As part of the presentation I put together some Google Analytics customizations for measuring SEO. As long as you’re using Google Analytics :)
I love customizing Google Analytics reports. I can create exactly what I want and reduce the number of clicks I need to make to report or analyze data.
All of the data in these reports is available in other places. But I’ve made some small tweaks that can save time, especially if you’re doing SEO daily.
Each report has metrics about the acquisition, engagement and conversion of your customers and potential customers:
- Visits [Acquisition]
- Unique Visitors [Acquisition]
- % New Visits [Acquisition]
- Bounce Rate [Engagement]
- Avg. Visit Duration [Engagement]
- Conversion Rate [Conversions]
- Revenue [Conversions]
- Per Visit Value [Conversions]
You get a full-funnel view of the visitors. One thing to note: you need to update the Goals metric to reflect your Google Analytics setup.
General SEO report
It can take a lot of clicks to navigate to the Organic Keyword report in Google Analytics. Sometimes you just don’t have that time for those 4 clicks :)
So this is a generic SEO report that I use to monitor SEO on a weekly basis. This report is actually more elaborate than it seems. There are multiple tabs along the top that let you quickly change the data inthe reprot. All of it SEO related.
The first tab is all about search engines. This will give you the basic trend of your organic traffic from different search engines.
Tip: Use the Plot Rows to see feature in the data table to trend multiple search engines on the graph.
And if you’re looking to dig deeper into each search engine just click on the name to view the keywords.
Next tab is the Organic Keywords. This let’s you jump directly to a keyword view of the data. So if you don’t care about the search engine, use this tab.
Finally landing page. This is a flat-table view of landing pages and the keywords that drive traffic to those pages. This is a great way to understand if your keyword optimization is driving traffic to the desired pages.
I decided to exclude the (not provided) keyword just to focus on actual keywords that are known. Don’t worry, (not provided) analysis comes next.
(not provided) Analysis
We all know that Google blocks keyword data for logged in users. This is not going to change. But we can still gain some insight into SEO efforts by looking at the landing page for Google Organic traffic.
This report has metrics about which landing pages are getting the most traffic and the behavior of people landing on those pages. Do they bounce? Do they convert?
To use this report, look for increasing traffic and conversions to the pages you are optimizing. Even though you don’t know the keywords, if organic traffic is increasing to these landing pages, chances are your SEO efforts are working.
Non-Branded Keyword Performance
A lot of SEO is focused on non-branded keywords. Those keywords that make up the long tail of search. Sure, Google does block those keywords for logged in users but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have any data.
This report uses a simple filter to exclude your branded search terms from the report. Remember, you need to update that filter for your business.
I also included a filter to exclude the (not provided) keyword, just to make the report easier to use.
Once done, you’ll have a list of non-branded terms. Click on a term to see the search engine that generated the search.
Referring Pages Report
The last I checked, people are still doing link-building. It’s not dead yet :)
So how about a report that makes it easy to see which sites, and the pages on those sites, are sending you traffic?
The Referring Pages report has the domain and page of all sites that are driving traffic to your content. You’ll notice that this report looks different. I moved to a flat-table view so you can see the full referral URL.
Sure, it’s in two columns, but it’s all there. You don’t need to manipulate the data in any way.
If you’d like to see trend data just change this report to a type of Explorer report. But you’ll need to manually drill into each domain to see the referring pages. It’s up to you :)
What’s the value here? You can easily see if you’re getting valuable traffic from links. You can also look for opportunities to partner with high-value sites that you may not know about.
Measure and know!
There is one other piece of CRITICAL data that every SEO needs to know: how SEO helps, or assists, other channels in generating conversion. This data is found in the Multi-Channel Funnels reports.
Unfortunately you can’t add that data to Custom Reports! Boo.
So don’t forget to use these reports, they’re unbelievably helpful.
Also use the Goal Flow and the Flow Visualization reports. THese reports help you understand how visitors move through the content on your site.
I especially like the Goal Flow because it’s very actionable. It shows how people move through, and drop out of, your conversion processes.
Tip: customize the Goal Flow report it by segmenting it based on Organic traffic sources and keywords.
If you’re responsible for SEO then you’re probably in the data every day. But sometimes you might take a day off, or a vacation. In these cases it’s good to have a someone else monitoring the data.
Why not automate that with a Custom Alert? I like custom alerts because you can configure them to compare your data week-over-week. If something changes dramatically from Tuesday to Tuesday (for example) you can trigger your alert.
Here are a few that I would use.
BTW – You can’t share custom alerts in Google Analytics. You’ll have to set these up on your own. Read more about how data alerts can save your ass.
Organic Bounce Rate Increase
If the bounce rate for your organic traffic spikes then something is wrong. Terribly wrong. One of the main objectives is to get traffic from keywords to land on the appropriate content. Something is wrong if the bounce rate increases dramatically from week to week.
Organic Revenue/Conversion Drop
Is organic doing what it’s supposed to i.e. add value to your business. Use this alert to monitor revenue, or a specific goal. This one is really really important! You need to know if organic is not generating it’s share of direct conversions or revenue.
How should you configure this alert? It’s up to you. It depends on your threshold for pain :)
Custom Advanced Segments
The last part of the customization is Custom Advanced Segments. These are the nuclear-bomb of analysis. Use these to segment every report in Google Analytics in real time.
This is especially handy if you want to analyze the content reports (like Pages and Site Search).
Remember, for both of these, you need need to change the keyword condition of this segment to include YOUR specific brand terms.
This segment creates a view of your long-tail search terms. Instantly view where they land, what products/pages they look at, how they search internally. It’s eye opening.
Just set it up like this:
(not provided) Traffic
This is especially useful when you apply apply this advanced segment along with another advanced segment. You can easily compare the behavior or (not provided) people other organic search.
Multi-Word Organic Data
Segmenting your data based on the number of keywords can be really, really useful.
People are using a lot of terms in their search. As people use search engines more they understand that they can be very descriptive and what they search for. And they’ll get their desired result quickly.
And multi-search terms are usually very profitable!
Customizing Your Code For MORE Data
In addition to customizing the reports for easier reporting and analysis there are some code customizations you can do to add additional data to Google Analytics.
Specifically you can add new search engines to GA. For example, if you live in Hungary, and there’s an AMAZING hungarian search engine, but it’s not recognized by Google Analytics, you can add it!
You would need to modify your tracking code by adding the following line:
_addOrganic("[NAME OF SEARCH ENGINE]","[PARAMETER USES TO PASS SEARCH TERM]");
So if the awesome Hungarian search engine has a referring URL like this:
Then you would add this code to your GA tracking code:
You can read more about adding additional organic search engines in our developer section.
A few resourceful people have put together some files that contain a whole lot of search engines so you don’t have to. Check out this file full of search engines from my buddy Brian Clifton, it has over 200 additional search engines. Wow!
There you have it. If you;re into SEO try some of the customizations.
Did I miss any? Let me know and I’ll add them to the list.