To say that things have changed in the past few months, both in the real world and the world of SEO, would be the understatement of a lifetime. As we slowly see the economy open back up, it is important to set your SEO strategy and to be able to properly track and analyze your website data. Today, we are looking at how to track your website success on Google Analytics after COVID-19. Sure, COVID-19 is still ongoing, but as SEO professionals, it is time to set up our recovery strategies and upgrade our tracking and analytics efforts.
In this article we will look at three things.
- What has changed in the world of SEO since the start of 2020
- What are the SEO elements we want to implement on our site now
- How to upgrade your tracking and analytics reporting on Google Analytics
Our main goal is to understand our current environment to the best of our ability, implement some new strategies to grow our website, and then create in-depth tracking on and reporting on Google Analytics so that we can know what is working and what is not working.
What’s New in Google and Search Engine Optimization
The Impact of COVID-19
In order to set up a strong plan, we must first look at the state of our current landscape. Whether positive, negative, or somewhere in the in-between, COVID-19 made an impact on traffic, quality of traffic, goal completions, etc. across all verticles. Earlier this year, the Search Engine Journal took a look at the impact of the pandemic on traffic across seven different industries. Without reciting all of their work, let’s just look at the high-level takeaway.
All industries and all websites felt the impact of this global event. As we turn our eye towards rebounding from it we should expect water to find it’s level here. This means no matter which direction your traffic went here you should assume movement towards the mean. Your strategy should not bank on continued success or failure but instead should be built on the principles of a strong SEO strategy.
The Impact of the May core Google Algorithm Update
This has gone on long enough that we have now had another core algorithm update from Google which adds further to the learning curve we are all managing. The update, affectionately being referred to as the “May the Fourth Update” definitely made an impact across the board. The update was a major one and many webmasters reported seeing large shifts in their traffic and their rankings. SEM Rush took an in-depth look at the impact across a variety of industries to give you a better idea of who and what was affected.
As with any Google Algorithm update, SEO professionals and companies alike ask how they should now strategize in the wake of the update. The answer is the same as it always is, provide engaging and quality content that your users want. This update along with COVID-19 is a good chance for us to step back and review our SEO and content strategies and to make sure that we are still delivering the right content for our target audience.
SEO Elements to Implement on Your Website
Late last month, we talked about ways in which you could use SEO to kickstart your recovery. Within that, we detailed ways to check all of your current SEO work and some things you could freshen up. Today, we are taking a few minutes to review a few strategies that could help you take your SEO to the next level.
- Review Your Internal Linking Structure
Your internal linking structure is a way for you to drive users further and further into your website while providing them valuable and useful information. Go through your current content and use anchor text to deliver links to other relevant pieces of content on your website. This will improve the user experience, increase quality traffic metrics, and lead to more conversions on your site.
- Look for Schema Markup Opportunities
Schema Markup’s are a way to better present your data to search engines which improves the way you appear in the search engine results page (SERP). There are many different opportunities where schema makes sense, so all you need to do is identify what would work best for you and then set it up.
SEO is an ongoing project, but these two strategies, along with a solid foundation, can help you upgrade your results as we recover from this pandemic.
Upgrading Your Tracking & Reporting with Google Analytics
Okay, now we are onto tracking and reporting. We’ve gone through the current SEO environment and some new strategies that we can implement to boost results. Now we need to understand some ways to use Google Analytics to better understand our traffic, what is working, and then use that data to make informed future decisions.
We don’t want high bounce rights and we don’t low average session times. The whole goal is to get traffic to dive deeper and deeper into your website and eventually turn them into a form fill. This report allows you to see the flow of traffic through your website. You can understand where the traffic comes from, what page they start on, and where the traffic goes from there. These insights will allow you to better understand your traffic and how you can improve the paths they take through your website to get the results you are looking for.
To access this report, go to “Behavior” and then click the “Behavior Flow” tab.
Search Terms for On-Site Search
In Google Analytics you are able to see the search terms people are entering into the search bar on your website. This report provides value to you on multiple levels. First, you can see what keywords matter most to your traffic. It provides insight into the content they are expecting once they are on your site. Lastly, if there is a ton of search volume around a specific term, product, or service, it may indicate that you need to make this more prominent on your site and make navigation to this easier.
To access this in Analytics, you go to “Behavior” -> “Site Search” -> “Search Terms” From there, you can adjust the date range and look at getting the data you need.
Our first two strategies today were focused on understanding how users move through our website and what they are looking for on our site. The Cohort Analysis is focused on the retention of visitors to your website. This report breaks users into groups based on their first visit to your site and then it examines the percentage of that group that returns over the next several periods of time. You can segment this out by day, week, or month and then examine your retention over the coming periods.
To view this report, you select “Audience” and then you click “Cohort Analysis”. Inside of this, you can customize the parameters to your liking.
The SEO landscape is constantly evolving and 2020 has been no different. As we now brace to move forward in the wake of COVID-19 it’s a great time to upgrade our SEO strategy and use Google Analytics to gain a better understanding of our audience and what we can improve on our site. With our new strategies in place, we can use these reports to understand the customer journey on our website, the content they are looking for, and how well we are doing with user retention. We can use this data to reinforce what is working and find ways to improve our areas of weakness.
Here at Nowspeed, we’d love to talk to you about these strategies as well as our total offerings of SEO services. We hope to hear from you soon.