How To Track SEO Efforts With Google Analytics For Free

 14 Feb, 2020

1. Introduction

So you have successfully made pace with effective SEO methods, complementing Google’s crawling and search patterns. Congrats! But are you putting enough effort at doing a consistent and well-timed SEO rankings check? No? Thought so. Only plotting and implementing “one size fits all” white-hat SEO activities won’t get you desired results, you require additional efforts as well to support your top SEO rankings stability & improvement.

It’s compulsory to perform SEO ranking tracking if you want to attain/stay intact on Google’s first page’s top results. This process of tracking will help to highlight the factors that aren’t working anymore and will give scope to analyze new measures before your business completely zones out from the initial search pages.

So the real question is: Which is the best & free tool for SEO ranking & on-site metrics tracking? The answer is “Google Analytics (GA)”

The other real question is: How does Google Analytics help in tracking SEO performance? Google Analytics is an effective tool when it comes to on-site metrics monitoring, as it contains the valuable data that gives complete dissection of your SEO activities – right from analyzing the SEO ranking for keywords to distilling the organic page views, bounce rates, and much more important stuff.

In the following blog, we are going to refine the important factors that you need to consider to track SEO rankings of your website via using your Google Analytics account. Take your reading glasses along and sit in a comfy position, because it’s gonna be a long but a worthy read.

Log in to your Google Analytics account and perform the following actions:

2. Link Your Google Analytics with Search Console account

Google Analytics account

By linking your Google Analytics account with the Search console account, you will easily identify the keywords that people are using to search your content, what content they are interestedly looking for, and where that content is ranking in the SERPs.

This linking will bring a clear picture to you – giving scope to improve your target keywords and optimizing the pages you want to rank on those target keywords.

On gaining insights into keywords and content rankings, you will easily take the steps that will help you rank on top of Google’s first page.

3. Search for your most popular content and regularly update them

best way to track and improve your SEO rankings

Another best way to track and improve your SEO rankings would be to run down a report to analyze your top-performing content pieces. Chalk a plan on how you can optimize such content pieces for broader reach. 

With this web analytics service (Google Analytics), you can easily track the performance of every page specifically. You will be able to track the total page views, retention time on each page, internal links those got most clicks – All these metrics will help you analyze which content needs your dedicated time to bring in the new optimization/updates.

Few things that you can do to further optimize your top-performing content:

  • Update them with the additional resourceful & updated information 
  • Put the keywords you didn’t inscribe earlier
  • Put more convincing CTAs (call-to-action) statements throughout the content

Doing all this will help your content in maintaining the top position in the SERPs.

4. Track Search terms people are using to find you

SEO experts say, “ To measure & track SEO rankings accurately, checking the top search terms on Google daily is immense”.

The biggest drawback with Google Analytics is – the keyword field is not provided here. So here, it gets tough to combine the keyword list that people are using to find you.

But if you happen to have a URL and on-page SEO implementations, you can somehow identify the landing pages people are heading on right after doing their Google searches. So this landing page identification will help you jot down the search terms or keywords your visitors are most using to find you.

But if you want an exact compilation of keywords or search terms that people are using to find you, you can use an additional comprehensive SEO tool like “Keyword Hero”. This tool will integrate well with your GA account and will fetch the required data from it, to collate a list of most searched keywords for your every organic session.

5. Find the category Google is putting your business website in

category Google is putting your business website in

“Sites that have defined category or niche type tend to rank better than those who don’t have ventured on an explicit business category.”

For Google, your website’s category is very important, because the search engine is only interested in ranking a website on the #1 position that’s sure of its niche or business category.

Google Analytics can easily help you identify the interest category of your site users. By getting the list of categories, you can opt for the common categories that define your business. This category list will further help you resurrect your content game and improve E.A.T ( Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) score, which is a subset under Google Search Quality Guidelines. 

How to view the user-interested category list in my Google Analytics account?

  • Go to the “Audience” section on your GA dashboard
  • In the “Audience’ section, select “Interests”
  • Inside “Interests”, select “Overview”
  • There you will have a list of – Affinity category, In-market segment, and other categories.

With these user-interested categories data, you will be able to plan your content marketing game head-on.

