If something can be measured then you can make it better. The entire point of SEO is to make your rankings better so you get more traffic, more leads and hopefully sales. This means that in search engine optimization measuring your traffic and several other key indicators are critical for your success. SEO companies that are doing things the right way will track all types of website data, which is what we call an analytics review. It lets us know we are doing things right.
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The Things SEO Companies Track Include: (In No Particular Order)
- Organic Visitors
- Social Network Referrals
- Unique Visitors
- Referral Traffic
- Time On Site
- Average Time On A Page
- Bounce Rate
- Behavior Flow
- Deep Linking
- Goal Tracking
- Goal Conversions
and much more.
These things tracked help us analyze each SEO strategy and create a unique strategy for success for each client. We do this by analyzing the metrics which give relevance to strategizing multiple search engine optimization insights, including, but not limited to:
- Page Titles
- Meta Descriptions
- Page Content
- Social Integration
- Site Speed
- Site Traffic Flow
- Calls-To Actions or CTAs
- If Goals Need To Be Changed
Plus much more.
Metrics That Are Critical To All SEO Campaigns
Again, we set up an SEO strategy that is unique to the success of each client. This includes for different types of sites. E-commerce sites, for example, might have different metrics that are important and need to be tracked that a roofing or insurance site doesn’t. Although that is true, the metrics listed above and the metrics we will be talking about in this post are nearly universal. We want to take the critical SEO metrics and cover them in a deeper fashion. We will not be taking such a close look at the general metrics in this post.
Tracking Your Overall Traffic
A great indicator of how well our SEO efforts are doing is to look at the amount of traffic that we are seeing come to your website. This includes Organic Visitors, Referrals (including social networks), unique visitors, etc. When we go to your audience section in Google Analytics we can find a good overview of your website’s traffic in the audience section. We will learn how many sessions your site had in a given period of time that we select.
Now that we know how much overall traffic that you are receiving from your website, we need to figure out how much of that traffic is a result of our SEO efforts. This is why we want to look specifically at the organic traffic that is coming to your website. This is the traffic that you will see coming from search engines, with the bulk of the traffic coming from Google. The reason you see most of the organic website traffic coming from Google is that it’s by far the biggest search engine.
We can compare the organic traffic your site is seeing amongst each search engine and to other sources of traffic. This way if there is a CPC campaign going on we can compare your SEO efforts from organic traffic to your paid traffic. We can also compare it to your Social Media channels to see how well they are performing against each other and our search engine optimization efforts. This will give you a great idea how well our efforts are doing to drive traffic to your website.
A major problem that most SEO campaigns face when it comes to using Google Analytics to run an analytics review is that Google took away the ability to see which keywords are giving you the traffic. Instead of seeing keywords we see “not set” or “not provided”. We can see where users come from, but not what words they used to get there. This will give us an idea of how your page is performing overall, but we usually want to focus more on specific pages or posts.
Using The Analytics Of Specific Pages
This will allow us to get even more specific and figure out what pages on your website people are landing on. This will help us determine what topics your users are interested in and it will help us narrow your SEO efforts down to more specific keywords. Doing this means we will see more targeted traffic that is more likely to turn into a lead for your company. Even though we still won’t be able to see the specific keywords that got people to these pages. We will have a good idea because we know what keywords we have already been targeting for these pages. The same goes for pages that are not performing well. The more specific we can get with your Google Analytics Analysis the more detailed and specific we can get with your SEO strategy.
Other Sources Of Traffic
While we are doing this, we will be sure to keep track of your other sources of traffic as well. These sources of traffic include:
Direct Traffic: The traffic that comes from users typing in your URL, bookmarks, emails that you or someone else have sent out that do not have tracking codes.
Referral Traffic: This is traffic from links across the web on other websites, such as blogs that have linked to your site. They also include trackable links like in emails, promotions or branding campaigns.
We want to pay attention to all of these sources so we will know how your site is performing across the net. For example, if you do a promotion or have one of your blogs syndicated and see a huge traffic spike, you probably shouldn’t get too excited. However, if we see a huge spike or drop in traffic coming from search engines (organic traffic) then we should pay close attention to what’s going on.
Knowing where your search traffic comes from, meaning Google, Yahoo, Bing, for example, will help us pin point an issue if one shall come up. If for some reason we see a big drop in search traffic and it’s only on Google, there is a good chance your site was penalized. However, if the traffic drops equally then you probably have an accessibility issue which is not that big of a deal compared to a Google penalty. This is when paying close attention to specific data in your analytics can help SEO tremendously.
