Carey Boyes

Carey Boyes

28th February 2022

How to Use Google Analytics for SEO

With so many businesses in a wide range of sectors now competing for consumer attention online, SEO is more important than ever. So how do you reach the first page of a search engine and be in with the chance of driving even more traffic to your website? You need to constantly measure your performance, amend strategies that aren’t working, and identify and continue to improve those that are bringing you success. One way to do this is to track and analyse your metrics in Google Analytics.

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a tool for tracking, analysing and reporting online data, focusing on data gathered through the Google search engine. It works through JavaScript code you add to pages on your website, which allows Analytics to track and monitor activity such as user visits, sessions, conversions, traffic sources and more.

Using Google Analytics to Improve Your SEO Strategies

Knowing what Analytics is and knowing what to do with it are two different things. Below we provide some tips for improving your SEO using Google Analytics.

Identify drops in traffic

If you spot a significant decrease in traffic, there may be ways to improve this. It may be that you are ranking lower in the search results than you were previously, so consider the content on the page - can this be updated with more current information or better optimised with the keywords you are targeting? Also, consider the time of the decrease relating to changes in Google’s algorithms. Is there a drop in traffic coming from a particular device (mobile, desktop or tablet)? Try playing around with filters to home in on exactly where the problem lies and which pages on your website are affected. You can use this same method to optimise your most successful content.

Sync Google Search Console

Google Search Console can tell you which keywords people are using to find you, how many clicks and impressions you’re getting, and where your pages are ranking. You can use this information to optimise your pages and give yourself a better chance of ranking on the first page of Google SERPs. When you connect Google Search Console to Google Analytics, you can see this information in Google Analytics under Acquisition > Search Console, which is also where you would go to connect Search Console to Analytics and get started.

Set up SEO goals

What goals do you want to track in Analytics - online sales, contact forms, newsletter signups, ebook downloads? Think about the overarching goals for your business and how that translates to user behaviour, and then consider how you can track these actions. You are then in a position to set up goals in Analytics. For example, if you want to track contact forms, you could set up a goal for landing on a “Thank You” page after submitting a form. If your website is e-commerce, you’ll be able to see transactions in the E-commerce section of the Conversions report.

Set up alerts for 404 error pages

Make sure all of your error pages are given the same title, such as ‘Page Not Found’ and avoid setting up redirects. With these criteria in place, you can set up an alert for broken links in Google Analytics and fix them.

Metrics You Should Be Tracking

This is one of the most important parts of any SEO campaign, as this information is vital for optimising your content and reaching your conversion goals. The more you can improve how people engage, the better your chances of improving your SEO performance. Whichever metrics you’re looking at, remember that it’s important to use filters and segments to reduce false reporting and get an accurate picture of your data.

Bounce Rate

You should always pay attention to how users interact with your website. Bounce rate provides a good level of understanding as to when and where users leave your website, giving you the opportunity to improve these areas and increase engagement.

Remember, a high bounce rate may or may not be a bad thing. If many people are landing on your website and then leaving without going to another page, it may be because they have found exactly what they needed on that page and left satisfied. If you have pages where that may be the case, a high bounce rate might not be anything to worry about. However, if you’re an e-commerce website and the main thing you want people to do is to convert, this will require them to visit several pages and therefore you will want your bounce rate to be low - as is the case with many types of conversion.

Time on Page

This is a great metric for knowing how engaging a page is to its visitors. Ideally, you should be looking to achieve an average time on a page of several minutes, depending on the page type. Pages with a low time on page can be adjusted to be more informative or engaging. 

Site Speed

Site speed can affect SEO and conversion rates, so being able to see which pages are lagging in speed gives you an opportunity to improve the page performance. Site speed is also an important Google ranking factor. You can find Site Speed under the Behaviour tab in Analytics.

Organic Conversion Rate

Comparing the traffic for a page against the conversion rate on that page gives you an idea of trends and can help guide your conversion strategies on low performing pages. If many people are visiting a page but not many people are converting, instead of trying to get more traffic to that page, your focus should be on getting the people who do visit to convert. How strong are your calls to action? Does the content need to be improved or does your website navigation need tweaking to help people move further down the sales funnel and towards converting? Looking at your data in Google Analytics can help you figure out what to focus on.

If you would like help with any aspect of your website’s SEO, get in touch with SilverDisc.

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