How To Use Google Analytics For SEO
Learn how to use Google Analytics for SEO alongside the OKR framework for a successful digital marketing strategy.
Google Analytics is an invaluable asset for search engine optimization (SEO) for one main reason: loads of data around your company website. For beginners, unfortunately, the Google Analytics SEO dashboard alone can be intimidating. But you don’t have to be a data expert to understand how this tool works.
Read this guide to learn how to use Google Analytics for SEO today.
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is easy to install, and you can use it to understand:
- Web traffic sources
- Average time spent on each page
- Average time spent on your overall website
- Conversion rates
- Bounce rates
- Digital ad performance
10 Reasons Why You Need Google Analytics For SEO
Google Analytics data helps you adapt your website to match your visitors’ needs, increasing your chances of converting them into paying customers. You need accurate, comprehensive website data to make the right choices for your SEO strategy. Here are ten ways that demonstrate how to use Google Analytics for SEO.
1. Identify User Demographics
Once you know where your website visitors are coming from, you can target your online ads to specific geographical areas and user interests. Google Analytics data helps you build customer profiles based on location, gender, age, and other vital demographic points.
2. Optimize Your Landing Page
Google Analytics tracks how your landing pages perform in terms of the number of clicks, impressions, and position compared to other web pages. This data shows you what types of landing page content are most engaging and where to improve or update for better conversions.
3. Optimize Your Mobile Site
Most websites today are mobile-ready out of the box, thanks to accelerated mobile page (AMP) frameworks. An AMP site automatically formats your website to match users’ smartphones and browsers.
You can track your AMP pages with Google Analytics to compare their performance against your desktop pages. Note: You may need a coding expert to install AMP tracking for Google products, including search, ads, and email.
4. Track Every Page on Your Website
Adding your Google Analytics tracking code to your homepage isn’t enough. Install the code on every page for visibility into user engagement on your website. Remember that every website can run the Google Analytics tracker, so both WordPress and fully custom sites benefit from this solution.
5. Set OKRs In Google Analytics
The OKR framework is an excellent match for Google Analytics data. One of the easiest OKR examples is conversion goals. You can create a new conversion goal to track page views, engagement, organic traffic, and leads. Use this data to establish your objectives and key results for website conversion.
6. Compare Desktop Versus Mobile Conversion Rates
Google Analytics for SEO shows you a list of devices visitors use to access your website. There’s a breakdown of browsers and operating systems on your Google Analytics SEO dashboard. Use this data to show you which pages perform better on desktop or mobile and optimize them for better results.
7. Understand Your Bounce Rates
You may have a high bounce rate if you have many visitors spending just a fraction of the time on your website. This could be due to your page loading slowly, poor user interface and experience (UI/UX), or lousy copy or content. Use your Google Analytics data about bounce rates for A/B testing your web pages to improve retention rates.
8. Track 404 Errors
The “Page not found” error 404 is inevitable due to typing errors on internal and external links. You can track these error pages through Google Analytics by setting an alert every time it arises. First, ensure that all your 404 pages have the same title, and avoid redirecting them since that changes the URL. Monitor these URLs, find their sources, and correct them accordingly.
9. Monitor Your Social Shares
Social shares add significant value to your SEO strategy. They signal:
- Brand recognition
- High-quality content
- High engagement and retention, and
- More backlinks to your website
Your social channels are part of your Google Analytics traffic sources list, including search, referrals, emails, and PPC.
10. Email SEO Reports to Your Marketing Team
As you track SEO on Google Analytics, you can automate report generation to capture your website’s performance. Schedule daily, weekly, or monthly analytics reports to share with your marketing team to keep them updated on your SEO strategy.
Best Metrics to Track with Google Analytics For SEO
All these data points are a great way to dive into your Google Analytics dashboard. However, you need to track some essential metrics to see the benefits of OKRs in your SEO strategy.
Use the following metrics to track SEO on Google Analytics:
· Keyword Performance
Google Analytics has a keyword tracker to identify the keywords that lead traffic to your website. For example, if your business deals with pet products, your ideal customers may search for “pet stores near me” or “why does my dog itch?” You can create landing pages, blog posts, or social posts with these keywords distributed in the content, then track each with Google Analytics to see which searches lead to your website.
