• Google Analytics

How to Improve SEO Performance With the Help of Google Analytics

  • Phil Pearce
  • 9 min read
How to Improve SEO Performance With the Help of Google Analytics

Intro

So, you’re running a business online? Just like running a physical store, you’ll need customers to succeed. But to gain customers, they first need to be able to find your website. If you were running a physical store, you wouldn’t want a location in the middle of nowhere. Instead, you want a prime location where customers can easily find you.

The main difference is, you can build your own location online. If a potential customer is searching on Google, your website should be one of the first results that they see. But how can you make sure that this is the case? Before shelling out thousands for an SEO agency, you can do a lot of the work yourself - and optimize your website for search with Google Analytics.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search Engine Optimization (Or SEO) is the process of making your website search engine friendly. You need to do this because roughly 70% of all clicks go to the first 5 results on Google's first page. If you’re on page 2, your chances of getting clicks are slim to none.

What is Search Engine Optimization? (Image source)

There are lots of factors that determine a website’s SEO success. Let’s take a look at a few.

User Experience

When looking to optimize your website for SEO, who should you listen to? Well, Google should probably be your first port of call. The company owns a whopping 85% of the search engine market. Recently, Google has put a particular focus on user experience in determining a website’s position in search results.

But just because your website runs smoothly and quickly on your PC, this doesn’t necessarily mean it is providing the best user experience. A massive chunk of people online are now using mobile devices. To keep Google happy, you need to provide a good user experience for all users.

To ensure you’re on the right track, you can try a tool such as UserTesting or Hotjar. While not perfect, they can give you a good idea of where visitors get stuck on your website.

Keywords

When people search for certain topics online, they use keywords. Even if you have no clue about SEO, you’ll have a good idea about the keywords you want to be found for on Google. The best way to ensure you’re choosing the right ones when writing your content is doing proper keyword research and avoiding shady SEO tactics such as keyword stuffing.

Keywords

Using Ranktracker’s Keyword Finder can be a great way to improve SEO performance by finding keywords that are easy to rank for, but have a high number of monthly searches.

The more websites that link to your website, generally, the more trustworthy your site becomes. If lots of websites link back to you, Google is more likely to recommend you in search results.

But _beware, _not all links are useful. You’ll want links from reputable sites. Bad link-building practices are penalized by Google and have the opposite effect, lowering your website in results.It’s definitely a quality over quantity game.

If you’re not sure what (not) to do, the best way to get started is to avoid purchasing links by any means. Also, don’t get links from websites that are unrelated to your niche and product.

What is Google Analytics and How Can It Help with SEO?

If you’re running a business online, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard of Google Analytics (GA). If not, now might be the time to learn! GA is a transformational tool that can tell us all we need to know about our audience and more.

Thanks to GA, we no longer have to rely on basic market research to find out who our website audience is. Using data, we can look at our audience directly. This includes information such as their demographic, interests, and location.

But GA doesn’t just tell us about our audience. The software can help us with many aspects of website improvement. One area specifically is SEO.

How Do I Know I’m Using the Right Version of Google Analytics?

It’s fair to say that GA has changed _a lot _over the years. There have been many iterations, each improving on the last. Google Analytics 4 is the latest and greatest update, featuring an entirely new data model.

There are many benefits of Google Analytics 4, including better tracking of mobile apps, and free integration with BigQuery. If you’re getting started with GA, this is the version that you should choose.

How Can Google Analytics Help Improve SEO Performance?

Track Keywords

We’ve already explained how important keywords are for SEO. But keeping up-to-date with keywords can be tricky; people’s search habits change, as do the most popular keywords. Luckily, GA simplifies this process significantly.

This is because GA provides us with a keywords report. This is a handy document detailing the most popular keywords on your website. This includes the number of impressions and the average click-through rate for each keyword.

Track Keywords

Use the SEO Dashboard

GA is ram-packed with data. But luckily, you don’t need to be a data analytics expert to use the software. With dashboards, Google makes understanding your data a piece of cake. Basically, dashboards provide a simple and accessible visualization having charts (bar chart, line chart, radar chart, comparison chart, etc) of your data. One dashboard that is particularly useful is the SEO dashboard.

You’ll need to spend long hours making sure that your website performs well in search engine results. But in the end, how can you make sure that your efforts are paying off? This is where the SEO dashboard comes in. This dashboard has several metrics for measuring your success. Let’s look at two different metrics.

The ‘Organic Visitor’ metric – Organic Visitors are website users that find your website naturally by searching for it in search engines such as Google or Bing (i.e., not through paid advertising). If your SEO efforts are working, the number of organic visitors that you receive should go up. You can also compare your current number of organic visitors against other time periods to get a better sense of trends.

The ‘Average Page Load’ metric – It’s easy to think that the number of views that a webpage gets, the better. But this is only partially true. After all, if a user visits a page and leaves instantly, they aren’t bringing much value. This metric lets you know how long the average user spends on a page. If you’re not satisfied with the numbers, there are a few ways to improve them.

Identify Successful Content

Not all content on your website will receive the same number of hits. Some pages will be more successful than others. Being able to identify these pages is important if you’re going to improve your website and gain more visitors.

Happily, with GA you can! When using the software, select behavior, Site Content, and All Pages. This will bring up a report of all web pages on your site in order of popularity. Once you’ve identified a successful page, ask yourself ‘what makes it successful?’. Did it include more interactive content or perhaps a more engaging headline?

Identify Successful Content

You can use this information to boost low-performing pages. There’s also a chance that you might make changes and see no difference in views. This makes the page a prime candidate for deletion or a completely new direction.

