Google Analytics (GA) has become an essential tool for many SEOs. Here Mark Nunney introduces some basics of using GA for SEO.
I’m going to assume you have a Google Analytics account. If not, follow the instructions here and come back when you’ve set one up.
Back already? Let’s go …
Find out where all your visits come from.
On the left-hand menu, click ‘Traffic Sources’ then ‘All Traffic Sources’ (highlighted below).
All traffic sources are listed.
Visits and response
Visits are (for the most part) eyeballs looking at your site.
Response is those eyeballs’ owners doing what you want which might be buying something, subscribing to a newsletter, downloading a PDF, clicking on an ad or even just hanging around for more than one page.
It’s your site so you decide what response is. And configure your response into your Google Analytics (GA) account where it will be called a Goal.
If your site sells stuff then use e-commerce tracking.
If your site runs AdSense ads then measure AdSense response.
Did you see those tabs in the report above? Here they are again:
Click those tabs to see details about response from different visitor sources:
If you have not configured Goals, Ecommerce or AdSense then use Bounce Rate.
Bounce Rate is the % of users that left your site after seeing just one page. That means they probably didn’t find what they wanted.
Referring Sites is all visits from known ‘sites’ that aren’t search engines (except some search engine traffic manages to sneak on there but ignore that). It’s not the same as all referrers.
To see your Referring Sites report, click Traffic Sources then Referring Sites.
Referring sites are linking to your site. Can you get more and better links from them?
See the example list of referring sites below. Using AdSense as the chosen Response, you’ll see that some sites’ referred visitors respond more than others. Can you build partnerships with those sites that respond the best?
SEOs hang out at their Keywords Report a lot.
To see your Keywords Report, click Traffic Sources then Keywords.
Use the Keywords Report to see which keywords were searched with to find and visit your site.
The image below shows a Keywords Report sorted by the number of Visits each keyword brings. That ‘s the number of visits made to this site by people searching with the shown keyword.
So 49,254 visits were made via searches with management theories.
SEO is interested in ‘non-paid’ (aka ‘organic’) keywords (see the red highlight above).
(You’ll find ‘paid’ (PPC or pay per click) keywords if you click ‘paid’.)
For your goals, unlike the lazy fool who owns this GA account, make sure you configure all your Goals to have monetary Values. Do this when setting Goals up and the results will show in the Per Visit Goal Value column (see purple highlight above).
Use the ‘Keyword Filter’ (see orange highlight above) to see results for searches with keywords containing your ‘own brand’s’ keywords (I’ll say ‘brand’).
For Wordtracker, these are keywords containing wordtracker. Note how I’ve entered this in the image on the left.
The ‘|’ is a logical separator that means ‘OR’. G will deliver results that contain ‘wordtrack’ OR ‘word track’.
It’s usually quite easy to get to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) for your brand keywords.
Non-brand keywords are where the SEO action is …
Non-brand keywords are those that do not contain your brand.
Choose ‘excluding’ on the Keyword Filter drop down to filter out brand keywords and so see reports for non-brand keywords.
Beyond single keywords to the money (keyword niches)
On the Keywords Report above you’ll see it shows results for just 10 different single keywords. These are the 10 that brought the most visits.
But our example report also shows us that visitors came using a staggering 688,981 different keywords!. Can I write WTF here? Let’s look at that again …
Specifically targeting over half a million different keywords is not possible. What’s an SEO to do?
Easy: target groups of keywords that we call keyword niches. A keyword niche is all keywords containing a single seed keyword. Eg, all keywords containing business development
You can use the Keyword Filter again to see results for different keyword niches (see above).
In our example we find that 3,607 different keywords containing business development brought 43,277 visits:
You can enter different seed keywords into the filter to find out which keyword niches deliver the best response.
In this way you can find your site’s most responsive keyword niches. Then optimize your pages for keyword niches rather than single keywords. This is how it’s possible to optimize a page for over 10,000 keywords.
That’s fine and a proven SEO technique but it takes a long time to find the response rates for different keyword niches. And to compare them you need to export the data to a spreadsheet.
Invest where you’ll get the best return
All this information and these graphs serve a simple purpose – to help you find the right keyword niches to invest your time and resources into.
You will find the keyword niches that your site delivers the best response for and know their potential for more response. Then target those keyword niches for more visits and response.
Read more about how and why this Really really really easy SEO works.
About Mark Nunney
Mark Nunney has been a successful professional SEO since 2000. He is CEO of The Website Marketing Company and he publishes Leadership & Management Review from ThinkingManagers.com, the business management website.
Mark wrote SEO for Profit, Wordtracker Masterclass: Keyword Research book and co-wrote Wordtracker Masterclass: Link Building with Ken McGaffin. He is also the founder and project manager of Wordtracker Strategizer.