No two SEO campaigns are the same. Even if you’ve been in the business for more than a decade, you’ll always experience something new. This is exactly why search engine optimization is so interesting!
Like other marketing efforts, SEO is a highly segmented activity. It consists of technical, content, link-building, and local aspects, each with its challenges. Running all these processes without the help of analytics tools is virtually impossible, as this software gives you insights into your performance.
In this article, we’ll talk about the importance of SEO analytics, how this software affects your search engine optimization efforts, and how to gain more organic search traffic from it.
9 Benefits of data analysis for SEO
Here are 10 ways analytics software help your SEO strategy:
The great thing about these platforms is that they can tell you whether or not it’s worth it to participate in a particular niche or industry. If you’re thinking of starting an online business, you should first check the competition within that field. By using software like Ahrefs and SEMRush, you can gain better insights into the biggest brands and their keyword rankings.
Here’s what the process would look like in practice:
Find the biggest competitors
First off, you should discover the biggest blogs competing in the target industry. You can do so by analyzing relevant keywords for your business. Make a breakdown of all search queries and list the top 10 websites ranking for those specific keywords. The brand names that are continuously repeating are likely your biggest competitors.
Analyze link profiles
Once you have a better understanding of the field, check the number and quality of external links. Strong brands usually have lots of links from the same industry or might have received numerous links from major news publications.
Analyze site-level metrics
While links are vital for your SEO analysis, you should also check site-level metrics. Domain Authority, invented by Moz, is the most common authority metric used by optimization experts. However, you also have Domain Rating, Trust Flow, and other website performance metrics that give you better insights into competitors’ site strength.
Assess product competition
Lastly, you should also use Google Ads to have a better understanding of product competitiveness. The platform gives insights into bidding prices for money keywords (search queries commonly leading to sales). Although PPC data isn’t necessarily vital for your SEO efforts, it shows you how much money companies spend on their marketing.
Competitor analysis usually goes hand in hand with keyword research. For this particular purpose, you’re not necessarily focusing on big websites. Instead, you should check smaller and medium blogs and try to replicate their tactics. As you still can’t compete with the big names, it’s your task to find “low-hanging fruits” or keywords that you can realistically rank in search engines.
The gist of things is; if other small brands managed to gain organic traffic for these search queries, you’d likely manage to do so as well. Use web analytics tools to check their most successful pages, and find the keywords they’ve been using. Besides checking the web page quality, you should take into account the number and quality of links.
Besides the competitive side, you also need to consider keyword-specific metrics like:
- Search volume
Your main task during this step is to find phrases that are easy to rank and provide high enough traffic to justify the effort. The difficulty metric pertains to the previously mentioned competitive analysis. Check the first page of Google to assess whether or not you can compete with articles placed in the top 10.
As for search volume, this one can be a very relative category. For some people, queries that get 1,000 monthly traffic are worth pursuing, while others are willing to go for even less lucrative terms. You also need to consider how these clicks will affect your bottom line. That is, you’ll have to measure keyword relevancy.
Most tools nowadays have scores that break down keyword quality. So, while checking SEO analytics is definitely the way to go, you can also get a solid approximation by relying on internal keyword scores.
Audience targeting is another vital aspect of search engine optimization. You can learn more about your visitors as soon as you create a Google Analytics account and add a Google Analytics tracking code to your site.
When you access the platform, you need to go demographics section; this is where you can get relevant search data pertaining to your visitors. Specifically, the software provides the following information about the website users:
Keep in mind that Google Analytics provides much more data besides these, but for this section, we’ll just stick with these SEO metrics.
Although most people don’t realize this, age is a vital factor during content creation affecting your writing style and tone. There are some major differences in how different age groups consume articles, with younger users requiring more visual stimulation and the elderly preferring the written word.
Age can also affect consumer preferences. Teens and young adults usually don’t have that much money to spend, which usually makes them poor leads (although this varies from industry). Older have much more money at their disposal and are more willing shoppers.
Using Google Analytics, you can also learn which sex is more likely to visit your landing pages. Besides differences in writing and overall messaging, you also need to consider conversions. Women are more common shoppers and can be easily enticed by commercial content. On the other hand, males are more conservative and usually require more information before making a purchase.
The interests category is vital for PPC advertising, as it shows an SEO specialist which keyword categories are best for placing company ads. However, this SEO data can also help during organic campaigns.
By learning more about users’ preferences, you can combine similar topics on your site. For example, your blog can focus on politics and finances, thus attracting a certain type of leads that are most likely to become your buyers.
Location tells you where does the majority of your organic traffic come from. You can analyze data to learn where most of your visitors are coming from, so you can modify the content according to their preferences.
As people from different countries and regions have their consumer preferences and preferred writing style, you can modify your articles to cater to this audience segment. Additionally, you can feature popular, local experts on your blog to garner attention from the local media and gain more links.
Traffic analysis (Google Analytics)
One of the best ways to assess SEO performance is through traffic. Google Analytics gives us valuable insights into our performance within search engines, allowing us to track not only organic traffic but also social, direct, and referral visits. The platform can help us improve performance by measuring the following:
- Traffic fluctuations during set periods
- Visitor influx through different devices
- The main acquisition sources
- Traffic breakdown based on location
- Visitors’ movement while on the site
As you can see, with this tool, we can learn everything there is about the incoming website traffic.
