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Google Analytics and SEO

Continuing in our series of articles on learning the basics of Google Analytics, we look at how the data presented by Google Analytics impacts on your SEO strategy.

How Google Analytics affects your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy

By now you are probably familiar with the Google Analytics dashboard and what it represents for your business. As we have mentioned before, the data presented in Google Analytics holds little value unless it is acted upon. The available data tells you how your website is performing and how you can manage your search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy to correct errors and seize upon new opportunities.

It is important to ask yourself what the exact purpose of your website is – is it to inform? To sell? To attract in-store visitors? To prompt a phone call? Understanding the purpose of your site is fundamental to understanding how each page should be performing.

When analysing data in Google Analytics with your SEO strategy in mind, it is important to analyse trends and not specific numbers or metrics. If you have a relatively new site which is easy-to-use and informative and Google Analytics is presenting you with at least three months data, then you have a decent base upon which to draw comparisons and conclusions from the data. The reason we say an easy-to-use and informative site is because these are the very basic things you must have right to build a successful SEO strategy in the long-term.

Examine the keywords in the traffic sources section of Google Analytics – are the keywords you target in your SEO strategy generating traffic? Examine the keywords that are performing well – perform a search in Google and see where you are ranking, this will indicate how strong you are for that keyword and may tell you that a little extra effort around that keyword might get you to the top of the Google results and generate more traffic as a result.

Google Analytics will also tell you which SEO keywords are generating no traffic – this should prompt an adjustment to your strategy to either improve your ranking or change the keyword you target but it is important not to make rash decisions – remember it is the trends across the whole site that provide the most telling information, not individual stats. It is also worth noting that a key element of a good SEO strategy is patience – reacting to every little fluctuation or sudden change in Google Analytics data can prove a costly mistake – it’s important to remember that negative statistics and negative trends are vastly different entities.

How to interpret Google Analytics metrics such as Bounce Rate and apply them to your SEO strategy

Bounce Rate, like a lot of metrics in Analytics, will differ greatly from industry to industry depending on competition and other factors. It is important to view the bounce rate for every page and compare it to your site’s average – it is often a quick indicator of pages that are not performing. The same applies to the Average Time on Site metric, but again as stand-alone stats they can be deceiving. It is important to compare data on all pages to the benchmarks of entire site and if there are vastly different numbers between certain pages and the site’s average, it may identify which pages are performing best in terms of usability and relevance and which are simply not performing at all.

If the Google Analytics bounce rate is higher than 80%, or the Average Time on Site is merely seconds, what should you do? Examine the relevant page objectively – is there enough content telling users what the page or product or service is about? Is it well composed? Are the images visually appealing? Are the menus easy to use? Is there too much content? Is it relevant to the search and to your business? It may require a tweak or it may require an overhaul but the underperforming page won’t improve without some form of action.

Interpreting Google Analytics data and applying proposed courses of action successfully to your SEO strategy takes considerable time and effort. At roi.com.au, we interpret Google Analytics data on a daily basis, and apply our findings to help clients improve the performance of their website. We have successfully done so for hundreds of clients – contact us today on 1300 650 274 and find out how we can do the same for you!