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How to Use Google Analytics for SEO Insights

Google Analytics is a site traffic analysis application that provides insight into customer behavior and can be a very effective tool for search engine optimization (SEO). When using Google Analytics to learn more about SEO, it is very important to take a few extra steps in order to tag your traffic from search engines properly. A typical Google Analytics setup for an online business might involve creating a single profile, and in many cases, that’s all you need. But with just a few extra steps and a couple of minutes of time, you can obtain so much more insight into your organic search traffic. This is an excellent way to find why some keywords convert better than others, which is the key to having a successful SEO project. It can also help to get a better understanding of the changes in the post-Google era where things like personalized search might impact the results we see on SEO efforts.

Setting up Google Analytics for SEO

Setting up Google Analytics for your website is a fairly simple process. If you’ve already created a Google account, then you can simply go to [Link] and click the “Access Analytics” button. Once you’ve accessed your account, you’ll have to click “Sign Up” in order to create a profile for your website. You’ll be presented with a few form fields that you’ll have to fill in with information regarding your website. After you’ve gone through the sign-up process, you’ll be presented with a piece of tracking code. This code needs to be placed on every page of your website so that Google Analytics can collect data on your website. This is a vital step to setting up Google Analytics because it’s how you will be able to track visitor data on your website. An easy way to do this, if you have a WordPress website, is to use the “All in One SEO” plugin, which allows you to simply copy and paste the tracking code into a form field. On the other hand, if you’re not using a website based on a Content Management System, then you may have to manually place the code into the footer.php file of your website template. Finally, in order to verify that the tracking code has been installed onto your website, simply go back to the page that presented you with the tracking code. Then click the “Check Status” text link. If the status reads that tracking has been installed or is receiving data, then you’re good to go.

Creating a Google Analytics account

Reporting Time Zone: This is the time zone that your site operates in. Make sure you set this correctly because you can’t change this once you’ve saved it. All of the date ranges in Google Analytics are referenced to this time zone. Keep this in mind if you are maintaining websites that are in different time zones.

Industry Category: This is an option which lets you compare your site data to other sites within your industry. This is for data junkies that want more demographic data on their visitors compared to other sites in their industry. It might be useful for someone that is running a website which is a commercial venture.

Website URL: This is the URL of your site. Again straightforward. Make sure that the URL is correct because a filter can’t be changed once it is saved. Filters are used to filter out data or include data from a specified view.

Website Name: This is the name of the site. Pretty straightforward. For an account which might contain a number of websites, make sure you create a new profile for each site. The way Google Analytics is set out has changed because of new features like custom variables, it often makes more sense to have a separate account for websites that are unrelated.

Account Name: This is your overall Google Analytics account which can include a number of sites. You might want to name this after your business or simply “My Websites”. It really depends on how you want to define and group your websites. Selecting the account name will take you to a secondary page when you add a new profile (website).

This is the easiest step and you probably know this already. If you do have a Google or Gmail account, you can use that to sign in to Google Analytics. You can also create a new account specifically for Google Analytics by clicking on the “Sign up now” button. When you click this button, you will be presented with a screen which provides an option to make a new Google account if you don’t already have one. Once you are signed in, you will have to fill out details about your website. This is the information that you provide:

Installing the tracking code on your website

A second issue is missing pages in your content reports (“page not found”). This error occurs because the Google search results will often include URLs that are not linked to the pages. The best solution is to create a 301 redirect from those URLs using a program like .htaccess, although you could also use a filter in your Analytics account to exclude data from the specific URL.

There are a few common errors that can arise when installing the tracking code. These errors can prevent the collection of data and can compromise the data quality in your account. The first is using the wrong code when you have more than one website listed under one Analytics account. This is a common error as you may simply copy and paste the code given from the Analytics Settings page, however since Google does not differentiate between the websites listed, it will just track the data to the website listed under the ID in the tracking code. The best way to avoid this mistake is to use filters or advanced segments to isolate data from the specific URLs.