6. Look at your Content Drilldown section

To make your mission “SEO rankings check” successful, you can utilize the GA’s Content Drill down section. This section will chalk out a brief taxonomy of your site’s structure, and the type of people who are interacting with your website.

The section will give you a detailed report, defining the:

  • Pageviews your URL is getting
  • Bounce rate 
  • Each session’s exit rate
  • Retention rate on every page
  • Sections of the site that are working
  • Duplicate content

By having all these above real-time pieces of information, you will pull off successful SEO ranking tracking to improve the factors causing poor rankings.

7. Use referrals feature in Google Analytics

Referral feature in Google Analytics shows you the compilation of other third-party sites that referred visitors to your site – on clicking upon a link featured on third-party websites.

If you are strongly playing with off-page SEO activities, there, it becomes important for you to know which websites are helping you with great link building to further improve your website’s performance.

How to view “Referral sites” in your Google Analytics account?

  • In your GA dashboard, Go to “Acquisition” section
  • Under “Acquisition”, select “All Traffic”
  • Inside “All Traffic”, you will find “Referrals”
  • Inside referrals, you will find the list of third-party websites that referred visitors to your website.

The referral report you will see will show you – session volume, Avg. session duration, the volume of traffic, engagement, and conversion data which will help you evaluate the current performance of the website.

8. Use your GA account to manage your PPC spendings

GA is a proven tool to support your PPC data. By using GA, you can easily test for the keywords that are or aren’t likely to convert into sales.

By closely evaluating the surely converting search terms, you will be sure of which keywords deserve your precious dollar spendings.

Since most of the paid advertising returns come from the Google platform, the GA platform will work wonders in accessing the right keywords that are worthy of your investments for the next PPC Ad run.

9. Keep “custom alerts” mode on

Google Analytics Custom Alert can help you stay afloat in the SEO rankings game. 

You can set up custom trigger alerts in your account like “If website traffic falls down by 7% and bounce rate increases by 8%”.

And these custom alerts will shoot down in your mailbox, after their real onset – to keep you aware of the alarming situations.

10. Check the pages with high “Bounce Rates”

Google doesn’t take bounce rates into account while enlisting ranking factors. But bounce rates are the indirect indicators that stop your website from winning that massive traffic base and rankings.

So the bounce rate is somewhere a predominant factor that defines the number of people who have visited your website for a few seconds or minutes but left the session without taking the next-best step.

The reason why the bounce rate is important is that it defines the quality of traffic and the page. If people are hurriedly jumping back to the search engine after having a deep glimpse of your landing page, this means they haven’t found the information searched over a certain, to be relevant.

So, you definitely can’t ignore each page’s bounce rate. With these realistic bounce rate percentages, you will know which page needs a more stringent optimization process.

 11. Analyze what people are finding inside your internal site search bar

Every website these days has an internal site search bar option where end-users put certain keywords to find the desired information – from the whole website.

On using your website’s internal site search option, users are likely to encounter the following two conditions:

  • First condition – On putting the desired keyword inside the internal search feature, they get directed to the relevant page.
  • Second condition – On putting the desired keyword inside the internal search feature, users encounter a message “oops… cannot find page matching to your search terms”.

Whatever the condition maybe, but wouldn’t you want to know the search terms that people are actively searching for inside your website? Of course, you do!

In your GA account, on clicking upon – Behavior> Site Search > Overview, there you will land up on a list of search terms people are searching inside your website.

Finding the internal site search terms will help in:

    • Analyzing the information, users are willingly asking
    • If your website doesn’t host pages similar to those search terms, there you will have a greater chance to create that information page before the competitors – to improve your SEO ranking for keywords users are looking for.

   12. Don’t miss out on mobile traffic

Don’t miss out on mobile traffic

“Google is making responsiveness a true ranking factor in mobile search results.” Thus, it is immense for websites to stay focused on the mobile-first approach of their website as well.

Google is clear about ranking the websites based on mobile interfaces rather than the desktop ones. Your GA account has insights into your mobile traffic as well.

In your GA account, click on Audience> Mobile> Overview, there you will get a dataset explaining how many people are visiting your website using mobile phones, desktops or tablets.

The dataset will help you analyze the metrics like bounce rates, user sessions, and traffic rates specifically on mobile devices. There you will scope to analyze and improve the factors that are stopping your website from becoming mobile-friendly.

