BUSINESS | SEO | WEB PRESENCE
If you own or operate a website, understanding the behaviors and tendencies of the people who visit your site is critical to the long term success of your business or marketing initiatives. After all, if you are spending money on a particular traffic driving method, you will definitely want to keep tabs on what is working and what isn’t doing so well. And chances are you are using Google Analytics to review the statistical data for your site, as is the case with the majority of sites on the web today (source).
Google Analytics provides a wealth of data – an ocean’s worth of statistical information ranging from number of visitors to traffic sources to the time of the day and day of the week, to how many pages on your site they viewed. And truthfully, you can go a little nuts poring over all the little metrics you can uncover, to the point that it can actually become intimidating. So for that reason, here is a list of our favorite SEO metrics in Google Analytics when reviewing performance.
1] Number of SEO (organic) visitors. This is probably the most important SEO metric. Simply put, the more organic traffic your site receives, the better off you are.
2] Total Pageviews. Depending on the size of your site, the more pageviews your site has, you can presume the more content your site’s visitors to be consuming. This is important in establishing yourself as an authority in your market or niche.
3] Pageviews per Visit. Along the same lines as ‘Total Pageviews’, Pageviews per Visit is an important performance metric because it speaks to visitor behavior. The more pageviews per visitor your site is receiving, the more people are demonstrating a willingness to explore your site.
4] Landing Pages. The number of landing pages is a very underrated and under-utilized performance metric for SEO. The higher the number of landing pages from organic search, the more authoritative your site and content is perceived to be by Search Engines. It speaks to the level of optimization of the overall site, as well as the individual pages. Contentshould definitely be part of your SEO strategy, so as you add quality content to your website, you should most certainly look for this number to grow over time.
5] Number of Keywords*. The number of keywords that send organic traffic to your site is important. Along the same lines as the number of landing pages, the number of different keywords that are queried and subsequently send traffic to your site can be a key indicator of overall authority.
6] Number of ‘Not Provided’ keywords. For the last 2-3 years, Google has been moving to encrypt the data in Google Analytics. The number of ‘Not Provided’ keywords can be a roundabout way to measure SEO progress, even if the data isn’t all that actionable.
*As Google moves to encrypt this data Google Webmaster Tools is a good alternative.
So what does all this data mean? On the surface it can be tough to make heads or tails of a lot of this stuff unless you’re used to looking at it every day. Our advice is to compare the current statistics to relevant historical data. In most case, the same month from the previous year or two will serve as a good measuring stick. This is especially true for industries that are seasonal or cyclical, as many tend to be.
Another idea is to compare the current month or quarter to the last one, or the last 12 months’ average. The point is to measure progress against past performance, and consider how your current SEO efforts are influencing the results you’re getting.
What do you think? What SEO metrics in Google Analytics to you like to review to determine progress? We’d love to hear from you – send us an email or leave a comment below.