Google Analytics - SEO for 2016: The Complete Do-It-Yourself SEO Guide (2015)

SEO for 2016: The Complete Do-It-Yourself SEO Guide (2015)

Chapter 6. Google Analytics

Google Analytics provides great data and information for you to learn more about the performance of your website. For example, you can learn more about how much traffic your site is attaining, when the busiest time during the day is for your site, where your traffic is coming from and much more. Further, you can sync your Ad Words to Google Analytics to gain greater insight about your marketing campaigns.

To create your own Google Analytics account go to:

Fill in the required information and you will soon be on your way as shown below:


This section is very basic as it simply just displays the URLs that you have set up for Google Analytics. All you have to do to get to the reports is click on your URL links and you will be taken to your dashboard.


This screen will provide you with some select reports to give you a quick snapshot of how your site is performing. Initially, your dashboard is pre-populated with some basic reports, but you can customize the reports that are displayed on your dashboard to get the data that you want. Each report that displays various metrics is known as a widget. Please note that you can create up to 20 dashboards, and each dashboard can contain up to 12 widgets. You can also email your dashboard reports as well as download them into PDF's.

Intelligence Events

In this section Google will notify when your site experiences big spikes in traffic or large drops, and these episodes or events are known as Intelligence Events. Google bases these events off of your site’s traffic history. There are two types of events that occur here: automatic alerts and custom ones. Automatic Alerts are generated by Google via their statistical data, and when an event occurs such as a large spike in traffic or a large drop, this is where you will find out.

A Custom Report is created by you so that you can keep close tabs on the data that is most important to you. For example, you can set an alert if your site experiences a 25% increase in traffic or if your revenue falls 10%. You can adjust the settings so that Google will either email or text you when this occurs so that you can respond immediately. These Intelligence Reports can be viewed in four ways: the Overview, Daily Events, Weekly Events and Monthly Events.

The Overview gives you a snapshot of your automatic alerts and your custom alerts for a specified date range. Daily Events display automatic and custom alerts per day for the specified date range. Weekly Events display automatic and custom alerts per week for the specified date range. And Monthly Events provide you with automatic and custom alerts per month for the specified date range.

Tip - The Find Reports & More feature allows you to quickly search for reports that are offered in Google Analytics and it also shows you your recently viewed reports. So if you are looking at a report and then you get distracted for a bit and can’t remember which report you were viewing, then this tool will be handy.

Standard Reporting Options


Real time analytics allows you to attain data about your site’s traffic and performance as it happens live. The data will appear within seconds of visitors hitting your site and the data will be displayed in units of time for the last 30 minutes (ie. The past 30 seconds, the past 60 seconds, 5 minute increments and live).

Some of the data you can attain is the number of people on your site at the current moment, the visitors’ geographic location, the sources that referred them to your site and which pages they are viewing. Marketers and website owners can use this real time data to gain insight if for example perhaps they have changed or testing some new content on their site and are running a one day promotion.

The four reports that are displayed on the screen above in Real-Time are the Overview, Locations, Traffic Sources and Content. Please note that the Overview screen also shows your top Social sites that have brought you your traffic and the top keywords.


This section provides some accurate data and info about your visitors. The three main areas of insight that can be gathered here are: where your audience is coming from (geography), how they are reaching your website (eg. via a mobile device or some other device and even what browser they are using), and their behavior on your site which indicates how interested they are in your site.

The Overview tab will provide a nice snapshot of the aforementioned reports and then you can drill into the other tabs for this tool to look deeper into the data.


Under the Demographics tab you can learn about the exact geographic location (city & country) and language of your audience. This data is great for marketers because it lets you know where your audience is mostly coming from, but it also sheds some light on where some potential new markets may be.


Under the Behavior tab, you can learn about the number of new visitors vs returning ones (and the percentage), the frequency of these visitors and how engaged they are.

The new visitors vs. returning visitors report shown above gives you great details about how many pages on your site each of these audience groupings views per visit and how long they stay on your site. You can also attain the revenue value (ecommerce) of each of these audience subsets.


