Google Analytics for SEO_
Google Analytics is the most accessible website traffic tool for small businesses. Though it doesn’t offer the depth of some paid tools, it does provide some exclusive features, and given it is free and easy to use, it is a must for any SEO and Web Design strategy.
Tip: In order to ensure you keep a consistent record of your analytics data, we recommend you install Google analytics yourself or outsource your analytics to a web development firm and provide them with a tracking code. It is often the case that businesses fail to track their data over time, and this can cause problems when switching services later on. It is also recommended you have more than one administrator should someone fall ill, or leave your company.
Installing Google Analytics
The installation process for Google Analytics is simple. Firstly, you will need to create a Google Account. Once you have signed in, visit the Google Analytics to get started with installing your website tracking code. Once you have filled out some website information you will be provided your Tracking ID / Code.
You will need to copy and paste your tracking code into all the pages you wish to track. Generally with most Content Management Systems, you will only need to do this once in the template file. Once this is completed, traffic stats should start to show within 24 hours.
Google Analytics Reporting Area
When you are logged into Google Analytics, make sure you hit the reporting tab at the top of the screen. This will provide you with a sub menu down the left hand side.
The Google algorithm is complex. Google measures over 200 signals to rank websites, with each signal having multiple factors and an individual weighting in regards to rank value. Part of this algorithm however, is based on the usability and interaction that happens on your website.
Here we’ll cover some of the tools in Analytics that can help you measure the effectiveness of your website. All sections in Google Analytics allow you to adjust the visibility of statistics by date. This gives you the opportunity to compare traffic by month or year, and a clear visibility of the effect of seasonal trends on your business.
Measuring Your SEO Efforts
The best place to get an overall view of all traffic is in the Audience >> Overview section.
This section is the most often utilised in Google Analytics. It plots your overall visits against time, which can be adjusted by hours, days, weeks and months. It is important to remember that this shows all traffic, including organic, PPC, referrals, direct traffic and email marketing.
To get a clearer picture of your organic traffic, click on Traffic Sources >> Sources >> Search >> Organic.
This is an in-depth look at the keywords that drove traffic to your site through search engines. You will be shown the top 10 phrases, which can be expanded on at the bottom of the list to view more.
This table of keywords is extremely useful. It shows:
- Average Pages Viewed by each visitor
- Average visit duration
- Percentage of new visits
- Bounce rate
This advises you which keywords are generating traffic. By entering these keyword phrases into the Google Search Engine, you can check your rankings. If you find that you are ranked low (the bottom of page 1 or after), then this is a good indication that you need to start placing more emphasis on these keywords in order to improve your traffic.
Pages per Visit
Pages per Visit is the average number of pages within your site viewed during a visit. Having more pages visited during each visit shows that people are able to navigate your site easily, and are engaged in the site and its content. Conversely, people searching for information may have found what they are looking for and may not wish to look any deeper.
You may measure this by checking the length of time spent on each page. If people are only visiting 1 page, and spending only a few seconds before leaving, this could be a clear indication that you need to re-optimise this page. If you substantiate the content and reconsider the layout, but people are still spending little time on it, you may want to remove it completely.
Average Visit Duration
The average visit duration shows the average time spent on your website per keyword referral. Generally, the longer the better, but again checking individual pages will give you a clearer measure of how effective a page is.
It is good to have a higher percentage of new visitors; this means that your SEO is effective. However, it is also important to ensure your content is good enough to have consistent returning visitors.
Tip: Unless you have a very well-known brand, you will find that brand related keywords don’t drive much traffic. You should target broader industry related keywords until your brand is well known in your field.
This statistic shows how many people enter your website and leave without visiting a second page. Having high bounce rates across your whole site is a bad indication that either the design is not effective, it is not easy to navigate, or you have low quality or unexpected content. On the other hand, people may have found exactly what they needed and did not need to delve deeper into your website. Time spent on individual pages is a better indication of this.
To view the landing pages, click on Content >> Site Content >> Landing Pages. The landing pages table will show the statistics as discussed above. The 2 main areas to consider here are:
- Do you have a clear call to action? Are you delivering a message that is not only driving the right type of traffic to your site, but is leading them deeper into the site? If you are ranking for irrelevant keywords, you may want to readjust the keywords for which you are targeting.
- Does your site have a poor design? If your landing pages have a high bounce rate and a low visit time, this could mean your site has a poor design or you do not engage the visitors quickly enough.
Everyone that enters your website is going to have to exit the site at some point.
People exiting your website through a checkout page or thank you page after using a contact form, is a good sign that they have contacted you or purchased something.
The main thing you want to check here is whether certain pages have a high percentage exit score. Note which pages have a consistently high exit rate. You then want to visit the Content >> Site Content >> All Pages section, and cross reference the pages you noted down against the time users are spending on that page. If this again is low, this is a clear indicator of where adjustment is needed. Other important factors are how many people enter this page (entrances) and the bounce rate. These statistics need to be look at together in order to see where the majority of your work should be directed.
Another important measurement to check is engagement. Depending on the type of site, an example such as below could be a concern.
If your site has a heavy focus on content marketing or a blog, you may want your statistics to look more like this.
Device Category/ Visits
Another chart that you will see, is the comparison of user visits to computer devices. The chart below shows that the majority of traffic through this website is coming from a desktop PC.
Tip: If you find that you are receiving more traffic from tablets and laptops, as opposed to desktops, then this is a sign that you should consider a responsive design that scales down well for these formats. Additionally, you may even want to have a mobile application developed to improve the user experience.