Search Engine Optimization and Analytics: Your Competition’s Worst Nightmare

- July 18, 2011

In the last five years, website owners and marketers have become more and more in-tune with the many, many things that visitors do on their websites, and all of the interesting statistics and data points that web analytics measurement tools anonymously collect from said visitors.

The web analytics industry has grown tremendously in a relatively a short amount of time behind the leadership of vendors like Omniture (Adobe), WebTrends, CoreMetrics, Yahoo! Web Analytics, and, of course, Google Analytics. Throughout that time, and well before the emergence of the measurement industry, stood the practice of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that is still the most critical element in improving your website and increasing your website’s performance to this very day. Without a solid SEO strategy, website owners often find their competition ranking higher than they are for important, business-critical key phrases and search queries, costing them valuable leads and possibly sales.

Successful webmasters have been using Google Webmaster Tools to discover key insights into their SEO / natural / organic traffic, such as the search terms potential visitors are typing in to Google and the volume of impressions (displays) of website search engine listings. Today, in 2011, webmasters can link their Google Webmaster Tools account with their Google Analytics account to combine the knowledge of SEO efforts with the advanced visualizations and filtering capabilities of Google’s robust data platform.

At the time of this writing, Google Webmaster Tools to Google Analytics integration is in a limited, closed pilot, but soon enough you’ll be able to link these two accounts together. When you do, you’ll notice a new Search Engine Optimization report link within the Traffic Sources section of your Google Analytics account (In fact, that report link may already be there for your account, but you won’t see any data until you have the opportunity to link Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics).

Within the Search Engine Optimization sub-section, you’ll find three reports:

– Summary: A 30,000-foot view of your Google search result performance (see screen shot below). You’ll find the number of impressions (the number of times your search listings appeared within a Google.com search result page), the number of clicks on your search listings, and the click-through rate (Clicks / Impressions, *100) for all of your Google.com search listings. Within the Summary report, you can toggle the view of the report by Google Property, to see a breakdown of how much volume Google.com, Image Search, Mobile Search, and other Google web properties generated.

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– Queries: This report showcases the actual search terms that generated impressions and clicks on your Google.com search listings. In the Queries report, you’ll also see the Average Position that your search listings appeared when a searcher used a particular search query. A high average position number for a search query you’re trying to optimize for can give you an indication that some additional work or adjustment needs to be made on your SEO strategy for that query (The higher the position number, the lower / further back your search listings appear in a search result; a position of 1 is the highest on-search result page position a listing can have).

– Landing Pages: What a searcher types in to the Google.com search bar, and how the Google ranking algorithm evaluates a page on your website in relation to that searcher’s query will influence which page a searcher starts their visit within your website. This Landing Pages report highlights the top entry points into your website, helping you tie-in Average Position and Click-Through Rate metrics to give you an understanding on your webpage performance from an SEO standpoint. Pages with high Click-Through Rates and low Average Positions are most likely the pages that are the solid contributors to your bottom line (leads and / or sales).

When Google Webmaster Tools becomes available to link to your Google Analytics account, the website owners who jump on it as soon as possible will be the ones who may very well surge past their competitors and gain the competitive edge that could make the difference for the remainder of the 2011 calendar year.

Do subscribe to our Analytics & Site Intelligence blog to stay up to date on when Google Webmaster Tools will be available for your Google Analytics account, as well as updates and great information on the web analytics industry!

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