Website analytics can tell us a lot about our audience and how they interact with our website. Often times, we rely heavily on these analytics when generating reports. But what if I told you that Google Analytics provides data that can be used as a strategy tool?
In this post, we’re going to quickly take a look at three very specific, very actionable Google Analytics views to uncover SEO opportunities.
Keep track of the most important web vitals
Google has verified that LCP (Largest Contentful Paint), FID (First Input Delay) and CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift) are now part of the “Page Experience” ranking factor. These metrics together make up the core web vitals. This topic has already been covered several times in the SEO industry, and Google itself has covered the topic along with measuring the metrics so that we don’t dive too deeply into the metrics themselves.
The documentation provided by Google describes how to pull LCP, FID and CLS into data in Google Analytics. This can be done by setting up custom events using the code found on GitHub.
After setting up these events, you can view all of the major web vital metrics in Google Analytics. They are shown when you go to Google Analytics> Behavior> Events> Top Events and go to Event Action Use a secondary dimension of Page to learn more about how each Page is performing in each category.
Source: signal noise
Use advanced filters to find pages that Google says fall under the “good” benchmark to find the underperforming pages.
With this data, you can tackle Core Web Vitals head-on and closely monitor performance as you make changes.
Find and repair 404s
The last thing you want is for people to finally come to your site to be sent to an “ups” page. This could be for a number of reasons: a wrongly shared link, a forgotten redirect, a misspelled word in the url, etc. It is important to find these pages early and get a fix right away to get the best user experience possible.
The easiest way to identify these URLs is to navigate to a page that I know doesn’t exist on my website. For example, you could type example.com/roger-rocks and then when the page loads a 404, get the title tag. Now you can go to Google Analytics> Behavior> All Pages and go to Page Title. Here, do a search using the title tag of your 404 page.
You will see a row with all the statistics for your 404 page. Clicking on the title name will bring up a new screen with all the urls that led to a 404 page. These are the urls to research to determine why people are going to them and then decide what to fix.
Again, these fixes may need to create or fix a redirect, fix a link (internal or external), create content for that URL, and so on.
Find and use easy transport options
The search console is a great tool for SEOs as it gives us insight into our performance on search engine results pages. The disadvantage of Search Console is that the filter options make it difficult to process the data – this is not the case with Google Analytics.
The search console can be found in Google Analytics under Capture. If you’ve correctly linked your Google Analytics account to the search console, your position, click-through rate, query and landing page data should be there.
So if you go to Google Analytics> Collection> Search Console> Query, you can use the advanced search bar to find the data you want. In this case, we include an average position of less than 10, an average position of more than 3, and a click-through rate of less than 5%.
After applying this search filter, you will find a list of the keywords that you currently rank well for. This could only use a small boost, however. Increasing your click-through rate can be as simple as testing new title tags and meta descriptions. A higher click-through rate can lead to an increase in rankings, but even if it doesn’t, it leads to an increase in traffic.
Pro tip: Track your changes
The only way to know what is affecting your traffic is to track your changes. Whenever you’re updating a page, fixing a link, or adding a new resource, changing your placements may be enough.
By tracking my changes in the Annotations section in Google Analytics, I can see the potential impact at a glance. When a date is annotated, there is a small icon on the timeline to notify you that a change has been made. If you see a larger (or smaller) peak than the usual peak after the symbol, it may be an indication that your change had an impact.
But remember, correlation is not always causality! As Dr. Pete would say by doing your own tests. This is only intended as a quick reference.
Google Analytics is widely used for reporting and tracking. However, the same data should be used to put a strategy into action.
If you take your analysis just one step further, you can take advantage of serious opportunities.