Excited to get your report card? If your answer is no, you’re either a schoolchild or not thinking about a free SEO report card.
Here’s a report card you actually want to get—one that provides in-depth SEO analysis.
Unlike one from school, you can get it right now in under five minutes with a free Semrush subscription. Plus, your parents won’t be upset with you no matter how it turns out.
Why You Need an SEO Report Card
A report card can give you an accurate, visual benchmark of where you are now and what you can do to improve your website going forward.
You can do this by focusing on three main parts of an organic traffic strategy. Think of each as subjects you need to pass.
We’ll go through each together so you can ace them all (with Semrush as your study aid).
What SEO Grades Should Go in Your Report Card?
SEO works best by improving your online visibility as a whole. After an audit, you can analyze what is helping your organic reach versus what’s hurting it.
So what exactly does that mean?
At the very least, you’ll need to focus on the three big areas of SEO:
- Technical SEO: The parts of your site that deal with code optimization and proper site architecture
- On-page SEO: Including the right target keywords in your content, using markups, and writing great page titles and descriptions
- Off-page SEO: Activities happening on other parts of the web (not on your website) that impact your site rankings
In other words, your SEO report card should be a holistic overview.
On Semrush, it’s easy to build a report card with tools that grade your site health (technical SEO), content (on-page SEO), and your backlink profile (off-page SEO).
We’ll show you how to include grades for each of these in your report:
- Technical health
- Website authority
- Total backlinks
- Organic keywords
- SEO ideas/next steps
Download our sample SEO report card PDF here.
Just like a regular report card, these reports show areas that could use improvement as well as those that are just fine the way they are.
Optimizing your website is a constant process. It’s essential to upkeep each factor even if you don’t need to improve an area at the time of your SEO analysis.
Grade Your Technical SEO with Site Audit
Getting a perfect mark on your site’s technical SEO can be a challenge, especially when Google dishes out a pop quiz with its core algorithm updates. These semi-annual updates can tank your site rank if you’re not building your site the way that Google prefers.
So, what else can affect your technical SEO?
While no one can control Google’s algorithm and its updates, the factors that we can control include:
- Site speed
- Loading time
- Clean, concise code
- Proper redirects
- Website structure
Especially if you’re not a web developer, it’s a lot to keep track of. And it’s far from easy to realize when one factor goes wrong. Your site could lose a few places in the SERP (search engine results page) before you notice an error or unoptimized piece of code.
However, you can stay on top of unexpected site snafus with Site Audit. This site health solution grades how good your technical SEO is as a whole and by each element that could affect it (over 140 checks in total). It sections up your technical SEO score by:
- Use of HTTPS
- Core Web Vitals
- Site performance
- International SEO (if applicable)
These scores can make up the bulk of the technical SEO section of your report card.
The tool also prioritizes each factor as issues, warnings, and notifications depending on how badly it impacts your website. Plus, it’ll show you each status over time with a free trial. Without a trial, Site Audit can still crawl up to 100 of your webpages daily for free.
What do these scores mean?
A perfect score of 100% on one of the Thematic Reports means there’s nothing more you need to optimize for that factor. The lower the score, the more you need to improve.
The Site Health score under the Overview tab looks at your tech SEO as a whole. Just like each Thematic Report, the higher the score is, the less you’ll have to polish up. It’s a must-have on your report card.
We wouldn’t want to leave you with just a grade, though. You can learn how to fix problem areas under the Issues report in Site Audit.
Fix the obstacles and watch your grade rise.
Use the Site Health score as your technical health grade.
Off-Page SEO Grades: Authority Score and Backlinks
Now for the part of SEO that you have much less control of—your off-page SEO. There are many different forms of off-page SEO. Some of these are:
- Content syndication
- Social media marketing
- Guest posts
- PR posts
Yet, there’s one that makes a big impact: link building. Backlinks are a social signal to Google that your website gets a vote of confidence from other people, and is, therefore, an “authority” on your subject matter.
And that’s a big deal.
Reputable votes of confidence from trusted sites can boost your brand’s visibility on Google..
