Tag Archives: Google Analytics

What people get wrong about keyword cannibalization

Columnist Patrick Stox suggests SEOs should reconsider how they think about keyword cannibalization and look at it as an opportunity, not an issue. The post What people get wrong about keyword cannibalization appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Google Analytics Features You Need to Pay Attention to in 2018 [PODCAST]

In this podcast episode, Charles Farina discusses the valuable features within Google Analytics that are worth taking advantage of this year.

The post Google Analytics Features You Need to Pay Attention to in 2018 [PODCAST] appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

Making website speed and performance part of your SEO routine

Monitoring webpage performance is key to avoiding setbacks when algorithms change. Contributor Bobby Lyons points out ways to adapt everyday SEO activities so a website will thrive regardless of algorithm updates. The post Making website speed and performance part of your SEO routine appeared...

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Monitoring web migrations: A checklist for moving from one site to another

Contributor Aleyda Solis walks through what to monitor during a web migration and explains how to fix issues so you don't lose traffic and rankings. The post Monitoring web migrations: A checklist for moving from one site to another appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
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8 key Google Analytics reports for SEO

Any stellar SEO strategy should be meticulously tracked and heavily data-driven.

Gut feel is great when deciding on which new pair of shoes to buy, but it’s not the best foundation to base your SEO work upon.

Google Analytics is a treasure trove of insightful data. And it’s free! However, with so much data available at our fingertips, it can be a bit of a minefield, and most people only scratch the surface.

Keyword rankings are great for stroking your ego and making your client smile and nod, but they don’t tap into the bigger picture.

In order to continually build on and improve your campaign, you need to pay close attention to the nitty-gritty of your data. There’s a lot to take into account, but in this post we’ll provide an overview of the key Google Analytics reports and views to bolster your SEO campaigns.

Many of these reports can be created as custom reports, which is handy for tailoring your reporting to specific business needs and sharing with clients.

Read on and we’ll help you to track and measure your SEO efforts like the analytical guru you are.

1. Organic search

Where to find it: ‘Acquisition’ > ‘Overview’ > Click through to ‘Organic Search’

It’s an obvious one but a good place to start. Head to the ‘Overview’ tab under ‘Acquisition’ for a base level indication of your website’s primary traffic channels. This provides an immediate summary of your top channels and how each is performing in terms of traffic volume, behavior and conversions.

As well as showing a general overview of organic traffic, you can also dig deeper into the data by clicking on ‘Organic Search’ in the table and playing around with the filters. Consider the most popular organic landing pages, an overview of keywords, search engines sending the most traffic, exit pages, bounce rates, and more.

On the topic of bounce rates, it’s a good idea to pay particular attention to this metric with regards to individual pages. Identify those pages with a bounce rate that is below the average for your site. Take some time to review these pages and work out why that might be, subsequently applying any UX/UI or targeting amendments.

This is all very well but wouldn’t it be handy if you could view only your organic traffic across the whole of your Google Analytics? It’s easier than you think. Simply click  to ‘Add Segment’ and check the box for organic traffic.

Leave the ‘All Users’ segment for a handy comparison, or remove this segment for a view of only your organic traffic.

2. Landing page and page titles

Where to find it: ‘Behavior’ > ‘Site Content’ > ‘Landing Pages’ > Add secondary dimension ‘Page Titles’

One of the most frustrating aspects of Google Analytics organic reports is the dreaded ‘(not provided)’ result which features under ‘Keyword’.

This unfortunate occurrence is the result of searches which have been carried out securely. In other words, if the URL of the search engine features HTTPS or if they are logged into a Google account and therefore protected by data privacy policies. In these scenarios, the search term deployed by the user will not be provided.

But how wonderful would it be to see a list of all the search terms people used to find your site? Unfortunately I’m not a magician and I can’t abracadabra these search phrases from the Google abyss. But I can offer an alternative solution that will at least give you an overview.

View your organic traffic via landing page and page title, as this will show which pages are performing best in terms of organic search. By including the page title, you can then look at which keywords those pages are optimised for and get a pretty good idea of the search phrases users are deploying and those which are performing best in terms of traffic and bounce rate.

8 key Google Analytics reports for SEO

This can also help you identify the pages which are not performing well in terms of organic traffic. You can then review whether the keywords need refining, the onsite optimization needs an overhaul, or the content needs revamping.

3. Conversion goals

Where to find it: ‘Conversions’ > ‘Goals’ > ‘Overview’

It’s all very well having a high volume of organic traffic but if it isn’t converting then there’s really not much point. To test the quality of your organic traffic, you need to be tracking conversions. There are two levels to this.

