You may have seen or heard of “Google Analytics Integration” (along with Google Search Console Integration) included in a shady SEO package or audit as if the act of integrating Google Analytics is such a premium service.
Truth be told it’s not – integrating Google Analytics to any website is as easy as copy and pasting a (asynchronous) tracking code into the <head> of your webpages.
What’s actually important is how it is used to track and analyse traffic in your site.
Although it is your SEO provider’s responsibility to interpret data in a clear and easy-to-understand manner, it doesn’t hurt to learn a little bit about Google Analytics. As clients it is your right to know what Google Analytics is and how it helps improve your website or business. We will also show you how to interpret data that GA may throw at you.
This article is for the client who has no idea about tracking the results of your SEO provider’s campaign. Yes, search engine rankings are viable results, but in the ever-changing world of Search Engine Optimisation, those are becoming increasingly inadequate.
What You Will Learn Today:
- Understanding the Google Analytics Dashboard
- Basic Checking of Your SEO Provider’s SEO Campaign
Google Analytics has a built-in dashboard that summarises the events that occurred on your site. There are a lot of numbers and percentages, but I want you to focus on three main things – Sessions, Bounce Rate, and % New Sessions.
Sessions – Sessions are set of interactions that happened on a site for a set amount of time. The default period is 30 mins but you can change this to whatever you want. Personally, I look at sessions to monitor how many interactions I’ve had within my website.
Bounce Rate – Bounce Rate is the percentage of visitors that navigated away from your site after only viewing one page. This is a good indicator of your website’s usefulness and value. Low bounce rate means that people are actually looking around your site and navigating from page to page. On the other hand, high bounce rate could mean any of these two things:
- Your site is not being found for the right keywords.
- Your site does not provide the information people are looking for, it loads too slow, the design burns their eyes, or a combination of all.
New Sessions – This is the percentage of first-time visits to your site. If you’re running an SEO campaign, the % New Sessions should be high since your site should be rising up in organic rankings.
Checking The Effectiveness of Your SEO Provider
If you have access to your site’s Google Analytics (and you should have access), you can check out your site’s daily performance using the dashboard. It will only take about 2 minutes of your time to check things out. That being said, you can also use GA to check the effectiveness of your SEO provider by doing any of the following:
Comparing Date Ranges
You can also use GA to check the effectiveness of your SEO provider comparing the current month’s data from last month’s data:
- Click the date on the upper right corner of your dashboard.
- Choose a date range. I usually compare months so the results are more evident.
Have a look at the image below for more clarity.
Checking Organic Traffic
SEO is all about getting that much-coveted organic traffic. To check how your organic traffic is doing, just do the following:
On Google Analytics’ sidebar menu, go to Acquisition > Channels. Make sure you’re still comparing date ranges.
You can see how your organic traffic is doing by looking at the percentages as shown in the picture below.
On the given example above, most Acquisition and Behaviour data actually improved, albeit not much. My bounce rate and Pages/Session did decrease a bit which I attributed, upon further inspection, to low converting keywords.
The screenshots were taken from the GA account of a fairly new Amazon niche, site as you can see from the miniscule monthly traffic it receives.
The site does show good signs of future success as can be seen on the upward data trends.
Just a note: these are NOT the entire basis of an SEO campaign. This article only serves as to teach basic understanding of Google Analytics.
Checking Users Flow
You can also check which pages do your visitors go to.
On the sidebar menu, go to Audience > Users Flow.
You will see something like this:
This part shows you which country sends your site the most traffic and which pages they view the most.
This is particularly useful in determining if your SEO campaign is geographically correct.
Now that you know a bit about Google Analytics, conversations with your digital marketing provider won’t be a one-way street anymore! You, the recently enlightened one, can finally ask questions like the examples below:
“5 out 10 (that’s a 50% bounce rate) visitors on my site seem to go away after only viewing a single page. What seems to be the cause of such aversion?”
“My organic traffic increased by 10% this month! Great job. What additional traffic-generating strategies can we do to improve this next month?”
“I’m seeing a lot of social traffic this month. Could one of our articles have gone viral? Can we use viral marketing as part of our overall SEO strategy?”
Enjoy The Newfound Knowledge
Now that you know the basics of Google Analytics, you can keep better track of how your SEO campaign is performing.