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Keyword: (not provided).
If this is you, read on.
You might think that Google Analytics (GA) has no value to your SEO efforts because it hides your precious keyword data.
This post provides my 10 favorite Google Analytics SEO hacks that save time, money and drive awesome insights.
Table Of Contents
- 10 Google Analytics SEO Hacks
- 01: Monitor Referral Traffic For Link Opportunities
- 02: Use Annotations And Follow The Trail Of Success
- 03: Sync Google With Search Console For Next Level Insights
- 04: Unlock A Content Goldmine With Internal Search Data
- 05: Use Filters To Maximise Your Results In Less Time
- 06: Track Your Site Speed To Improve Rankings
- 07: Create Local Content Based On User Locations
- 08: Follow User Journeys To Find Drop Off Points (And Increase On Site Time)
- 09: Study Engaged Traffic To Improve Your Content And Bounce Rates
- 10: Set Up Custom Alerts
- Bonus Hack: Set up SEO Dashboards
What You Will Learn
- How to use GA Referral reporting to build links
- How to use GA Annotations to manage efforts, your team and clients
- How to use GWT reports in GA to get around Keyword: (not provided)
- The value of internal search data for SEO
- Using Filters for SEO data cleansing
- The Google Analytics SEO dashboard I use with 11 custom reports
10 Google Analytics SEO Hacks
Note: This post originally appeared as 6 hacks in a brilliant guest post from Ryan Stewart from Webris.
I’ve updated this post and added in my own comments, thoughts and extra points to make sure this article is just as relevant now and added 4 new Google Analytics SEO hacks.
01: Monitor Referral Traffic For Link Opportunities
If you’re doing a good job of promoting your site through:
- Guest posting (check out the 5x best guest posting services here)
…And other networks you’ll be receiving a tonne of referral traffic.
And I’ve got into the habit of checking my referral traffic report daily. Why?
Because it’s awesome for link opportunities. Let me explain…
First head over to:
Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals
Then look for traffic coming from sources you don’t recognise, like this result below:
Take that URL and use Google to find the exact source by using this advanced query below:
site:websitesendingreferraltraffic.com “your website name”
That should take you exactly to the place that has referred back to your site:
If the site name doesn’t work, you could also try searching for variations of the article title or the keywords of the content in it.
Using this method I was able to find the exact thread driving the traffic:
It was coming from someone who found a blog post I wrote about some kick ass web analytics KPIs.
In his bio he had a link to his website which I followed to find an email address. I reached out with the following:
I’m sure you probably get these outreach emails daily, so I’ll keep it short.
I found a post featuring an article I wrote from a member of your staff. (link:
I appreciate the post and leaving the kind words!
If you have any weekly round up posts on your blog, I’d love to have that piece featured.
Have a great day!
Here was the response:
Bang. You can also use Matthew’s Google Analytics profile hack to help you out!
02: Use Annotations And Follow The Trail Of Success
Why spend money on SEO management tools when GA gives you one free?
Annotations are GA’s best kept secret.
I use them for 2 reasons:
Reason 1: Client Management
I annotate everything I do. It’s how I communicate with my team and keep them updated. It beats writing a trello card or sending an email every time I make a change.
- Image alt tags added? Annotate it
- Blog post added? Annotate it
- Keywords updated? Annotate it
They just log into GA and check the annotations.
Reason 2: Cause and Effect
SEOs are notorious for making up BS facts. (Matt: I’m pretty sure SEO’s started the ‘fake news’ craze).
Don’t believe other SEOs – believe data.
Leaving Annotations creates a clear path to what works (and what doesn’t). How?
You can see exactly what changes you made and the direct impact it had on your search traffic.
Take link building as an example. When I place links on my PBN, guest blog or even build tier 2 links, I annotate the date.
If (hopefully when) organic traffic increases I can see the exact steps I took to get there:
This also makes replications in the future easier for other clients. You have a constant notebook you can refer back to and replicate.
Mostly, annotations help take the guess work out of SEO
03: Sync Google With Search Console For Next Level Insights
Combining Analytics with Google Search Console helps you forget Keyword: (not provided).
If you don’t have them synced – stop what you’re doing and follow these simple instructions from Google:
- On the Google Search Console home page, click Manage site next to the site you want, and then click Google Analytics property
- Select the web property you want to associate with the site, and then click Save.
Once connected, navigate to to Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization in Google Analytics.
Here you’ll find 3 reports:
- Queries: Search queries (in the SERPs), impressions received, average position and CTR.
- Landing Pages: Page URL (in the SERPs), impressions received, average position and CTR.
- Geographical Summary: The same as the previous two but instead of URLs or query terms, it shows countries.
However, the other 2 are gold.