The first is your conversion goals. You can filter these with regards to traffic and understand what percentage of a website’s conversions are resulting from organic traffic.

To further improve this data, add monetary value to your conversions to better demonstrate the value that your SEO efforts are bringing. Some clients care only about keyword rankings, some care only about the dollar signs. Either way, it’s worth spending some time with your client to work out how much each conversion is worth and the data that they are most interested in.

For example, let’s say you sell kitchens. If you know the average cost of a sale and the percentage of kitchen brochure downloads which convert to a sale, then you can work out an approximate value for each conversion.

4. Assisted conversions

Where to find it: ‘Conversions’ > ‘Multi-Channel Funnels’ > ‘Assisted Conversions’

Although useful, conversion goals only give a surface view of conversions. What if someone initially found your website via Google and didn’t convert, but then later returned to your website by typing in the URL direct and then converted?

It’s very common for users not to convert on their first visit to a website, especially if they are only in the awareness or consideration phase of the sales funnel. When returning the next time around to make a purchase, they are more likely to go direct, or perhaps they see a reminder via social media.

This is where assisted conversions can save the day. Find these by clicking on ‘Multi-Channel Funnels’ under ‘Conversions’, and then ‘Assisted Conversions’.

With this data, you can identify whether each channel featured on the conversion path of a user, therefore providing more accurate data in terms of the quality of your organic traffic.

8 key Google Analytics reports for SEO

Pay attention to any drops or surges in organic traffic in this section. If, for example, you have noticed a drop in organic assisted conversions yet your organic traffic has remained consistent, then it may indicate that the leads are no longer as qualified. This should prompt a review of your keyword and content strategy.

5. Site speed

Where to find it: ‘Behavior’ > ‘Site Speed’ > ‘Overview’

Site speed is important, we all know that. There are a number of tools we can use to find out the overall speed of a website: Google Page Insights, Pingdom, GTmetrix. However, these don’t tend to drill down into specific pages. The site speed report via Google Analytics can help you to identify any pages which are proving particularly slow.

You are likely to see a correlation between the time taken to load and the exit pages, you can also layer in bounce rate metrics.

Using this information regarding individual pages, you can then approach your development team with the cold hard evidence that they need to resolve that page speed issue.

6. Site search

Where to find it: ‘Behavior’ > ‘Site Search’ > ‘Search Terms’

If you have a site search function on your website then this report is super useful for a number of reasons. Firstly, it can indicate where the user experience may not be particularly strong on your website. If a page is proving difficult to find without having to search for it then it may hint at a wider site navigation issue.

In addition, it can also help identify any keywords or search terms which you may need to create a new page for if one does not already exist. The site search report is ideal for unearthing these gaps in your website’s offering.

7. Mobile

Where to find it: ‘Audience’ > ‘Mobile’ > ‘Overview’

Comparing the traffic of mobile users to that of desktop and tablet is a handy way of identifying whether your site may have some mobile optimization issues. For example, if the bounce rate of mobile sessions is significantly higher than that of your desktop sessions, then you may need to carry out a mobile site audit.

It’s also worth considering the conversion rate of the different devices, as this can indicate which device traffic is the most valuable.

Given that over half of website traffic is now on mobile, you should see similar results reflected in your own analytics. Although it’s worth bearing in mind that some businesses are more likely to be more prevalent on mobile than others.

For example, a local business should feature in a lot of mobile searches, whereas a business to business service is more likely to be searched for on desktop by people sitting in an office.

8. Customize your dashboard

Where to find it: ‘Customization’ > ‘Dashboards’

Finally, for a quick overview of reporting, it pays to design a tailored dashboard for your client. We often find that clients don’t appreciate too much text or complex tables in reports, as they can be overwhelming at an initial glance.

Sure, you may be a Google Analytics whizz, but the chances are that your client isn’t. Therefore presenting the data in a way that is digestible and manageable is key to convincing them of your SEO prowess.

Create a dashboard that your client will understand. Use digestible charts, like bar graphs, pie charts and simplified tables. This will help the client visualize all of the data in one easy-to-view report. This can also be emailed to your client each week so they get regular updates.

Dashboards are created using customizable widgets. Begin by selecting the type of widget: this could be a simple metric, a timeline, a geomap, a table, or a pie or bar chart. With some widgets, you can also select whether to show a specified date range or whether to show data in real-time.

