Why is SEO Analytics Reporting necessary?
Have you ever done SEO and feel as though it’s not doing anything for your website? Your sales are still low, and you don’t have that many followers. And when you look to the internet, you read all these blogs and news about how great SEO is. What are you doing wrong?
Well, having an SEO analytics report is like the map you rely on when you go on a road trip. A report will allow you to see things that you might not notice if you just look at your new followers on social media or the sales you get. It’s the grey matter in between that makes the difference. And SEO reporting allows you to see that.
With it, you can have SEO that works! Because reports contain data, and data is power. So, let’s start and get on to the basics on how to do an SEO report.
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What is SEO analytics?
SEO analytics is a term used to describe data analyzed based on the search engine optimization efforts done on a website. This data helps you evaluates the performance of your SEO efforts. These data range from who visits your site, where do they live, which product page gets the most traffic, and how many actually buy what you sell.
These data reports help you make decisions when it comes to your business and your website. Since these data show you how your website is performing you’ll be able to spot the problems and strengths of your site.
For example, if you have blogs, you can check out which articles attract more people that way you can emulate it or create similar articles. The same can be done if you sell products, check out which products sells the most and which products sell the least.
Let’s take a look at the website of Southern Living, most people know them for their magazines which is great for your coffee tables. You’ll be greeted by their homepage which has the motto “The South’s Best Design and Style Ideas.”
Now, if you own this site, you’ll check how much visitor the homepage gets and who usually visit the website. For example, the gardening page, by doing analytics you get to see what type of visitors check this page. You’ll be able to form an image of the kind of people who like going to your website. Do men like visiting your gardening page? Or are your primary site visitors women in their early 40’s.
Another thing to track is the number of people who clicked on your CTA button. This website has a CTA button found at the bottom of the page.
Get to Know Google Analytics
Now, in order for you to do an SEO analysis, you need tools. These tools will help you create more accurate data analysis which of course will give you more precise results. So what tools can you use that is available to you in the market. The best tool you can use is Google Analytics if you are optimizing for Google.
Understanding Google analytics SEO Dashboard Basics
When you open your Google Analytics, you will see a page like this.
You have the left section showing features below. The ones boxed in black are the main categories that you can check out. The Real-time, Audience, Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversions. These four categories contain data that you need in order to assess your SEO efforts performance.
While the ones boxed in red shows you the Users, Revenue, Conversion Rate, and Sessions. Let’s talk about each one so you’ll get the idea about what it does.
Real – Time
This tab shows the traffic of your website real-time data from online users, to the location of these users, where are they now at your site and such. By looking at this data, you can identify your user demographics like where do they live etc., and at what time do they visit your site. The real-time data can be seen as below.
There are tabs under the Real-Time category; these are Locations, Traffic Sources, Content, Events, and Conversions. Locations show you where your active users are living in or located at. Your Traffic Sources tells you where your active traffic is coming from, is it from Organic searches (Searches from Google), or from paid ads, and even from links.
Content shows if someone is visiting your blogs. Events have data if you have an event up and running. And the same can be said of Conversion which only has real-time data if you have a campaign up and running.
This category tells you how many old users and new users you have. It shows how many sessions are on average. It also shows the number of page views as well as the average number of pages per session. Average Session Duration tells you how long they’ve stayed on your site. And the bounce rate shows you how many people click out of your website in less than a second.
It also shows you the geographic location of the users visiting your site. As well as the language they use. It can go even deeper to checking what browser they use, what operating system runs their device. You can even check out the resolutions of their screens!
Acquisition discusses the source of your traffic. Do you get the traffic from the organic search from Google, from ads as Paid Search, from directly inputted URL as Direct, from social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and lastly from Referrals (backlinks), Emails and Others.
Organic traffic refers to the traffic you get from search engine results like Google. Take a look at the picture below.
When people click on any of the results then the traffic they bring in when they enter a site is called Organic traffic. It comes straight from the search engine without any promotions or referrals.
This form of traffic refers to the inflow of visitors brought by Paid Ads. For example this ad by Redhat.
When you click their ad, you will be directed to their landing page. After you’ve filled in their details, you are then redirected to their website. That’s how Paid search traffic works. Below is a screenshot of what their landing page looks like.
Direct traffic is when you type the URL of the site into the browser’s search bar without going to Google. Look at the picture below to get the idea.
Social Media Traffic refers to the traffic you get from social media sites like Facebook. For example, you create a Facebook page for your business like the one below.
When you create a post about “5 Smart Thanksgiving Day Shortcuts” and you input the link to your site in your post. When your Facebook follower clicks your post and is directed to your website, the source of the traffic is labelled as coming from Social Media. Let’s click this post for example.
When you click Southern Living’s post about “5 Smart Thanksgiving Day Shortcuts” you will be directed to this page in their main website.
Traffic that originates from referrals come from backlinks. Take a look at this thread from Quora.
The person who gave an answer to the question included a link in his answer. When you click that link, and it directs you to their website, that traffic you bring in is considered as Referral traffic. Why don’t we click the link and see where it leads us shall we?