You can find this under:
Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization > Queries
This report shows you:
- What search queries your website is showing up for
- The corresponding impressions received
- Average position
- Click Through Rates (CTR)
You can do your analysis in GA but I like to pull it down to Excel.
- Set the date range to the last 6 months
- Scroll to the bottom and set show rows to 5,000
- Scroll back to the top and click Export -> Excel
- Open the Excel file and click on the tab Dataset1
- Highlight row 1 -> right click -> Filter -> By Cell Value
- Click the arrow under Query -> Select All
1. What am I ranking for?
Keyword rank tracking tools only tracks what you tell them to. This report shows you all the queries your site is visible for.
This report can help to retain clients after you’ve ranked them for their main keywords.
I look for keywords their website is ranking for that I wasn’t previously tracking. I then take those keywords and dump them into their KW tracking tool.
This shows them how much extra value I’m adding by ranking them for additional keywords! (wink, wink).
2. What else can I rank for?
Filter the data to find queries with Average Position between 10 and 30.
Take the queries and dump them into Google’s Keyword Planner Tool to find high volume keywords.
If you’re ranking between 10 and 30 with no effort all you need is a little bump.
Use this data to focus link building efforts on pages that Google already favors.
3. How can I get more out of my rankings?
A couple months ago I sent a proposal for SEO to a blog that was ranking 1st or 2nd for all 100 keywords.
How can you pitch SEO services to a company that already dominates the SERPs?
By using their data.
They granted me access to GWT and GA accounts which I used to pull this exact report.
Using the Excel technique outlined above, I filtered the data to pull out branded queries.
What I found was their average CTR for terms ranked in the top 10 was less than 10%. When I cross checked it with SERP results, I found their meta descriptions were very poor.
NOTE: This is NOT the client I pitched but an example of a similar meta data issue.
A bulk of the pitch was using our content writers to create descriptive meta description tags.
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We won the account.
Landing Pages Report
This can be found under:
Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization > Landing Pages
This report is useful as is, but I like to add a couple of tweaks to it.
You should create a custom report with the following columns-
- Bounce rate
- Avg time on page
- Avg session duration
- % new sessions
- Goal conversion rate
What this report shows: Organic landing page performance by session, bounce rate, duration and goal completion.
You can use this report to derive keywords by analyzing the landing page. You won’t get the exact keyword – but it doesn’t really matter.
If you’re doing diligent keyword research, structuring your content for search and building relevant links, each organic landing page should have a theme.
Analyzing organic landing pages gives you a clear picture of how users are entering your site.
More importantly, it shows you how users are behaving once they reach your site. Google’s algo now builds in engagement signals as ranking factors.
If Google sends traffic to your site that bounces and spends no time, its a signal of a poor result.
Over time, high bounce rates and low time on site will erode your rankings.
Before you tear apart your site, let’s analyze the report. Below is my website’s report from yesterday:
I highlighted two landing pages with high organic bounce rates (one in green, one in red).
Landing Page 6’s bounce rate = 81.82%; Landing Page 8 = 94.12%.
To fix this issue, I would consider a number of solutions:
- Add internal links to drive page views
- Revisit the content: rewrite titles, intro paragraph, etc
- Add various WordPress plug ins to drive page views
People use search engines to find answers. If they find content that delivers their answer, they probably won’t click through to another page. They’ll leave the site satisfied and go about their lives.
The best way to figure that out is to look at Bounce Rate + Avg Session Duration.
Looking at my report: Landing Page 6’s = 2:04; Landing Page 8 = :15.
This tells me that although Bounce Rate for Landing Page 6 was high, Session Duration wasn’t.
They stuck around to read that whole article and left because it was probably what they were looking for.
Landing Page 8’s Session Duration was bad. This tells me that the content isn’t what they were searching for and I need to revisit the post using the potential strategies outlined above.
04: Unlock A Content Goldmine With Internal Search Data
The keywords people use to find your website are important. The keywords people use to search within your website are more important.
To get this data, you need two things:
- A search bar on your site
- Site Search reporting set up in GA
Here’s how to set it up in your GA account…
Setting Up GA Site Search Data Collection
- Under Admin menu click View Settings
- Select View Settings
- Scroll to the bottom to Site Search Settings
- Flip the button to On
- Open your website in a new tab
- Type Test into your search bar
- Look at the URL on your search landing page
- Before the search term (in the URL), there’s an equal sign with a letter in fron
- The letter before the equal sign is your website’s query parameter
- Enter this value into the appropriate box in GA
- Click Save
- Search: Test Search
- Landing Page URL: http://site.com/landing/?s=test+search
- Search Parameter: ?s=test+search
- What to Enter: s
Internal Search Analysis
Once set up, there are 4 reports available:
- Behavior > Site Search > Overview
- Behavior > Site Search > Usage
- Behavior > Site Search > Search Terms
- Behavior > Site Search > Pages
I could write an entire post on each of these, so I’m going to focus on the Search Terms report.
