First things first, you'll want to set up your dashboard in Google Analytics before you get started with the 10 SEO tips below. Simply put, a dashboard is a collection of widgets that pull data from related reports. This is easy to set up, saving time when reporting and measuring the success of your SEO content strategy.
To save you even more time, you can click on the link below and set up your SEO dashboard for free. You can thank me later.
(If you're struggling to set it up, try opening it in an incognito browser.)
#1 - Organic Traffic
Obvious, right? The first widget gives you the amount of organic traffic for the period that you stipulate.
This is essential for seeing the number of users arriving at your site naturally through search engine results pages (SERPs). If you're doing any sort of SEO, this is the metric that you'll be obsessing over.
You'll notice that we've also included a charted version of this data, for a clearer picture of traffic fluctuations.
#2 - Organic Goal Completions
I can't stress this enough, you have to set up goals on your website if you want measure your successes.
For example; if you have a form on your website, you can set it up so that if as user submits the form, it will trigger an event.
#3 - Search Engines
This is a breakdown of search engines, which you may think is a bit of a strange thing to be bothered with. Everyone uses Google, right? Though Google dominates in the Western hemisphere, that's not true for all countries.
Plus, even if you're only getting a fraction of you traffic through from other search engines, that's traffic that deserves attention as you may be missing out on some real opportunities for SEO (particularly as ranking on Google is so competitive!).
#4 - Organic Engagement
Google is looking at much more than technical factors. It's also looking at engagement factors. From Google's point of view, if a users spends a short time on the page before returning to SERPs, it didn't match the search intent.
When that happens, Google's algorithm learns that the site and query don't match. The site is then pushed further down the rankings in SERPs.
Google's recent E-A-T update (expertise, authority, trust) means that the emphasis on high quality, user-focused content has never been higher.
If you find users spending less time on you pages, re-evaluate your content and look to improve it's relevancy to your target keywords.
#5 - Organic Traffic by City
Are you an SEO agency with local clients or a local business? Then this report is for you as it pulls through the location of the organic traffic.
For example; if you're a Miami-based boat shop and most your traffic is coming from London, you've got a problem!
#6 - Organic Entrances by Keyword
This widget isn't a complete solution to finding the keywords that users have searched for to find your site - Google hides 80% due to privacy concerns - but it can give you a rough idea.
I argue that what matters is what happens when users are on your website, not how they find it. User experience (UX) is key. Yet, this data, along with Google Search Console's Search Analytics report, can reveal hidden opportunities you may have overlooked.
#7 - Internal Search Data
This report also requires you to set up internal search queries.
If you don't have a search function on your site, then you can skip this section. Swap the widget out for something else, for example; top performing organic pages.
This report is excellent for spotting any UX issues. Perhaps, users are having trouble finding certain pieces of content.
If users are searching for keywords that are not on your site, you'll have a list of potential opportunities for building out your SEO content strategy.
# 8 - Mobile vs. Desktop Search Traffic
If you've been keeping up with Google's updates over the past six months you'll know that they have now rolled out mobile-first indexing to the first wave of websites. In a nutshell, this means that a site's performance on mobile devices is now what Google uses to rank the site in SERPs.
Due to this, it's important to keep an eye on where your users coming from - mobile or desktop. This gives an idea of your sites performance in mobile SERPs and whether the mobile site is fit for purpose. In 2019, if your site isn't mobile-friendly, you've got a real issue.
#9 - Referral Traffic Analysis
This is a referral and link analysis report, which pulls through top referrals for the selected period, as well as goal completions.
Google is cracking down on unnatural link building strategies. It's better to look at sites that are driving not only the most traffic, but the highest quality traffic - i.e. those with high goal conversions.
#10 - Page Speed Report
A fast site is a successful site. This widget looks at the average speed of pages on your site, highlighting any that are underperforming.
When you find slow pages, you can gather further data through the site speed suggestions within Google Analytics. If your whole site is suffering, run your site through Google's PageSpeed Insights tool.
This is extremely useful for spotting issues and planning future technical workflow, ensuring your site is in top shape.