The vast amount of data in your Google Analytics account contains valuable takeaways you can use to improve your SEO strategy.
Search engine optimization (SEO) can be a powerful driver of website traffic. But how can you tell if your SEO efforts are working?
While most people know to check their website analytics for traffic numbers, many don’t realize they can also use them for SEO.
Your Google Analytics dashboard holds the key to a lot of valuable data. Without this data, you’ll likely struggle to set meaningful goals or accurately measure performance. Read on to explore how you can use Google Analytics to inform and optimize your SEO strategy.
Google Analytics: a quick primer
Google Analytics is a tool that tracks, collects and organizes data about your website’s online performance. It’s one of the most important tools for measuring your SEO efforts and is probably already installed on your website.
It gives you everything from high-level views of website visitors to in-depth analyses of how your website is performing.
The more time you put into understanding Google Analytics and learning which reports show the data you consider most important, the more valuable it will be to you.
You can even customize Google Analytics reports to ensure you’re pulling the most helpful information for your business. This will also help you parse the enormous amount of data and find the most useful tidbits. This data includes users, visits or sessions, hits on the website, the different factors you want to review and the metrics.
Examples of Google Analytics reports you may find useful:
- Visitor numbers broken down by demographics.
- Site speed metrics, which can reveal slow load times that might be turning users away.
- Traffic acquisition reports that reveal where users are coming from when they visit your site.
- Content drill-down reports that show you where and how people interact on your site, and also flag duplicate content.
- Multi-channel funnel reports that show how your different marketing channels work together to convert users to customers and create sales.
Why SEO matters to your business
SEO is critical to building visibility for your company and attracting customers to your website. Fifty-three per cent of shoppers say they always do research before purchasing. Accordingly, you’ll need to show up in search engine results pages to attract organic search traffic. Without a robust online presence, you’ll struggle to remain competitive.
A solid SEO strategy will help you stay ahead of other brands, build organic traffic to your website and grow your online presence over time. In addition, these efforts can create an ongoing flow of prospective customers into your sales funnel.
How can Google Analytics be used for SEO?
Once you learn how to access data in your Google Analytics dashboard and pull different metrics from the platform, you can start gauging your performance with more accuracy. The more you drill down into the data, the more insight you’ll be able to draw from it.
Follow these best practices when using Google Analytics to track SEO efforts:
- Identify your SEO goals by considering what you’re hoping to achieve with your online presence. Do you want more website visits, subscriptions to your newsletter, downloads of a gated piece of content or purchases from your online shop? Remember SEO goals should be specific, measurable and tied to business goals.
- Create a list of the metrics you’ll need to track to assess performance for each SEO goal. This step will help ensure you are focused on the correct data in Google Analytics and aren’t distracted by less relevant numbers.
- Create custom dashboards that show you the most valuable reports at a glance. Customizing what you see in your analytics can reduce the time it takes to check on important metrics and make it easier to do so more often.
- Sync your Search Console account to ensure you can see which keywords people are using to find your website.
- Separate organic traffic from paid traffic to pinpoint changes relevant to your SEO activities rather than from paid ads.
- Identify your top performing content so you can keep it optimized and updated over time.
- Look at top performing landing pages to repeat elements that work for your audience.
- Measure the quality of the SEO traffic coming to your site by comparing the traffic volume to how many users convert once on the site. If they arrive and leave immediately, they likely aren’t a high-quality visitor to your site.
- Discover which sites are sending referral traffic your way.
Beyond tracking: SEO optimization strategies based on Google Analytics
Understanding the basics of your analytics dashboard is helpful but using that information in meaningful ways is far more valuable.
Actions you can take based on the data you see in Google Analytics:
- Identify high-quality content that is no longer attracting the traffic it once did. This drop can happen over time or as the content becomes outdated. If this content used to attract steady traffic, it could again if you keep the quality high.
- Create a plan to update information and republish older posts to help boost website traffic to those pages and bring numbers back up.
- Learn which pages convert best on your site and take steps to improve SEO to drive more traffic to those pages. If you already know these pages convert, getting them in front of more people is an easy win.
- Improve optimization on landing pages that already drive revenue for your business to help more people see these pages.
- Watch for and fix 404 errors or page not found results.
A solid understanding of the connection between Google Analytics and your SEO will help you improve the quality and quantity of visitors to your website. As you get more comfortable using Google Analytics, you’ll get into a rhythm of planning SEO activities and tracking the relevant results.
Your SEO strategy takes time and money to execute. If you don’t know what’s effective and what’s not, you won’t know when you need to shift or pivot. When you can track and interpret the data in your analytics dashboard, you can better align your efforts with company goals for sales, customer acquisition and brand visibility.
Ready to see how connecting Google Analytics and your SEO can help your business? Download our Search Engine Marketing Ebook to learn more.