Why do you need to be familiar with the Google Analytics SEO Dashboard? Any SEO Specialist knows that knowing how to use Google Analytics is fundamental to optimizing your site for search engines. Because Google Analytics in SEO is the measurement tool that will monitor and evaluate all the efforts.
Can you imagine doing endless amounts of work on your website and have no data to show how it’s running? That’s like saying your site is successful without the ROI to show for it. Sure there are a lot of companies that offer small business SEO services, but nothing beats you understanding what is going on in your site. And learning what each tab stands for will help you turn from SEO clueless to SEO expert in the long run.
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The first time you open Google Analytics the first thing you will see is the Home Tab. It’s the default page. And the data that it will display is the website data of the website you’ve set up with your Google Analytics Account.
Now, if you want to see the information from other websites that you’re handling, you can just click the drop-down button next to the All Website Data and pick the website that you want to analyze. The home tab shows you the general information or overview of your whole site.
Users tell you how many people are viewing or visiting your site on a 7-day basis. It shows you how much money you earned if you were running an ad campaign. You can check the conversion rate – which is the percent that shows you how many people become your buyers. The sessions tell you how often people view/visit your site.
Active users tell you if someone is viewing your site now, in real time. You can also see how many visitors you get on a monthly basis. It also tells you the source of your traffic, how they are getting to your website. Is it through search engines like Google? Or do they go directly to your website? Maybe they found about your site through Facebook or Twitter.
You can even check the time of day that your users go to your site as well as their location, the device they use and which pages are most popular. In short, you home tab summarizes all the data you would get from the Reports tab below. We’ll discuss those more in detail later.
This tab is what you need to be familiar with if you’re an analyst or you’re in charge of the SEO for your website. The first tab you will see under Customization is the Dashboards. A Dashboard is a collection of widgets that give you an overview of reports that you tagged as important.
Next to Dashboards is the Custom Reports tab. This tab is what you’re going to use when you will create your report. You can build you report from scratch incorporating metrics and dimensions that you need for your business. And once you’re happy with your report, you can save, and it will show up in the Saved Reports tab.
Save Reports are templates that you decided to keep. Configuring and setting up a report can be tedious especially if you have to report on so many data. So, having a preset template can be very helpful.
And lastly, Custom Alerts are alarms you set up to remind yourself to check your website’s information regularly. By setting up an alert you and your colleagues can receive emails
This tab tells you real-time information about your site. Overview gives you a quick glance at your data. Like who’s visiting your website right this minute. How long have they been on your website will be shown in the Pageviews. Top active pages tell you where they are at in your site. Top keywords tell you what phrase or word they used to get to your site.
Now, in the Locations Tab under Overview, you will see the full detail of your visitor’s position or whereabouts in your site. From the page they are viewing, how long they’ve been viewing your site and where are they at in the Globe (the country and their location on the map).
Traffic Sources tells you how you’re visitors got to your website. Did they search for your site on search engines? Did they type in your URL directly or did they use social media? Content tells you what page they are viewing and how long they’ve been on that page.
Events tell you if the current real-time user on your site is doing an important action on your website. More on Events later when we get to the Behavior tab. Lastly, Conversions tell you if the current visitor of your site converted into a buyer or subscriber while they viewed your site.
Now we’ll move to the big three of Google Analytics. If you’re an SEO analyst or an Expert, then you know why these three reports are very important. Let’s start with the first tab.
The Overview Tab under the Audience Tab gives you a summary of all your data on the whole Audience category.
Active Users refers to the number of people who visit your website. Do note that Active Users are different from Real-Time Users. Active Users are the total number of visitors that you have for let’s say a whole month or a week. Meanwhile, Real-Time users are the people visiting your site now.
Lifetime Value tells you the Revenue per user, in short, it predicts how much money will a particular user bring to your business in the whole span of his or her lifetime. It’s also a way for you to see which method of gaining customers bring in more revenue.
Cohort Analysis tells you your User Retention. How long can you retain your user’s activity within your website after acquiring them as visitors or users? It shows you how many people are returning to your site over and over again.
Audiences, on the other hand, displays the following data:
- Users – how many visitors does your site receive, this is a combination of both new and old users. So, for example, you have 789 people under User, those 789 are not all new and are not all old.
- % New Users – at what percentage of your users are new. Let ‘s say you have 756 users, how many of those users are new? From the example above, if you have 789 users, what percent is the new users? 60%? 50%?
- New users – the number of new visitors you get to your site. So, if you have let’s say, 600 users, the audience tab will tell you how many out of 600 are new to your site.
- Bounce Rate – is the rate where your visitor only views one page in your site and then leaves. For example, a user reads one of your blogs which showed up in the SERPs. And instead of maybe browsing your other blogs or seeing what you offer he or she exits your site right after he finishes reading the blog.
- Page/Session – this refers to the visits your site gets from a user. And this visit is restrained by a 30-minute time range as well as a refresh every midnight. So, for example, a user visits your site and stays inactive for 40 minutes. After the 30 minute mark, the session will refresh, and you will get two session count from that one user. And also if the reader is visiting your site at around 11:58 pm and stays until 12:05, Google Analytics would count that as two sessions.
