Although not typically considered a search engine optimization tool, Google Analytics should be among an SEO’s best friends. It contains a wealth of information you can use to make better decisions about search engine optimization and other marketing strategies. Here are four specific ways you should consider using data from Google Analytics to improve your SEO strategy:
Track SEO results at the deepest level
Since the ultimate goal of search engine optimization is to drive revenue, the most accurate way to track results is to use metrics that correlate most strongly with increased revenue. Tracking rankings is only part of the picture – rankings don’t reveal how many visitors or sales your SEO strategies have produced.
I recommend using a combination of rankings, traffic, and conversions to measure SEO results. Just go to the traffic sources section of Google Analytics to track how many visitors, leads, and/or sales have come from organic search traffic.
The below screenshot highlights:
- The navigation structure to find the organic traffic report in Google Analytics.
- The default view will show how many visitors your site has received from each keyword
- Click on the Goal or Ecommerce tabs to view how many conversions you’ve gotten from each keyword
Identify existing rankings to improve
Since the vast majority of searchers click on the first few search results, boosting your website’s rankings by just a few positions can significantly increase the number of visitors you get. For example, boosting your website ranking from the bottom half of page one to position two could multiply the traffic you get by several times. Just follow these two steps to identify current rankings you can focus on improving:
- In Google Analytics, go to Traffic Sources > Incoming Sources > Search > Organic, then export the list of keywords.
- Input the keywords into your favorite rank checking tool and run a ranking report.
- Look for keywords that are sending decent amounts of traffic to your site that would send significantly more traffic with a small increase in position. For example, keywords that are ranked on the bottom half of page 1 or lower, but are still sending notable numbers of visitors to your site.
This screenshot shows how to export a list of keywords that have sent organic traffic to your site:
Identify paid keywords to optimize for
Not all search traffic is created equal – factors like keyword relevance and commercial intent mean that traffic from some keywords will drive more revenue than traffic from other similar keywords. It’s extremely valuable to know which keywords will drive the most revenue before you spend time and money optimizing for rankings. This is easily determined by looking at data from your paid search campaigns. Just identify keywords that convert well and drive high revenue, and you have identified the ideal keywords to optimize for. In Google Analytics, go to Traffic Sources > Incoming Sources > Search > Paid.
Identify top performing pages
Identifying your top performing landing pages can help you identify a variety of opportunities to increase revenue. To begin with, you will likely need to create a custom report in Google Analytics – a report that will allow you to view total conversions and conversion rates for each of your landing pages. Alternatively, you can copy this custom report I created.
This will allow you to identify the landing pages that are producing the most sales or leads for your business. Once you have identified your top landing pages, ask yourself questions like these to identify ways you can capitalize on this data:
- How can I drive more qualified traffic to these landing pages?
- Are there additional keywords I could optimize these landing pages for?
- Can I create similar landing pages to target additional keywords or audiences?
- Why do these landing pages perform so well? Is there anything I could apply to other pages on my site?
Chris Turberville-Tully is the founder and owner of Inspiration Inc., a Birmingham SEO agency. He has a Masters Degree in Information Architecture, 10 years PR experience and has immersed himself in the world of Search and Analysis. Chris leads all major client strategies to deliver real value.