First, let’s discuss what a tracking code is. When you sign up for a Google Analytics account, you will be given a snippet of code to insert on each page of your website. This code is what captures the data and sends it to the Google Analytics databases so you can access that data from your account. There are two versions of the code, one is the asynchronous version and the other is the standard version. The standard version is the older version, whilst the asynchronous version uses new technology to ensure that the code does not slow down the loading time of your web pages. You should always use the asynchronous version, although both versions will collect data equally. To find the code, from the Analytics Settings page, click on Edit next to the profile you want to track. Then click Check Status and select the radio button if the status is not set to ‘Receiving Data’. The tracking code should be located under the instruction where there is an option to ‘check the status again’.

Verifying the tracking code installation

The status page will inform you if the code was located and if it is working. If you have just created the account, it may take some time before you see any results. It can take anywhere from a couple of hours to a day. If there is data showing, it means that Google Analytics can “see” your website and that the tracking code is working correctly. You have now successfully set up your Google Analytics account for your website and verified that it is working.

This is an important step as you can find out quickly if the tracking code was installed correctly and if Google Analytics can “see” your website data. If this step isn’t done, it could affect the accuracy of your web data. To verify the code, go back to the Google Analytics dashboard and click on the “Finish” tab. Then click on the “check status” link.

Analyzing SEO Performance with Google Analytics

The first step to analyzing SEO performance is to track changes in the volume of organic search traffic to your website. This can be done by isolating organic search traffic from overall site traffic and then comparing the volume of organic traffic over different time periods. This is important as a substantial drop in organic traffic would suggest that an SEO service has been unsuccessful or that changes to the website or search engine algorithms have had a negative impact. To isolate organic search traffic, you should create a new profile for your website view and exclude all traffic from non-search sources. This view can then be used to compare changes in organic traffic over different time periods or to different areas of the site.

Google Analytics provides a wealth of data that can be used to analyze SEO performance. In this section, we will look at a range of techniques that can be used to monitor the volume and quality of organic search traffic, track the performance of specific keywords, evaluate onsite engagement, and identify high-performing landing pages. These methods all use data provided by Google Analytics to give valuable insights into how successful your SEO efforts have been and what can be done to further improve SEO results.

Monitoring organic search traffic

Combining keyword-level data across individual pages will give a detailed overview of keyword performance across the site. Create a filter including pages that do not have high search visibility, in combination with a filter excluding brand terms, to create a generic visit overview. Examine the keywords driving traffic to these pages and compare it to the keyword-level data on higher visibility pages. This will show performance between more generic and targeted terms.

Now that Google is securing organic keyword data by default, the (not provided) keyword is going to prevent some important analysis at the keyword level. One way to access this data is to link your Google Webmaster Tools account to your Google Analytics account. Webmaster Tools provides a list of the top 2000 queries that generated organic search traffic to your site. To view this data in Google Analytics, navigate to Acquisition > Campaigns > Organic Keywords. Click on Landing Page as the secondary dimension and then set the number of rows to 500 (showing rows 1-500 then 501-1000 is the only way to view more than 1000 rows of data). This will provide a per keyword overview for individual pages. Click on the alternative for more details about the additional features of a private browsing window.

Once you have Google Analytics in place, review the traffic data in the Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels report. At the default level, this will essentially show a breakdown of visits generated by the medium or type of visit. You can click on Organic Search and then use the Primary Dimension or the Explorer tabs to review the keywords that are driving search traffic to your site.

Tracking keyword rankings

The next time I run this report, I am not able to simply save the new information over the old; I must apply a label to classify the data by the date of the report. To do this, I am to click on “Edit” under the filters section and then click “Add a New Filter” where I will type in a new report label. After this, I can apply the new filter and re-save the chart to match the previous data. This is useful as it will make it easier to differentiate between each snapshot of the report.

