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A Complete Guide to Using Google Analytics for Search Engine Optimization

A Complete Guide to Using Google Analytics for Search Engine Optimization

In order to promote your business effectively in 2018, a robust and well-executed SEO strategy is a must. In fact, 93 percent of online experiences now begin with a search engine. Even more intriguing than the number of people who use search engines to begin an online experience, is the fact that these searches often lead to a conversion.

To be more specific, SEO has become the premiere form of digital marketing, generating 14 percent of all marketing leads.

With such powerful data backing the significance and impact of SEO, it is now more crucial than ever that businesses understand how to measure SEO performance, and that they use SEO metrics to guide their overall strategies.

For business owners who are just finding their footing, when it comes to using Google Analytics for SEO, the platform can seem overwhelming and convoluted.  Many entrepreneurs are often left with more questions than they had before they logged into Google Analytics.

Some of the most common questions we hear from business owners in regards to SEO include:

  • What are the most important SEO metrics I should be monitoring?
  • How do I navigate to the data that is most important?
  • How do I set realistic SEO goals?
  • What are some common red flags or areas of concern that I should know about?
  • How can I use SEO tracking to improve the overall performance of my business?

In this article, our goal is to answer these questions and provide clear, concise tips for measuring SEO, that businesses can begin implementing immediately.

The Top Google Analytics Metrics for Measuring SEO Success


Page Value

Google defines page value as: “the average value for a page that a user visited before landing on the goal page or completing an Ecommerce transaction (or both)”.  The purpose of the page value metric is to give business owners an idea of which page on their website is contributing most to their site’s revenue.

This is important because once you begin measuring this SEO metric, you can begin driving more traffic to the website URLS that have the highest page value, thus increasing the likelihood that users will convert. But first, you have to know how to calculate page value. You can do so by following the formula below:

Page value = (Total page value + Transaction revenue) / Total unique pageviews

Before you begin using this formula, however, you must first assign a value amount to each of the possible conversions on a page. So, for example, let’s say you are a men’s clothing retailer, and on your homepage, there are three possible actions a user can take.

Those three actions could be:

  • Sign up for your company’s newsletter
  • Follow your company on Instagram
  • Shop now

Obviously, the most valuable of these possible conversions would be the “Shop now” option. Thus, when setting your conversion values, you would assign the highest value to this action. So, you’re values might look something like this:

  • Newsletter signup = $20.00
  • Instagram follow = $10.00
  • Shop now = $30.00

Once you have set these values within Google Analytics, the platform will begin pulling this data every time a customer takes one of these actions while visiting your site.

Are you unsure about how to set these values? Here is a step-by-step tutorial from MonsterInsights.

Now that you have set up the values of each possible conversion, you can begin plunking these numbers into your page value formula, and determine which pages on your website are the most lucrative.

Top Exit Pages

Top exit pages are the pages on your website that users most commonly exit your website from. These pages are critical to analyze because they often represent the pages that users are finding least engaging or least helpful. By optimizing these pages, you can lengthen the amount of time users spend on your website, and thus increase the likelihood of conversion.

You can find your top exit pages by logging into Google Analytics, going to the navigation bar on the left side of your screen, and following the below path:

Behavior > Site Content > Exit Pages

From here, you will be able to identify which pages on your website are closed most frequently – an essential part of using Google Analytics for SEO.

Some tips for optimizing these pages, and reducing exit rates include:

  • Adding captivating stock photos that relate to the page topic. Be sure to include alt text and keyword-enriched captions with every photo!
  • Include more internal links within your site that keep users moving from one section of content to the next. Guide your customers to where you want them to go next!
  • Emphasize your calls-to-action on every page. Make buttons pop by using contrasting color, and increase the visibility of your contact forms.

For more information about how to optimize your exit pages, check out this guide to decreasing bounce rates by OptinMonster.

Top Keywords

Using Google Console to monitor your top keywords is one of the most crucial elements of understanding how to measure SEO performance. These keywords indicate which terms are frequently being typed into search engines by users who are visiting your page.

By browsing your top keywords, you can determine which phrases are driving the most traffic to your website, and then begin optimizing your website to improve your rankings for those terms.

So, let’s say you are a cupcake delivery service, and one of your top keywords is “Wedding Cupcakes in Toronto”.  Upon discovering this, it would be wise to either build a page on your website that is dedicated to weddings, or expand on content you already have around this topic.

By using the top keywords feature in your regular SEO tracking routine, you are able to make a far more educated decision on where to dedicate your time and resources.

Some tips for optimizing your website using your top keywords include:

Once you begin using your top keywords to guide your SEO updates on your website, your rankings will gain traction more quickly and yield more relevant results for your business.

And there you have it! By following these tips for measuring SEO, you can harness the power of data to better inform your overall SEO marketing strategy and achieve more of your desired outcomes.

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by Ellan Dineen // Ellan Dineen is the Marketing Associate at Design Wizard. When she's not hard at work in the Marketing Department, Ellan can be found en route to foreign lands with a book in her hand and a podcast in her ear. With a Master's in English and Diploma in Social Media Marketing, she knows the importance of staying up-to-date with the industry's latest trends and insights and is keen to pass these tips

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.