Tracking Your SEO – making progress or moving backwards?

Tracking your SEO efforts is just as important as doing SEO in the first place. After all, you need to make sure you continue making progress by increasing the traffic you get from Google. Similarly, it is essential you identify problems with SEO as soon as possible. You can also do this by tracking.

The most commonly used tool to track your SEO progress is Google Analytics. If you don’t currently have this setup, you should do so as soon as possible as it gives you invaluable information on the performance of your website.

Headline Statistics

The starting point with Google Analytics is to look at the main metrics for your website. To do this, go to Audience > Overview. You should do this on a monthly basis, measuring the difference between each month. It is also worthwhile to compare each month with the same month last year.

The four main metrics are:

  • Users – the total number of users who visited your website during the selected time period.
  • New users – the total number of users who visited your website during the selected time period who have not visited your website ever before.
  • Sessions – the total number of times users visited your website during the selected time period.
  • Pageviews – the number of pages users viewed on your website during the selected time period.

So, a user visiting your website three times during a month and accessing four pages per visit will add the following to your stats:

  • Users – 1
  • Sessions – 3
  • Pageviews – 12

These headline figures are important as they will tell whether overall traffic to your website is up or down. This doesn’t specifically tell you about traffic from search engines, however. You will find that information in another section of Google Analytics.

Acquisition Statistics

To find statistics on how people access your website, go to Acquisition > Overview. This will tell you the source of your website traffic, with one of the options being Organic Search, i.e. traffic from Google and other search engines.

Again, you should compare this figure with the previous month and with the same month in the previous year. It is also worthwhile to calculate your monthly average and then compare it to that average as well.

Drilling Down to Page Level

It is also often important to look at individual pages on your website. This could be pages created specifically for SEO purposes, for example. It can also be your main sales pages, i.e. the pages you want people to visit as often as possible.

To find this information, go to Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages. This gives you a list of all the pages on your website accessed during the specified time period. The default view orders the pages according to the number of pageviews, with the most popular pages at the top of the list.

To find the traffic level of a specific page, search for it using the search box just above the table.

Other SEO-Useful Metrics to Check

Google Analytics offers other metrics that are useful to SEO, so it is worthwhile regularly checking these too.

  • Bounce rate – go to Audience > Overview. Bounce rate is the percentage of people who visit your website and only look at one page. Generally (although not always), Google prefers websites with low bounce rates.
  • Conversions – conversions tell you how many people complete a pre-defined action when visiting your website. Completing a form or purchasing a product are two examples. You will need to set up conversions before you can track this metric.
  • Site speed – got to Behaviour > Site Speed > Overview. Remember, Google likes websites that load fast, so the lower your page load times, the better.

It doesn’t take long to check the above in Google Analytics, but it will help your SEO.