In this section you can get information about what browser shown below and operating system (OS) your visitors are using to view your site. This information is valuable for not only you but also your IT department if you have one.

This report also provides information about which service provider (ISP) your audience is using to access your site. Knowing which service provider your audience is utilizing to access your site, allows you to figure out their connection speed so that you can determine how technologically advanced you can make your site.

For example, if the service providers offer the fastest connections then you can offer your audience top quality videos and dynamic graphics. This is also useful info to know because if your site is very high-tech but your audience is connecting via an ISP that offers a subpar connection speed, then your site’s performance will suffer.


This report gives you some insight into your audience’s behavior on your site and what mobile devices they are using to view your site. This information is very useful for your business owners who might be wondering if they should make the expenditure for a mobile version of their site.

For example, even though you might have a small percentage of traffic that comes via mobile devices, this traffic source might be responsible for a large portion of your revenue.

Please note that if you utilize mobile apps then you can track and attain insight about your traffic here. It is recommended that you set up an ID for each app to keep it simple.


This report shows visitor activity by custom segments that you create yourself by modifying your Analytics tracking code.

This tracking information is useful for ecommerce businesses because you can adjust the settings to find out the number of times a visitor has say placed an item in their shopping cart and then removed it.

Visitors Flow

This reporting tool provides accurate insight into the trail your audience takes when they go through your site. Visitors Flow will let you know where this traffic is coming from, the pages they look at, and which page they exit from.

Note that each column represents a page on your site and the step by step route that each visitor took while visiting your site for the time period that you select. You can even set the controls to view the traffic that comes from tablets and via mobile.

Traffic Sources

Similar to the other overview reports, this one gives website owners an overview of traffic source metrics for your site.

The graph displays the daily number of visits to your site and the pie chart provides you with the percentages of traffic by source type (Search, Referral, Direct). Below the pie chart you can click on each of these types of traffic sources to attain deeper insight.


In this report users can attain detailed metrics on the traffic that they receive directly to their site when a user types in their URL or visits via a saved bookmark, and they can get info about their referral traffic which is when a user clicks a link to your site from another source (website, social media, an email, video, etc.)

These two reports will let you know how much brand identity or recognition you have in your market via the direct report and which sites are driving the most referral traffic to you.


This tab gives you an overview of some metrics about the percentage of your traffic that is organic and or paid (via ads). Under both the organic and paid tabs you can learn more about which of your keywords are performing well and boosting your results.

Hence, if this report shows some keywords that are performing well for you that you are not utilizing as much as others on your site, then you had better adjust your strategy. Further, this report also gives some insight into which search engine is sending you the most visitors. AdWords users will want to check this report often.


Under this section in the Traffic Sources, a user can attain metrics on the performance of their AdWords campaigns. Here you will be able to view how effective your campaigns are and if you are getting your desired results as well as if you need to adjust your strategy. Remember the key to getting better results and better at this in general is testing your campaigns and measuring the results, refining your strategy and doing it again…and again.

Search Engine Optimization

In this section you can attain data about your website’s search history and results. In order to get this data you must have added your site and verified it with Google Webmaster Tools and configured SEO reporting in Google Analytics.

The SEO Metrics that Google uses:

1. Impressions: This is the number of times any URL from your site appeared in search results viewed by a user, not including paid AdWords search impressions

2. Clicks: This is the number of clicks on your website URLs from a Google Search results page, not including clicks on paid AdWords search results

3. Average Position: This is the average ranking of your website URLs for the query or queries. For example, if your site's URL appeared at position 3 for one query and position 7 for another query, the average position would be 5 ((3+7)/2).

4. CTR: This is the clickthrough rate, calculated as Clicks / Impressions * 100


This report shows the Google search queries that generated the most impressions, the number of clicks, and click through’s to your site. It also displays the average position of your URLs from these Google queries. As we are all vying for that #1 spot from a Google search, this data will help you understand what keywords that are driving traffic to your site.

Landing Pages

This report simply displays your websites top landing pages from Google search results. Again this is great data for you so that you can understand where perhaps your site is performing well and subpar. If most of your traffic is coming from organic searches, then knowing your top performing landing page provides you with knowledge of where you should devote more of your efforts.

