If you are a website administrator who is heavily involved in or curious about the statistics for your website’s traffic and visitor information, you have probably heard of (if not already signed up with) the search giant Google‘s well-known statistics tool Google Analytics. It’s an extremely well-known and religiously used analytical tool that will monitor the visitor statistics of your website and how it is accessed within Google, all based on a simple tracking code that is added to your website.
Some time ago, Google added an SEO report section to their well-known analytics service. You need to enable Search Console integration to access this section, although some of the data can be found elsewhere in Google Analytics (or GA). It makes use of some features found in Google’s Webmaster Tools and supplements these with tools of its own. If you want to use GA to draw conclusions about your SEO straetgy, you should certainly be looking for these key pieces of information:
- Queries – The total number of search queries that returned pages from your site results over the given period. These numbers can be rounded, and may not be exact.
- Query – A list of the top search queries that returned pages from your site. You will usually find that many are “not provided” which results from users being logged in and Google choosing to keep their data private. However, the data that is shown can still be useful if you have enough visitors.
- Impressions – The number of times pages from your site were viewed in search results, and the percentage increase/decrease in the daily average impressions compared to the previous period. (The number of days per period defaults to 30, but you can change it at any time.)
- Clicks – The number of times your site’s listing was clicked in search results for a particular query, and the percentage increase/decrease in the average daily clicks compared to the previous period.
- CTR (clickthrough rate) – The percentage of impressions that resulted in a click to your site, and the increase/decrease in the daily average CTR compared to the previous period.
- Average Position – The average position of your site on the search results page for that query, and the change compared to the previous period. Green indicates that your site’s average position is improving. To calculate average position, it takes into account the ranking of your site for a particular query (for example: if a query returns your site as the #1 and #2 result, then the average position would be 1.5).
(Based on information taken directly from Google)
Using Google Analytics to its full potential can be tricky, but most of the features are easily accessible to the majority of users. It’s an invaluable source of information about a huge range of factors that influence your website’s success, in terms of SEO and also user experience and ultimately online business success. If you don’t already have your site set up in Analytics this should really be something you look into.