My favorite analogy to define Search Engine Optimization is the growth of fingernails. They are constantly growing, but they’re doing so in a way that is very hard to notice, almost impossible. It’s only when they grow you realize, “Oh, it actually happened”. But if you’re too keen to monitor their growth, maybe what you could do is put a mark on one of your nails and see it gradually grow. This is also the perfect template for tracking SEO progress – set your marks and see how they are doing.

How to monitor SEO progress

I don’t need to tell you why it is important to track the progress of your SEO. Obviously, anything you have put time, money, and effort into, you’d see how much return on those things you’re getting. Also, SEO is mostly trial and error and no one strategy fits all websites. So, you really have to see what’s working for you, double down your effort on that, and stop wasting time on solutions that are not yielding any results.

So now the logical next question here is: how do I monitor SEO progress? Let’s unfold the answer gradually.

Keeping track of your SEO progress depends on your goals and what aspects of your website you are trying to improve. A generalized SEO plan takes care of everything from URL length to complex technical SEO, but a specific approach focusing on one or two indicators would have a different outlook.

The mechanism of keeping track of different SEO strategies varies, but any SEO progress report must keep track of these five key metrics. With each metric, I have attached a report template to give you an idea about how to monitor SEO progress with key features.

1.  Keyword rankings

Tracking keyword rankings in an SEO report involves a detailed analysis of keyword performance over time. After you have selected a mix of high-volume, medium-volume, and long-tail keywords relevant to your business and target audience, focus on tracking high-priority keywords that directly impact your business goals.

Here’s a step-by-step process on how you could track keywords’ movement:

Establish Baseline Rankings: Record the initial positions of your target keywords at the start of the reporting period and use SEO tools like Google Search Console, SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Moz to extract current keyword rankings.

Monitor Keyword Movements: Track changes in keyword positions over the reporting period and highlight keywords that have moved up, down, or remained stable. Keep a note of significant jumps or drops in rankings and correlate them with SEO activities or algorithm updates.

Visualize Keyword Performance: Use graphs and charts to visualize keyword ranking trends over time and highlight keywords with significant positive or negative changes. If applicable, break down keyword performance by geographic location to identify regional strengths and weaknesses.

Identify Stagnant or Declining Rankings: Analyze keywords that aren’t improving or are dropping in rank. This might suggest a need for content optimization or a shift in search intent.

If you are making an SEO client progress report for keyword ranking, here’s how you should structure it:

Report Period: [Start Date] to [End Date]

  1. Executive summary

This should include a brief summary of keyword performance and major changes. You can also give a recap of the SEO goals related to keyword rankings.

  1. Baseline and current rankings

Initial Rankings (Baseline):

Keyword 1: Position [X]

Keyword 2: Position [X]

Keyword 3: Position [X]

  • Current rankings

Keyword 1: Position [Y]

Keyword 2: Position [Y]

Keyword 3: Position [Y]

Keyword Performance Overview

  1. Total keywords tracked: [Number]

Keywords Improved: [Number and percentage]

Keywords Declined: [Number and percentage]

Stable Keywords: [Number and percentage]

Top Performing Keywords

  1. Keywords entering Top 10:

Keyword 1: From Position [Old] to Position [New]

Keyword 2: From Position [Old] to Position [New]

Keywords with Most Significant Improvement:

Keyword 1: From Position [Old] to Position [New]

Keyword 2: From Position [Old] to Position [New]

Keyword Segmentation Analysis

  1. Branded keywords

Keyword 1: Position [Y]

Keyword 2: Position [Y]

Non-Branded Keywords:

Keyword 1: Position [Y]

Keyword 2: Position [Y]

2.  Search Visibility

Search visibility is a crucial SEO metric that reflects how easily users can find your website in search results. Tracking improvement in search visibility involves a detailed approach to ensure you capture all relevant data and analyze it effectively. There are two main ways to measure search visibility:

Keyword Rankings: You can track the average ranking of your target keywords over time. A higher ranking indicates better visibility.

SEO Visibility Score: Alternatively, you can utilize tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs that provide a score based on your website’s ranking for a set of keywords. The higher the score, the better the online visibility.

Once you have decided on your approach, the next step is to establish a baseline for keyword rankings. Here, you can identify your top 10-20 most important keywords using keyword research tools and establish the lowest points for impressions, CTR, average position, and search visibility score. Create a document or spreadsheet to store these baseline metrics. This serves as your reference point for measuring improvement.

Then, identify and track a set of relevant keywords to monitor their individual performance over time. You have to schedule tracking at regular intervals (e.g., monthly or weekly) and calculate the average ranking for your tracked keywords. Compare it to the previous period’s average. Show the change as a percentage improvement or decline. This will give you an idea if your visibility is improving or not. Here’s what should go into a report measuring SEO progress in terms of search visibility.

Reporting Period: [Start Date] to [End Date]

Executive summary

Overview: Summary of keyword ranking performance and visibility improvements.

Key Achievements: Notable improvements in keyword rankings and visibility.