I use this report to measure performance of content from organic traffic. Here’s how:
- Navigate to Behavior > Site Search > Search Terms
- Add a Segment for Organic Traffic
- In the search bar type no-results
Here’s an example from a client’s site. The data is from 6 months ago and covers 1 week:
As you can see, there were 18 internal searches that returned no results.
The majority of those users then searched again (% Search Refinements) and less than half found what they were looking on the second attempt (Time after Search + Average Search Depth).
Search engine keywords tell you how users find your site – internal searches tell you keywords users expect from your site.
I made the recommendation to my client to build out a butt load of new content using the Search
Terms in this report as the main keywords.
Did it work? You tell me…
05: Use Filters To Maximise Your Results In Less Time
How much time do you spend on your website each day?
I have mine open on my browser 24/7. I also have staff that access it daily.
If you don’t filter out these sessions they’ll skew your data – badly.
GA defines a session as:
A single user can open multiple sessions. Those sessions can occur on the same day, or over several days, weeks, or months. As soon as one session ends, there is then an opportunity to start a new session.
There are two methods by which a session ends:
- Time-based expiry (including end of day): After 30 minutes of inactivity
- Campaign change: If a user arrives via one campaign, leaves, and then comes back via a different campaign.
For example, let’s take the following scenario:
- You Google your business name or keywords to check positions
- You click through to your website
- You leave your website open in a browser tab throughout the day
- You check for comments, work performed and general check ups every 2 hours over a 14 hour period
More importantly, you probably viewed multiple pages and spent 10 – 20 minutes on the site each time. This is going to skew your organic search data making it difficult to make important decisions about your website’s engagement factors.
Every time you access your website from a new location, set up a filter.
06: Track Your Site Speed To Improve Rankings
Site Speed is super important to your site.
Not only does it affect user experience, on-page time and bounce rates; if your site loads slowly on mobile phones, you’re going to see a drop in rankings.
But Google Analytics allows you to see your current site speed, which pages are holding you back, so you can take decisive action.
And if you’ve set up Universal Tracking it’s already being tracked. Follow these steps:
Behaviour > Site Speed > Overview
That’ll then give you an overview of your site. You can see a wide range of your site speed factors from the average page load time, redirection times and download times:
As well as a list of which browsers your site speed runs the quickest in:
This section is easy to overlook. But if you’re getting a lot of traffic through a particular browser, like Google Chrome, then you can adjust your site and optimise for that browser.
Now the real SEO secret weapon here is when you break it down to individual pages. Head back to the sidebar and choose:
Behaviour > Site Speed > Page Timings
Here you’ll be able to see the actual timings for each specific page on your site:
But to make this SEO specific you’re going to need to take a look at your landing pages.
In the tabs above the table of results go ahead and select the last drop down menu, and choose the ‘landing pages’ option. That’s right here:
This will show you a complete breakdown of all the pages that people come to your site on based on their page views. And if your site speed is super slow, this is where rankings, subscribers and sales will all be lost.
This image below shows that lots of my top landing pages are slow performers in comparison with the rest of the site.
Meaning I now have data to go in and improve the speed of specific pages that gather a lot of traffic.
That could include:
- Decreasing image file sizes
- Removing slow-loading features like carousels
- Removing unnecessary HTML in the body text
- Adding a lazy-loader function to the page
And the faster it is, the more people will hang around to share your content, read more pages and sign up to your mailing list.
All while improving your rankings on mobile.
After all, as I wrote here, site speed is money.
07: Create Local Content Based On User Locations
Local Listings can bring a lot of targeted, high converting, traffic to your site.
These long tail keywords are easier to rank for and a lot of the time people practically have their wallet out when they’re searching.
For example if you compare these two searches:
- Hiking rucksacks
- Hiking rucksacks in Houston
Because instead of wanting to know about rucksacks, they’re looking for where they can go out and buy one.
But if you’re a blogger working on a global scale, how do you know where to localise your content to? Well Google Analytics gives you the answers to that, too.
Head over to:
Audience > Geo > Location
That’ll show you a complete overview of the countries that people are coming to your site from.
If you’ve never thought of targeting your content to a particular section of your audience, this is already enough data to start tailoring your content.
Let’s say you’re trying to rank for hiking rucksacks like the above example, you could instantly start targeting content like:
- Where To Find Hiking Rucksacks In Canada
- The Indian Guide To Affordable Hiking Rucksacks
- Hiking In Spain? Where To Buy Your Next Rucksack
In the section above the table of results select the ‘cities’ option found here:
That’ll then give you a list of the most popular cities that are visiting your site. Meaning you can start targeting super specific content in search engines.
