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Use Analytics Data to Improve an SEO Campaign

Writing by Nick Stamoulis in SEO

One of the first things that any business/website owner should do once the website is up and running is to add Google Analytics code to the site. Google Analytics provides website owners with a wealth of information at no cost. Without Analytics information, it’s nearly impossible to know how your site is performing. It’s like operating a site blindly, hoping that it’s generating visitors but not actually knowing what’s working and what’s not. Seems like common sense to add the code, but it’s shocking the number of website owners that just simply don’t have the knowledge to understand how important the data is. Analytics information is very valuable throughout the course of an SEO campaign.

Here are 3 important components to check for SEO purposes:

Entrance keywords

Within Analytics, go to Traffic Sources and then Overview. The Overview page contains a list of the Top 10 keywords that generated visitors within the designated time period. Clicking on “View Full Report” provides up to 500 keywords. It includes the number of visits and the percent of organic visits that each keyword generated. One important thing to pay attention to is the number of branded search terms vs. non-branded search terms. If you have a strong brand it’s likely that many of the top keywords will be branded. There’s nothing wrong with that, but non-branded terms should improve over time as you build your SEO campaign. The non-branded keywords that generate traffic should be in line with what you are targeting on the site. The entrance keywords may lead you on to some new ideas or long tails that you can begin to target on the site or within future content marketing efforts.

Referral sources

Within Analytics, go to Traffic Sources and then Sources and then All Traffic. This list includes any site that sent traffic to your site. Typically the first items on the list are the search engines followed by sites that you advertise on. If you are looking for search engine only traffic, go to Advanced Segments and click on “Non paid search traffic”. This will show you the top performing search engines. The top 3 are almost always Google, Yahoo!, and Bing but you can also see data from smaller engines like AOL and Ask. Referral sources data allows you to evaluate the success of your link building. Remember, link building isn’t just about links anymore, it should also be about generating traffic. If you are advertising or publishing content on certain sites but it isn’t resulting in any traffic, look for alternate opportunities that may be better worth your time. Some referral sources may surprise you and it may be possible to begin a relationship with these sites.

Successful content

Within Analytics, go to Content Overview. This will show you the Top 10 performing pages. For a more in depth look, click on “View Full Report”. This will show you data like the number of page views, unique page views, time spent on the page, and the bounce rate. It’s helpful to know what components of your site are the most popular and what people are looking for when they go to your site. This is very beneficial if you have a blog. You can create content that is based on the top performing pages of your site since that’s what people are most interested in. You can also see what blog posts are performing well and create content on similar topics.

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