· Organic Traffic Sources
You can set location-specific keywords with Google Analytics to identify where your audience is in your area. In the example above, a keyword like “pet stores in Sacramento” will bring your business to the top of local searches. Match the keyword with images of your business, plus a map with clear directions. Note the organic traffic sources that come from much farther than expected and retarget your keywords.
· Bounce Rates
Think of your website bounce rates as a diagnosis for your website performance. A low bounce rate shows that you’re the answer to your audience’s questions. A high bounce rate may signal that:
– You’re using the wrong keywords
– Your product doesn’t solve your customer’s problems
– Your website design needs an update
– Your web content fails to engage
Bounce rate, therefore, is a great way to learn how to optimize your website.
· ROI (Return on Investment) And Conversion Rates
These two metrics go hand in hand: your conversion rates justify your marketing budget. Google Analytics uses the OKR framework to set conversion goals and goal values in currency amounts. They can be broadly classified as SEO OKRs leading to higher ROI and Conversion rate. Objectives may include “visit the contact page,” “register for newsletter,” “visit the about us page,” and more. Google Analytics shows you the page views per goal, the value of each plan, and a percentage conversion rate.
· CTR (Click-Through Rate)
The CTR metric shows how your calls to action on your website perform. A low CTR may indicate a weak call to action or poor keyword targeting. Analyze your CTR data to polish your SEO strategy: rework your blog posts, design engaging landing pages, capture great photos and videos of your products, and much more.
· Website Speed
Website loading speed serves two purposes for SEO: it creates a good user experience and allows search engine bots to crawl and rank your website. Mobile users expect your website to load in under three seconds, and your bounce rate increases with every second afterward. Google Analytics shows your site speed, page timings, and speed suggestions in great detail on your dashboard.
· Domain Authority
A reputable website thrives on backlinks. These are the number of other websites linking to your site. Good content generates high-quality backlinks, which give you a high domain authority. Your website ranks highly on search results and keeps your business ahead of the competition.
Mistakes to Avoid When Using Google Analytics For SEO
A free Google Analytics course is essential if you’re a beginner in data analytics or refresh your data analysis skills. It helps you to avoid making costly mistakes or bad marketing decisions with your Google Analytics data. These mistakes include:
1) Setup Errors
Your Google Analytics setup determines the accuracy of your website data. You could get skewed data if you use multiple tracking codes on a single page, leave certain pages untracked, or settle for the default settings. If you suspect your analytics data is inaccurate, run an SEO audit or consult a data analyst to correct your settings.
2) Ignoring the Sample Size
You should run Google Analytics for at least a month to have a good idea of your website analytics data. Otherwise, you will get data based on a very small or insignificant sample which skews your insights: the more page visits, the more accurate your analytics.
3) Obsessing Over Website Data
Having good data about your SEO strategy is exciting, but it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees. You may send too much data on Google Analytics reports without focusing on your SEO or marketing goals. The only way to have actionable Google Analytics data is to focus on your OKR framework to guide your SEO decisions.
4) Tracking Irrelevant Data Points
Google Analytics offers vast data, but it’s both a plus and a downside. It’s easy to track dozens of website performance events only to realize that you need only three or four key data points. Understand what you want to achieve with your SEO strategy before you dive into Google Analytics.
5) Misinterpreting the Data
Google Analytics does an excellent job of explaining how it calculates each metric, so you need to understand what your results mean. For example, your bounce rate doesn’t account for inactivity. It’s very common for users to open numerous browser tabs and leave them idle. A Google Analytics course can explain how it derives each metric.
6) Settling for Default Reports
You can unearth many more insights by using filters and segments for your Google Analytics data. Get as granular as you wish instead of accepting the default data.
7) Dismissing Ad Blockers and Privacy Policies
Marketers may craft the best digital ad campaigns but face serious obstacles with ad blockers and Brower privacy policies. For example, some ad blockers may block Google Analytics altogether, and cookies expire faster on specific browsers. The number of ads reaching audiences decreases, yielding problematic data.
Digital marketers need data to inform SEO decisions, from search rankings to email campaigns and influencer marketing. And when it comes to website performance data, nothing beats Google Analytics. It offers excellent insights into every aspect of your website. If you’re new to big data, a Google Analytics course will show you how to use Google analytics for SEO.
Google Analytics is only one of many tools you can use to polish your marketing strategy. It also incorporates the Objectives & key results (OKRs) to create achievable and measurable goals throughout your SEO journey