Get stuck in to Google Analytics and you could be lost in there for hours – don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad thing because understanding more about your website and what drives visitors to view your site and understanding more about what interests them is a must. But let’s face it, you still have a day job and half a day of Analytics activity doesn’t pay the bills!
So that’s it then – I won’t waste my time looking at Google Analytics. WRONG!
You still need to track what’s happening, but if you can look at just three key items regularly then spending a little time lets you stay on top of your site activity analysis and makes sure that your site is getting some pick-up in Google. Let’s look at the three key areas you should track:
Check your search terms against your traffic. Analytics will track how your site has been found. We do this for our site and can easily see what are the top search terms that find our site. To check this in the Analytics dashboard, select: Acquisition, Search Engine Optimization, Queries*:
So for example we need to be found for SEO, web design and CMS website with local searches for Bracknell and Berkshire being just as important as national pickup. Looking at our Queries report we can see the terms our site visitors used in Google search last month, as well as our page impressions, number of clicks etc. Dive into this report and you can find out so much more.
The key information here is what Query visitors entered, using this and also working with the Google keyword tool in AdWords so you can increase the strength of your SEO by modifying site content. In this report check for keywords that are important tor your business and see how many impressions you are receiving from these. If the numbers are low then you need to work on your site content to enrich the site so that Google will present your site for relevant search terms.
* To ensure you can view this information you need to make sure that your Analytics dashboard is set up correctly and linked to Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) to show the tracking information correctly. Google will walk you through this process, but in essence if you see the message ‘This report requires Webmaster Tools to be enabled.’ Click on the displayed Setup button, check all the settings and before clicking save, click on the edit link in the section ‘Webmaster Tools Settings’ at the base of the page and ‘Enable search console data in Google Analytics ‘ for your site, save the settings, return and save the ‘Webmaster Tools Settings’. Data will start to be displayed after Google has started collecting.
Head down the same menu to ‘Landing Pages‘ and you’ll see where your visitors are entering the site. Ideally you want a good spread across your key pages – this indicates that Google sees value on your important pages and is serving these to relevant search terms. This report shows valuable information including the number of impressions each page is receiving, the number of clicks, average ranking position and click-through rate:
And again Google is good at telling you what each of these measurements means with handy help tips displayed by hovering over the question mark next to each heading:
To understand the value of this report you need to cross-reference it with the queries report. Then you’ll see that your most popular keywords are generally the ones driving traffic to your top landing pages, enabling you to tweak the poorer performing pages and capitalise on the top performers.
Geography is the final piece of this jigsaw. Selecting Geographical summary from the same menu option shows you visitors split by region. While it’s nice to be able to shout about receiving 20,000 visitors from France – if that’s not your target market and you can’t service French companies then as they say it’s ‘vanity not sanity’ or ‘Looks nice but doesn’t help your business’. With this information combined with the Landing Pages and Queries keywords you can start to see what attracts visitors to your site and you can maximise the content that will bring the right visitors from the correct locations to increase your business opportunities. This report from one of our client sites highlights where their visitors are coming from:
Google Analytics – keep your website on track with these three regular report checks
Google Analytics is a very powerful tool, provided free to help you develop your site into an informative, helpful and productive business environment. The three reports above are just the tip of the iceberg, both in information available from Analytics and in what you need to address to boost your site. But as I said at the beginning, if you keep on top of these areas you can focus on your day job and help your site along.
To see other areas of website SEO check out these links:
Learn more about ranking techniques with examples of client rankings and approaches: How to be found in Google Searches
Why Social Media is so important to SEO and Google: Using Social Media Profiles for SEO