Did you know that you can use web analytics to track different SEO and internet marketing practices? You bet your sweet giraffe you can! Here are five really great ways to track your efforts as an optimizer.
5. Event Tracking. This is a method you can use where, by adding a small snippet of code to select areas of your site, you can very specifically track visitor clicks on certain areas of your site. This is especially handy with things like Calls-To-Action that go to your social media pages (buttons to your Twitter profile, for example). This is also handy in doing things like experimenting with the location of certain links or buttons on a page, to see if they get more clicks. Although you should definitely read Google Code’s guide on Event Tracking, implementing the Event Tracking code is not as difficult as they make it sound. Simply add this code:
onClick="pageTracker._trackEvent('Category', 'Action', 'Label');"
Within the code of whatever you want to track. For images, this is within the <img> tag, for links this is within the <a> tag. Swap out the “Category, Action, Label” tags with your own custom tags. One example might be, “Twitter” for Category, “Follow” for Action, and “SideNav” for Label. You will start to see hits on these spots in the “Content” section of Google Analytics, under the “Event Tracking” report!
4. Custom URLs. Custom URLs using Google’s URL Builder are a great way to track external content, or content that you send off into the world with a link back to your client’s site. This can be anything from a Press Release, to a Linkbait Article, to a banner ad on an external website.
It won’t track how many views a page gets, but it will track how many times the URL that you create is clicked, and it will add specific labels so that you know where the clicks came from. Our Account Managers wrote a great blog post outlining how to use the Google URL Builder to this purpose.
Once the URL has been set up, you will start to see hits come in the “Traffic Sources” section of Google Analytics, in the “Campaigns” report.
3. Search Engines Report. The value of this report to an optimizer is so self-explanatory that I won’t even bother explaining it. It is also found in the “Traffic Sources” section. Check it out.
2. Referring Sites Report. This is a really simple report, found in the “Traffic Sources” section of Google Analytics, but it can have a treasure trove of information on your link building efforts! This report will show you all the non-search engine websites that send traffic to your site. If one of your link building sites is sending a lot of traffic, then you know it is a valuable resource. Conversely, if you’re spending money on a link resource that never sends you traffic, you might want to reconsider investing in that website…
1. Keywords Report. One use of the keywords report that you might not have considered is that if a keyword has a lot of visits but a really high bounce rate (the % of people who visit your site then leave without viewing any other pages) then it may be that you don’t have a good page for that keyword, or that the page isn’t well optimized. This can be extremely valuable for making sure that your website’s pages are really well targeted towards your chosen keywords. I usually like to complement the Keywords report with Google Insights for Search, to compare keyword popularity across all of Google.
For more information on analyzing data in Google Analytics, you can check out my other recent blog entry, “Quickly and Visually Interpret Data in Google Analytics.”
How do you use Google Analytics to measure your SEO practices? We’d love to hear it! Please feel free to share your knowledge in our comments.