The first thing I am to do is click on “Standard Reporting” at the top of the page. From there, I am to click on “Traffic Sources” on the left. There will be a dropdown menu with “Sources” and “Search”. I am to click on “Search”, at which point “Keywords” will appear. The word “Keywords” is what I must click on to begin my report. This is the only way to get to the report that I need; there is no alternate way to access it. After doing so, a chart will appear with my keyword ranking information. In the overview, I am able to set the specific filters to find the information that I need. To save the information, I am to click on the disk icon right above the chart. This will allow me to have easy access to the report as it is possible to be quite confusing trying to recover the data. After ensuring that all of the report is saved, I may now record the information that I need into the Excel document.

Keywords are arguably the most important metric in SEO. In this assignment, I am told to rank 5 keywords that apply to my website. I am to record the following ranking information: the search engine I am tracking the keyword for, the URL that the keyword is ranking for, the keyword position, the page rank, and the date. After this, I am to run the same report 3 more times (4 times total) to get a total of 5 snapshots. These are the exact steps to accomplish this task in Google Analytics:

Analyzing website engagement metrics

Pages Per Visit

This metric counts the average number of pages visited during a visit to your website. It can be used as a measure of visitor engagement as well as the level of site effectiveness. An increase in online marketing or internal promotions can often generate a temporary uplift in this metric. So it is always beneficial to consider this together with other metrics. For example, an increase in pages per visit and a rise in bounce rate can suggest that visitors are struggling to find what they are looking for. This is backed up if there is a decline in time on site.

Page Views

Page views is a count of how many times a page has been viewed. Monitoring page views on defined pages or areas of the site can provide insight about whether visitors are finding what they are seeking. If an important page is not seeing the traffic you would expect, it could be that you need to improve the internal link structure or perhaps the quality of the content around that topic.

Bounce Rate

The bounce rate is the percent of single-page visits (i.e. visits in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page). An increasing bounce rate is typically an indicator that the landing page is not relevant to your visitors. Bounce rates can be analyzed based on landing page qualities, such as keywords or categories. This information can then be used to customize the landing page to better meet visitor needs.

When you understand what engages your site’s users, you can make modifications that ideally will result in even more engagement and also better outcomes. As a result, it is essential to analyze the following site engagement metrics:

Identifying top-performing landing pages

With the insight that you’ve improved the success of a landing page and thus its relevant keywords, you can use the two-week comparison feature to see if the relative increase in traffic was tied to the landing page’s success. An increase in converted sales and leads with search visitors will be indicative of the rise of that particular landing page’s page value.

The result allows you to edit and refine SEO keyword strategies, as well as get an idea of what sort of content is attracting the better-qualified visitors for your page. The basic idea is to identify who’s doing a better job and who’s not and make informed decisions on how to improve specific landing pages before moving on to the next phase. This is where you will be making the best use out of the Search and CPC data.

In order to track the success rate of your landing pages, you would create a funnel for each one in order to see where your traffic is coming from and determine if they are exiting the page via the desired method, i.e. purchasing a product or filling out a form. With the use of the Event Tracking feature in Google Analytics, you can have a more specific idea of what type of visitor is accessing your landing page.

When it comes to SEO insights and optimization efforts, identifying landing pages that are successfully achieving their goals is a crucial element. Since landing pages can act as an entrance way to your website or a specific tool designed to get the attention of a potential customer, the importance of a specially optimized landing page can’t be overstated. They should be easy to find, easy to read, transaction-oriented, and contain concise information that the visitor may have been seeking.

Optimizing SEO Strategies using Google Analytics

This will show you a list of all the keywords which your website has been found for in search engines. However, to see the effectiveness of each keyword, we recommend you to click on the secondary dimension drop-down box and select ‘Goal Conversion’ or ‘E-commerce’ depending on what you have set up. This will allow you to see if visitors from particular keywords have resulted in meeting your goals or completing a sale on your website.

To analyze which keywords are performing well or not, log into your Google Analytics account and select the profile for the website. Next, click on ‘Traffic Sources’ from the list of options in the left-hand column. Now click on ‘Organic’.