What does this data show you? Well let me expand a little:
- Areas where people are interested in your product or service
- Areas that your brand/site already has a presence
- Areas where people are more likely to buy your product or service
- The Best Hiking Rucksacks For The Terry Hershey Park Trail
- The 10 Best Hiking Trails In Houston (And The Rucksacks You Need)
- How To Prepare For Hiking In Houston
And, if you’re tracking conversions, you’ll be able to see which areas are most profitable and drill down even more.
Meaning you get to increase local search traffic and increase conversions. Not a bad sweet spot, right?
08: Follow User Journeys To Find Drop Off Points (And Increase On Site Time)
There’s a lot of discussion about whether your on site time affects your rankings in Google.
Google haven’t said it is or it isn’t so we can’t be 100% certain.
But what we do know is that site usability plays a part in the ranking of your site. And these usage metrics can play a direct role in how your site ranks.
Google Analytics allows you to track how long people spend on your time and the direct path, or Journey, that they follow through your site.
You can then identify specific drop off points in your site and improve them. And this also gives you the chance to increase some of your other ranking factors too which I’ll explain later.
First let’s head to:
Audience > Users Flow
Where you’ll be able to see a flowchart of where traffic comes into your site, and where it leaves.
You’ll be able to see a list of countries, the content they’ve started with, and where people tend to go from that point onwards.
But how can you use this information to increase on site time?
Let’s look at the last box that has no real flow pattern. If I click on it it shows me the pages that are getting traffic and how many people drop off on each one:
My backlink competitor analysis posts gets 7.68% of all my sites traffic but 82.2% of people don’t go anywhere from that page.
Using this information I can do a content analysis by heading to the post and look at why so many people drop off.
Think of questions like:
- Not enough internal links to other content?
- A poor call to action to get people to read another piece of content?
- Is the content simply self inclusive and doesn’t need to lead to other content?
And if you’re not sending people to another page, how well is that page converting?
This is some low hanging fruit you can pay attention to and address straight away.
Run this with a few pages and see what changes you can make to bring more people through your site for longer periods of time.
09: Study Engaged Traffic To Improve Your Content And Bounce Rates
I take no credit for this section of the article, the seeds of this idea came from a brilliant article over at RazorSocial.
Google Analytics allows you to see the engagement rates of people on your site. Which means you can get a clear image of how engaged your audience is.
After all 100,000 views a month doesn’t mean anything if they’re not engaged and taking action on your page.
You’re going to need to look at three metrics:
- How many returning visitors you have
- How many pages they view when they’re there
- How big your bounce rate is
If you’re only interested in someone coming to your site once, then this won’t apply to you.
However if you run a blog or a site that needs people to come back often and devour your content or products, then this may be one of the most important sections.
Firstly head to:
Audience > Behaviour > New vs Returning
This will show you the exact amount of people who are coming to your site every month and how many are returning visitors.
Your new visitors will almost always be higher than your returning so don’t worry. But what is important here is the percentage.
If you’re getting 80-90% new visitors and hardly any returning you can already see that you have a content problem.
The next step is to look at the engagement rate, that’s under:
Audience > Behaviour > Engagement
Here you’ll be able to see how engaged people are on your site. This is measured by the amount of seconds someone spends going through your site (a little like we saw in the last section).
The longer someone stays on your site, the more engaged they are going to be.
Now if someone comes to just one page on your site and then bounces Google will count that as a 0-10 visit, even if they spent four minutes there. So be sure to reference this with your Average Session Duration.
This data really tells you if your audience is engaged enough with your site and where you need to improve.
If 0-10 seconds is super high, but after their first visit people are dropping off after 30 seconds you need to look at what you can improve:
- The length of your content
- Your introductions
- Your links to other pages in your site
- The quality of the overall content
You’ll find your bounce rate on your dashboard. And when this is above 75% you really need to look at what’s causing people to drop off from your site.
While bounce rate may not be a vital statistic it’s still an important metric for your overall site performance. And the side effects of having a lower bounce rate will improve your search standings.
But what does all of this data mean together?
Well there are a number of variations, but if you find you have a:
- Low returning visitors rate
- Low engagement rate
- High bounce rate
Even if you’re running an Adsense where you want people to bounce off, this doesn’t look great for how Google views your site.
10: Set Up Custom Alerts
Another one of my favorite Google Analytics hacks is to add custom alerts that trigger when an action is taken on your site.
If you head to:
Customisation > Custom Alerts
You’ll be able to set up alerts for lots of specific actions and to be notified in a certain time period. For example, if your site gets no traffic, or if there is a significant decrease in the number of affiliate link clicks.
