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Using Google Analytics to Audit and Improve SEO
Search Engine Optimization is a process requiring measurements in real-time, and improvement of this process heavily relies on measurements. A number of different tools and methods help measure the success of SEO, however, the right use of the most effective measuring tool is key – Google Analytics.
The use of Google Analytics helps marketers extract valuable and actionable SEO data and insights, showcasing the analysis and gaps that matter. SEO audits aren’t technical when and if you know the data you need to analyze and interpret considerably.
Google Analytics offers a comprehensive auditing approach with data impacting the search quality of your website. From a broad SEO perspective, it offers data related to backlinks, rankings, channel reports, content performance, and user behavior reports. When you have actionable data determining the success of your SEO, you can further evaluate the strategies required for an improved SEO.
Google Analytics – Actionable SEO Data & Improvements
To audit a website’s SEO, it is crucial to consider some technical SEO elements, understand their performance metrics, and evaluate their reports. Each website has unique metrics to report the success of its SEO, however, there are key ways to audit and improve SEO using Google Analytics.
SEO Gap Analysis
Google Analytics helps assess the overall traffic performance and the outcomes of SEO efforts. Using the organic search reports, Channel Grouping in Google Analytics, traffic sources for all channels can be assessed. Clicking on each channel can give a comprehensive report of the said channel’s metrics.
The Acquisition and Channel Grouping report from Google Analytics will reveal search data that will help determine the keywords driving traffic, landing pages for the search traffic, search engines driving increased traffic, and many other useful data insights.
Using this data, the estimated volume for each search term, and current data of available traffic, rankings, and page ranks can be easily estimated. This data will help determine the useful search terms, potential keywords to improve, page optimization, and other strategic actions to improve search traffic.
Quality of SEO Traffic
To measure the quality of SEO traffic, accurately interpreting the Assisted Conversions report in Google Analytics is crucial.
Data can be easily analyzed by setting the date range. Comparison can be made of conversions directly from search, multiple visits, and lastly, the comparison of conversion where the search was key but was not attributed to conversion.
This report can help determine the quality of search traffic. If there is a decline in conversions over time, but the search traffic is stable, the quality is declining. If the focus on certain keywords is bringing improvement in conversions, the quality is improving.
The Frequency and Recency report in the Audience & Behavior section of Google Analytics shows visitor’s behaviors and interests, how often they revisit the site, and the number of days between their visiting sessions.
This section includes the visiting behavior of new visitors and returning visitors, further assessed by filtering. The sessions report can help determine whether improvement should be on reducing the sessions per visitor or increasing it for audience acquisition.
This data can help marketers plan for content and overall SEO improvement. In addition, the assessment of Behavior Flow Report is also useful in determining how the overall search traffic and content contributes to the success of SEO. It may be important to analyze where the visitors are directing, which pages they are visiting.
Page Loading Time
It is crucial to check for page loading times and optimize them, instead of only directing all SEO efforts toward keyword searches and optimization and rankings. Site audit can help identify loading time on both mobile and desktop devices, site score, and other key performance areas.
Speed and load time optimization will likely improve search traffic and the overall conversion rates.
SEO has many technical elements, hence the measurement tools present a challenge for marketers to not only show but quantify their SEO efforts from a cost and revenue standpoint. Performance metrics can only be reviewed to access which SEO elements require improvement, however only accurate data analysis can provide what a data-driven strategy needs.
What You Need To Do?
While Google Analytics is an effective tool to measure SEO success, it is important to strategically understand what each widget is tracking, which reports are important, and why measurements are crucial. When looking at data, the use of your critical thinking plays a role. Understand the gaps in your SEO and take into account actionable data to improve SEO.