September 2, 2021 7 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Without a doubt, Google Analytics is the best gift that Google has given us — a free website analysis service that provides information on how users find and use company websites.
Web Analytics refers to the measurement and analysis of data meant to inform and provide a clear understanding of user behavior on web pages.
It includes audience data; the number of visits, unique users, what type of device they use, etc., audience behavior; the most visited pages, time spent on pages, bounce rate, etc., campaign data; campaigns that generate more traffic, keyword searches that resulted in a visit, etc. and SEO positioning which refers to the strategies and techniques that a website utilizes to place as high as possible in the search engines.
The vast majority of SEO actions can be measurable and quantifiable using Google Analytics, taking into account the three fundamental insights of web traffic: engagement, user behavior and conversion.
Web, organic and referral traffic
Web traffic represents the users who visit a website. It’s measured in visits, also called sessions, and is a common way to analyze the ability and effectiveness of attracting an audience. There are different types of web traffic, but organic and referral traffic insights are truly significant for SEO.
Organic traffic refers to the number of visitors that come directly from the search results of a search engine. This is the most important traffic as it is directly linked to the website’s positioning in the SERPs.
Referral traffic provides you with the data about visits that arrived at the website via external sources other than a search engine, such as a link on another website.
Desktop, mobile and brand traffic
These days, more and more people opt to use their smartphones to access the web. Therefore, it’s essential to differentiate between and consider the percentage of incoming traffic from mobile phones and incoming traffic from desktops.
It’s exciting to analyze the type of searches users make that land them on your website. Users can reach your page from a third-party website, by generic keyword searches or by brand search. Brand traffic is the most important and occurs when a user accesses your website by typing the name of your brand or one of your specific products in the search engine.
Location tracking is key
Knowing where visitors come from will make it easier for you to improve your local SEO strategies and make them more specific and effective. For example, if part of your traffic comes from Eastern Europe, you can generate related content for that particular audience.
In addition, make sure to distinguish between different types of users when analyzing your web traffic. New users land on the website for the first time and are registered by Google Analytics through an ID. Recurring users are those already assigned an ID by Google Analytics and are recognized as already “known” users.
Keep in mind, though, that sometimes these particular analytics Insights can be misleading. For example, if a recurring user accesses the website from another browser, they are counted as a new user. The same happens when cookies get deleted.
Engagement behaviors and bounce rate
One of the most potent qualities of Google Analytics is that we get to learn about the behavior of users while they’re on our website. It’s important to pay attention to several insights regarding the way these users interact with the site. This concept is vital as it quantifies the percentage of users who leave the website without interaction.
A high bounce rate means that we fail to offer interesting content to the audience or possibly miss the opportunity to respond to the user’s search intention appropriately. The bounce rate is a variable that can differ depending on the type of website and content. Therefore, it is possible to configure the average time to consider for the bounce rate analysis.
Pageviews and average time on page
A session represents the set of actions that a user performs in a given time. For instance, a user who visits several pages per session indicates that the content is attractive and optimized.
This particular insight defines the average duration of the session for each user. Obviously, the longer the average duration, the better the content that’s offered to the audience. Google Analytics allows studying user behavior by grouping similar content. This makes it a lot easier to understand the user’s journey and interaction as well.
Conversion rate and ROI
Conversion is the ultimate goal of every business website: a subscription, a download, a purchase, etc. Conversion rate refers to the percentage of visitors (out of the total number of visitors) who have completed the desired goal. A high conversion rate is indicative of successful web design and marketing efforts. It means that people search for what is being offered and find it without issues. This is, essentially, an indicator that shows the performance obtained from SEO (or any other) investment. The formula to calculate ROI is as follows: ROI = (Profit – Investment) / Investment.
Keep in mind that there are other calculation options where it’s possible to use other indicators, such as the number of visits without final conversion and others.
Related: 7 Ways to Use Google Trends for SEO
Improving SEO using Analytics Insights
Google Analytics can help develop considerably more effective SEO optimization by analyzing all the information that it provides. As mentioned, looking into the web traffic insight is a valuable piece of data that will show the actual reality of your website’s functionality and usefulness. And it’s with Audience Reports that you can establish different criteria to determine the quantity and quality of traffic on your website.
Therefore, you can temporarily adjust metrics such as the number of sessions, number of users, page views, average duration or bounce rate.
Acquisition reports deal with the insights regarding visits, the originating channels, and the number of conversions. In these reports, the type of traffic is crucial to conclude the audience, i.e., whether it’s organic, direct, referred or social traffic. The secondary dimension function allows you to expand the information within a primary dimension. For example, in the Audience by Device report, the default dimension is “Source” However, if you select a secondary dimension, for example, “City,” you will see where the traffic originated from.
Another way to perform in-depth analysis in Google Analytics is by using segments. A segment is a subset of data that shares common characteristics. For example, a segment could be users from a specific geo-location out of a complete set of users. Another segment could be users visiting a particular page on your website.
Google Search Console reports and queries
The integration of Google Analytics and Search Console will allow you to analyze and improve the presence of your websites in Google search results from the same platform. With Google Search Console, you can analyze web traffic, learn about the positioning of your pages, analyze performance, measure the conversion rate, detect errors, and delete URLs that you don’t want to appear in searches.
Improving SEO positioning depends on how much valuable information you can collect and how you decide to use it. Google Analytics is a great resource that every business should implement as the main tool to help them achieve their goals.