Tag Archives: seo

Google Analytics 101: 18 Useful Custom Google Analytics Reports for SEO

The customizable features in Google Analytics are great for extracting maximum value from your data. 

Here I’ve gathered together a selection of custom reports, dashboards and advanced segments to help you measure SEO efforts more effectively.

Some you’ll need to create yourself, following the instructions, while the rest you can just click and download and save lots of time and effort.

Just click the download links when logged into you Google Analytics account to add them to your profile…

Custom reports

Custom reports are easy enough to create, even a relative novice like me can put one together.

They can be very valuable though, as they allow users to customize views according to their own business needs and the ability to allow others to access reports is great for sharing knowledge.

Here are some ready-made reports that you can install straight away.

SEO reporting

This one comes from James Gurd, and is a useful SEO reporting suite showing keywords, landing pages and ecommerce metrics.

Download SEO reporting suite

Keyword analysis

This report looks at your most popular keywords (minus the ones that Google aren’t telling you about) and shows various metrics, including conversion rates, goal completions and page load time.

Other tabs also show engagement and revenue metrics.

Download keyword analysis report

Keyword analysis report

Non-branded keywords report

This report filters out the branded keywords and shows visits, goal completions and revenue.

You will need to go in and edit the report to exclude your own branded keywords, whatever they may be.

As you can see from the screenshot, I’ve excluded ‘econsultancy’ but I should also remove the hyphenated and other versions:

Download non-branded keyword report

404 pages report

This custom report from Peter Meinertzhagen is one you’ll have to complete yourself, but it’s worth the effort. It’s very useful for catching inbound links that are returning 404’s.

The screenshot below shows what the report settings look like. You need to enter the title for you 404 page on the ‘page title’ filter. You’ll then get URLs looking a little like this in the report:/404.html page=/pageonyourwebsite/&from=http://externalwebsitelinkingtowrongpage/

SEO goal breakdown report

A useful collection of SEO metrics here (HT: Dinkum Interactive).

Download SEO goal breakdown report

Referring sites report

This is from Anna Lewis, and shows referring sites alongside goal completions and conversion rates, to help you find out what value you are receiving from referral traffic.

Download referring sites report

Link analysis report

This one from SEObook allows you to see which of your inbound links are sending the most valuable traffic, showing visits, goal completions and more.

Download link analysis report

Which keywords are bringing visitors to your content? 

This custom report filters out the branded keywords and shows visits, goal completions and revenue. It allows you to see which terms are driving traffic to the site, subject to the usual  restrictions.

You’ll also need to go in and edit the report to exclude your own branded keywords.

Download non-branded keyword report

Custom dashboards

Dashboards allow a quick, often real-time view of activity on your site, and are great for monitoring the results of campaigns, and new content releases as they happen.

SEO dashboard

This, from Anna Lewis again, shows key organic search metrics: performance of brand/non-brand keywords, top landing pages and more.

Lots of handy metrics in one quick view.

Download SEO dashboard

Organic monitoring dashboard

This one is broadly similar to Anna’s, but presents a few different stats.

Download organic monitoring dashboard

Find top content and keywords

I had this stored on my Google Analytics profile for so long I’ve forgotten the original source. Anyway, this shows the top-performing content and keywords in real-time.

Download finding top content and keywords dashboard

Realtime organic search dashboard

This one comes from Dan Barker (he has more useful realtime dashboards here) and provides a quick view of organic search volume and keywords.

As you can see, thanks to the fact that 95% of our organic traffic is (not provided), it doesn’t allow much insight for us, but you may have better luck.

Download realtime organic dashboard

Advanced segments

Segments allow you to add filters to existing reports and can be used with any default or custom reports in Google Analytics.

Here’s a quick guide to creating custom segments.

Organic searches without not provided

This one filters out all the pesky (not provided) searches so you can concentrate on analysing the keyword referral data you have left.

Download organic searches minus not provided segment

Google+ traffic

Who knows? There might actually be some coming to your site…

In our case, there’s not an awful lot so far this year, as this segment shows.

Download Google+ traffic segment

Search queries with multiple keywords

This one comes from the excellent Avinash Kaushik, and there’s more in-depth explanation on his blog. You’ll see how much time you’ll save with this if you read how Avinash created it.

It’s a way of measuring long-tail traffic, and shows visits with three or more keywords in the search term.

Branded vs non-branded keywords

Of course, branded keywords are unique to your business, so you’ll need to create this one yourselves. Here’s how…

Click on ‘+new segment’ and select ‘exclude’ from the first drop-down. After this, choose ‘dimension’ and select ‘keyword’.