  1. Keyword rankings overview

Total Keywords Tracked: [Number]

Average Position: [Average position of all tracked keywords]

Number of Keywords in Top 3: [Number]

Number of Keywords in Top 10: [Number]

Number of Keywords in Top 20: [Number]

  1. Keyword performance details

Top 10 Keywords Performance:

KeywordStart PositionCurrent PositionChange in PositionSearch Volume
[Keyword 1][Position][Position][+/- Position][Volume]
[Keyword 2][Position][Position][+/- Position][Volume]
[Keyword 3][Position][Position][+/- Position][Volume]
  • Visibility score

Initial Visibility Score: [Score at the start]

Current Visibility Score: [Current score]

Visibility Score Change: [+/- Percentage]

  1. Organic traffic and conversions

Total Organic Traffic: [Number]

Change in Organic Traffic: [+/- Percentage]

Organic Conversions: [Number]

Conversion Rate: [Percentage]

  1. Competitor analysis

Competitor Rankings Comparison:

CompetitorKeywordCompetitor PositionYour PositionChange in Position
[Competitor 1][Keyword][Position][Position][+/- Position]
[Competitor 2][Keyword][Position][Position][+/- Position]


  1. Recommendations and Next Steps

Immediate Actions: [List of recommended actions]

Long-term Strategy: [Outline of strategic recommendations]

Additional Opportunities: [Suggestions for new opportunities]

3.  Backlinks and referring domains

Tracking the improvements in backlinks and referring domains starts with an initial audit to determine your current state of backlinks. Here, you have to look for three things:

New vs. lost backlinks: Look for trends in the number of backlinks you gain and lose over time. A healthy backlink profile shows a steady increase in new backlinks with minimal losses.

Referring domain growth: Track the number of unique websites linking to your site (referring domains). Aim for a steady increase in referring domains.

Backlink quality: Don’t just focus on quantity. Look at the quality of your backlinks. High-quality backlinks come from reputable, relevant websites.

Anchor text distribution: Analyze the text used in links pointing to your site (anchor text). A natural distribution of anchor texts, with a mix of branded and keyword-rich anchors, is ideal.

Improving backlinks works in tandem with your other SEO actions. For example, if you have refreshed a blog’s content you can track how many backlinks it is now getting as compared to before.

This will present you with actionable data regarding your outreach strategies for backlink acquisition. With this data, you can improve many things, like targeting specific high-authority sites, diversifying anchor texts, or creating more link-worthy content.

Here’s a template for a report on how to track SEO progress in terms of improvements in backlinks and referring domains.

Report Period: [Start Date] to [End Date]

  1. Summary of backlinks

Total Backlinks: [Current Total]

New Backlinks Acquired: [Number]

Lost Backlinks: [Number]

Comparison to Previous Period: [Percentage increase/decrease]

  1. Summary of referring domains

Total Referring Domains: [Current Total]

New Referring Domains: [Number]

Comparison to Previous Period: [Percentage increase/decrease]

  • Backlink quality analysis

Average Domain Authority (or Rating): [Score]

  1. Top Referring Domains:

Domain 1: [Number of Backlinks, DA]

Domain 2: [Number of Backlinks, DA]

Domain 3: [Number of Backlinks, DA]

  1. Actionable insights

Content Attracting Most Backlinks: [Page/Content Type]

Opportunities for New Backlinks: [Strategies]

Recovery of Lost Backlinks: [Steps Taken]

  1. Competitor analysis

Competitor 1: [Number of Backlinks, DA]

Competitor 2: [Number of Backlinks, DA]

4.  Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals consist of three key metrics:

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): It measures loading performance. Aim for LCP to occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page starts loading.

First Input Delay (FID): It measures interactivity. Aim for FID to be less than 100 milliseconds.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): It measures visual stability. Aim for a CLS score of less than 0.1.

Before making any changes, record the current state of your CWV metrics and then regularly monitor them. You can use detailed insights from tools like Lighthouse and PageSpeed Insights to identify specific issues causing poor CWV scores. Some of the common issues might include:

LCP: Slow server response times, render-blocking resources, and large images.

FID: Heavy JavaScript execution, long task durations.

CLS: Unstable elements without dimension attributes, dynamic content.

5.  Website health

A healthy website is easier for search engines to crawl and understand, which can lead to better rankings and organic traffic. Tracking improvements in website health is crucial for maintaining and enhancing SEO performance. The first step in tracking your website’s health is identifying the baseline for the following metrics:

  • Site Health Score
  • Number of crawl errors
  • Page load time
  • Number of broken links
  • Core Web Vitals metrics
  • Mobile usability score
  • HTTPS implementation status
  • XML sitemap status
  • txt file status

After you have identified issues, implement the solutions you have outlined in your SEO strategy. The next step is to schedule regular website audits (e.g., monthly or quarterly) and compare the new reports to your baseline. Analyze how many issues have been resolved and any new ones that may have surfaced. Then provide recommendations based on the current website health status. For example, if page load times are still high, suggest specific optimization techniques.

Here’s a template on how to monitor SEO progress and report the website’s health improvements:

Report Period: [Start Date] to [End Date]

  1. Site health score

Baseline (January): 75%

Current (May): 85%

Goal: Increase to 90% by July

Actions Taken: Fixed broken links, optimized images, reduced server response time.

Impact: Improved user experience and reduced bounce rate by 10%.

  1. Crawl errors

Baseline: 100 errors (404, 500, etc.)

Current: 20 errors

Actions Taken: Corrected broken internal links, resolved server issues.

Impact: Enhanced crawl efficiency and improved indexing.

  • Page load time

Baseline: 5.0 seconds

Current: 2.8 seconds

Goal: Achieve under 3 seconds consistently

Actions Taken: Implemented lazy loading, compressed images, and minified CSS/JavaScript.

Impact: Increased average session duration by 15%.

  1. Core Web Vitals


LCP: 3.5s

FID: 100ms

CLS: 0.2


LCP: 2.5s

FID: 80ms

CLS: 0.1

  1. Goal: Get all Core Web Vitals in the green zone

Actions Taken: Improved server response time, and optimized font loading.

Impact: Boosted SEO rankings and user satisfaction.

Domain Authority (DA) / Domain Rating (DR)


Tracking every step of the SEO is important to stay on track to achieve your goals. SEO progress is never linear and requires constant improvisation based on data and insights. A thorough and periodic report helps you identify what aspects of your SEO plans are working and what you should do to further improve your optimization efforts.