Author Bio: Danielle Canstello is party of the content marketing team at Pyramid Analytics. They provide enterprise level analytics and business intelligence software. In her spare time, she writes around the web to spread her knowledge of the marketing, business intelligence and analytics industries.
Everyone knows the importance of SEO. With most searches starting on Google, and the first four to five results that show up on the search engine results page getting more than 50% of the clicks, it’s clear that the position on the SERP ladder is far from a vanity metric; Google rankings have a real and measurable impact on business results.
Google Analytics is a tool by Google, which allows you to track your online performance and identify areas of improvement.
If you have already set up Google Analytics, jump straight to the next section for some pointers on how to make the most of it, and if not, check out the following link for Google’s official setup guide:
Without much ado, let’s explore five easy fixes to improve your online performance using GA insights:
FIND OUT WHAT WORKS
Not all content will get the same amount of traffic and engagement from your readers. Thankfully, Google Analytics enables you to track the pieces of content that convert better so that you can see what tickles the fancy of your readers, and use this knowledge to optimise your other, not that well-performing pages.
There are two kinds of pages you want to consider: the top converting pages and the highest ranking pages.
To find your best-converting content, you need to check your Reverse Goal Path. You can find it by following a couple of steps:
Conversions > Goals > Reverse Goal Path
Here, you can select the goals you want to track and see what steps in the buyer’s journey happened before your visitors converted. Usually, sales pages and other pages with effective calls-to-action will show up as your top-converting content.
Once you find these pages, you need to put some effort to promote them, in order to drive more traffic to your most reliable and most compelling content.
You can find your top-ranking content by selecting:
Acquisition > Search Console > Queries
Following these steps will provide you with a list of all the keywords your site ranks for on Google, as well as the search engine results page your individual pieces of content show up on.
The next step is to identify the keywords your best content is ranking for, and 1. use these pages to link to other content and boost rankings or 2. add strong CTAs to increase conversions.
But, finding out your best content and making it stronger is not enough. You need to take it a step further, and use these insights to improve the engagement rates of your second-best content.
Of course, it’s nearly impossible to go through all your old content and implement a better SEO strategy to it, but what you could do, and should do, is to use Google Analytics to find the pages with the most potential and work on them.
So, what counts as “potential”?
The difference between the results that the first and second SERP get is enormous. While the content that ranks on Google’s first page gets almost 70% of all the clicks, the second page gets ten times less.
Bearing this in mind, you might be already guessing that it’s only worth to put your effort into optimizing the content that’s already near the top of the second page. If you manage to improve this content enough for it to climb on the first page, you can expect a massive jump in your traffic numbers.
GET PEOPLE TO VISIT AND STAY
High traffic means nothing if people don’t actually spend some time on your site.
The bounce rate shows you what percentage of people land on your site but then leave after visiting one page. Although it should be taken with a grain of salt, more often than not, a high bounce rate means that your content or your page’s design do not resonate with your visitors.
What is a bad bounce rate?
Well, the average bounce rate is a little less than 60%. However, depending on the nature of your business and the type of website, you might get lower or higher bounce rate than this.
The problem with the bounce rate is determining the factors that are at fault for the abandonment.
Here’s how to do this:
Behavior > Site Content > All Pages > Advanced
Once you’re there, choose Source as your primary dimension and then choose Google/organic. Once you get the results, make sure that you sort them according to the traffic number – the pages with the highest traffic being at the top.
By doing this, you will filter the pages so that you exclude all pages that are performing well as a result of paid advertisements or social media sharing.
Now that you know which content brings in most of the traffic, you want to focus on lowering the bounce rate on these pages.
To do that you should evaluate if:
- Your content is relevant and up to date
- Your page is optimized for mobile
- The page has a good loading speed
- You use enough visuals
- The material’s easily readable: you use headings, subheadings and short paragraphs
- Your keywords are precise and have no double meanings
- You have a clear meta tag
- Your CTA buttons are noticeable
- You’ve included ticking-clock offers
MAKE SURE YOUR PAGE IS MOBILE FRIENDLY
With the rise of smartphones, more and more people are using mobile devices to access the internet. That’s why you need to ensure that you keep track of your mobile visitors and mobile conversions.
There are a couple of ways to make sure that your site is optimised for mobile.
- Track the pages with high mobile bounce rate
- Track your mobile conversions for individual pages
- Compare the metrics for desktop and mobile
PINPOINT LINK BUILDING OPPORTUNITIES
Another important ingredient in the SEO mix is the number of high-quality external links you get. The easiest way to get more links is to monitor referral traffic and reach out to websites and authors that have already linked to a particular post on your page, and find a way to get them to refer to more links to your page and get more exposure on their site.
You can find your referral traffic by selecting:
Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals
IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE'S LOADING SPEED
Users nowadays don’t have a lot of patience, and Google knows it (why else would page speed be an important part of Google’s algorithm?). So, the loading time of your website is a crucial factor in your quest for creating a successful business.
To make sure that site speed is not sabotaging your efforts, check your site speed report:
Behaviour > Site Speed > Overview
Once you enter the report, you’ll be able to see how each page is performing and notice any areas of improvement.
If you search the internet, you’ll find millions of results related to stepping up your SEO game. However, a lot of times, SEO experts tend to make SEO way more complicated and intimidating than it actually is.
Although SEO is a seemingly endless topic, there’s no need to get bogged down with too many details – in fact, you can easily amplify your results by analysing a few easy-to-understand metrics using Google Analytics including:
- Your top ranking content
- Your bounce rate
- Your site’s performance on mobile
- Referral traffic
- Your website’s loading speed
Just remember, SEO is not a one time thing. You need to be continuously measuring and optimizing your site and content strategy, to ensure that you’ll always provide value to your target audience and get ahead of your competitors.