It will lead us to this website the getleado.com website.
Another way to bring in traffic to a website is through emails. When you send emails and include your website’s link into the body then when your readers click they’ll be directed to your site. Here’s an example.
This is an email from Marie Forleo. In her email, she decides to put in the link to her website. So, when you click that link to get to her full article, you’ll be brought to her site. The traffic you bring in is considered as Email Traffic. Here’s what her article looks like.
Others are the last source of traffic, and this category is for those link sources that are undetermined. Google can’t quite pinpoint the source of the traffic. For example, if the traffic comes from a site like Trustpilot, it will be placed in the Others category.
This category tells you how your visitors behave when they’re inside your website. It tells you how many page views you get. And how many of those page views originate from one user. It also shows you the average time they spend on a page. And the bounce rate stands for the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.
And lastly, the exit tells how often users exit from a page in your website, or the set of pages that they viewed. It will also show you which pages are the most popular with your users.
Conversion will show you data when you’re running a paid ad campaign or an SEO campaign that offers free stuff to readers. It will show you the conversion rate, goal completions, total abandonment rate and such. These data will help you evaluate your campaign’s performance. It shows you whether you’re losing money or not.
Well, that’s the basics of Google’s SEO Dashboard. Next, we’ll be talking about the other SEO tools you can use other than or alongside Google Analytics. These SEO measurement tools and other small SEO tools can help check your SEO results faster. Below are some of excellent tools you can use alongside Google Analytics.
Check out each one and see for yourself what they can do.
How to create an SEO report
There is no standard way of making reports. The data you gather should be based on your niche and what you want to analyze and achieve. Here’s a step by step guide on what you should do and how you should do it.
Create an Account
The first thing you should do is create your Google Analytics account. If you already have one you can skip this step. Now, if you don’t have one, you can click this link . It’ll take you to Google Analytic’s page which looks like this.
Create your Custom Report
Click the custom Report, and you’ll get something like this.
Click New Custom report and name it. You can call it my website. Whatever you want. But, if you’re making this for your board members, it’s better to stay formal.
Then you’ll see this. Name your report tab first let’s say you want to call it TX Group Website Visitors or something like that.
Next is setting up the metrics what do you want to measure? In this case, we want to check how many people actually visit the site, so we pick %New Sessions, Avg. Session Duration, Avg. Time on page and such. You can add as many metrics as you want. It all depends on what data do you want to see.
Next is add dimension, again this depends on what you want your report to be about.
Then choose a filter which is optional by the way.
Lastly, choose what website you want to analyze.
Hit save, and there you go. You have a report.
Know What to Search For
Creating a report and knowing which data to analyze need to be in coordination if you want to create a good report.
The first thing you should check is the traffic, SEO is after all your efforts to get more traffic into your site. Even if you’re doing Paid Ad marketing, you aim is to get more traffic and reach more people. So, you should check out acquisition first. How many people are visiting your site? Where is the most significant traffic coming from, if you’re doing an SEO campaign then your biggest traffic magnet should be Organic Search?
Source of Traffic
So, you saw the traffic that your site is getting. The next step is to determine the origin of the traffic, that way you can see your weak points and your strong points.
Third is Behavior. What is your site’s bounce rate, how many page views do you have? What’s the average time on Page? How long do they usually stay on the page on average? How many percentages of people immediately exit your site?
By checking out these things you can know which page, which blog, which product gets you more views. You can then create an improved SEO Plan based on these results.
Lastly, check your conversion or your goal completion. This is vital if you’re doing a campaign. You want to know how many people actually visit your site and convert to your brand.
Without these metrics, you can’t determine the success of any campaign you’re undertaking whether it’s an SEO campaign or a PPC campaign.
SEO Report templates
There are many SEO report templates that you can find online, but the great thing about customized reports is you have the freedom to match your report to what you need. If you want a report on traffic only then you can have a report that shows only your website’s traffic.
If you want a report that shows your Avg. Session time with the page rank then you can too. The choice is yours. You can make a report fit your needs.
You SEO analyst if you have one, can make the reports for you but it’s crucial that you have a knowledge of how it’s done. That way you won’t be clueless to the data presented to you.
How to measure SEO performance
So, after seeing the reports of your SEO its time to determine if you’re successful or not. Here the things you need to check out to confidently say that your SEO is successful.
- Search engine results – Your website traffic. You need to check if your traffic increase in organic search, direct, even referrals.
- You vs. Market share – What this means is that you need to check if your performance makes a dent when compared to how your competitors are doing.
- Conversion rate- How many people converted to your brand? If you saw that you gained more customers from your campaign just as you set out in your goal, then you’ve achieved want you aimed for.
- Revenue – The sales you earned are clear signs that you’ve accomplished what you were aiming for, and that’s more customers and more sales.
Making an SEO report breaks down to this, you evaluating the work you’ve done and coming up with a clear decision as to whether or not you’ll continue what you’ve been doing or try another route. Because your website’s performance and the revenue you’ve earned tells you if what you’ve been doing is success or a blunder.