Making good use of Google Tag Manager (GTM) is an important part of improving your SEO. This is tag management software that allows you to easily update code on your site. It can also give valuable insights into how users access your website, and help improve user experience.

For example, with GTM, you can learn minute details, such as how long a user spends scrolling on a page. If a certain page is getting less user attention than others, it’s a good indication that it will need some improvement.

We’ve explained the importance of backlinks, the more the better. Of course, they need to be from reputable sites. You don’t always have control over who links to your site. Over time, backlinks from less desirable sources build up. The more negative backlinks that you have, the worse your SEO performance will be.

This is where a disavow is needed. You can find the domains referring to you by using the top linking sites report in Google Search Console or Ranktracker’s backlink checker.

Have a look at some of the sites referring to you. Are they spammy? Low quality? Put them in a disavow file and upload it to Google Search Console. You may see a quick lift in traffic. Be careful however. You don’t want to disavow genuinely good links by accident.

This is where Google Analytics can help. To inform your linking strategy, you may want to find domains that provide you with a lot of internal traffic. These are usually quality links, because:

  1. They are sending visitors to your site.
  2. The visitors are typically engaged because they are clicking through.
  3. Sites with high volumes of traffic _tend _to rank well and are authoritative themselves.

You can find sites that are delivering the most referral traffic via the referrals report.

Improve Your Link Building

Can you see any sites sending lots of visitors your way? It may be time to open a connection with them and discuss future collaborations.

Build Better Landing Pages

Landing pages are an essential part of marketing. In effect, they are the first step to making a sale. A landing page will usually describe a product and include a ‘call to action’ to persuade a user to make a purchase. But a landing page needs to be eye-catching, containing all the information that a user needs to make an informed decision.

You won’t always get landing pages right. It’s important to know which pages are the most successful so that you can model other pages after them. By making your landing more attractive to users, you can give them an SEO boost in search results. But first, you need to identify the pages that bring the most success.

To do so, head to Google Analytics and view the ‘Landing Pages’ report. This can be found by selecting Behavior, Site Content, _and _Landing Pages. _This report is useful for a variety of reasons. The report lists the most successful landing pages in order. Alongside this information is data about the source of traffic, whether it arrived organically or through other means. _

Build Better Landing Pages

You can use this information to update successful landing pages. This way, you can ensure that they maintain high levels of traffic. You can also begin improving less successful pages, using your top landing pages as a template and an inspiration.

This is arguably one of the best steps you can make to improve your website’s SEO. Google Search Console (GSC) is a tool that was created as a way of monitoring your website. ‘Isn’t that the same as GA?’, you might be asking. Not quite. GSC provides slightly different information compared to GA.

GA tells you all about visitors that come to your site. With GSC, you can monitor your website’s performance. Is a certain element not functioning as it should be? GSC will tell you. You use this information to fix issues with your website before they become troublesome for your users and affect your search engine performance.

GSC can also help with SEO in many ways. For example, the tool helps you to improve your website’s crawlability. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, crawlability refers to how long it takes a search engine to scan your site. If you have low crawlability your website will take more time to be searched by Google’s bots.

How Does GSC Work with GA?

On its own, GSC is a great tool, but linked with GA, it’s even better. After linking, you’ll find much more detailed reports and information that can be used to improve your SEO.

For example, GSC can also tell us detailed information about search data. How are people finding your site, and what search terms are they using? You can use this information to improve your SEO by using better keywords.

You can also learn more in-depth information about the kind of users that are visiting your site. Included in this information is the kind of device a user is accessing your website from. Do you have a low number of mobile phone users? If so, this is a good indication that your website is phone friendly.

You can make website improvements and create an overall user experience. By making a website that caters to your entire user base, you’ll see your SEO rating soar.

Want to Measure Your SEO Performance?

After you’ve put a lot of effort into improving your SEO, it's important that you know that your work wasn’t for nothing. Ranktracker’s Rank Tracker gives detailed information about your campaigns, complete with progress alerts and visual overviews.

Upgrading to Google Analytics 4

If you haven’t already, now is the time to upgrade to Google Analytics 4. As already mentioned, this is the latest update to the tool. The older version, Universal Analytics, will be discontinued in 2023.

Make sure that you take the time to learn how to set up Google Analytics 4, so that you’re ready for the change.

Google Analytics is a Must

There are many, many reasons why you should set up Google Analytics. If we put SEO aside for one moment, GA is the key to learning about your audience. Your competitors are already using GA, offering better experiences, more interactive marketing, and more. Don’t be left in the dust.

When it comes to making your website more SEO-friendly, GA is also essential. As we’ve explored here, the tool is packed with features that can improve your site’s search engine performance.

So, don’t delay any further. GA is the key to beating your competitors and transforming your site’s organic search results!

Still Unsure Where to Start?

There’s a lot of information to take in here. It’s understandable if you’re not quite sure where to start. Luckily, Ranktracker has a list of Actionable SEO Tasks to set you on the right path.

Start your free 7 days trial with Ranktracker, all-in-one SEO platform
Phil Pearce

Phil Pearce

Phil is an analytics expert, author, and web analyst. He's also the Analytics Director & Founder of Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Google Ads, CRO and Google Tag Manager agency, MeasureMinds Group. Over the past 20+ years, Phil has helped clients improve their analytics and search engine marketing through the introduction of new tools and disruptive techniques. He has written for websites such as Hubspot and Whatagraph.

Link: MeasureMinds Group

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