Data and analytics can be a gold mine for small businesses, or it can be an overwhelming and daunting task on your to-do list that never seems to go away.
With the right knowledge, Google Analytics provides an extremely useful tool for gathering marketing insights, uncovering opportunities to optimize your website and informing future business decisions. In fact, for most small businesses, Google Analytics is the only tool you need to evaluate the search engine optimization (SEO) value of your business.
Continue reading for five key features in Google Analytics that every small business owner should be using to better understand your SEO data, along with how to apply them to improve your SEO.
By definition, SEO describes a technique to grow your high-quality organic search traffic to your website using search engines. Organic search traffic means visitors who search for a specific keyword and click on the result given by the search engine. This is free traffic to your website, as opposed to paid traffic from online advertising.
You can track your organic search traffic in Google Analytics in two ways:
Custom segments allow you to see traffic by channel, visitors who complete certain goals, demographic data, and more. You can create custom segments using any point of user data, including time on-site, visits to specific pages, visitors from specific locations, and so on. Using custom segments allows you to learn more about the users coming to your site and exactly how they engage with it.
In order to create a custom segment, utilize the Audience Tab of Google Analytics to dig deeper into your user demographics. Once you narrow down the specific demographics you want to track, add a new segment by going to Audience > Overview > All Sessions. You can then create a custom segment that monitors the behavior of those users. Pro Tip: Set a date range for at least 6-12 months in order to compile a good amount of data for measuring.
Your website’s bounce rate gives you the percentage of people who leave your website after viewing only one page. High bounce rates don’t always mean a poor user experience, rather it may provide insight into your visitors not being able to find what they are looking for on your site. The design of your website or the UI/UX functionality may also be another reason for a high bounce-rate, which then usually hurts your SEO value.
You can adjust the time frame in Google Analytics to assess the bounce rate over time. We recommend evaluating it quarterly, and if it’s increasing, then you may need to look at updating or redesigning parts of your website.
Taking a look at individual page performance will provide invaluable insight into the SEO of your website. Within Google Analytics, go to Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages look for trends on each individual page.
If you see an alarming decline on a specific page, there is most likely an issue with the design or content of that one page. On the other hand, if you notice a negative decrease on several different pages, you may have some more technical issues on your website to investigate.
Analyze the design of these pages, and assess whether any changes need to be made to increase functionality.
Find this report by clicking on Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions. Choose “last month” for your date range so you can compare month-to-month data directly from search.
Giving you the deepest understanding of your SEO impact, this report allows you to look for a decline or improvement in conversions, specifically from organic search traffic. If you notice a decline month over month — but your overall search traffic continues to rise — it likely means a low quality of traffic coming to your site.
We recommend focusing on a new set of keywords until you see an improvement in conversions from search traffic.
As a small business owner ourselves, we understand how daunting Google Analytics can be to use. Start with these five tools to collect data, gather insight, and begin to see the value of SEO for your website and business. Over time, as you better understand your SEO data using Google Analytics, you can start to explore some of the deeper functions and reports it has to offer.