Here’s a list of all of the current Analytics alerts that I have set up:
These will take you no more than two to three minutes to set up, but you’ll reap hundreds of benefits from them. And gain a level of insight into the daily goings on of your site than ever before.
All you have to do to set it up is give it a name, and select the data you want to be notified about.
You can keep it simple and add values like this:
Or you can make it more complex and specific, such as applying specific percentages of decrease in your traffic:
All you have to do is find the metrics that are important to your site and then set it up as a custom alert.
It also allows you to not worry too much about where your metrics are right now, because if anything does go wrong, you know you’ll get an instant alert. Giving you time to focus elsewhere.
Bonus Hack: Set up SEO Dashboards
I hope you stuck around to this point of my Google Analytics SEO tutorial.
I’m an analytics nerd but I refuse to spend more than 20 minutes a day reviewing data.
I like my data accessible with one click. That’s why I created a custom Google Analytics SEO dashboard.
Custom SEO Dashboards allow you to add up to 12 GA reports into one easily viewable screen. I put together a Dashboard that contains 11 reports that all pertain to SEO reports which makes for a great SEO analytics tool.
This Dashboard is awesome for a quick glance and update on your website – it’s even better for client management.
This Dashboard makes up 90% of my monthly report to clients – it’s that damn good. I simply share it with my clients and they can view it whenever they choose.
That’s what I love about Dashboards – if I share the link with you all you have to do is click. The Dashboard will upload to your account and pull through your website’s data.
Before I give you the link, let me run you through what’s included in the Dashboard:
- Organic traffic counter widget
- Organic traffic graph by day
- Goal completions (organic traffic only)
- Search engine distribution (pie chart – Yahoo, Bing, Google, etc)
- Organic landing page engagement: bounce rate + time on page
- Organic traffic by city
- Organic entrances by keyword
- Internal search query report
- Organic traffic: mobile vs desktop
- Referral traffic: goal completions
- Page speed report
Please click the link below to import the Google Analytics SEO dashboard into your account.
Wrapping It Up…
Still worried about (not provided)?
If used correctly, Google Analytics is one of the most powerful SEO tools on the market.
These 10 hacks will help you unlock the true potential of Google Analytics and get you on the path to search success.
How do you use Google Analytics? Anything that should be included on this list as your favourite hack? Let me know in the comments…
PRO TIPS: To improve your SEO performance, make sure to use all the Google tools available. Don’t know anything about these tools? Take a look at my list of Google tools.
Stuck in the Google sandbox period? Read my guide to learn how to get out of Google sandbox as quickly as possible.
Provide highly interesting and very informative information about google analytics. I am a digital marketer in SEO agency NYC since many years. And i also seeking this kind of informations.
Cheers Lucas you’ll find plenty more here https://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/seo/
Some great google analytics hacks
Cheers Pradeep – thanks for commenting :)
I’m no longer certain where you’re getting your information, but great topic.
I must spend some time studying much more or working out more.
Thanks for excellent information I was on the lookout for this information for my mission.
Glad I could help :)
Hi Matthew Woodward,
Your “10 Google Analytics SEO Hacks To Increase Your Search Traffic” article is very nice for Google Analytics affects on SEO clearly defined through this article. Excellent piece of work. Excited to see your upcoming posts. Thanks.
Thank you for the feedback, I’ve got plenty of content in the pipeline :)
As managing our local trade business websites , the thought of taxkiling GA just seemed beyond me – so many thanks for providing me with the way forward. Even if only use half of these hacks, lot better than previously !
Hey Alison, glad to have been of help!
I would say this is one of the best article I’ve read.. From beginning to end you nailed it totally. To write this you might have worked hard for research.
Thanks for sharing this good article.
Glad you liked the article! Hope these strategies prove useful.
Wow, I wasn’t aware of these many reasons behind such traffic drop. Really, you have explained the important details in this article. Since we are looking after any SEO project like Blog, Website etc. for a considerable duration of time, then it’s our responsibility that we should determine the track record and should make required changes on regular interval say in every 6-7 months. And the changes should be done in accordance with the rank position, keyword search volume, organic traffics etc.
As far as I know, what Google usually does is that it pushes us down by implementing updates in their search algorithm. Sometimes we are unaware of those algorithms and we keep publishing our contents without knowing them. As a result, we experience a drop in our organic traffic. But ignoring such technical changes in their algorithm leads us to such a serious penalty.
Anyways, very interesting subject and easy to understand. Many thanks for the explanations and the details. Good luck and keep sharing.
Thanks very much for your thoughts! I will certainly keep sharing :)
thanks for the sharing details
No problem, I hope you find them helpful.
Great post! this is really well recommended to read!
Thanks again :)
Thanks for the always useful information. This is great information to help garage type SEO people like me.
No problem, pleased to have been able to help
A very helpful article. You might be the SEO expert.