Using Authority Score to Grade Your Off-Page SEO
You can understand the impact of your off-page SEO with Semrush’s Authority Score. It’s based on more than just your backlink profile, but backlinks are a major factor in its calculation. The best score is 100 while the worst is 0.
Use Authority Score to help gauge your off-page SEO score.
Backlink Analytics and Your Off-Page SEO
Another important grade to put on your report is your site’s number of backlinks. Backlink Analytics tracks how many backlinks and referring domains link to your website.
The report shows the current state of your backlink profile and its growth (or lack of). Using metrics like these will help you understand whether or not you need to improve on your off-page SEO.
A growing number of reputable referring domains linking to your website likely shows you have quality content and a solid outreach strategy. If not, that’s an area to improve your SEO.
Combine these metrics to get a grade on your off-page SEO and overall authority on your report card for SEO.
TIP: Use Backlink Analytics to help gauge your off-page SEO score.
See the Results of Your Organic Research Strategy
Take a screenshot of the numbers at the top of the report here so you can add the image to your report card.
Without a trial, you can get the metrics behind up to 10 keywords per day. With a free trial, you could request up to 10,000 keyword metrics every day.
Regardless of your decision, Organic Research gives you a few scores of its own.
It takes off points when it sees your keyword rank has dropped/disappeared in Google’s first 10 SERP results. It also adds points when you’ve risen positions or gained a new one.
Feel free to pop in a competitor’s domain to see what keywords they’re ranking for.
Use the Keywords metric, the Traffic metric, and the Traffic Cost metric to see your organic keywords score.
Next Steps with On-Page SEO Checker
Your next area to grade is on-page SEO. Google grades your on-page SEO based on many elements of your website that you can control. All of these on-page factors are easy to control and can have a significant impact on your SEO:
- URL names
- Meta descriptions
- Meta titles
- Site content
- Good use of HTML
You have an idea of what content you want to write to boost your organic traffic. But you’re not sure if your on-page SEO efforts are working in the first place.
You could just randomly try out topics and see what works if you want to waste precious time and money. Or you could go another route.
You’ve seen which keywords your site is ranking for. You’ve even seen the keywords your competitors rank for that could boost your SEO. Yet, how can you optimize your website with these keywords?
Here’s a solution:
You can find tons of ideas to boost your positions for your targeted keywords with On Page SEO Checker. It provides ways to optimize your existing content based on your top 10 competitor’s content and the keywords of your choice.
On Page SEO Checker can tell you which pages to optimize based on your targeted keywords and how to improve your website for potential visitors.
The higher number of Total Ideas, the more you have to improve on your website. As you check off items on this list you’ll notice a better score on your next report card.
Again, take a screenshot like the one above so you can see in your report card how many ideas you have and how much potential traffic you could by making them.
Get 10 SEO ideas by just signing up or up to 2,000 ideas with a free, 7-day trial.
Use the Total Ideas score on your report card to help grade your on-page SEO.
How to Build Your SEO Report Card
So, you checked your grades and gathered screenshots of the most important points. Now it’s time to put it all together with our free SEO report card tool (aka Reports).
You’ve got plenty of options on what you’d like on your free SEO report card. We’ve got templates for you to use that pull from our suite of tools you can use with a free subscription.
You could also create a report card from scratch by choosing the blank option in the Template Gallery.
For a nice overall view, we’d suggest including these on your report card:
- Site Audit: Overview (widget)
- Backlinks: Totals (widget)
- SEO Ideas from On Page SEO Checker (screenshot from UI)
- Organic Keywords from Organic Research (screenshot from UI)
Getting these metrics shows you a decent idea of where your online visibility stands as a whole. Use the drag-and-drop feature to pull metrics from Site Audit: Overview and Backlinks: Totals.
Then, you can take your screenshots from On Page SEO Checker and Organic Research. Easily insert them with the image widget from the bottom of the Report menu.
If you want to save this report as a template and make more report cards, sign up for a free trial of Pro or Guru. You’ll be able to get more limits and make more in-depth report cards for whatever website you’re working on.
With that—class is dismissed! No matter your grades, there’s always room for improvement. See how you can be at the top of the class (and Google) with Semrush.