Okay, so you just completed the latest SEO campaign for your website and everything looks excellent. You used every tactic that the experts recommend, you employed the latest tools and you paid attention to avoid common mistakes. Everything must work perfectly this time. There was no cutting corners on quality and the results should be visible in no time.
But measuring success is all about knowing how analytics work. You need to know how to read them, what to look for and what to focus on. Luckily, one of the best tools to measure SEO success is available for free and almost everyone uses it: Google Analytics. Let’s go over its most important features:
1. Checking your organic traffic
Websites receive a variety of traffic, but we will focus now only on organic search traffic. This type of traffic is what your SEO strategy is designed to attract: people who land on your website via a search engine (generally Google), without paying. Google Analytics offers you a breakdown of traffic, including organic search, direct, referral and paid search. You should check your organic search traffic in the Acquisition menu, under All Traffic. Here, you can specifically choose which type of traffic you want to monitor. Click on it and you’ll have an even more in-depth analysis.
2. Monitoring the quality of your organic traffic
After seeing your traffic stats, it’s time to check the quality of the traffic you are getting. In SEO, it’s not just about getting massive amounts of traffic – you also need to get good quality traffic, which converts. Luckily, Google Analytics offers you this information in the Assisted Conversions report. You can check your progress on a monthly basis and see how many visitors have actually interacted with your website (clicks, views and so on). This report will help you determine whether the traffic you are getting is high quality and responsive to your offers.
3. Understanding the dollar value of organic traffic
Google Analytics also helps you understand specifically how good your organic traffic is in terms of real cash value. Check the Queries in the Search Engine Optimization tab under Acquisition. Here, you can assign a dollar value to your organic traffic results and compare how much would a similar Google AdWords campaign cost you. (For this feature, you must use a Google AdWords account, and sync your Analytics account to it.)
4. Monitor load times
Slow loading pages are detrimental to your SEO success, so you will have to pay particular attention to this aspect. Load times are a major factor in rankings, and Google Analytics lets you monitor the load times for every page. Go to Behavior>Site Speed>Page Timings to get a full report on the load times for your website. Filter the pages to see only the organic traffic and how your website responds. Make sure to optimize slower pages, as even the slightest improvement will be important for your rankings.
5. Creating your personal SEO Dashboard
Google Analytics lets you create your own personal SEO dashboard, where you can see all the information you want immediately. This feature is essentially a series of widgets carefully crafted so you can easily read, access, share and print a detailed SEO report. This will help you cut down the time needed to check these reports, which, in turn, will let you focus on actually doing the SEO work.