I would say so :)
perfect & valuable stuff ! great read !
Thanks Max glad you found the value
Hey Matthew, I am new to your blog. Thanks for sharing these useful tips here.
Thanks for visiting
Wow! its really amazing for me.
I hope you put it to good use
well explained.. content as per local visitors is a great tip…
It is indeed :)
Great post! it was very insightful and informative. Keep posting you great work.
No problem :)
Hi Your Article is excellent. You given a best examples for everything. Thanks for your wonderful information.
No problem :)
Google Analytics has come a long way since the early years. I only used to use it to see how much traffic is coming to my site….I guess there’s more to learn from this tool. I still don’t like Google but I have to admit that Analytics is probably their best tool
Thanks for these great tutorial. It shall go a looooonnggg way towards achieving my online goals.
By the way, have you thought of more tutorials just on analytics. Truth is it’s a scary subject since it sounds like math.
Yes and they are always adding new features!
Yes I could do a tutorial on analytics in the future for sure
Truly Great Article Matt.
There is one bit regarding the search console Queries Report. It shows only three months data, so it is a bit superfluous to put 6 months back.
Your article is very helpful and its very amazing to know wonderful hacks about google analytics, thanks for sharing, thanks a lots.
No problem Vikas :)
Wow. Nice Article .. Thanks Matthew for this post.
thanks for help , thank for sharing
No worrys :)
i think GA is the best analysis tools for own site research
Thanks for this because i am a beginer and i really need to know this and can you please tell me that how can i make my website more powerful
Just browse one of the many tutorials on the blog!
Amazing Hacks Thank you!
Thank you for reading :)
your post help me a lot, thanks MW ..
BMW ( Big mathew woodwards) :)
Most of the hack mentioned on this post, l didn’t know about it. I will try to set it up to understand more about my audience. Hoping to see Good result once l implement this
Let me know how you get on Klea!
These are amazing hacks, I was not knowing about most of them. So, Thanks for sharing.
No worrys Robin :)
This is really awesome, now i can understand more complicated data GA and save my time.
No problem :)
Solid Article!!!! Worth a Bookmark!
Such a informative post. Even after a long time i read a full post with each of word. Which is very rare to me. I generally read few para that’ It.
No problem Sanjay!
Brilliant: The one word that aptly describes this article and Matt. This is the kind of content that is being referred to when experts say write evergreen content. Even few years down the line, this will be still relevant.
Insanely helpful and practical hacks that anyone can wants to make the most of GA.
If anyone ever asks Matthew Woodward who? (which should be rare in online marketing world) then just show them this article. It will shut them up for good and for a long time to come.
Well perhaps the interface will change a bit but yes these tips will last forever :)
Perfect article – I was using annotations but I was not thorough – after reading it I have added 20 of them :) Just one thing I noticed – in point 3 – syncing GA and GSC, you navigate to “Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization” in Google Analytics, however, I see it as “Acquisition > Search Console”.
Great post Matthew. I like google analytics but I have never thought of the gold within. Really appreciate the tutorial
No problem Mark!
At the top of the most, all you have to do is use Secondary Dimension –> Full Referrer to see the exact link on the site you’re getting traffic from.
You owe it to your audience to create a step-by-step SEO Course. When are you going to run one?
One day :)
Traffic is one of the main target for a site.. Your article helps me to learn many thinks about SEO and traffic…
No problem Mukesh :)
This passage I find exceptionaly useful:
“Filter the data to find queries with Average Position between 10 and 30.
Take the queries and dump them into Google’s Keyword Tool to find high volume keywords.
If you’re ranking between 10 and 30 with no effort all you need is a little bump.
Use this data to focus link building efforts on pages that Google already favors.”
As I’m using SEO tool in paid and it uses GA’s API I’ve been able to lacate for which keywords my pages get ranking in this 10 to 30 ranking position gap and get extra SEO boost just playing further around with these keywords.
Still on top of organic search. No problem at all. The I’m using calls SERPStat.
Thank you so much!!!
wow this is awesome!I’ve been staring at the GA control panel on earlier attempts to make some further use of it than seeing number of visits. Thanks for sharing such an informative blog.
Yeah you can do a lot of damage with custom dashboards :)
A helpful article. Thanks for sharing.
No problem Richard :)
thanks for help, but didn’t got anything to increase traffic
great tips, I never tried them but will give this a go and update on the result soon thanks once again
No problem :)
Very nice hacks and tricks. Google webmaster linking is very necessary.
All of the linkz :)
Awesome Article, Thanks for shearing this. Glad to read an Article.
Simple Awesome .. Thanks for Sharing.. :-)
Glad you enjoyed it!
Thanks for some great tips for Google Analytics. It was very helpful.
