More GA changes

Google has been making waves within the SEO community again; this time is not so much of an update, but a change to how Google stores user data. In light of the Government data released by Edward Snowden, Google has taken steps to get back into the good books of its users. This change means that Google is moving to a 100% secure search environment (applies to organic search only), which has a knock on effect for SEO’s and marketers, changing the way in which key analysis and reporting for clients will be done.

Google has been making waves within the SEO community again; this time is not so much of an update, but a change to how Google stores user data. In light of the Government data released by Edward Snowden, Google has taken steps to get back into the good books of its users.

This change means that Google is moving to a 100% secure search environment (applies to organic search only), which has a knock on effect for SEO’s and marketers, changing the way in which key analysis and reporting for clients will be done.

By turning on secure search, Google has effectively hidden keyword data within Google Analytics which was mainly used by marketers for consumer analysis to help streamline campaigns and maximise opportunity – this also helped the end user by having relevant web pages ranking for their search query.

Instead of seeing the exact keywords sending traffic to a website, Google analytics now displays simply (not provided), although all other user data exists including:

  • Landing page
  • Pages visited
  • Bounce rates
  • Time on page
  • Converting pages
  • Geo location
  • Webmaster tools query data

How can marketers use these to report performance to clients?

There are 3 main reports that can be generated from the data provided above along with public data such as rankings, each one giving you more in depth information than you would get from reporting on raw keyword data.

1. Traffic and ranking stats at page level

Historically the majority of SEO campaigns were reported at a non-brand traffic level, sadly this will need to change, moving to organic traffic by page can offer similar insights, not only on traffic performance but can also highlight areas of improvement throughout the website.

The best way to set this up is to break your targeted keywords up on a page level and monitor organic traffic vs. rankings (or SERP Visibility if you use it), additionally you can pull through search volumes for these keywords and the rough CTR rates I will go through later to give your client better insight about possible keyword performance.

2. Page stats for low converting pages

This is something most SEO agencies should be doing already, and I hope that most are. Using metrics such as Landing Page and Geo Location will tell you if the traffic being sent to your website is relevant, while metrics such as Bounce Rate and Time on Page will show if the content being displayed to the user is up to scratch.

The visitor flow report is a great way to identify drop off points in the funnel, are the majority of users following your desired trajectory? If not, where are the sticking/drop off points? These are great questions that when answered with relevant data can really boost a sites performance.

3. Rough CTR stats per keyword

Webmaster Tools is the only source of keyword traffic stats that we have left, although this is both inaccurate and does not give true CTR rates we can combine this data with traffic volumes from the keyword planner to get a rough CTR rate for positions 1-20 and on an individual keyword level.

The best way to do this is to download the months search query data from Webmaster Tools and replace the impression figures with search volumes from the Keyword Planner. You can then use the number of clicks and search volumes to calculate CTR rates at a keyword level.