There are many different methods of accomplishing effective SEO. One could easily fill hundreds of blog posts with techniques, tips and tricks for increasing your website’s ranking. Though the field can be diverse and sometimes intimidating, there is one thing that all of these methods always have in common: They are only as effective as the information that guides them.
As we all know, SEO’s generally target Google versus smaller players such as Bing or Yahoo. . Google’s vast market stranglehold means they are the first target on any SEO’s list. Fortunately, because of this they have provided a massive amount of tools to aid in the process of obtaining increased rankings, so long as those gains are legitimate. No tool is more powerful for this process than their very own software, Google Analytics.
It simply not in Google’s interests to allow artificially inflated rankings. Google wants you to be at the top of search engine result pages as much as you do, so long as you are providing actual content that is relevant to the search query. In order to facilitate this, Google Analytics gives you a massive amount of information related website traffic, queries, keywords, goals, content, and a massive host of other metrics. The amount of information available can sometimes be daunting, but with time and experience Google Analytics can be an invaluable tool.
One part of Search Engine Optimization is ensuring that your website ranks highly in search results, but converting the traffic into ROI requires an understanding your target demographic. Google Analytics reports can be used to determine what search queries are actually producing meaningful results, instead of driving confused searchers who didn’t actually have any interest in your content or products. While thousands of visitors might look impressive, if the bounce rate is enormous or there is a poor Goal Conversion Rate, it’s simply wasted bandwidth. Top Google analytics metrics include:
Traffic source reports can help you understand where time is best invested in future marketing efforts. Does Facebook drive a lot of traffic? It’s time to clean up that page and start updating it as frequently as possible. Seeing a lot of direct traffic, but very few referrals? A worthwhile strategy may be seeking out backlinking opportunities such as guest blogging or submission to relevant web directories. A Google Analytics traffic source report identify targets for Search Engine Optimization, forming a future strategy.
Audience behavior may be the first indication of a problem. It should be seen as a warning light, letting you know when current methods are working or if something is broken. For example, an exceptionally high bounce rate can indicate that the website is ranking for broad terms that are confusing searchers. Low amounts of new traffic, or returning visitors can also indicate problems. Seeing the breakdown of this can help you decide what needs to be done to improve whichever is more important to your website.
Lastly, the content overview report is like having a personal assistant, monitoring 24-7 with vital information about what’s good and what’s not good about your website. The report will let you know what pages are getting a lot of visits and it will show which pages users are spending the longest time on. These metrics measure user experience in an easily digestible report. The fastest way to improve this experience is to get your hands dirty in Google Analytics. While consumers vote with their wallets, Internet users vote with their time. The more time a visitor is willing to invest on a page, the better indication it is of highly relevant content.
This Guest Post Was Written by Vance Woodward at SearcherMagnet; an Adwords Certified Partner specializing in Google Analytics, SEO and PPC.