For something as fast-evolving as SEO, it can be a challenge for companies to keep up with the latest updates. But amidst all the changes surrounding search engine algorithms, one thing remains constant: the importance of finding your brand through organic search.
This is the fundamental goal of SEO. Hence, companies are continuously trying to find ways on how to keep up with the algorithm updates and at the same time push ahead of the pack in Google search results.
In fact, about 61% of marketers say that improving SEO and organic presence is their number one priority for inbound strategy.
And with numerous keyword and analytics tools out there, most businesses tend to think that the free resource, Google Analytics, is not the best tool for boosting SEO efforts.
Yes, it may have lost some of its value from keyword data, but it can be argued that Google Analytics is still a viable tool for obtaining insight to support your SEO tactics.
Not convinced? Well, check out these little-known strategies inside Google Analytics that can help your pages go on top of the search results. You might just go one step further from your competition with these novel SEO-primed measures:
1. Monitor referral traffic for link building
According to Andrey Lipattsev, senior strategist at Google, the search engine’s crawl bots judge a site’s ranking based largely on high-quality content and legitimate links.
Indeed, content is king in inbound marketing, as is strong links that can drive organic visitors to your site.
Now if you’ve already done the legwork and promoted your site through other means, such as guest posting, publishing on public forums like Quora, and have your social media presence in check, you may be receiving a lot of referral traffic from these avenues.
You can then use Google Analytics to monitor referral traffic.
- Go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals.
- Check out the traffic results. You might see one or two that come from sources you don’t recognize.
- Use the URL to revert to the site that linked to your page.
- If you were not able to find the site using the name, try searching for related keywords within the article.
- Once you determine that the site is legitimate, you can reach out and continue link building with the site.
2. Get a ton of insight from the Queries report
Google Analytics can show you metrics about your site’s performance in Google search. To furnish the report, simply go to Acquisition > Search Console > Queries.
This will give you data on indicators like under what search terms your website is showing up on, what is your average position, what are your click-through rates (CTR), and impressions.
These KPIs are crucial for several reasons. For one, if you know what search keywords bring up your site, you can take those keywords and include them into your keyword-tracking tool. You can then learn how much-added value those keywords bring to your ranking!
Second, by knowing your average position, you can determine if your SEO is enough or if you need to work further in your keywords and linking.
Place the queries in Google’s Keyword Tool to find high volume keywords. And if you rank between 10 and 30, you can do some link-building here and there to bump up your spot.
If you find that your pages are underperforming, you could proceed to other SEO tactics such as improving URL and meta descriptions, implementing the “Skyscraper technique” to improve long-form content, and so forth.
3. Monitor internal search
Aside from keywords users type to find your pages, it’s also important that you know the keywords people use when searching within your site.
You can set up a site search data collection in Google Analytics by:
- Going to Admin menu and clicking view settings;
- Click site search settings and turn it on.
- Locate your site’s query parameter by going to your website and type testing in your search bar.
- Look at the URL on the landing page of the search, and note the letter in front of the equal sign.
- Enter this value in the box on Google Analytics and click save.
You can generate several reports for this, including an overview, usage rate of your search bar, terms inputted, and pages that were relevant to the users’ search queries.
This can inform your content strategy. What if you see that your organic traffic used your internal search but garnered no results? That implies that you could focus on creating such content that your visitors are actually looking for but you still don’t have.
4. Create local content
Capturing your local customers can be key to boosting your revenue. According to research, 72% of users who performed a local search online actually visited the store located within five-mile proximity!
And the number of users who typed in “near me” on Google has grown twice in recent years.
Local listings can bring you high converting traffic, so why not maximize it through Google Analytics?
If you’re unsure where exactly to localize your content, try this:
- Go to Audience > Geo > Location;
- Check the results of countries your traffic originates from.
- Aside from country, you could go more specific and check the city where traffic comes from.
The information you gather here can show you which areas are most interested in your product or service, and from where will people be most likely to purchase from your brand.
You can then start focusing on providing hyperlocal content for these potential customers by incorporating the locations in your blog titles and keywords.
5. Set up custom alerts
As Google steadily implements updates in algorithms, it’s inevitable that you may experience fluctuations in your search traffic. This is why you should want to be notified of any significant changes or developments in order to make sure that you can act on them if needed.
With Google Analytics, you can set up custom alerts. Just head to Customization > Custom Alerts to activate the function.
This is such an important feature because you can be notified right away at your specified time interval and event of choice.
For instance, if you want to monitor traffic, an alert can be triggered if you suddenly get little to no traffic. Or if you suddenly have a surge in conversion, then you could also check what made it happen on that specific time or day.
What’s great about custom alerts is that it only takes a few minutes to set up but you get mounds of information about your site’s performance.
And it’s totally customizable. If you want a general overview of traffic, you can opt for that. But say, you want to monitor organic traffic and landing page traffic separately, you can also do so.
6. Set up filters
For most businesses, logging on to the website is an automatic part of daily work tasks. But if you are not able to filter this traffic, both from you and your team members who access the site regularly, you may have a skewed data when it’s time to analyze the site’s performance.
Therefore, you have to filter traffic using Google Analytics.
In GA, there are two types of filtering traffic: either at a session or at the user level.
To make your organic traffic data more accurate, set up a filter each time you and your team access the website.
7. Use a custom SEO dashboard
Having on-hand data to analyze is another perk that Google Analytics provides – through the custom Google Analytics SEO dashboard. This allows up to 12 GA reports to be incorporated in one user-friendly screen.
With this, you can have a quick overview of all your important SEO stats. And if you have a client who wants regular updates about the site, this is a streamlined way to show him or her the latest stats.
You can either create your own custom dashboard or import one and just revise it according to your chosen metrics.
These are just some ways in which Google Analytics can still be relevant to your SEO efforts. Never mind that the keyword data was removed from the tool. After all, you still get a lot of insights in terms of conversions, traffic, and keyword search queries that can be actionable for your SEO tactics.
With the right approach and a customized take on metrics, you can make the most of this accessible tool and get your site reaching the top of Google search results.
Have you tried any of these Google Analytics techniques, or do you have a certain hack that’s not included in the items discussed above? We would love to hear from you. Share your experience with us in the comments below!
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