Using Web Analytics for SEO - Part 2

By Dave McAnally, Product Specialist, Natural Search

Continuing from Part 1 yesterday, here are an additional 5 uses of web analytics reports to drive action and optimization of SEO campaigns:

6. Visiting Trends. Almost every analytics package puts this metric on the forefront of their dashboard so you can see how many visitors you have this month versus last month and so on. RM uses this to evaluate seasonality and optimize accordingly. Correlations between seasonality and referring keywords are also helpful in determine where linking opportunities could be.

7. Top Landing Pages. Lots of useful action items come from here. This metric essentially tells you where your buzz is. Keep these pages fresh and make sure your users can access them easily. Seeing where human visitors land is a good indicator for what spiders are crawling in on as well. From there, this data can be used to optimize the structure and internal linking scheme of the site. For example, if we note that Page A is a much more popular landing page than Page B, C or D, we should make sure B, C and D are linking to A with optimal anchor text (based on what themes and keywords are on page A).

8. Conversion Rates. This is the million dollar metric right here! When visitors come to the site, are they doing what we want them to ultimately do? How often? More than they were? Conversions are what answer these questions. From there, we may have a number of action items we need to take based on what the data is telling us. Don’t take brash actions if conversions suddenly drop (or spike). However, KNOWING when those spikes or drops occur, and looking at what other things happened around it (see almost any other metric listed here) as soon as possible is absolutely essential to taking the right actions. It could lead to campaign spending changes, landing page optimization, re-targeting keywords, building new link bait and a host of other scenarios.

9. Bounce Rate. This is one of those metrics that I think varies quite a bit from project to project. One bounce rate may be great for one kind of site and a total failure for another. It's essentially telling you how many people happened upon a single page on your site and didn't bother to go elsewhere. We generally chalk that up to them not finding the information they were looking for. If we've got pages targeted specifically around one or two keywords, we may be looking for a lower bounce rate than a page that casts a wider net. Measuring bounce rate according to page type is essential to evaluating the effectiveness of our content and the messaging.

10. Browser type. It's weird how this was a metric that fell out of favor for awhile and is starting to make a comeback. I'm talking about mobile here people! If we've got a project that is a multi-media extravaganza with elements that aren't visible to a spider or a mobile browser, and our browser type metrics are telling us a significant amount of traffic comes to us from this type of user, then this should absolutely impact how we present that information.

There are a host of additional web analytics reports that lead to the optimization of a natural search campaign. Reading back over the list, much emphasis was put on site usability, which supports that driving traffic to the website is half the battle, and having a website that drives the traffic to take a desired action can be just as important.


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