Once you have chosen your widget, you can configure the finer details, such as dimensions and other options depending on the type. Widgets can be edited, cloned or deleted, allowing flexibility in refining your dashboard as both you and your client see fit. For further information on creating a custom dashboard, have a read of Google’s handy guide.

There are a whole myriad of other reports and views available within Google Analytics; it takes time to become familiar with all the different types of data and formats. Hopefully this list has provided a solid starting point for genuinely valuable and insightful SEO reporting.

How to create content to support local SEO and rock the rankings

Are you looking for ways to increase your organic visibility and rankings in local search results?  Contributor Kristopher Jones shares how to shine in local search results using locally focused content. The post How to create content to support local SEO and rock the rankings appeared first on...

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
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Google Analytics Introduces New ‘Audiences’ Report by @MattGSouthern

Google is rolling out a new report in Analytics which analyzes a website’s custom audiences.

The post Google Analytics Introduces New ‘Audiences’ Report by @MattGSouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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How the latest Google Analytics updates will benefit marketers

Google has announced a range of significant new updates to its Analytics product, all of which should help marketers to understand their individual customers at a deeper level. Below, we assess the impact each of these four enhancements will have on search marketing analysis. 

The ongoing implementation of machine learning into all Google products has benefited GA, with the addition of Analytics Intelligence a particular highlight from the last 12 months.

Simultaneously, Google wants to provide site owners with insight into the impact of their marketing activities across all channels. This has always been the aim, but it is a challenging one from a tracking perspective. The partnership between GA 360 and Salesforce is a reflection of Google’s willingness to work alongside other companies to achieve this goal and ensure it keeps its dominant position.

The four latest updates to GA all exhibit some elements of these trends, with machine learning and user-level analysis never far from the foreground.

Users in standard reports

The underpinnings of the standard report dashboard have been adapted to include more insight into user-level behavior.

This is a significant shift from the historical focus on sessions, as an individual user could have multiple sessions even within the same day. The implications of this hierarchical system (User>Session>Hit) were discussed in a previous post, where we assessed some common GA misunderstandings.

Marketers will undoubtedly welcome the default option to analyze users alongside sessions and we should expect Google to continue improving the accuracy of user-level data. As it does so, more options for assessment and targeting will follow.

How marketers can use this feature:

  • Go to Admin > Property Settings in your GA account, then select the option for Enable Users in Reporting.
  • Combine with other (relatively new) features like Cohort Analysis to get a clearer picture of how groups of users arrive at – and interact with – your site.

User Explorer: Lifetime metrics and dimensions

User Explorer, which allows marketers to isolate user behavior down to the session level, has huge potential as an analytical tool. It is already available in all GA accounts and draws its data from the lifetime of a user’s cookie.

Google has recently revamped this feature with the addition of lifetime metrics and dimensions for individual users.

As can be seen in the screenshot below, this is displayed in a dashboard that contains a variety of information about past, present, and predicted future behaviors.

Taken in isolation, this level of granularity may appeal to little more than our curiosity. However, the ability to scale this and identify patterns across a large set of Client Id numbers could reap significant rewards for marketers. Once we group together similar users, we can tailor our marketing activities and messaging, both for prospecting and remarketing.

How the latest Google Analytics updates will benefit marketers

How marketers can use this feature:

  • Identify patterns in the channels that lead valuable clients to arrive at your site. This can be of use when prospecting for new customers who share the same attributes.
  • Maximize the value of current customers with a high projected lifetime value, through remarketing and tailored messaging.

Audience reporting

This is a logical and much-needed update to Analytics, making it a particularly welcome addition. Users can now create audiences within GA and then publish them within the platform for analysis.

Up to now, we have been able to create audiences and publish them to other Google properties, such as AdWords. This has been very useful for remarketing, but it was not possible to create a report for these audiences within GA.

This new feature uses ‘Audience’ as its primary dimension and permits users to compare performance across different segments.

For example, we could create an audience for customers that have purchased more than 5 times in the last 6 months, and compare this group with visitors that consume a lot of our content but do not make purchases.

How the latest Google Analytics updates will benefit marketers

How marketers can use this feature:

  • Create audiences based on the behaviors that matter to your business and monitor their interactions over time. These can then be compared to derive insights about the characteristics of our most valuable customers.
  • Given that these same lists can be uploaded to AdWords, we can draw a more direct line from analysis to action. If we notice trends within specific customer groups that we would like to enhance or reverse in our GA reports, we can do this seamlessly by targeting that same audience group through AdWords.
  • Use audience lists as the basis for conversion rate optimization tests.