Then it’s a case of adding your brand keywords to exclude from the non-branded report. If you have more than one, select ‘add AND statement’ and repeat the process for other brand terms.

For the branded keywords, it’s a similar process, only you need to include the keywords you excluded in the non-brand segment.

Filter inquisitive traffic

This is not a custom report, but a very useful custom advanced segment, from Paul Gailey Alburquerque.

It filters out inquisitive traffic which contains the words ‘how’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘why’ etc. and shows the related landing pages. Handy for us, to see what questions people need the answers to.

Download ‘inquisitive traffic’ segment

Google Analytics advance segment

Organic traffic with conversions

This segment shows organic search traffic that converts:

Download organic traffic with conversions

Did You Catch That?: Answers You Should About Mobile SEO

To keep our guides the best they can be, we go to those working at the coalface of search marketing to get their contributions so they are relevant and up-to-date.

One of our contributors is Alex Moss, director at FireCask. Alex contributed to the mobile SEO section of the guide, so we asked him to share his knowledge following Joe Friedlein’s thoughts on on-page optimisation. His thoughts are below…

You’ve written about mobile SEO for our latest best practice guide. What do you see as the main trend which marketers should be paying attention to?

A lot of sites I see do use responsive design which is great. One thing that people don’t do on a technical level is consider content that should be loaded dependent on the device viewing that page.

There are plenty of redundant content blocks I see on mobile versions of a site that are great for the desktop experience but not so useful for mobile.

Understand what content needs to be served and only serve what is needed.

As mobile becomes more significant, do you think the quality of the user experience on mobile will factor into how pages are ranked or displayed in the SERPs? Can companies do anything to rank higher on mobile?

Just keep on optimising as you would for desktop, don’t obsess.

Obsession usually causes paranoia which leads to over optimisation.

Q: What do you think are the most serious issues your customers encounter when they interact with your brand via a mobile device? 

Source: Reducing Customer Struggle Report

Does Hummingbird and natural language search fundamentally change how SEOs should plan their campaigns for mobile?

Yes. Connect more with current events and local. People who use a mobile are higher quality visits but need to know the answer to their search even faster than they would if searching for the same term on a desktop.

Utilising rich snippets (which again is usually part of your general SEO strategy) with local and time-based structured data tells Google that you want to share more information beyond the standard title and META description.

As always, your site and landing pages within your site need to be informative enough to provide an answer to the query being asked. The basic principles are still there.

What do you think Google’s next move could be when it comes to mobile search?

More integration with Maps, Google+ and other related Google apps. I also think it will start to use more collected data from your history to form more contextual results based on your search habits.

What’s one piece of advice you would give for those looking to get the most out of mobile search?

Ranking is one thing, but the landing page is more important. Check in analytics how your mobile visitors behave in comparison to your desktop visitors. Check page loading times by using segmentation to separate the type of visitor.

Is there a higher bounce rate or lower engagement or conversion rate? If so then there’s something that needs to be optimised.

There’s always something to optimise 🙂

As Easy as 1-2-Huh?: Link Building…What Is It and How To Do It Correctly…

To keep our guides the best they can be, we go to those working at the coalface of search marketing to get their contributions so they are relevant and up-to-date.

Here are some thoughts from Nichola Stott from theMediaFlow on link building below…

You helped contribute to the Link Building section of the SEO Best Practice Guide. In your experience, where are companies going wrong here, and what could they be doing right?

I believe a lot of companies are being misled or “over-sold” on link acquisition as an end rather than a means. Links and associated signals such as the content-quality, proximal text, site quality and authority and page engagement, are used by search engines as an ingredient in the recipe to determine how well (and with what authority) pages on the company website can answer a user query.

So links are a commonly found side-effect of relevance and authority because people link (via social activity) and writers link (to credit sources, provide additional context or value for readers).

Link ‘building’ therefore is entirely unnatural behaviour and fakes symptoms to effect a desired result.

Instead, companies should be focusing on the desired result itself – which should be growing the online presence and authority of the company and its products or message.

I’d recommend instead that companies focus on developing stories and campaigns that emphasise why their product or mission deserves to be most relevant and authoritative.

Work with a good SEO agency that can devise creative marketing content, educate your PR teams to understand where and when links can add value to media coverage and how to position that to journalists they are working with.

What sort of process should companies have when it comes to link building?

