How to Read Google Analytics reports for SEO
Google Analytics is able to give you tons of insightful data, but not a lot of people are able to fully utilize it. You will need to take into account a lot of factors in order to help improve your SEO campaigns.
Where to find it: ‘Acquisition’ > ‘Overview’ > Click through to ‘Organic Search’
The ‘Overview” tab under ‘Acquisition’ will provide you with a base level indication of the primary traffic channels of your website. This can provide you with a summary of the top channels on your website and how they are performing under specific terms such as traffic volume, conversions, and behavior. Other than providing a general overview of organic traffic, you will also be able to dig a little deeper by using the ‘Organic Search’ in the table and by checking the different filters. You should take into account the most popular organic landing pages, the search engines that experiences the most user traffic, keyword overview, exit pages, bounce rates, and more.
You should pay particular attention to bounce rates when it comes to individual pages. Distinguish the pages that have bounce rates that is below the average of your website, and then review these pages so you will be able to find out why that is, eventually applying UX/UI or targeting amendments. You are also able to view only the organic traffic of your website across the whole of your Google Analytics by clicking the ‘Add Segment’ and then checking the box for organic traffic.
- Landing page and page titles
Where to find it: ‘Behavior’ > ‘Site Content’ > ‘Landing Pages’ > Add secondary dimension ‘Page Titles’
Those of you who have used Google Analytics organic reports know the frustration you experience when you get the ‘(not provided)’ result which features under ‘Keyword’. This is the result of searches that have been carried out securely, when the URL of the search engine is HTTPS or if they have a Google account which means they are protected by Google’s data privacy policies. So that’s why in these kinds of scenarios, the search terms that were used by the user won’t appear hence the dreaded ‘(not provided)’ result.
But what if we told you that you can have a list of all the search terms that users have used to find your website? Well, sorry to tell you but that just isn’t possible, but we can offer you and alternative which will be able to at least give you an overview.
You can view your organic traffic via landing page and title page, which will be able to show which pages are accomplishing the best results in terms of organic search. If you also include the page title, you will also be able to know which keywords that those pages are optimized for so you will be able to have an idea of the search phrases that the users are using and which are accomplishing the best results in terms of traffic and bounce rates.
- Conversion goals
Where to find it: ‘Conversions’ > ‘Goals’ > ‘Overview’
Having a high volume of organic traffic is good, but if the conversion rate is low then what’s the point? In order to have an idea of the quality of your organic traffic, you need to track conversions, and to do this you first need to track conversion goals. Filter it in regards to the organic traffic so you will be able to understand the conversion rate that are resulting from the website’s organic traffic. To provide more in depth data, add the monetary value to the conversions to have a better understanding on how much your SEO efforts are earning. Some clients only care about keywords rankings while others only care about the money earned, so you should know what the client is more interested in.
- Assisted conversions
Where to find it: ‘Conversions’ > ‘Multi-Channel Funnels’ > ‘Assisted Conversions’
Conversion goals are indeed useful, but they only give us a surface view of conversion; what we really need is a more in depth look. It is common that users don’t convert on their first visit, since they usually take time to assess the website and decide if they should indeed convert. The second time they visit your website, they usually have the intention of purchasing. With assisted conversions, you will be able to identify each channel that are featured on the conversion path of each user, which will give you a more accurate understanding of the quality of your organic traffic. You should carefully observe if there are any changes in organic traffic, since for example you notice a sudden drop in organic assisted conversion even though your organic traffic remains the same then it may mean that the leads are no longer qualified, which means that you should assess and revise your keyword and content strategy.
- Site speed
Where to find it: ‘Behavior’ > ‘Site Speed’ > ‘Overview’
There are several tools available to figure out the overall speed of website such as Google Page Insights, Pingdom, GTmetrix to name a few, but they aren’t able to identify specific pages that are acting particularly slow unlike the site speed report via Google Analytics. With Google Analytics you are able to see a connection between the load time and the exit pages, and you can also layer in bounce rate metrics. With the information you learn regarding the individual pages, you can then resolve the page speed issue of an individual page.
- Site search
Where to find it: ‘Behavior’ > ‘Site Search’ > ‘Search Terms’
Websites that have a site search function will benefit from this report due to a number of reasons. First, it is able to indicate where the strongest user experience on your website. If you have a page that is difficult for users to find without having to search for it then it may mean that you have a site navigation issue. Second, the site search report can also identify which keywords or search terms are needed in order to create a new page in case one does not already exist.
Where to find it: ‘Audience’ > ‘Mobile’ > ‘Overview’
With this report you will be able to compare the traffic on your website’s mobile and desktop versions. This can help you assess if you need to do some mobile optimization. If your website’s mobile version has a significantly higher bounce rate compare to your desktop version then it may mean that you need to carry out a mobile site audit. This report is also able to identify the conversion rate of different devices, in order for you to asses which device traffic is the most valuable to your website. Since the rise of mobile, over half of website traffic will now be on mobile, and these should be reflected on your own analytics, but do keep in mind that some businesses will be more prevalent on mobile devices when compared to others. What we mean by this is that a local business will have more mobile searches when compared to a business to business service that is more likely to be searched by someone on a desktop by people working at an office.
- Customize your dashboard
Where to find it: ‘Customization’ > ‘Dashboards’
It would be a good idea to design a customized dashboard in order to give them a quick overview of the report. Most people do not appreciate a text heavy report or a report with complex tables, since they may be overwhelmed with the information at first glance, since you may not be an expert in using Google Analytics. You should present the data in an easily digestible and manageable way in order for them to understand. By creating a dashboard you can easily understandable charts, such as bar graphs, pie charts, and simplified tables, it will help the to visualize the data. You can also email the dashboard in order to get regular updates.
Now we will be teaching you the basics on how to create a customized dashboard. First, select the type of widget that you will be using; this could be a simple metric, a geo-map, a table, a timeline, or a pie/bar chart. There are also widgets where you are able to choose to select a specified date range or even show the data in real-time. After choosing the widget, it’s time to configure the options such as dimensions which all depends on the type. Take note that widgets can be edited, cloned, or deleted, giving you flexibility in customizing your dashboard according to your specifications.
We hope this blog post will help you navigate Google Analytics. If you need further assistance, call The Fields Agency. We will walk you through the process of fetching the data you are looking for.