- Avg. Session Duration – refers to the average session time that your visitors spend on your site. For example, you have ten visitors each one spends around 3 to 5 minutes on your site, Google Analytics will get the average time they spend as a whole.
- Transactions – counts the number of completed purchases that happens in your site.
- Revenue – tells you how much money you earned from all the transactions that users have completed in your site.
User Explorer shows you the different User Id that Google has assigned to them. Google assigns these ids by device so if your customer uses a laptop and a smartphone to access your site then that customer will have two User Id. Having a user id allows you to see their behavior and activity in the site more in-depth.
Demographics show you how old your visitors are as well as their gender, that way when you’re structuring your site you get a clearer view of your audience. Interests, on the other hand, displays the things that your visitors or users like. And arranges these interest according to Affinity and In-market Segments.
Geo tells you what language your users use, and arranges according to the number of people who use that language. It also shows you their location, what country do they live in and in what continent. Behavior compares your new to your returning visitors. It tells you the frequency and how recent do they return to your site. And
Engagement shows how long they’ve stayed in your site. Technology tells you what browser and operating system they use as well as the network that they are using. Mobile tells you if your site is mobile ready and mobile optimized. Cross-Device is new, so we’ll skip that.
Custom allows you to insert tags in your tracking codes to help you give more detail to your tracking. It will enable you to tag users who purchased or subscribed to your website. Benchmarking allows you to set benchmarks to see how you perform when compared to them.
This category shows you where your traffic is coming from. It shows you the channels that they come from and displays it in a pie chart. You can see which channels bring you the most traffic and which ones need improvement.
Source/Medium shows you the what’s the source, for example, the one below. The source is Google, and the medium is Organic Search. Referrals show the different backlinks you have that bring traffic to your site. This allows you to see which backlinks are useful and which are not.
Google Ads gives you data about your Adwords so you can see how your campaigns are doing. You can check the Bid Adjustments as well as keywords as well as other aspects of your campaign. And you can link your Adwords to the Search Console and monitor your landing pages to check your clicks, impressions, CTR, Sessions, Transactions, Revenue and even Ecommerce Conversion Rate.
Aside from landing pages, you can also check the countries, devices, and queries that are important to the results of your ad campaign. Social shows you the amount of visits that your website gets through social media platforms. You can see a more detailed report by clicking on the media platform, for example, Facebook.
Network referrals show more detailed information which indicates how many users come into your site through social media, the landing pages, etc. Conversions display data about the conversions you get from the landing pages you have in social media. Plugins can be set up to track engagement on social media, which gives you more data.
Last is Users Flow which is the path your visitors take when they go to your site. Campaign is where you can check the data on your campaigns placed on social media.
Overview gives you a run through on everything. You get data on pageviews, unique pageviews, bounce rate, and exit. It also shows your top pages that get the most pageviews.
Behavior Flow shows you the path that your visitors take when they enter your site either through the landing pages you set up or through the homepage. Site Content displays all your pages including the following:
- Pageviews – the total number of pages viewed. It can either be the repeated views of a single page or single views of different pages.
- Unique Pageviews – are the views generated by one user. For example, you have a blog on how to build a campaign and a user visits that page three times. The pageview count for that page would be three. But, the unique pageview is only one since only one user viewed that blog.
- Average Time on Page – shows how long do your users stay on a particular page on average.
- Entrances – how many pages or set of pages leads into a particular page in your site.
- Bounce rate we have already discussed earlier. Exit percentage shows you how often users exit that page.
- Page value – shows how much a certain page is worth based on the transactions completed on that page.
Site Speed tells you how fast your website loads from its average load time to the server response time and even download time. These are all crucial because a site with a slow loading time discourages people from visiting it.
Site Search shows how search engines work on your site. Now, this only works if you incorporated a search bar in your site like this picture for example of L’oreal’s website.
L’Oreal has a search bar as shown in the picture where visitors can type in queries about the products that they sell.
Events show you the different events that you set for specific user interaction like downloads, take a quiz, etc. It will show you that total events that occurred in your site, the unique events as well as the sessions, the average value of those events, and the value of the event itself.
Publisher shows you data about AdSense if you’re using one. It which allows you to refine and optimize your AdSense to give your business better results.
Overview gives you a rundown of everything related to conversions that you want to check in your site. Goals show you the goals that you set that you want your website to achieve. You measure and keep track of conversions which can be anything from downloads to viewing a specific page and adding products to carts, etc.
Ecommerce shows you the performance of your products, your sales, your transactions and the time to purchase. Multi-channel funnels give you an idea of how your marketing channels work together to generate sales and conversions. This allows you to see conversion flow paths, the time lag or the time taken until a visitor converts.
Path Length which displays how many pages that your visitor saw before leaving. Lastly, Attribution evaluates the effectiveness of your channels, and it traces your visitor’s path before converting.
Learning how to measure your SEO performance is necessary for you to determine if you are doing SEO that works. Small SEO tools are, and all but Google Analytics provide you with the most accurate data you can view, especially if you are doing SEO for Google. And learning the basics is your stepping stone to become a pro at SEO specialist skills.