Well-written, informative and comprehensive content that includes a rich mix of relevant keywords is the foundation of successful search engine optimization (SEO). So, how do you build that foundation?

You do it by using keywords that support the creation of top-notch content, then track the results and make improvements that further boost your positioning on SERPs as time goes on. SEO ranking reports can empower you to do exactly this, and support plenty of related objectives, too.

These compilations of relevant and useful info fuel exceptional blog posts, white papers, case studies, landing pages and so much more.

In our experience — and we have plenty of it when it comes to SEO — we’ve found some tools stand out for their ability to consistently drive positive results for digital marketers. Keep reading to learn about our favorite platforms for generating SEO ranking reports, as well as handy advice for making the most of the details they contain.

SEO Ranking Reports: Why You Need Them

There are keywords that matter to your business. These are the words and phrases that best describe and are deeply relevant to your products or services, general operations and company goals.

There are also keywords that matter to Google and every other search engine. These terms support high SERP positioning because they firmly connect to users’ common queries.

An SEO ranking report can help you find that oh-so valuable middle ground: Keywords that are accurate and effective in all respects. By generating a report around a target keyword, you can identify not only the best keywords to focus on while maintaining relevance to your business, but factors like ideal frequency of use and optimized content length as well.

Reports continue to provide value when created for existing content, too. Want to tell which of your pages gets the most overall traffic or analyze the performance of a specific keyword? Let keyword research and related SEO reporting be your guide.

Tracking performance and changes in ranking for existing content helps you draw a map for reoptimization and continuing improvement.

The Basics of SEO Report Generation

An SEO report needs to contain actionable information, whether it’s generated to support the creation of an entirely new piece of content or chart the SERP position and search volume of existing assets.

To be more specific, Semrush highlighted some areas that every report on existing content should cover. That includes progress made, activities engaged in to improve results, and recommendations for future action.

For reports created to drive new content, similar principles apply. Reporting should highlight keywords and recommended usage, as well as analysis and rankings of similar pages, along with strategies for crafting effective content (like answering commonly asked questions).

In terms of cadence, regularly generating reports is your best bet. You can’t craft competitive content without strong and consistent reporting, of course.

When it comes to existing assets, regular reporting and review is the best path forward for everything from measuring the value of outbound links to tracking SERP performance. Reporting makes challenges and opportunities clearer, giving you more confidence and context to move forward with your SEO strategy.

Our Favorite Platforms for Generating Ranking Reports

There are so many choices for generating an SEO report. Plenty of questions come along, to help you choose between them:

  • Can a paid platform provide more value, or could the savings from a free keyword ranking tool support other SEO and digital marketing efforts?
  • How does a chosen site take mobile SEO into account? What about local SEO?
  • How many types of reports can I generate?
  • What types of information are available? Can I access related terms for a target keyword as well as questions and topics associated with related search queries?

We could keep going, but the point is already clear: There’s an awful lot of variation in SEO reporting tools. That makes finding the best option for your SEO strategy a top priority. Here are a few of our favorites.


Semrush includes more than 50 tools for digital marketing in general, with many focused on SEO and related content creation needs. This comprehensive platform offers reporting and analysis related to:

  • Keyword research.
  • On-page SEO.
  • Local SEO.
  • Rank tracking.
  • Link building.
  • Competitor SEO analysis.
  • Content optimization.
  • Content marketing analytics.

The company prides itself on providing a combination of data and strategy through its platform, as well as an exceptionally large database of keywords, ads and URLs — all crawled daily. Audits, competitor tracking and automated recommendations based on data and report generation are additional benefits.

Semrush recently added an app center, which features add-on programs that can supplement your reporting with info more closely geared to your industry, the type of content being analyzed and more.

All of these features come at a cost, although the company’s subscription plan includes three tiers with different levels of access to the platform’s functions. Additional features come a la carte, giving you flexibility in terms of spending and selecting the tools you need to generate effective reporting for your business.


Ahrefs describes its application as a complete SEO toolset. With processes to optimize websites, analyze competitors and high-performing content, research keywords and generate SEO reports all included, it’s hard to argue with that claim.

