3 SEO tools to build for your clients in Data Studio

With the wide variety of clients, you’re bound to run into the occasional DIY marketer. These marketers would rather you teach them to be self-reliant than rely on you for every little question.

These customers can be a blessing but can also be dangerous. The difficult part of managing customers is finding the balance between empowering them to get the data they want without feeling like they don’t need you.

This is where Google Data Studio tools come in.

Data Studio is typically used for general reporting. The real beauty of Data Studio is that it can be used for so much more.

By creating tools for clients, you enable them to do the research necessary to accomplish SEO while providing the much-needed maintenance and guidance that comes with the experience.

This article illustrates free dashboard templates that you can use with your clients.

How to change the brand

Before we dive into the details, you might want to update your dashboard branding and logo. This process couldn’t be easier.

Right-click on your logo, and you’ll see a menu appear. At the bottom, select “Extract theme from image”. You will then be presented with three different color combination options. Select the one that you think best represents your brand.

This will automatically change most colors and get you to the design finish line in your Data Studio tool. However, there may still be some graphics or text that you will need to update.

1. Technical SEO audit

Tracking technical SEO efforts can be difficult to visualize. Sure, you can track it in a spreadsheet, but that’s not client friendly.

For years, SEOs have attempted to create dashboard trackers to help show improvements in site health over time.

Fortunately, our friends at Screaming Frog have finally solved the case for the perfect technical SEO dashboard. The best part? The model is free. You can see it here.

How to copy the dashboard

To copy the dashboard:

  1. Click on the three dots at the top right
  2. Select make a copy
  3. Select your data source (don’t worry, you can update later)

How to set up the technical SEO tracking tool

Screaming Frog has published a helpful guide on setting up this Data Studio tool. What they will guide you includes:

  • Configure a scheduled crawl
  • Configuring Export to Google Sheet
  • Connect this Google sheet to the Data Studio dashboard

You can find the complete tutorial here.

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2. Keyword research

Keyword research presentation takes many forms. Most recognizable is the simple spreadsheet. Some people create keyword maps for each page or topic, while others with smaller clients have a short list of keywords.

However, Data Studio can be a powerful analysis tool for larger sites with tens of thousands or millions of keywords.

If you work with millions of keywords, don’t use Google Sheets like this example. I recommend using BigQuery to manage your keywords.

here is the link to dashboard.

First step: Configure your source data

The first step is to import your keyword research into a Google Spreadsheet. To use the free template I created, you’ll need to include the following dimensions and metrics in your Google sheet:

  • Keyword
  • Position
  • Previous post
  • Search volume
  • Keyword difficulty
  • CPC
  • URLs
  • Keyword intent

Here is the original data source for the dashboard that you can use as an example. All data comes from Semrush.

Second step: copy the dashboard

As we learned in the previous dashboard, you’ll want to make a copy of this dashboard and connect your data source, be it Google Sheets or BigQuery.

Important features of this Data Studio tool

This tool has many unique features that can be used to help drive your on-page SEO strategy. Depending on your strategy, these features can be customized to display different types of data and categories.

Boolean buttons

The three buttons in this tool are based on custom boolean formulas, meaning they operate on true/false statements. Let’s take a look at one of them.

We are creating a function just to show long-tail queries that start with a question word in the formula above. This formula relies on regex, with two very important symbols:

  • The circumflex (^) is a regex function that basically means “if the keyword starts with this”.
  • The pipe symbol (|) is another regex function that means “or”.

Using this formula, you can create any number of different checkbox types. I added some keywords separated by pipes (|) to help display the keywords in these categories for SEO and PPC checkboxes.

The custom search box is quite a simple yet powerful feature of this tool. Not only can it help you quickly narrow down your search to identify keyword opportunities, but it can also use the power of regex to personalize your search.

Intent dropdown

The keyword intent drop-down list can help you filter based on the intent of each keyword in the search funnel. Simple enough, right?

Well, this filter can be easily replaced with any dimension in Data Studio. So if you want to swap it out for other keyword categories, this may be the perfect filter for you.


This funnel visualizes the true search funnel by intent. As you apply other filters in this tool, the funnel and metrics above are automatically updated with intents.

Link building is one of the most tense topics that SEOs like to avoid with their clients. Links are hard to earn and often the hardest thing to control.

The best way to earn the trust of customers and stakeholders is through transparency. Instead of dodging data around link building, give them the keys and let them explore the data on their own.

It’s one of the simplest Data Studio tools we can create. You can combine any number of dimensions and metrics to illustrate your point.

Here is a link to the free pattern.

The supporting Google sheet I use is a simple backlink analysis report from SEMrush. However, you can use your own link building tracker to power the report. Just be sure to add the acquisition date for the date range.

You can view the Google spreadsheet that powers the tool here.


Data Studio is one of the fastest reporting tools to set up while maintaining very robust functionality. The fact that it is also free makes it an easy platform of choice.

But it begs the question, why go to so much trouble for customers and other stakeholders?

These tools help create a better sense of transparency, which can help improve trust. Thus, creating a better partnership between you and your stakeholders.

One of the hardest parts of SEO is not the work itself, but the communication of value. So, starting now, think of new, creative ways to demonstrate value to your customers, even if it’s just creating a simple tool in Data Studio.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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About the Author

John McAlpin directs SEO strategy for Cardinal Digital Marketing, an Atlanta-based SEO agency focused on serving healthcare businesses in the United States. Currently based in Dallas, John is deeply engaged in the local and national SEO community and has a strong background in technical SEO, web development, and digital marketing strategy. John also provides freelance web development services for WordPress hosted sites.

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