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Google rules the Internet. It’s a bit like constant Olympics where the first prize is getting to the top of SERPs. To do this, however, you need to understand both the behaviors and preferences of your audiences as well as the ways you can make the most out of the ways the search engine operates.
Luckily for you, Google has published various tools that can improve your SEO. In this article, I will focus on Google Analytics and Search Console.
Data is everything now. It allows you to recognize who your audience actually is. And without knowing that, all your business efforts, especially marketing and putting out the actual product, would be like trying to catch fish with no bait. Even though, as the saying goes, there’s plenty of fish in the sea, none will be yours.
It’s the same with the customers. You need to know them in order to approach them effectively. You need to know what works and what does not.
Google Analytics serves exactly that purpose – it offers you a deep analysis of your website.
It will show you things like:
- The number of people who visit your website,
- Where do they live,
- What sends traffic to my website (marketing campaigns, other websites),
- How many visitors have you turned into leads and how did they find your website,
- Which blog posts and pages do the visitors like the most.
How can Google Analytics improve your SEO
If you’d like to sum up all of the points above into a single phrase, it would be User Experience. UX recently became the most important factor, by which Google ranks websites.
Analytics provides you with data that allow you to recognize the areas within your website and your marketing campaigns that either need improvement or are successful. That gives you the opportunity to see, which solutions work and which don’t. That’s the best start to improve your User Experience and, in turn, to improve your SEO!
How to use Google Analytics
Setting up your account
Go to Google Analytics website, click the Sign In button and then go to Analytics. You will be redirected to a panel outlining the three steps you need to take in order to set up your account.
Click the Sign Up button. After that, you will have to provide some details about the website you wish to track. On Google Analytics, you can track up to 100 websites – that could be useful if you run several businesses.
Once you provide all the necessary info and outline the kinds of feedback you wish to receive, Analytics will generate the tracking ID code for you – it will give Google access to your website. You need to install that on every page of your website. Many CMS have built-in panels (like the Google Analytics plugin by Yoast for WordPress) for pasting such a code. If your pages are based on HTML, you will have to do it manually by entering the tracking ID before the </head> tag.
Make sure that you always set up the Google Analytics account from your own Google account. It may seem nice to let your web designer or an SEO specialist do it, but in case you stop working together, all the data will be lost.
Obtaining data from Google Analytics
Once you install the tracking ID onto your pages, Google will start getting data from them. Every time you log to your Analytics account, you will be able to access different types of reports:
Audience Overview – gives you an insight into who your audience is, where do they come from and how did they access your website.
Acquisition Reports – provide you info on the parts of your website or campaigns that increase your traffic (for example, sharing a link to your article on Facebook could increase your traffic).
Behavior Reports – these reports will show you the top pages on your website as well as top entry and exit websites. You can also see how fast your website loads and what terms are searched for.
Conversions – give you a detailed report on the conversions – where on the website did they happen, what path led the visitors to completing their conversion and where are they from.
Google Search Console is a free service for webmasters that allows them to increase the visibility of their websites.
While Google Analytics is more concerned with providing you the data on the relationship between your audience and your website, the Search Console is focused more on the technical aspect of improving your SEO.
How can Search Console improve your SEO
Search Console can provide you with data on how Google sees your website. The information indicate areas such as:
- Which keywords have caused your website to appear in the SERPs,
- Which keywords are more effective at increasing the traffic on your website than others,
- The external and internal pages that link back to your website,
- Whether your website is optimized for mobile users,
- Making sure that your website and its pages are safe from malware or hacks,
- Errors the Googlebot encountered when crawling on your pages.
As you can see, Search Console is mostly concerned with making sure that your website is ranked high on Google. It might seem that Analytics and Search Console provide the same types of data, each of them interprets it in a different way giving you different conclusions.
How to use Search Console
To get started with Search Console you need to add and verify your website first. Verifying is done to make sure that only a webmaster, a site owner or an authorized person has access to all the data.
To add your website go to Search Console main page and paste your URL into the window you’ll find in the middle of a screen.
The Search Console interface gives you four different types of filters
Shows you the number of clicks you’ve gotten from the SERPs.
Gives you data on how many SERP results people have actually seen.
The Click-Through-Rate is the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions.
Gives you an insight into where does your website rank.
Search Console also offers you additional tools to narrow down your results:
Shows you a list of phrases and keywords that drove people to find your website.
Shows you, which pages from your website have been displayed in the SERPs.
Shows you the locations where the searches came from.
Shows you, which devices had been used to look up your website.
Gives you an insight into how the people found you – whether by web search, image search, video search, etc.
Search appearance and Date
These two allow you to narrow down your results with a timeframe and some additional filters.
How do all these data translate to the real life? For example, you can use Search Console to find the keywords that get plenty of impressions, but not a lot of clicks. Fixing the off-site aspect of such links like, for instance, the meta descriptions can vastly improve your SEO.
Merging Google Analytics with Search Console
As I’ve said earlier, Google Analytics is focused on the audience aspect of your website as well as improving your UX. Search Console, on the other hand, gives you data that will help your website rank higher in the SERPs.
There is a possibility to link the two together. That will give you access to several types of reports that are unavailable on either separately allowing you to improve your SEO in new ways.
How to do it
First of all, make sure that your website is verified in Search Console. Then, go to your SC dashboard and look for a gear icon (the same that’s on your Gmail account in the top right corner), collapse it and click on “Google Analytics Property”. You’ll get a list of all the websites associated with your Google account. Click the one you want to link up with your Search Console, save and you’re done!
In this article, I have covered two Google’s tools that can improve your SEO – Google Analytics and Search Console.
The former focuses more on the ways your pages and their content work with your audience. The latter shows you the ways, in which you can optimize your website so that it’s more search engine-friendly.
Both tools don’t require much to get started and the benefits of using them can be incredible! SEO is a constant struggle, so why not make it a bit easier?