For Google Analytics novices, the amount of data you are presented with can seem daunting. With such a wide and overwhelming range of metrics available to you, it can sometimes feel like you can’t see the woods for the trees. Here’s our guide to making sense of some of the most important parts of Google Analytics...
A good place to start when determining the success of your SEO campaign is to take a look at the ‘Keywords’ and ‘Search Engines’ sections of the Traffic Sources tab. This will show you the search engines your traffic is coming from and for which search terms. If you’re running a paid search campaign (a.k.a. Pay Per Click) as well as organic SEO, then you should be sure to click the ‘Organic’ tab, which will ensure you are presented with the data derived solely from organic traffic. On this page you will be presented with the keywords that have brought you the most traffic, with the number of visitors decreasing as the list progresses.
In this list the keywords your website has been optimised for should appear. If the keyword research you carried out in the first instance was accurate then the key terms chosen for your homepage should be at the top, or certainly very close to it. This list will also show you variations of your key terms that brought in traffic, including those that have been entered in a different order or pluralised etc. There can be thousands of variations used, and as you’re not paying for each click as you would in a pay per click campaign, then the more the merrier!
An important method of measuring the success of an SEO campaign is to understand which of your pages are attracting the traffic. It may be that a product specific page which has not been optimised is bringing in a good proportion of your visitors. In most cases it will be the category pages or homepage that visitors are landing on. Firstly click on the ‘Content’ section, then under ‘Site Content’ you can choose to look at the landing pages and see those all important page specific stats. If the entrance pages are those that have been optimised, then your SEO strategy is showing signs of having an effect.
Blog posts are an excellent way of using long tail keywords to attract particular niches. This traffic can often have a high conversion rate as customers are specific about the product or service they are looking for and at a more advanced stage in the buying decision. It is important to see how much of an impact your blog posts are having. If they aren’t brining in traffic then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate the keywords being used when writing them, or time to build some deep-links that go straight to them.
On closer inspection you may find that guest blog posts you have written for external sites, industry specific links you have obtained or reciprocal links from related businesses are bringing in good quality traffic. This is a key side-effect to SEO work that is often overlooked in headline statistics.
Of course the primary aim of most websites is conversions. Conversions can vary widely from site to site; some will regard a purchase as a conversion, whilst others may ask customers to fill out a request form. So long as you have set-up your Goals, by clicking the ‘Conversions’ tab you will very quickly be able to ascertain which keywords have the highest conversion rates. As conversions will have a direct impact on your business’ bottom line, you may well decide to focus your SEO efforts on your best performing keywords, depending of course on the available budget.
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