Keywords are one of the most important factors in SEO, in terms of acquiring high ranking in search engines. In every SEO strategy, keywords are determined so they can be targeted for the particular product, service, or information. If keywords are badly chosen and don’t result in targeted traffic or increased rankings for a website, the overall SEO campaign will be ineffective and there will be little ROI.

Identifying low-performing keywords

The first step to identify low-performing keywords and to optimize a website is to initiate an “intelligence” report on your selected search engine. From here, one can monitor the bid it takes for a PPC campaign to stay in the top position for a keyword and receive significant traffic. It is obviously not essential to appear in the top 3 sponsored results for the keyword, as this can be costly. So, to determine the keyword’s ability to drive traffic at a moderate CPC, a threshold can be set at 50% of the keyword’s cost per click. This way, keywords that don’t meet this threshold will appear in the report with a notification if they are below it. Remember though, SEO and PPC are different in the sense that SEO results are free. So, it may be worth consulting a PPC expert in different industries to determine the value of a keyword’s conversion rate. After setting the appropriate time and comparing it to the previous period, one can obtain a clearer understanding of the keywords that have increased or decreased in traffic. Another useful method to identify poorly performing keywords is to compare the initial traffic generated to the site from search engines with the present time. This can be monitored in the Search Console section found in the Acquisition tab. Clicking on “queries” will display the amount of clicks, impressions, CTR, and position data for each query. This method is particularly useful to determine if a keyword’s performance has declined in correlation to a page or site that has been re-optimized, as it will prompt consideration to return the page to its previous state.

Analyzing referral traffic sources

In this example, you want to compare the data from your completed contact us forms to the total referrals that these pages delivered. To do so, simply click on the Goals link on the left and choose the Goal or Goal Set to compare from the drop down. Depending on whether your goal URL is a head match, exact match, or a regular expression, you may need to manipulate the Goal URL field to compare conversions to specific pages and match type. This can be achieved using advanced segments in the Referring Sites report.

Suppose you work for a web design company and one of your goals is to generate leads through a ‘contact us’ form. By comparing the number of form submissions to the number of referrals, you can determine which referral sources are bringing quality leads.

Comparing referral data with data from the Goals, AdWords, or eCommerce reports is a good place to start. For example, the Goals Overview report shows conversions for each Goal Set, and the Goal Conversion tab for a specific Goal shows which URLs generated the conversions.

This section covers how to view and analyze your referral traffic data with the various reports in the Standard Reporting interface.

What is referral traffic? The Google Analytics Help Centre states, “Referral traffic is Google’s method of reporting visits that came to your site from sources outside of its search engine. When someone clicks on a hyperlink to go to a new page on a different website, Google Analytics tracks the click as a referral visit to the second site.”

There are three main reasons your website may receive referrals. We recommend analyzing your referral traffic in comparison reports to identify effective affiliates, benchmark the value of inbound links, and measure the ROI of offline advertising.

Monitoring user behavior on different devices

Symbolic of requirement today would be ensuring that the website itself is fully optimized for mobile and tablet access. This can be checked by comparing the rate of traffic landing on the mobile site/map to the rate of total mobile traffic. Similar comparisons can be made with the uptakes in access to each.

Configuring segmented data to include traffic from specific categories is the same process as for the custom report. An example of comparing the extent of success of a mobile application would be looking at the relative goal conversion rates from users who have accessed the application and those who haven’t.

Level 1 of analysis involves comparing the website as a whole to see how it performs in relation to user behavior. This can be accomplished by comparing the standard metrics in the overview tab to filtered data of specific categories. Comparing the overall traffic from different access points is key in order to establish the effect of each on the site. Although this is often skewed by internal traffic, data comparison can come from configuring the same custom report as before to see how the different access points are performing relative to each other.

Monitoring the hits on the website is an essential step to understand user behavior. However, it is what is done in the next steps in this process which provides the insight. A key area to now look at is how the different access points to the website compare in terms of user interaction. It is useful to take what Google defines as the ‘Three Levels Of Analysis’ to ensure comprehensive research.

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