall number of backlinks, referring domains, and referring IPs. 

And your Authority Score, along with a definition to provide context for those who might not be familiar with it.

“Overview” section

Scroll to the “Follow vs Nofollow” link breakdown to see a graph that displays the number of links gained and lost within the last six months.

Follow vs Nofollow

Your report includes a list of your referring domains—or those that link back to your site the most. These should have high Authority Scores of their own for the best results.

A list of “Top Indexed Pages” below shows the pages on your site that have attracted the most backlinks.

Top Indexed Pages

This report automatically generates tables that include comparison info between your site and your competitor’s. 

Backlinks competitors comparison

Site Audit Report

The “Site Audit: Full Report” template automatically pulls information from a previous Semrush Site Audit.

If you haven’t run an audit, you’ll need to do so before running this report. 

Once you do, Select your site from the project dropdown list. Then, click Create report.

Site Audit: Full Report

The report includes high-level site performance metrics like “Site Health,” “Crawled Pages,” “Errors,” “Warnings,” “Notices,” and “Top Issues.”

Site audit full report

Scroll for a detailed site issues description. Including definitions and actionable recommendations.

This example surfaced duplicate meta descriptions, organized by type.

The tool shows you a full list of those pages and when they were first flagged. 

duplicate meta descriptions

The template automatically repeats this pattern throughout the audit. For things like duplicate title tags, duplicate content, broken internal links, and more. 

Monthly SEO Report

Semrush’s “Monthly SEO Report” template combines data from several Semrush tools for a high-level view of your SEO performance.

Including data such as organic traffic, search positions, backlinks, and more.

Enter your domain. 

Select your preferred “Device,” “Database,” and “Project” if relevant. And select Semrush or Google Analytics as your traffic source.

ClickCreate report.

Monthly SEO report

Semrush will automatically generate monthly SEO with “Traffic” analytics first. 

This includes a high-level overview of your site’s: 

  • Visits
  • Visitors
  • Pages/Visit 
  • Avg. Visit Duration
  • Bounce Rate


Your report's “Traffic” section includes an overview of your traffic channels and unique visitors by device.

Under “New vs Lost Organic Keywords,” view keywords you’ve won and lost over the past month.

Under “Improved vs Declined Organic Keywords,” a graph displays how your position has changed in the past 30 days.


An additional chart visualizes backlink types. And how many links you’ve gained and lost over the past six months.


Consider this report a customizable starting point for understanding your SEO performance.

Custom Reports

Don't want to use a template? Create a custom report featuring the most important data for your site by clicking "Start from scratch.

You can build your report using over 200 different widgets. Such as “Position tracking” or “Organic traffic.”

Start from scratch

After creating a blank report, select a “Widget” from the left-hand menu to populate your report.

select a “Widget”

For instance, click Domain Analytics find widgets to detail your site’s traffic and more. 

Domain Analytics

Drag and drop any widget onto your report.

Domain Analytics

This will open a dialogue box to customize your widget's data parameters.

Enter a “Domain or URL” and select your “Scope,” “Device,” “Database,” and “Database Date.” Then, clickApply.”

Organic search

A widget will appear in your custom report, populated with data based on your selections. 

Organic search

Customize your report’s design to match your branding. Or your client’s, if applicable.  

Click your report’s title or logo to edit them. Or add additional text boxes and images to your liking.


Add additional text or images by using “Formatting” widgets. Click the image icon on the left-hand menu in Semrush’s My Reports to open the “Formatting” menu.

Drag and drop modules to customize a “Heading,” “Image,” “Text,” and more.

“Formatting” widgets

Inserting a text box allows you to add insights to your report and communicate action items based on the data presented.

Action items

Customize your report’s color, font, and design using Semrush’s themes. Select the wand icon from the menu and choose a theme.


Some themes contain a few basic colors. Others allow you to customize further using your brand images. Like the example below.

Organic search positions report

Semrush’s library of widgets and customization features empower you to create an SEO report that suits your custom needs and focuses on the most actionable recommendations.

Share Reports Regularly

When you’re ready to share your SEO report, click Generate PDF Report in the top-right corner of the My Reports screen.

Generate PDF Report

Choose from several customization features. Such as the ability to schedule reports, include a table of contents, or remove Semrush’s branding. 

Toggle Email Report.” Then, customize the subject line and body text. 

Click Generate and send at the bottom.

Generate PDF Report

Build an Actionable SEO Report

The most effective way to build an SEO report is to focus on actionable insights and high-quality data. 

Whether creating SEO reports for clients or an in-house team, Semrush’s My Reports provides the best of both worlds by integrating data from multiple Semrush tools and third-party sources.

Even better? It automates the process of collecting and analyzing data and report creation.

Get started with a free Semrush trial.

About the Author
Nadica Naceva, Head of Content at Influencer Marketing Hub, is a seasoned writer and reviewer with in-depth expertise in digital and content marketing. Leveraging her extensive experience in guiding content creation and strategic direction, Nadica brings a critical eye and analytical approach to reviewing articles and educational pieces. Her commitment to accuracy, integrity, and innovation with each review helps IMH grow as a leading source in influencer marketing. Her insights are backed by first-party data, ensuring content meets the highest standards of relevance.