3 Ways to Measure SEO Performance Using Google Analytics
Nobody can claim success — SEO or not — unless it’s proven. Thankfully, SEO is part of digital marketing where metrics are defined and key performance indicators easily compared across timelines. Regardless of the industry vertical, campaign objectives or target audience, there are nuggets of information we can draw insights on SEO improvements or draw actionable items in case performance went from bad to worse.
1. Determine trend in organic traffic.
Since we are focusing on SEO performance, let’s extract data referring to this traffic source. In Google Analytics there are a few ways to check this information.
a. Acquisition > Traffic > All Channels. Click on Organic Search to establish traffic trend for this source over a period of time.
b. Acquisition > Campaigns > Organic Keywords. This will display the same information as (a).
You may need to backdate by a few months to establish trend on how organic traffic performed from the time you started the campaign. You can also compare two date periods for good measure. For example, you can compare March 2017 vs March 2016 organic traffic.
2. Determine most popular landing pages from organic search.
Knowing which top keywords delivered most traffic is great. However, as Google expanded the use of SSL (Secured Sockets Layer) in 2011, it does not pass query data towards analytics database to be digested as part of generated reports. As a result, almost the entire search keyword report is now masked under the label “(not provided)”.
Given that we can no longer identify which keywords delivered most traffic, we can find another dimension to use. In this case we can use Landing Page if we would like to know which pages are popular among organic search results and can be optimized for conversions.
To do this, just change the primary dimension from Keywords to Landing Page.
3. Determine slow loading pages coming from organic source.
Search engines value user experience. Part of which is how secured is the page, how responsive is it across multiple devices or how quickly it loads. Speaking of the last item, we can determine which pages are the slowest loading within the entire website.
Go to Behavior > Site Speed > Page Timings. Use Medium as your second Dimension and set Advanced Filter so that only records that have Medium with value ‘organic’ are displayed. Select “Avg. Page Load Time (Sec)” and “% Exit” (the rate which visitors leave the website from that page).
Note that the longer the loading speed is, the likelihood of visitors exiting the site is higher.