Google analytics or GA as it is commonly known in the Digital Marketing industry is an important part of your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy. SEO is a long-term game that requires close monitoring and effective strategising to help your website continue to increase in ranking. Hence, GA helps you take note of how your website is performing by tracking metrics like new users, sessions and pageviews among a whole list of other measures. It’s normal to find a Google Analytics report quite daunting to interpret especially if you are unfamiliar with the terminology used in the findings. But fret not! Here’s the top 5 most important GA metrics that you will encounter when monitoring your SEO marketing efforts.
1. Users and New Users
Let’s start off with a fairly simple metric to understand. Users are essentially the visitors who visit your website. GA also distinguishes users into two separate camps which include new users and returning visitors. The former refers to users who have never visited your website before, while the latter refers to users who have visited your website in the past and have made a return visit. Of course, it is always promising to note when you have an increasing number of new users because that signals that your organic search marketing SEO strategy is working successfully.
As the term suggests, pageviews refers to the number of times any given page on your website is viewed. For example if a user accesses a single page, that is considered one page view. If the same user refreshes the page, GA also captures that as another pageview. This means that you will not be able to derive the number of users who viewed that page, but it gives you an opportunity to see how many pageviews a single page receives.
Closely related to the concept of pageviews is the metric known as sessions. A session is a group of pageviews by a single user. For example, a user is searching for any given product/service. This keyword permutation may trigger your business’s website in one of the top results. The user may then click through and review the landing page. This simple action would translate to a single session and a single pageview in GA. On the other hand, if the user proceeds to inspect other pages on your website (which is always a fantastic sign) that will then translate to one session made up of several pageviews.
But what if the same user returns again? GA views that as a new session. To put it simply, GA begins to monitor and record a session the moment a user clicks onto a landing page. After a period of inactivity of at least half an hour, the session is considered to have ended.
4. Channels That Drive Engagement
Another important metric to monitor is the channels that drive engagement and where your website traffic is coming from. This is an especially important way of telling if your best SEO marketing efforts are paying off. This metric monitors and categorizes your inbound traffic into several channels. These include organic, direct, paid, social, email and referral.
Organic traffic refers to users who found your website by searching for certain keywords or search terms.
This type of traffic stems from users who keyed in your website URL directly into the search bar. Alternatively, direct traffic is also recorded when users access your website via bookmarks that the user saves. It is a great way to understand how many of your website visitors already know of your business, brand or website URL.
Paid traffic refers to traffic that comes to your website after clicking on a paid advertisement. This is an incredibly important metric to take into consideration especially when you are tying an Search Engine Marketing (SEM) game plan into your digital marketing efforts. By reading the GA metrics on this, you are able to determine if your SEM efforts are fruitful in driving traffic into your website.
This type of traffic stems primarily from social media platforms and social networking sites. For example, a user may click on a link from your business Facebook or Instagram post. When GA has been implemented on your website, you will be able to monitor this flow of traffic and determine if your social media game plan is working to improve your business SEO.
Referral traffic comes from users who visit your website by clicking on a link from another website. Essentially, this type of traffic does not come from search engines or social media platforms.
The final type of traffic comes from email, which means the user accessed your website by clicking on your website URL available in an email. This is a helpful metric to take note of if your SEO efforts include sending email marketing collateral like newsletters.
5. Bounce Rate
Bounce rate measures the amount of people who enter your website, but show no signs of any engagement with the landing page. They don’t click on any buttons or engage with any other internal links sprinkled into the content. A good rule of thumb to remember for bounce rates is that, a bounce rate between 26% to 40% is ideal, while a bounce rate of anything higher than 70% is a red flag. When a landing page has a good bounce rate, it tells you that the content on the particular landing page is pertinent to the user’s search query. A poor bounce rate on the other hand, will inform you that your webpage is not interesting to your visitors and will need to be relooked at.
Part of executing an effective SEO Marketing strategy involves constant monitoring of organic traffic to the website. GA plays a vital role in providing you with these valuable insights so that you can continue to improve your SEO efforts. It can inform you whether your website content is pertinent to user queries and about the channels where website visitors are coming from. Empowering yourself to correctly interpret these results can help you up your SEO game plan!