Conversion probability

This is perhaps the most exciting of the four updates and has the highest potential to have a positive impact on marketers’ ROI.

By analyzing your site’s historical data and automatically identifying the patterns between variables within sets of high-value customers, Google can identify the recent site visitors with the highest probability of a future conversion.

This has been achievable in the past through a variety of means, notably through the use of Google Analytics Premium data, logistic regression analysis, and Google BigQuery. Many paid media management platforms also employ this type of machine learning to help with bid management, as does Google AdWords.

However, by incorporating this technology into the standard Google Analytics platform, a much wider user base will now have access to predictive analytics about their customers.

Combined with the updates listed above, we can see how this fits into the broader picture. Google uses machine learning to identify future customers, which site owners can then use to create audiences for analysis and remarketing.

This feature is rolling out to all accounts in beta over the next few months, so it is worth looking out for.

How marketers can use this feature:

  • Identify the quality of traffic that is driven by your marketing activities. The ‘Average % Conversion Probability’ metric will reveal this within your Conversion reports.
  • For remarketing, Google offers a few pointers of its own:

The advantages are clear: Marketers can create remarketing lists that target users who have a high likelihood to purchase and then reach those users through either advertising campaigns in AdWords and DoubleClick or site experiments in Optimize.

Viewed together as a group of updates, the key takeaway here is self-evident: Google is at pains to use its machine learning capabilities to create a deeper understanding of individual users. The field of predictive analytics can be a particularly profitable one, especially for a company with targeting technology as effective as Google’s.

The latest enhancements to GA should see these capabilities extended to a much wider audience than ever before.

My 12 most important SEO metrics to monitor

How do you measure success within your SEO campaigns? Columnist John Lincoln shares the key metrics he tracks. The post My 12 most important SEO metrics to monitor appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Beyond Google Analytics: 10 SEO analytics and reporting tools

Analytics and reporting are a critical part of any SEO campaign.

As well as ensuring that you prove your worth to your clients, analytics are also essential in helping you make iterative improvements to the campaign as you go along.

Yet SEO reporting can be a bit of a minefield. With a myriad of available data, countless online tracking tools and making sure that the client actually understands what on earth you are talking about, it’s difficult to know where to turn.

Naturally, Google Analytics is a great place to start, especially for traffic overviews and conversion tracking, but it most certainly shouldn’t be where you stop.

When looking for an analytics and reporting tool, it is also important to remember that the focus should never just be on rankings. Sure, we all like to see ranking improvements – clients especially – but these are ultimately just vanity metrics. Serious SEO professionals need tools that dig deep and show the results in a way that is tangible and in line with business objectives.

In this post, we’ll cover a handful of the best free and paid tools available for SEO reporting and analytics. Plus we also look outside of the traditional SEO realm of analytics and into wider marketing metrics. Keeping the focus only on SEO can be limiting – we are interested in the bigger picture.

Free tools

Search console

Okay, so it’s another Google tool but it would be remiss of us not to mention Search Console. Your first port of call for identifying site errors, crawl errors, structured data, HTML improvements and security issues.

Also particularly useful for exploring the search analytics for a given site. Gain an understanding of the most popular search terms being used to find a website and the corresponding click-through rates. Data is useful as a guide but not comprehensive enough to be relied upon as a standalone tool. In short, it’s free – so use it but don’t depend on it.

Neil Patel’s SEO Analyzer

Neil Patel’s SEO Analyzer is a handy tool for acquiring a quick indication of a website’s overall SEO performance. It provides much the same metrics as you would get from other free SEO tools, including onsite issues, backlinks and keyword analysis.

The tool provides recommendations which are categorised by priority: high, medium or low. Tips are quite general and not particularly mind-blowing, but are nevertheless useful.

It is therefore handy for obtaining a top line overview, although if you are looking for analytics which are a touch more compelling then you may have to part with some cash (see next section). It’s the way the world works.

Seoptimer

Similar to the previous tool, Seoptimer provides an overarching set of analytics presented via a clear and simple grading system. The grades are divided into five sections to help the user identify any key problem areas: SEO, usability, performance, social and security.

Seoptimer lists all the key points of analysis and provides commentary on how well the site is doing for each point with a simple tick/cross system. Again, much like the other free tools, Seoptimer is useful for quick insights and analytics. Quick and actionable takeaways presented in a user friendly manner.

Paid tools

Woorank

Although there is a free version of WooRank available, it is somewhat limited in the results provided. The paid tool offers a comprehensive website review that covers a wide spectrum of on-site requirements.