I would love to get the dashboard addons from you, but I’m not liking, that I would have to give you access to post on my Twitter in order to get them.
No problem, you know where they are if you change your mind :)
Hi Hey Mat
Really awesome post! This tutorial helped me a lot. Thanks for such kind of an informative article. Eager to learn more from you! Bookmarked!
No problemo :)
Matthew, I’m a big fan of your blog and this is why – yet another great tutorial full of gold nuggets ! Can I just ask you to expand on the WordPress plugins you might use to drive page views (with regards to reducing bounce rate) ?
Take a look at this page https://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/tools-of-the-trade/
Great article! Your post is such an eye-opener for online marketers in understanding problems that clients face. Thanks for sharing such an informative blog.
No problem Edgar :)
INCREDIBLE POST! It’s really opened my eye on how to make more money by using GA.
I’ve already started to plan changes in the coming weeks that should boost my clicks.
Just one problem I had was the landing page report in GA. It keeps coming up with a security issue and asks me to sign in again. My login details are correct but it just won’t let me.
Is there another way around this?
I was wondering do you have a video tutorial or know of a good tutorial for this subject. I have long tail pro. Unf and market samurai. I’m not sure what settings to use and what factors to look for. Thanks
Love that dashboard. I also like the integration of Adsense with GA
Man you rock ! Seriously things i have learned from your blog are priceless. Specially when i tried SE Slingshot ! Really appreciate your hardwork in teaching newbie like me
I’m glad to help :) If you want to help me you can submit a testimonial https://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/testimonials/
Very cool GA hacks; the hacks are basically display useful data, but how do those actually help increase website traffic?
They give you the data you need to make decisions moving forward
But I am really not sure I have the energy to do all that and still manage my blogs.
If you spread yourself too thin, you leave a lot of moeny on the table!
Thanks Matthew for this post. This is very useful for a company like us which does digital marketing for Travel clients . Keep these posts coming
Drop me an email, I have something for you
I’m almost blown away by all this in google analytics! I use GA for just some minor things but this have brought it to a whole new science. I bookmarked this and am making a note to do all of these methods more. Great guest post from Ryan Stewart! He helps out a ton of the FB groups I hang out in too. Great guy and ridiculous content writer!
Glad I could bring him to the audience :)
Wow. Okay, I definitely have some work to do in Analytics. Sometimes you think you have it nailed down, until Matthew comes along and blows that out of the water… lol…
That happens to me on a weekly basis as well, don’t worry :)
Great post, thanks for reminding about annotations, need to use that function more.
Something I find that can be quite handy for some clients is the Technology > Network function. Many organisations have their name in their network, making this a handy way to see how the target market interact with your site.
Great extra tip thanks!
As always – simple and actionable advice. This is why I follow your blog! :)
Thanks very much for this information.
I didn’t realize you could get any useful keyword information from GA so this is very valuable.
No problem :)
I have run out of words man! This was really amazing, deep, detailed and step by step read. Are you on steroids??
hahaha drugs are bad mmmmk
Once again, great post!
I loved the bit about the Landing Pages Report and the fact that you explained that a high bounce rate isn’t always bad makes me real happy as I’ve seen people try to “fix” their bounce rate even though their time on page was over 5 minutes!
Sadly I could not download your custom report as it said “We cannot verify your account credentials. Please verify your account information, then sign in again.” I’m not sure what the problem is, but it’s probably something on my end…
Also, a HUGE thanks for the SEO dashboard. It’s actually exactly what I’ve been looking for for a while.
Once again, thanks for putting out great content!
Solid gold. I’ve been staring at the GA control panel on earlier attempts to make some further use of it than seeing number of visits. I’m telling you, sometimes I feel like its in latin. But this article has opened my eyes to several things, thx!
No problem :)
Wow this is great! I still have a lot to learn about GA so please keep the awesome posts coming!
Greetings from belgium
There is always more to learn :)
Can you pot a “zoom plugin” for the images. they are small.
Yes that is on the list of things to do
Remove spam referrals which will screw up your google analytics.
I made the list of 200+ spam referral websites and currently using in .htaccess file. You can also made filter in Google Analytics to exclude this traffic.
I can send the list to you if you would like to post it.
Or just email anyone to me if you want to get it.
That would be awesome please share it :)
Great post and some perfect information to help me get more out of GA. I will admit I don’t use if beyond looking at traffic numbers because there is just so much there, it can be a bit intimidating.
Just a quick note, in the landing page section you shared your setup, however, when I click the link it doesn’t work properly. The Dashboard import does, just no that one.
same happens for me… the link to the landing page report in GA does not seem to work, any ideas please?
Like your gif above, THIS IS GOLD, Matt! Really appreciate these tips.
