If you’re an individual or business looking to amplify your presence in the digital space, chances are you’ve looked into search engine optimization (SEO) as one of the first steps to drive more traffic to your business’ website. It's important to produce content for the keywords which are related to your industry. For example, SimplyRest which is primarily a mattress guide website also continuously produces quality sleep related content.
For any website whose goal is to rank, keywords are important - the more keywords you own or rank for organically, the better your scorecard will be. As a digital marketer, one of the best and easiest tools to navigate when improving SEO is Google Analytics. But how are you sure that you’re maximizing all of its features to give your business what it needs?
Search engine optimization is one part of improving your site’s traffic, but don’t ignore the numbers: data gives you a drilled down version of what matters beyond high-traffic words. It’s going to allow your marketing team to connect the dots and see where your users drop off, what organic search words bring the most traffic to your site, and even identifying which pages are actually hurting your rankings.
Here are 5 ways to maximize Google Analytics for your business:
If you want to see the whole picture, connect your Analytics account to Google Search Console.
Although GA gives you the basic data to work from such as how many users visit your site, the average time they spend on each page, and even where your readers are from, the Google Search Console together with Google Analytics takes your efforts a step higher.
It gives you information such as who is linking to your site, what technical errors you have to fix, and the juiciest parts of digital and content marketing, like what keywords people are using to find your content. Additionally, it also tells you what websites your target audience usually lands on, and where your content ranks on Google.
This gives you the ammo to identify opportunities for your business to rank organically. And your goal to rank on the first page of search engines will be that much easier to plan for. Think of it this way: GA gives you the numbers, but GSC gives you the skeleton for a great SEO strategy.
Measure organic keywords, but don’t forget to segment organic visitors and review the quality of your organic traffic.
One of the main things that SEO experts track is organic traffic.
This is done by setting up a custom dashboard in Google Analytics that will segment your organic visitors, and will show you only the important metrics for your business.
This means removing spam traffic that will skew your raw data such as fake referrers and crawlers. You also have ghost spam that comes from your direct traffic, so make sure you exclude traffic that doesn’t match your TLD.
It might seem like segmenting organic traffic is a lot of work, but it’s every SEO expert’s best friend. We know that it’s hard to consistently target a specific demographic, but in GA, you can filter through demographics, affinity segments, and in-market data that are used for ad targeting on Google AdWords.
Additionally, you can easily measure the quality of your organic traffic by going to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels > Conversion rate column (for organic search). One of the first things to check is your engagement rate - if it’s low, you may be attracting the wrong audience, or your content isn’t working for your site visitors.
Optimize your content
Following the point above, once you’ve determined that it’s your content that needs to be reworked, go ahead and do it, but make sure you do it correctly - not just by using the right keywords but by pulling all the relevant data and analytics to give you a great content strategy for SEO.
Go to Behavior > Site Content > Content Drilldown and check out the performance of each individual URL. Which ones have the most page views - and most importantly, unique pageviews? What’s the average time spent by each user on each page? What’s your average bounce rate, and which pages have the highest bounce rates?
We know high bounce rates might be discouraging, but remember to think about the search intent of the users. If they landed on your page because they’re after an answer to an informational query, chances are they only scrolled through your page to find the answer they wanted and then closed the tab. If that’s the case, don’t worry too much if your bounce rate is at 70. Know more about search intent here.
On the other hand, go to Behavior > Site Search > Search Terms if you want to fill in the blanks and figure out what people were hoping to find on your website, but didn’t, or did, but found the information insufficient. This is going to help you see the terms that are often searched, which keywords you have nothing to show for, and which keywords gave you conversions.
This is how analytics can work for you: the former gives you an idea of what to fix on your existing content pages, while the latter tells you what content to add.
Track your PPC spending
If you’re familiar with how SEO works, you’ve probably noticed SEM or PPC. You know that while keywords take time to mature, you can still create opportunities for your brand and your business through PPC. After all, it lets you target a highly specific market, delivers faster results in a shorter amount of time, gives your business better visibility, and gives you unique result types.
If you’re doing this, Google Analytics helps you track your spending by showing you which keywords you can buy that will generate you sure sales, and which ones are not worth buying. This means you don’t even have to spend money on poorly converting keywords. This also helps you see which website helps you generate the most revenue.
PPC can also work hand in hand with your SEO strategy - PPC campaigns give you an overview of what the important keywords are, and in return, it gives you a basis or benchmark of what content to write.
Look at Industry Rankings
Google places importance in how your site is categorized - site niche plays as much of a role in your search engine rankings just as much as which words rank highest. Niche sites tend to rank better because these pages are authoritative.
How do you know you’re an authority? In your Google Analytics dashboard, go to Audience > Interests > Overview. Then scroll through Affinity Categories, In-Market Segments, and Other Categories. This will give you a breakdown of the interests and hobbies of the people who are often on your site. Play on the data and analytics you find here to further optimize your website and overall SEO strategy.
Remember that Google Analytics is a great tool - it serves as your guide to figure out what needs to work, what needs to be added, and what needs to be fixed in order for your website to have good SEO health.
When you are familiar with all of these, you familiarize yourself with your customers too - but it’s important that when you have the data and the tools to read the people who go to your site, you take the necessary steps to make changes and improvements to your SEO.