Archive for May 19th, 2011


5 Ways Google Analytics Can Help You with SEO

Pop Quiz:

What’s the most important, totally free thing you can (and should) do before starting an SEO campaign? Give up?

Analyze your traffic data.

And that means either sifting through densely packed visit logs until your brain explodes, or turning to one of the many available log data analysis packages. Some are easy to use, some are more difficult, some are sophisticated and deep, some barely scratch the surface. Some are very, very expensive. Some are free.

The best of the lot—for easy-of-use, depth of data, flexible reporting, customize-ability, conversion tracking, and more—also happens to be one of the free ones. Google Analytics (GA). If you haven’t already installed GA on your website, you should right now. Today. Because every day without GA is a day lost to the mists of information purgatory.

Here are 5 things you can learn from GA that will definitely boost your chances of search marketing success.

  1. Traffic patterns.  This is basic. The number of people visiting your site from day to day (even hour to hour) is crucial information. How else will you know when something works? Or doesn’t? Any serious SEO manager should always have a clear idea of how many people visit their sites and how that number changes over time.
  2. Visitor identification. Knowing just who these visitors are is pure gold. GA can tell you where they come from, refined to the country, region, and city they’re coming from; whether or not this is the first time they’ve visited; how many pages they looked at; how long they stayed;  which browser they used; even what language they speak. Understanding visitor demographics puts you in control of your marketing messages.
  3. Traffic sources. How did your visitors find you? GA can tell you if they clicked a link from another site, or used a search engine, or came from a paid placement ad, or typed your domain straight into the address box. You’d be surprised at how many SEO pros can’t tell you the percentage of visits that come through, say, Bing. You, however, should know this.
  4. Pages visited. When people visit your site, you probably want them to do more than scan your home page and split. You want them to go inside. You want them to find something they care about. You want them to perform some act that benefits them, and hopefully, you. So, you need to know which pages they hit, how often they hit them, and how long they stay there.
  5. Keywords used. And here is the real treasure. Before you optimize a webpage around particular keywords and key phrases, you must make yourself aware of the keywords that are already drawing traffic. Why? Because if they are the wrong keywords—keywords that are less-than-relevant, keywords that not conducive to sales conversion, or even keywords that place your business in a negative light—you can use your SEO mojo to fix it. If the keywords driving traffic to your site are perfect, but you want more out of them, well, you can’t grow it if you don’t know it.

But that’s not all! There’s more! If you act now, you will also receive the ability to set and track specific goals! AND filter out visits that might be unduly inflating your numbers! And more, much more!

And the best part is, of course, that it’s free. Google Analytics can be installed on almost any website, usually in a matter of minutes. All you need is a Google Account—and if you have Gmail, you already have one.