SEO is a cutthroat business.
Companies that are creating SEO tools face the same issue.
Due to the popularity of our industry and the very fact you can do this business from anywhere in the world, the niche is extremely competitive.
There are numerous SEO tools on the market allowing bloggers and SEO experts to choose based on their budget and required performance.
Simply put, there is something for everyone.
Google Analytics is in the center of everything.
Although amazing tool by itself, many experts have issue with not provided data.
You are probably wondering, what is not provided?
When you visit Google Analytics, the tool shows you all the keywords you rank for and the traffic for each one of them.
Since October 2011, Google decided to use label not provided for all the visits coming from secure Google search pages.
Today, when you use GA, a lot of the keywords which bring us organic traffic will be omitted.
You will still know how much traffic you have but you won’t be certain for which phrases.
And this sucks… big time!
However, no matter what you think, keywords still do matter.
In fact, this data can be crucial for your SEO.
Nevertheless, it becomes less and less reliable forcing us to rethink our stance on Google Analytics.
Even with this big flaw, this free tool is still an instrument that should be held in a high regard.
Here are the 7 reasons why we should still use it on a daily basis.
Google Analytics is the most popular tool when it comes to measuring website traffic.
Now, some experts will say that it is not everything.
In the end, traffic doesn’t show the conversion thus it cannot help you estimate future revenues.
In that, I agree 100%.
However, it does show us the general direction in which the company is going.
It can indicate higher visibility, better keyword positions or more keywords ranking in Google.
All of these elements can tell you whether the website is going in a good or bad direction.
OK, perhaps it’s hard to find the exact keywords that are driving traffic after “not provided” happened.
Fortunately, there is a way to go about things.
Landing pages can serve as a good substitution to keywords.
You can go to Behavior > Site content > Landing pages to get this data.
These landing pages can show us the exact pages from which we are getting the most organic Google traffic.
Although they are not the same as keywords (as there are numerous keywords through which a person can reach a page) they are a good indication what works and what doesn’t.
By checking all the pages with high traffic you can determine what your visitors want to see and what type of content works within your industry.
It also shows which pages are well optimized and which ones require more work.
Wish to learn more? Check out the next section!
Improving your content with landing pages data
Landing page data isn’t some static info that serves only to establish which pages bring traffic.
It also has some other important data including:
- Numbers of new sessions
- Number of new users
- Bounce rate
- Pages per session
- Average session duration (a.k.a. dwell time)
- Conversion stats
Each one of these helps you establish the current state of a page. Furthermore, they can tell you more about the quality of your content.
Short session duration and high bounce rate are a good indication that a particular page should be improved.
Old pages with a high number of new sessions tells you that this content is still relevant to your users.
On this screen you can see all the relevant data for your pages.
Tracking sales funnels
We already mentioned that GA is great for tracking conversion.
But how? Let’s see below.
You need to go to Admin > View > Goals.
While in the Goals section you need to setup which page you wish to track. After that, you can set up your sales funnel which will analyze every step of the way.
Ordinary e-commerce websites will have the following sales funnel:
Why are these sales funnels important?
They show us how many people go from your Home Page to your Product Page to Cart and finally Checkout.
Google Analytics show the precise number of people who entered your Home Page and the number of people who proceeded from it to your Product Page.
Website owner can see where most people bounce away and optimize those pages accordingly.
Combining GA with Google Webmasters Console
As I mentioned, one of the biggest drawbacks of Google Analytics is that we have incomplete data when it comes to keywords.
This is why it recommended that you combine GA with GWC.
So, how do you do it?
First go to Admin then go to Property settings.
There will be Adjust Search Console button within settings.
Go to Edit and find the name of the website you wish to connect to Google Analytics. And that’s that!
Once you connect the two free tools, you can receive keywords data within Search Engine Optimization reports directly in Google Analytics.
As I said, the data will be much better, more precise and can definitely help you out when analyzing keywords you’re ranking for.
To an extend it will make you forget about the nasty not provided for a while.
When analyzing a website and page performance most people focus on user engagement data such as bounce rate and session duration.
Only a handful of website owners dedicate time for analyzing demographics data.
This is partially due to the fact that most people see Demographics as the secondary source of info. They are much more inclined to track user engagement data instead of focusing on people who actually visit the website.
Needless to say, demographics is extremely important for e-commerce websites as it allows them to examine the target market.
However, a regular website also shouldn’t disregard it.
Here are the two main tabs you can analyze
When you click on either button, Google Analytics tool returns standard data mentioned in chapter 3 based on age and gender groups.
Interests can be an additional source of information.
After checking demographics, you can go to interests.
There are three main tabs for analyzing data:
- Affinity categories
- In-market segments
- Other categories
Basically, this data shows us whether visitor likes movies, series, electronics, fashion, etc.
This is likely based on data procured by Google.
It analyzes user behavior and search history and sends it to Google Analytics.
To wrap it up
Google Analytics is the cornerstone of SEO and website management. Without it, you are dead in the water.
Even if the tool hides almost all of your organic keywords it is still a solid source of information.
Yes, you can always use some additional tools but you never should neglect GA.
Just by playing with it you might find a lot of incredible functions; functions that other tools do not provide.
Also, you shouldn’t neglect conversion stats that are crucial for any company trying to make a buck on the Internet.
How often do you use your Google Analytics data? What do you use it for? Tell me in the comments!