What sets this tool apart from other more basic ‘website checker’ tools is that WooRank also provides tailored tips for increasing traffic and boosting conversions. Given that increased conversions are the ultimate end goal of most SEO campaigns, any tool that offers a way of improving this metric is a winner in our books.

WooRank also enables the user to set goals, which is a handy way of setting performance benchmarks for reporting. It is almost always more effective having goals to work towards, especially when it comes to involving the client in the reporting process.

Clients can often feel alienated by the plethora of data and SEO terminology, but WooRank is about tangibility, both for the teams working on the campaign and for the client.

SEMRush

SEMRush is a fantastic all-round SEO tool that provides a myriad of different services. In terms of reporting, users can take advantage of in-depth analysis, from position tracking to the onpage SEO checker. SEMRush provides detailed insights and corresponding recommendations so that you can take immediate action.

Plus, the reporting tool allows you to quickly create ‘drag and drop’ reports. These can be tailored to each client, resulting in detailed and bespoke reports that take only a small amount of time to create.

Majestic SEO

If you want to take your link-building reporting to a new level, then Majestic is the answer. Deep dive into link analytics, including their popular metrics of trust flow and citation flow, as well as backlink history, backlink breakdown and anchor text analysis.

Majestic has the largest commercially available backlink index so you can bet on the analytics being fairly accurate and comprehensive. As a stand-alone analytics and reporting tool, Majestic falls short of the competition. But if you want to hone in on link analytics then you need look no further.

Raven Tools

Let’s be honest, manually creating SEO reports every month is a time-consuming pain, and is another hurdle in creating teams that can scale quickly. Sure, seeing the incredible results your team have pulled off is exciting but actually getting it all down on paper in a clear, digestible manner can be frustrating.

Enter Raven Tools.

Raven allows you to create automated marketing reports which both look fantastic and deliver all the goods. Reporting aside, it can also help you to identify any problems with your SEO and consequently fix them. The Raven tool can even access Moz and Majestic link data, which is a pretty inviting prospect.

Not so great for keyword rank tracking, but the reports themselves look enticing and have the capability of pulling data from a range of sources.

Moz Analytics

As with all Moz tools, there is a user friendly interface that looks uncomplicated, appealing and comprehensible. Some SEO tools can look overwhelming or daunting but with fantastic data visualization, Moz always manages to make SEO accessible.

Of course we are all familiar with domain authority, spam score and the wider Open Site Explorer link metrics available through Moz. These are all useful as a performance benchmark for an ongoing SEO campaign and are important to refer back to at certain intervals to check progress.

However, Moz is notoriously slow at picking up new backlinks, which can be frustrating and it is therefore wise not to rely solely on Moz.

Wider marketing tools

Let’s not forget that SEO is ultimately just one aspect of the marketing mix. Although SEO reporting and analytics tools can be extremely useful, it is important not to disregard the wider marketing output and results.

As long as your SEO goals are aligned to the overall business objectives, then a successful SEO campaign should have a knock-on effect on other marketing channels, such as social media, email marketing and website performance.

We therefore figured it would be handy to include a couple of additional reporting ideas below to really get the most out of your campaign.

Hotjar

Hotjar allows you to gain a better understanding of how users are navigating your site by using heatmaps, recordings, form analysis and conversion funnels. Sure, SEO may help to get users to your site, but the customer journey does not end there. No way. The next step is giving them a gentle but firm shove through conversion funnel and into a loyal, happy and paying customer.

Use as an extension of your SEO reporting tools to work out where customers are converting and where they are leaving. You can then utilize this information in your SEO campaign, to allow you to focus on the high-converting pages.

Social reporting tools

SEO and social media may not be directly linked, but they work alongside each other and results are often correlated. If an SEO campaign is being executed, it is always best practice to ensure that comprehensive social media management is also taking place simultaneously.

Ultimately, any marketing campaign is about increasing brand presence across the entire marketing spectrum, and so it is important to cover all these bases in your reporting.

Some of the paid tools, such as SEMRush, include social analytics integration so you can keep all of your analytics in one place. Failing that, it is always worth keeping a check on the built-in analytics tools native to each social platform.

Summary

There are a myriad of other SEO tools available, such as Advanced Web Ranking and Authority Labs, but these tend to have more of a focus on keyword and rank tracking.

Although this is useful, it is not nearly as helpful as those tools which provide actionable recommendations and a more in-depth reflection of conversions. Start with our above recommendations and you’ll be producing stellar reports in no time.