Once your website is up and running Google Analytics should be set up on the site. It is a free Google tool that provides you with data about the performance of your site. Without Analytics, you are essentially operating your site blindly. How are you going to make changes or improve upon your site if you don’t know what’s working and what’s not? To set up Google Analytics all you need is a Google account to get a code and then the developer will need to add that code to the back end of every page of the site.
Google Analytics provides so much information that it can be overwhelming. For SEO purposes the most important data points to pay attention to are visitor growth, keywords, social media activity, and conversions from organic traffic.
The goal of an SEO campaign is to improve visitor growth to the website over time. While the number of visitors to a site can fluctuate month to month (especially if you offer a seasonal product or service), throughout the course of an SEO campaign you should notice a gradual upward trend in visitors. Google Analytics visitor reports to pay attention to are the “All Visitor” report and the “Organic Visitor” report. The “All Visitor” report will tell you if you are building links in the right places. Links should generate traffic in addition to improving search engine trust. The “Organic Visitor” report will show you how many visitors came from organic search, as opposed to PPC or other referral sites.
Google Analytics keyword reports show you what keywords delivered traffic to what pages of your site. Many of the top keywords are branded, especially if the business has a strong brand name already. The goal of SEO is to ultimately bring traffic from visitors that aren’t conducting a branded search. Take a look at all of the keywords that are delivering traffic. You may see some great long tail keywords that you can begin to incorporate as anchor text keywords throughout the content that you create going forward.
Content that is shared in social media helps generate “social signals” that convey trust to the search engines. Google Analytics will tell you which social sites are sending traffic to your website. This data can help you modify your social media activities based on what’s working and what’s not.