In my last post we reviewed some ways that Google Webmaster Tools can really come in handy when it comes to understanding what search queries are driving traffic to which landing pages. Of course there is one thing missing from this view which is the performance of the landing page after someone clicks through on the link in search engine results, so it doesn’t quite fill the “keyword not provided” gap. Today I’m going to review a technique that I use to help me better understand where organic traffic is going and whether or not visitors are loving or leaving the page.
The first thing you want to do is add a custom segment that filters the data down to Google organic “keyword not provided.” Click on this link and you will be able to add this segment to your Google analytics
I start this analysis in the “Site Content” section of Google analytics under “Behavior.” The view you want to zero in on is the “Landing Page” section. These are the pages that visitors landed on when they clicked on a search result. It’s important to filter this data by “keyword not provided” so that are only seeing the entry pages for this segment. The value of this view is that it allows you to associate important engagement metrics such as bounce rate, session duration, and goal value data for each landing page.
I then export the top landing pages for the site into Excel. The number of pages that I export really depends on the size of the site I try and capture landing pages that represent at least 75 to 85% of the traffic if possible. I add a column to the Excel spreadsheet that I call topic and I flag each page with its associated topic. I include the topic of brand and apply that to pages such as the homepage, contact us, and about. I also add a column for each topic so I can track the number of entrances for each page.
Once I’ve done that I sort the data by topic and copy and paste the number of entrances into the associated topic column and then some the number of page entrances by each topic and calculate the percentage of overall entrances by topic versus brand. One important note is that you need to re-sum the columns with the totals for entrances and page views because they represent all page views and entrances not just the subset you’ve exported.
So in my example for this website that sells fruit, 80% of their organic traffic is most likely brand driven. They can take a look at things like bounce rate and average time on page by topic to see which fruit people are most engaged with.
Now you can look at the landing page performance by topic you do some educated analysis about the keyword phrases that are bringing visitors to a page by combining the information you’ve gathered from webmaster tools for the individual landing pages.
In addition if there are key pages for a topic that I’m trying to drive traffic to I monitor those pages individually and track the entrances and engagement statistics for those important pages. It’s also valuable to track the organic traffic that is topic related versus brand related as a measure of how well your SEO is performing. The goal is to
Increase the percentage of traffic and engagement for pages that are related to the topics associated with the brand and decrease the traffic going only to strictly brand related pages.
You can look at landing pages from a few different views. Under the search engine optimization view you can see a a report that includes all of the top entry pages from organic search. This view also gives you the number of impressions, number of clicks, click through rate, and average position for each of the landing pages. However it does not provide any metrics related to engagement such as bounce rate and time on page.
You can also view landing page as a secondary dimension from any of most of the content views, however I find this to be a bit cumbersome and not as easy to export into excel and analyze. Since so much search traffic is going to the website with no keyword data, there’s really no way to know exactly what keywords are driving organic traffic and how people are engaging as a result, but using the combination of Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics you can gain some very valuable insights. If you’re looking to get even more info about Google Analytics, Eric Fettman is teaching an advanced course that can show you how to leverage its many features.
Once you’ve used analytics to find the phrases you’re looking for, implement them into your site with these four ideas for organic SEO.
Until next time.
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