13. Look out for your top-performing landing pages

Tracking your landing pages is substantial for SEO rankings check. The data of top landing pages will help you figure out the page views, bounce rate, and conversion rates.

On finding your top landing pages and optimizing them with following will help in improving your ranking game:

  • Making them readable and user-centric
  • Putting in the effective CTAs and conversion elements 
  • Keeping them well-tuned with Google’s updated algorithms

The dataset of topmost landing pages will help you identify the content type that people are most looking for. With this, you can easily tweak and set your content strategy on the basis of your most visited landing pages.

Know what all metrics you need to evaluate via Google Analytics to do your SEO ranking tracking rightly!

14. Six Important SEO ranking metrics

  • User Dwell Time
  • Bounce rate
  • Website speed
  •  Mobile traffic
  • Organic conversion rate
  • Retention time on each page

On the following metrics, the SEO efforts are greatly dependent. If these metrics aren’t alright, there will be a high chance of losing desired search engine visibility.

1. User Dwell Time

By knowing the dwell time, you can easily identify which page is attracting the attention of users. If some page has less dwell time, there you will have scope to optimize that page with the right resources to bag the chances of ranking high in the SERPs.

2. Bounce Rate

Tracking the bounce rate of the website defines how well the users are finding your website useful. So what is a percentage of bad bounce rate? A bad bounce rate can be too high or maybe too low. If your bounce rate is 0%, chances are your GA is unable to record any and if your bounce rate is 80%, this makes sense that either the user experience/interface is disturbing or the content users expected to find wasn’t really there.

Thus, by having the bounce rate numbers by your side, you will know which landing page needs rigorous optimization and modifications to bring in ongoing engagement.

If you feel the content could be the reason, update it, if you feel the web layout is non-appealing, try redesigning the website.

3. Website loading speed

Make sure to notice your website’s speed on a timely interval, as this in most cases is the direct cause for poor traffic and conversions. People like websites that load faster and don’t take an eternity to load their individual pages.

Over your GA account, you can visit Behavior> Site Speed> Page timings, this information will give you a brief idea on components that are taking heavy space and resulting in loading speed.

There you will know which image needs compression, which element needs rework to minify its huge spacing over the website.

Knowing what pages are falling behind in the fast loading race can help in streamlining the SEO goals and track SEO rankings with ease. 

4. Mobile traffic

With Google rolling out its mobile-first indexing in 2008, the need for tracking the mobile traffic and experiences became more serious business for website owners.

Since we are driving in a mobile-first generation, tracking and monitoring your website viewing over mobiles will directly contribute to the positive search engine rankings.

5.Organic conversion rate

The struggle you pulled off to rank high in the SERP is ultimately for the “Conversions”. You carefully need to access your web’s elements that helped you bring in the right and heavy conversions

There is no rule of thumb defining – what should be the percentage of conversions. It’s simple, that conversions should only go up every month. Declining conversions signifies you are doing miserably. Comparing the converting pages with the non-converting ones will help you highlight the trends and reasons for no high conversions.

6. Retention time on each page

By knowing the average time of users on a page, you will have clarity on how engaged your visitors are with your website and its internal pages. From the expert’s point, if the average time on page is less than 2 minutes, that means your page needs more improvements and optimizations to make it valuable for your visitors.

Final Thoughts

With this, we are done explaining why tracking SEO ranking for keywords and other metrics is so immense to “UP” the SEO game — with free a  tool for SEO ranking check like Google Analytics.

While doing the SEO factors analysis, make sure to keep your target group’s mindset in focus. Knowing your customers closely will help you in creating powerful insights to run your search engine optimization efforts

The more well-timed data or insights of your target group’s behavior and the expectation you have, the more you will know which actions will be fruitful to accelerate your SEO efforts.

The moral of the story is: If you are not willingly taking continual efforts to improve your SEO patterns compatibility with your audience and search engines, achieving or maintaining the desired rank and visibility will be just a dream.

If your business website is struggling to make pace with search engine trends and virtual audience requirements, JanBask Digital Design has complete digital marketing solutions to embark you on massive Brand Visibility> Conversions> ROIs.

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