I’d suggest a content development process with the goal being “linked-coverage” (for external media) and amplified content e.g. social shares, engagement and links-attracted for content that lives on the owned and operated sites.

Is it more important to have a structured approach to building links, or be able to seize opportunities quickly?

It’s important to have a strategy that can accommodate both kinds of approach.

At theMediaFlow we have year ahead editorial calendars and a publishing schedule for client content, but in addition we use a lot of monitoring tools that allow us to react to news opportunities and such.

It can take some skill and experience to understand what kind of opportunity is worth dropping everything for and depending on the size of the company we’re working with it can be more effective to empower the PR team to be mindful of link opportunities when taking the lead on reactive opportunities.

What are your preferred tools when it comes to link building?

Knowing how to search the Google index thoroughly is the single most valuable tool for identifying online media to pitch to, and we also find Linkdex helpful in assisting us to identify networks of influencers in the respective social spheres for our client sectors.

Can PRs be valuable for building links? Or is this a job best left to SEOs with relationship skills?

Yes, PR professionals are often best-placed to ensure that writers link where it adds context and value to do so.

However, it seems to me there’s an implied assumption in the question that an SEO with “relationship skills” is somehow unusual.

SEO is quite a broad spectrum and to make most efficient use of an employee’s skills and abilities may mean that outreach isn’t the best use of time for a technical analyst for example, but I think that to reinforce stereotypes around more technical skills going hand in hand with less-developed people skills becomes counter-productive for the marketing industry as a whole.

To go back to an earlier point about having the most relevant and authoritative content on the site in question the work of a technical SEO helps to architect and surface that content so that it can have greater potential to attract links. Focusing on the role of the person who may “seal the deal” creates division and loses sight of the broader marketing objective.

If there’s one key piece of advice when it comes to link building, what would it be?

Concentrate on why your business, your message and your product deserve to be linked to and ensure that is reflected on your site and in the content you create first and foremost.

Another One?: How to Keep Up With the Ever Changing Mobile Marketing Strategies

Although Google is branching out into, well, everything, they proved in 2013 that they haven’t forgotten where they started; their revolutionary, game changing search engine.

How did they prove it? When they released their new search algorithm, Hummingbird. Then they went a step further and bought DNNResearch, Wavii and Bahavio to augment it. All told, it amount to moves that are going to change the way the average person experiences everything on their mobile device.

With their new initiatives and technology in place, Google is going to turn mobile devices into mobile sensors that help consumers (and companies) make the most of real-time mapping and GPS location-based marketing. Additionally, Google will be able to more accurately send consumers information that they want about services, products and businesses.

If you’re a digital marketer, these changes mean mobile customers must be at the forefront of your thinking. Radical changes don’t have to be made just yet, but the four points below should definitely be in the back of your mind.

1. The User is now center stage. If you thought understanding your customer base was important before, with Google’s new efforts, that importance has reached critical levels. SEO is still going to be relatively important. But, whereas in the past, the question was: “where do I rank?” the new question should definitely be: “do I have the answer to my customer’s question?”

2. Your website better be mobile friendly. Simply put, if you are still thinking that people are searching the web using laptops and PCs, you’re already three or four years behind the times. Smartphone traffic has grown by incredible leaps in the last few years and if your website isn’t extremely mobile friendly (loading extremely quickly, with an easy, user-friendly interface and clean design as well as big buttons and super clear calls to action), you’re going to be waving goodbye to a lot of customers.

3. Video, video, video. It’s predicted that by 2016 mobile video will account for over 70% of total mobile data traffic. If you haven’t yet gotten to know the mobile video creation app Vine (the one that home improvement giant Lowe’s is already using) you’d better download it now and learn how to use it ASAP. Video marketing is going to be king and of those who don’t jump on it are going to look like court jesters.

4. Don’t forget the basics. Smartphone users searching for products and services are usually ready to purchasenow. Indeed, nearly 60% will purchase something within an hour of searching and over 80% will do so within 24 hours. If you don’t have your hours of operation, telephone number and physical address readily available on your website and mobile website, as well as keeping your reviews on sites like Yelp! looking good, consumers are going to either walk away or ignore you completely.

Google Me Baby: DIgital Marketing help for small business in 2014

Lost in the new age of Digital Marketing? Do the words SEO, PPC and backlinks confuse you? Ready to jump on the social media bandwagon you’ve for so long avoided to getting your business out there?

We’re here to help! Digital Marketing guru’s here to help break down everything you’ll need to get your business’s online marketability up to par with others in your field.

Ready set, lets go!