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Tips and tricks for using the best free SEO tool - Google Analytics - ABZ Creative Partners

Free Google Analytics SEO tools

There are hundreds of premium search engine optimization (SEO) tools available, but navigating which paid and free SEO tools are the best is an enormous task. Paid tools are absolutely necessary in that they provide advanced features, automated reporting options, custom segmentation, competitive intelligence, and increased limits for keyword rankings and search engine results page (SERP) analysis.

Sometimes, the most obvious and free tools are often overlooked. Google Analytics should be every search engine marketer’s number one sidekick before opening SEOmoz, WordStream or BuzzStream accounts.

Here are several free reports that your Google Analytics account provides that I always use before starting any on-page optimization or link-building campaigns.

Using the reports: the basics

Inside the Google Analytics reporting tab, under Acquisition, you’ll see the Search Engine Optimization tab. This is where your website’s analytics provide Google Web Search performance data. Here, you can identify SEO opportunities, increase targeted traffic to your website and prioritize your SEO efforts.

You’ll see four data metrics that Google uses to help analyze your website’s organic (and paid) search performance by individual query:

  • Impressions: The number of times any page of your website appeared in search results viewed by a user, generated by a specific user query
  • Clicks: The total number of clicks on your website from a Google Search results page by query
  • Average position: The average search ranking for URLs on your website by query. For example, the average position for your site’s URL would be 2 if your webpage appeared twice at position 1, twice at position 3 and once at position 2 ((1+1+3+3+2)/5).
  • CTR (click-through rate): Calculated as the number of clicks divided by impressions, multiplied by 100. This often-overlooked metric explains why meta descriptions still have an indirect impact on search engine results. This is because better-written Google snippet descriptions (usually websites’ meta tags) can result in higher CTR. That higher CTR indicates to Google that the query that generated the result was relevant to the user and helps increase your SERP rankings.

SEO queries report

This report shows the Google keywords, or search queries, that generated website impressions. Here’s a tip: I like to sort by average position and then export to Excel and filter out brand-related keywords. Now you have a list of non-branded keywords to plug into Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner and prioritize by competition and potential traffic for on-page optimization SEO next steps.

I also use the SEO queries report to identify which search queries are generating the most impressions but have below-average CTRs. These are the queries that are generating the most impressions for your website, so it would be smart to improve the content on these pages and revisit your meta description and page title tags to increase CTR.

Think strategically behind the intent of the keyword your targeting. If some one searches Google Analytics SEO tools, your article and its title tag, meta description, h1, etc. all need to be directly about how to use Google Analytics as an SEO tool and all of the available dashboards, reports, segments and filters available for SEO within the tool.

Sometimes, the most obvious and free tools are the most often overlooked.

SEO geographical summary report

The geographical SEO summary report gives you a quick view of which countries are generating the most traffic, sorted by clicks. But even more important, if you sort by CTR, you can discover which countries, states, cities and metro areas are finding your website results the most relevant to their queries.

This report is especially handy for international SEO, or for any topic in which common terms may vary widely by region. For example – soda, coke or pop?

SEO landing page report

The landing page report is probably the most important of all the Google Analytics SEO reports because it easily identifies the landing pages on your website that have good CTR, but bad average positions in search results. These are the pages on which you should prioritize your efforts because people want to see them but have trouble finding them.

Alternatively, you can use this report and look for high traffic landing pages and further optimize them. You can identify which keywords are already brining you traffic and re-write portions of your article or page to better optimize your content for the intent behind the keywords that are already bringing you traffic.

After a big SEO campaign for specific landing pages, I like to monitor the results of the campaign by filtering by date. If, after several months, the link building and on-page optimization I performed hasn’t increased the average CTR or average position for the landing page, I know I need to re-evaluate my efforts and do more competitive analysis.

Download this custom organic search Google Analytics report template

I created this custom organic search landing page report to analyze the performance of each URL on my website by bounce rate and number of sessions. This is one of many SEO templates I use to monitor my website’s search performance, and is a good place to start.

This allows me to identify which URLs need better content (high bounce rate), and which long-tail keywords are generating the highest-quality traffic.

Did we say free?

It’s very easy to forget that the tools Google provides – including Google Analytics, Google WebMasters and Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner – are the best tools for SEO specialists. Oh yeah, and did I mention these tools are free? Hop on it and get to optimizing!


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