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Using Google Analytics’ new SEO reports to improve conversion rates

Recently Google Analytics added a new report section, Search Engine Optimisation. This isn’t just for “the SEO person”, it can inform your whole site design and increase your conversion rates.

What are the SEO reports?

Found in the Traffic Sources section, the SEO reports give you insight into how your site appears in Google Searches.

The Queries report shows how often your site was seen in Google search results for specific keywords and its average position. Similarly, the Landing Page Report shows how many times each individual page from your site was featured in a search result.

For example, a query for a lawnmower retailer, shows that the site was featured in Google search results approximately 1,600 times for the phrase “Lawnmowers” and that this generated 35 clicks.

The Average Position stat has recently been updated. It is now calculated from your average top position in any search; if your site features multiple times in one search, lower listings are now ignored in this calculation.

As you might expect, the Geographical summary page shows the Geographical locations of those who saw your site in their search results.

How do I set up the SEO reports?

There are two simple steps to set up the reports:

  1. Set up Google Webmaster Tools for your site. This is a straight forward process: go to and follow the instructions.
  2. Click on any of the reports in the Google Analytics SEO reports and you will see the page below. Click “Set up Webmaster tools data sharing” and again, follow the simple instructions.

What can the SEO reports tell me about visitors’ onsite needs?

The key figure to on-sight insight is Average Position. This gives you a better understanding of what your visitors had already been through, before they arrived at your site. Here are two examples

Example 1

One of your landing pages has an average position of over 100

It’s easy enough to look at this figure and just ask your “SEO person” to improve your ranking, but there’s a lot more that you can do. It’s inevitable that some of your pages will have low rankings so you need to know how to maximise their effectiveness.

A low ranking tells you that many of your visitors arrive at that page having already clicked though a lot of search results and probably having visited multiple competitors. You can replicate their searches to see what other sites they were likely to have seen. To do this, use anonymous browsing to avoid Google’s attempts to tailor search results. This can be achieved in most browsers: in Chrome use Incognito Windows; in Firefox, Private Browsing; and in Explorer use InPrivate Browsing.

As you do this, ask yourself the following questions:

“Why did these visitors not purchase from an easier to find competitor with a higher ranking site? What do these competitor sites lack? What drove people to keep on searching?”

“What can we do to immediately assure visitors through this landing page, that we can offer what they’ve not been able to find?”

For example, if you know that you have a superior returns policy, better delivery costs, better overall value, or better products, this landing page is a great candidate for split testing increased promotion of these strengths.

Your promotion may need to be VERY CLEAR as many of these visitors, by the time they pass the 100th search listing are likely to be tired!

Bearing this in mind you should also try extra hard to make these pages easy and clear in every way. If you have tired visitors, make sure that they find your site to be a relaxing oasis where they can end their long internet journey… and spend lots of money!

Example 2:

One of your landing pages has an average position of 1

You’re top, congratulations. Many visitors to this page will come to you before they see any of your competitors. You get first shot.

For these visitors, you need to ask yourself:

“How can we give them everything that they need, so that they never feel the need to leave?”

Study their behaviour: Where do they show signs of dissatisfaction? Where do they leave the site? What do they search for using your internal site search? How you improve this landing page to ensure that their needs are satisfied?

Furthermore you need to give them an answer to the question:

Why should I not look elsewhere?”

If you know that you excel in a specific area, promote it here, “We pride ourselves in outstanding customer service”. If you’ve got great testimonials, promote them here, “Thanks for your lawnmower. It’s the best I’ve ever had!” If you’ve received industry awards, promote them here “Best Value Award”.

If you can sell to these customers first time, before they even see your competitors, you can reap the rewards for years to come as you establish yourself as their “first port of call”.

If you need further help on improving your conversion rates, contact us.

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