Learning Strategic Value From Rankings
We make many changes to your website while implementing our SEO strategy. Some of these efforts will, of course, have different results than others. We will see some changes that have positive results on Bing and Yahoo, but a negative result on Google. Some on-page optimization like using better keywords and targeting can improve the search results on both Bing and Yahoo. However, this doesn’t always affect Google.
We know that backlinks are huge for Google and getting good backlinks with specific anchor texts can have a positive outcome on your rankings with Google and not Bing or Yahoo. Identifying your success with one engine, such as Google, will help us better understand how to focus our efforts. This is especially true if you want to rank well in Google where most of the search volume is.
Another thing that an Analytics Review will help us be able to do is to obtain a list of pages where users enter your website. These are considered landing pages and are important. Why are they important? Because landing pages are the first impression for your website and they are the first thing your users will judge your site by. These are the pages users land on when they come from different sources, as not everyone will land on your homepage. The reason the Bounce Rate is so important and something we track closely during an Analytics Review is because this metric will tell you the percentage of users who simply left your landing page or website without doing anything on the page.
Nobody really knows if Google takes your bounce rate into account for your ranking factors, our bet is that they do.
The reason we believe Google considers this factor is because your bounce rate tells Google how fast users hit the back button and went to see the rest of the search results. This is why you want your users to spend more time on the page they land on, engage with the page or go to another page in your website from that page. All of those things will lower your bounce rate.
We will, like with all metrics check your overall sites bounce rate and individual pages Bounce Rates. We will want to start with your most visited pages and move down from there on the list comparing the bounce rates on each page. This is all important because the bounce rate tells us more about the quality of the traffic and/or the quality of your page. This has an influence on our search engine optimization strategy. When we see users quickly hitting the back button they either never meant to find your page, wanted to find your page, but it didn’t have the information they wanted or other factors, such as your page loaded too slow.
Google will see this as your page not being relevant for the keyword(s) that users searched to find your page and your site will see negative results because of it.
Another factor that we look at closely is the site speed of your website which Google has openly admitted is a ranking factor. Your site speed is going to have a direct impact on some of the things we talked about above such as your Bounce Rate, PageViews and in the end the number of visitors your site ends up seeing. Your site speed will cause your conversion rate to drop and decreases your usability rate at the same time. As we stated we are not talking about the factors we look at in any specific order as we could easily have listed site speed (which fits into site health) as one of the top things we pay attention to. If your site speed is slow, improving it is going to be a giant win for your website.
When you find slow pages we will optimize them immediately and that’s something we pay close attention to here at Matchbox Design Group. You can also use Google’s site speed tool to help you with this if it’s something you want to do on your own. It will even tell you how to optimize the page.
Let’s face it your website is there to show off your organization and to drive leads to your company. When it comes to your bottom line can you think of another metric that is more important to your company? The higher number of users filling out your lead forms or calling you means you have a better chance at a higher number of users becoming customers. If we find certain pages or keywords that have a large conversion rate we can do a few things.
Once we figure out what the keywords is, figure out where you rank on Google and other search engines, we then work to improve your ranking on that keyword. When we improve your position you will without a doubt see more conversions.
We also know what page these users landed on. Since we have that information this is a good page to focus attention on improving each visitors user experience on that page.
But, that’s not the only big benefit of this important metric. We see great value when tracking your long tailed keywords that send visitors who convert into paying customers over and over. You can then start to focus on the rankings and improving the landing pages. Of course, when we dig deeper, we are likely to find even more interesting and actionable data to help your site convert.
Analytics Review Conclusion
Depending on your business goals or how creative either you or the company is at looking at your Google analytics can define your growth. If you rely on your social media interaction only there are metrics to help you gauge your social campaign efficiency. You can use analytics to understand how intuitive your website is and even if the architecture or hierarchy of your pages is working in the right way. You can track each CTA, track the flow of how your users got to those CTAs.
We use analytics that are essential to your SEO. We use these for improving your website performance. What we are trying to say is that if you have a question about how your site is performing or why it’s performing in a certain way, there is a Google Analytics metric to answer that question, just like there is a metric to help you rank better and get more leads.
Other analytics are very important, but we believe the ones we discussed are universal and should be used to get the most out of each individual Search Engine Optimization Campaign.