The company supports users beyond direct functionality through a deep library of learning materials, as well as an active community and effective support. Access to those training and educational resources is free, and the company encourages users to learn about Ahrefs and the ways in which it can support SEO strategy before paying for a trial ($7 for a week of use) or purchasing full access. Users have 4 monthly subscription options:

  1. Lite: $99.
  2. Standard: $179.
  3. Advanced: $399.
  4. Agency $999.

Ahrefs earned an 8.9/10 aggregate score based on more than 240 reviews submitted by its users to TrustRadius, along with a “Top Rated 2021” distinction. The business boasts similarly positive aggregate reviews on sites like Capterra, G2 and Trustpilot.


Ryte offers effective tools for SEO analysis, keyword reporting, website optimization and similarly vital processes, just like all of the other entries on this list of our favorites.

However, the company positions itself as the industry leader in website user experience, a unique approach compared to our other favorite tools for generating SEO reporting. To support this differentiation, Ryte takes a “6 pillars” approach to website improvement.

That includes solutions to address traditional optimization needs (pillar No. 1), such as SEO, along with related priorities like website quality (pillar No. 2) and performance (pillar No. 3). The other 3 pillars, sustainability, accessibility and compliance, may not directly influence SEO efforts. But they help companies better serve all users, address the environmental impact of digital operations and stay on the right side of relevant regulations and laws.

Ryte offers a variety of educational resources to support users in each of these 6 areas. Its 3 pricing options (the company is based in Germany and lists its costs in Euros, so we’ve converted them into dollar amounts below) offer companies of many sizes cost-effective paths forward:

  1. Basic plans cost roughly $85 per month.
  2. Business plans total about $340 per month.
  3. Custom plans for especially large websites are exactly that — the price is based on additional services and features incorporated into the subscription.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free service, and that fact bears repeating in a market full of paid options.

While Search Console doesn’t include robust, personalized support like many top subscription options, it’s an entirely effective system for monitoring and troubleshooting your website’s SERP rankings on Google.

You can’t generate an SEO or keyword ranking report directly through Search Console, but you can:

  • Identify the terms users search to reach your site.
  • View search data to identify trends.
  • Receive alerts about issues with indexing and other potential problems.
  • Track backlinks to your site.
  • Identify opportunities to improve related to mobile use and display in AMP results.

Search Console might best be viewed as a complementary SEO tool for use in conjunction with our other top listed services. Be sure to incorporate it into your broader SEO strategy.

Putting Your Ranking Report Results into Action

Content optimization can go a long way toward ranking on Page 1, increasing visibility and drawing in more potential customers.

This process is complex. Semrush put together about 3,700 words on the topic recently (which might be a head-scratcher if you think about it too deeply — content optimization about content optimization), and there’s plenty more to say about this workflow.

With that said, the gist is enough to get started: Strong content optimization depends on actionable information, which comes from dependable and in-depth SEO reporting and related data. The most powerful optimized content balances valuable information and guidance for users with data about keywords, intent, length and similarly important factors to reach a highly visible position.

Because an SEO report can tell your company what terms users associate with your offerings, the data contained within doesn’t just inform technical placement of keywords or the frequency with which you should use them. Crucially, a report can also help shape content, pointing editorial and SEO teams toward the topics that matter the most to readers.

Keeping Up SEO Ranking Momentum

SEO is far from a set-it-and-forget-it type of process. Developing optimized content on the first pass, or fine-tuning an existing piece, doesn’t guarantee perpetually good results. Those efforts are certainly worth it, but the environment your content lives in is dynamic.

Regular assessments of current content, including competitor research to determine how similar pages are performing, can help you maintain — and even improve — the relevancy of those pages.

Generating SEO ranking reports and similar analysis on a predictable cadence can set you up for long-term success. Pages might drop down on SERPs due to competitors generating strong new content and shifts in user intent related to keywords, among other reasons. Without consistently generating insight into performance, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to make agile adjustments and avoid major drop-offs in ranking that can seriously harm the digital visibility of your business.

While pages don’t need to be analyzed and tweaked constantly, a steady pace of review supports continued positive results.

Boosting Search Performance, Now and in the Future

You want to make it as easy as possible for potential and current customers to not only find your company’s website, but land on the content that most closely matches the intent of their search.

Making this information highly visible and easily accessible requires a careful and considered approach to SEO, driven by actionable SEO ranking reports and related data. But it’s entirely possible — as long as you have the right SEO tools, strategy and intent on your side.

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Perry Robbin is a Brafton writer based in Chicago. He most enjoys the variety and opportunities to learn that come along with the role of a content writer. His interests include the New England Patriots, New Haven-style pizza and classic TV.