Although each metric on the list can help our SEO efforts in one way or another, the most important one is organic traffic tracking. The feature tells us how the number of users changes over time, which is vital during bigger algorithmic changes. Google Analytics is also vital for clients, as this website data helps them assess the quality of SEO services.
It also isn’t bad to check the traffic sources. While most experts focus on organic gains, analyzing direct traffic can tell us a lot about a company’s brand awareness and market positioning. Specifically, it shows us the likelihood for people to interact with your brand after hearing about it or after visiting the site once.
Social and referral traffic is another crucial part of SEO analysis. As traffic quality and user engagement become more and more important for search engines, we can’t neglect people who arrive from other sources.
User behavior tracking
Speaking of user experience and engagement, we need to tackle another important aspect of Google Analytics – User behavior data.
While Google hasn’t confirmed this, positive website interactions will likely improve your placement within search engine results pages. This is why it’s vital to create high-quality content customized for the target audience and to implement the best technical practices.
Through SEO analytics, you can learn what people think about your landing pages. The tool gives you various quality data, including:
- Returning and new users
- Total page views and page views per session
- Average session duration
- Bounce rate
Each of these metrics works individually and mixed with other indicators. For example, having lots of new users but a low number of pages per session indicates that you’re able to attract visitors to your website but that your content isn’t good enough for them to stick around. Similarly, a high bounce rate might indicate that your titles and metas are misleading.
Ideally, you should try to maximize each of these indicators to improve overall keyword rankings and sales. If you’re working with a larger team, you can also use the Google Analytics SEO report feature to share your finding with other employees.
Among other things, data from Google Analytics is vital for tracking and optimizing customer journeys. The platform tells you where the majority of users come from, where they tend to land, and how they move around the site. As such, this platform can be vital for rerouting visitors from one site section to another.
As every page provides individual insights, you can also use the platform to perform A/B testing. For example, you can add CTAs to specific pages while omitting them in others. After that, you can track how often people click on those links to go to other pages. Similarly, you can track the impact of pop-ups, page speed, and other things that visitors might consider intrusive.
Most importantly, by relying on SEO analytics, you can detect potential errors on your site. For example, the raw data might indicate that people are struggling to reach product pages, which is often an indication of bad internal site search and poor internal linking practices. Like with other key metrics, these things work in a vacuum but should also be considered together with other KPIs.
Rank tracking (Google Search Console)
Aside from traffic, search engine rankings are one of the key metrics for any SEO campaign. This data is available in Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools, depending on which search engine you prioritize. Given that Google is much more popular, we’ll focus on Search Console for the purpose of this article.
When talking about rank tracking, in particular, Google Search Console gives you access to the following metrics:
- Total clicks
- Total impression
- Click-through rate
- Average position
Most importantly, you can analyze metrics during different periods, which is vital for assessing your performance over time. For example, you can see how you performed this week or month compared to the month before.
Keep in mind that insights from Google Search Console are similar to those from Google Analytics (as mentioned in section 4. “Traffic analysis”). The main difference is that the Console puts emphasis on pages and queries, while Analytics focuses on visitors and their movement on the site.
Clicks are the focal point of this analysis. Basically, we’re trying to figure out how our traffic changed over time and on which pages people commonly land. The click analysis shows us which type of content performs the best in this niche. That way, we can implement the same tricks for other articles on the website.
Impressions are the main indication of our visibility. It is a metric that shows how many people have seen our results in search engines. In a normal situation, impressions will increase proportionately to the number of articles/pages on our site.
In terms of traffic and rankings, the click-through rate is among the best conversion indicators. A high click-through rate tells us that we have enticing title tags and meta descriptions and that we can maximize our search engine visibility.
As the name indicates, this metric shows where our content, on average, ranks within search results. Most websites have an average position of above 40. Only the best sites rank below that.
When we talk about SEO analysis, most people think of data procured from Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and large marketing suites. However, the term can be used for all insights from just about any optimization platform.
For example, software such as SurferSEO, MarketMuse, and Frase can be vital for your on-page SEO. Most experts use these platforms to gain keyword suggestions for their posts. They can copy-paste their articles into these tools to learn what LSI phrases are missing. On top of that, content tools provide other valuable data:
- List of top 10 ranking articles
- Heading and content outlines
- Required word, image, and heading counts
- SEO score
Basically, these platforms combine SEO analytics with actionable optimization suggestions. By simply following their guidance, an expert can quickly and easily improve web pages, leading to higher placement within search engines.
Out of all the different SEO metrics, the total score is the most important one. It tells us well we’ve optimized the article and how our piece compares to those of competitors.
Lastly, you can use platforms like Google Data Studio to create marketing reports. Although this platform doesn’t help SEO data analysis by itself, you can connect it with more than 500 tools that do. For example, you can use Google Data Studio to extract valuable insights from Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google Ads, and many other platforms.
The fantastic thing about this digital marketing software is its visual features. Google Data Studio allows you to create tables, pie charts, maps, time series graphs, and other forms of imagery. By adding data from other platforms, you can create beautiful visual representations that can be shared and used at the company level.
While SEO reporting is the least actionable segment of the SEO process (i.e., marketing experts don’t use them on a daily level), it can still provide major indirect benefits. For example, your team can use it to secure more funding from banks and other external entities. You can also use these sheets to show clients how you’re progressing, thus securing the next contract.
By using the best SEO tools and having a meticulous approach to SEO analytics, you can significantly improve your placement within search engines. Ultimately, this would result in increased brand awareness, more clicks, and more sales.