Glad you enjoyed the post
Hey Matt, good stuff as always! Do you have any recommended sources to outsource backlinking?
You could try https://www.searchlogistics.com/case-studies/
Spot on! All in-one kind of GA tutorial
Glad you liked it!
Thanks Dear Admin for writing this useful post. It is better plz in future write this kind of posts in simple language. As the same is not fully understandable for all the visitors, I hope you will ponder over this issue in future.
How could it be made simpler to understand?
Without going through all the hassle, If you go to Acquisition -> All Traffic -> Referrals and click on the source you’ll get the full referral URL
Yes but that means you have to actually click into every single site one at a time rather then getting a complete list of raw urls in traffic order
Nice write up. Does linking GWT with GA allow GA to store all your search queries for longer than 30 days? (I always link – but in all honesty I’m guilty of getting busy and not looking at those reports as often as I should).
I know when you log into GWT – you only see the previous 30 days of data. 3rd party tools will store all the data longer than that but if GA will do the same thing, there’s no reason to pay a 3rd party!
I don’t believe it does
@Matthew it was fabulous, especially referral links acquisitions and internal search data. I like them most.
Glad you enjoyed it :)
Some nice ideas.
For the referral one you could save some time and add the secondary dimension of “full referrer”. It gives you the exact pages the referral came from.
Yes that works but the data is ugly and messy to work through
Wow, like your article soo much Matthew, great and usefull.
Great post – I have been struggling to find the motivation to go through all my GA reports and fix them but it looks like I will need to push this to the top of my todo list for a few of my money sites next week!
hustle hustle :)
Thanks for this guide, it is really useful. I have problems with the link “custom report auto upload to your GA account”
GA tells me there is a security problem and it can’t verify the credentials account.
Is there another way around this?
Sounds like you have your Google login wrong?
Reading and implementing side by side. :)
Thats what I like to hear =D
I really appreciate you sharing your tips for finding great data in Google Analytics and the dashboard is fantastic. I added it to all the sites I track in Google Analytics. Thanks so much.
I would love to see a tutorial about how to create a dashboard that provides meaningful data for my YouTube channel. I have a GA account for my YouTube channel but haven’t figured out a way to make the data useful. Since it only tracks traffic coming directly to my channel (not my videos) I’m wondering if it’s a total waste of time to even bother. Just want to make sure I’m not missing something though.
I will add it to my list of ideas thanks :)
Hey fella – awesome post! Ive not being doing SEO for that long and a lot of the tools are expensive. Even though I do like the look of Sem Rush.
I found this post really helpful as I haven’t really got a grasp on GA .. So good stuff!
Thanks bro :)
Welcome to the world of SEO Carl – don’t worry about tools, just build your knowledge and then your experience through trial and error :)
That’s gold Jerry – Gold!
This post is like a double chip chocolate brownie with extra vanilla frosting!
Ryan, I truly appreciate the time you have spend on making your point(s) come across so beautifully.
Appreciate you sharing this! Great info.
You have a small typo in your banner at the bottom of article… Dashboard
Get Instant Access To My Custom Google Analytics SEO Dashbaord & Discover How To Increase Your Search Traffic Today
Ooops my bad fixed it :) You would have a field day on this blog with typos though to be honest haha
I use the Real Time data all the time on Analytics (to the point where I have it continously open on a tab).
Although most of the time the keywords are not provided I find that the “Top Active Pages”, with the Pageviews bar charts are a useful tool – however you have to keep your eye on it through the day.
It’s especially useful when posting a tweet or blog post to say how many people are looking it.
How does monitoring real time traffic all day add value to your business?
For example on this blog it is mostly pointless and serves only as a distraction with no tangible benefit
I have found real time monitoring useful to identify at what times of the day Twitter followers look at and engage a tweet that I have posted.
For example I never post a Tweet between 10am and midday because from my research during this period you get hardly any engagement. If I tweet between 12 and 2 on the other hand I have found that I get more views and engagement as generally people are on lunch break and are browsing Twitter
It’s how I use analytics as well, it is worth noting you can make your backlinks trackable as well. This is useful if you do get a blog to run an article on your product or service, but works with any backlink (you only want to use this for quality links). Use google’s URL Builder, enter the url, campaign source, name etc (it’s very self explantory), once you get the long url, to go goo.gl and shorten it, that’s it. Remember to use a different name of each link. When you go to Aquisition, all traffic, sourcemedium all traffic from your URL BUILDER links will show up.
Anyway nice article Matthew, it’ll help those new to analytics alot. If you’re in any type of e commerce work, it is de facto to be very familar with analytics.
Great extra tip Mark thanks!
So… Where is the dashboard link?
At the end of the post
god your in another league what i would give to be coached by you…
Simple Awesome .. Thanks for Sharing.. :-)
No problem :)