Geographical Summary

This report gives you a detailed account of which countries the clicks, click through's and impressions are coming from. If you select Google Property via the Primary Dimension, you can see the source of this search traffic (web, mobile, image, video).

Social Overview

This section gives you a snapshot of visitors that find their way to your site via social sources. It also provides you with a conversion value for the goals that you set up. If a visitor to your site via a social channel immediately converts on their initial visit then this will be shown under the Last Interaction Social Conversions. If this visitor just visits, but comes back later to convert, then this action will be shown under the Assisted Social Conversions.

Network Referrals

This report gives you a quick understanding of how much of your overall traffic is coming from social channels. You can also view which networks and the direct links that are driving this traffic.

Landing Pages

Here you can clearly see which of your pages are receiving the most visitors from social channels. If you click on the actual URLs it will show you the actual social source. So if you are creating a lot of content on various social channels, you can learn which of these channels your top performing landing pages are.


Here you can see the total number of conversions as well as their value that have come via a social source. You can also see the statistics on how many of these conversions were from Last Interactions versus Assisted Social.


This report allows you to see which articles on your site have been shared via a social button and the number of times. Please note that this report will automatically give you Google+ data, but for Facebook and other data you need to modify your tracking code. Insert this link to learn more about this operation:

Visitors Flow

This report provides a visual map which helps you to understand what social channels your traffic is coming from and where that traffic flows or moves once they visit your site. Hence you can learn what pages your visitors visit and even where they drop off or depart your site. Once again this report is very helpful so that you can understand which social channel drives your traffic and what pages on your site attain the most traffic.

Cost Analysis

At the time of this edition this report is in Beta mode which is Google’s way of rolling out new reports before they become part of the standard set. This report allows you to get a handle on the cost of your campaigns versus the revenue which shows you your margins. Metrics can be show for your AdWords campaigns as long as you have linked your AdWords and Analytics accounts, and even your non-Google campaigns (you just have to upload the data). Once you have your paid marketing channels connected to Analytics you can get your ROI (return on investment), margins and RPC (revenue per click) for each campaign you are running.

This report gives you detailed data on the behavior of the visitors to your site such as: the number of visitors, the number of pages per visit, the average duration of each visit, the percentage of visitors that are new vs returning, the bounce rate and revenue results (if your site is selling products). Obviously, this report is very useful to learn which of your campaigns is driving the most traffic to your site and you can discern which of your campaigns might need some adjusting. For example, if you see that one of your campaigns is driving lots of visitors to a landing page but your bounce rate is high, then you should most likely take a closer look at the layout and content of that landing page.


This report gives you a snapshot of the traffic as well as revenue that is driven from each of your keywords. Here you can get an idea of which of your keywords is performing the best and the most efficient.

Matched Search Queries

This report is fantastic because it shows you how closely aligned your keywords are to what your audience is searching for. Hence, this report is going to show how efficient and valuable your keywords truly are. If you have an ecommerce site, then this report will be very useful because it will provide you with detailed data on how your keywords are performing and how they are impacting your revenue.

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Day Parts

This report helps you to refine the timing of your campaigns because you can learn what time of the day and which day(s) of the week are the most optimal for your ads. You can see each of your campaigns by the hour for each day of the week to evaluate their performance. You can even attain useful data on your keywords to see when the best time for each one is.

Destination URLs

This report is fairly straightforward as it lets you see how each landing page is performing from your campaigns. Hence you can see how much traffic is hitting each page, their behavior and if the end result you want is happening.


This report allows you to view where on Google’s network your ads are displaying. For example, if you are displaying ads on Google’s managed and automatic networks, then you can see which is more efficient for your brand. Additionally, you can gain insight on the actual URLs where your ads are appearing to learn if you might need to adjust your ads to improve their performance.

Keyword Positions

This report gives you information on where your ads actually appear on Google’s search results (i.e. right column or at the top with other ads) and the traffic that derives from these ads. Hence, if your ads are not appearing perhaps where you desire them to be, then you might want to up your bids to gain those coveted spots on Google’s top page.