Analysis techniques for Google organic search and SEO
The following techniques are useful for SEO and Google organic traffic analysis. These techniques build upon each other, so use them together.In this article:
Landing page analysis
Landing pages are a good signal for analyzing organic search traffic because each landing page has likely been created around a focus keyword, product, or theme. As a result, incoming keyword searches generally relate to the focus of the page. You can see which organic searches on Google relate to which landing pages on your site.
Begin by downloading this custom report (link will take you to your Analytics account). This report shows which landing pages receive traffic from Google organic search and how well this traffic performs. (Remember that you can customize this report to meet your needs.)
- The over-time graph shows the trend of Google organic traffic over your active date range. If you are actively working to optimize your website, then you should see this content increasing over time.
- The table shows all the landing pages that received traffic from Google organic search. The metrics shown are: Session, Bounce Rate, Avg. Time on Page, Avg. Session Duration, % New Sessions, Goal Conversion Rate, Revenue, and Per Session Value. These metrics help you measure the quality of Google organic search traffic for each landing page on your site. In particular, look at the Goal Conversion Rates, Revenue, and Per Session Value to quantify the value that Google organic traffic adds to your business. While it’s great to get traffic and have an engaged audience, it’s critical that organic traffic lead to conversions and revenue. Learn more about goals and conversions.
As mentioned in Landing page analysis, content is often created around a central theme. You can group your content, based on these themes, using Segments and see how each group or theme performs. For example, you might want to see how a particular product category performs, like “digital cameras,” or explore a more general category, like “cameras.” Define your segments to be as granular, or as broad, as you need them.
To define an advanced segment for a theme, create conditions based on Landing Page (e.g., “Landing Page Containing /digital_camera”). You can use your own knowledge of the site to identify the landing pages that are related to a theme. You can also use Google Search Console data to identify landing pages (see Keyword Analysis with Search Console Data, below).
Here are a few segments you may want to create.
- A segment that includes “google/organic” but excludes brand landing pages. This allows you to compare overall trends for both brand and non-brand organic keywords.
- A brand segment that includes your homepage, “about us” page, and other brand message pages.
- An organic brand segment that includes both “google/organic” and brand landing pages.
- Organic brand segments for different geographic locations. You can also create segments for the geographic areas you are analyzing and apply them to the custom report in Landing Page Analysis, above.
Multi-Channel Funnels and attribution analysis
Just as you can create Segments that are based on landing pages, you can create channel groupings for Multi-Channel Funnels and Attribution analysis. Once you’ve identified your brand landing pages (see Keyword analysis with Search Console data, below), you can create brand and non-brand channel groupings. You can then see the roles that brand and non-brand channels play in initiating, assisting, and completing sales and conversions. You can also compare the monetary value of these channels according to different attribution models.
Keyword analysis with Search Console data
Use Google Search Console to see search queries that drive traffic to your site. There are two ways to access Google Search Console data: via your Search Console account, and in Analytics, under Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization.
In your Search Console account, navigate to Search Traffic > Search Queries. This report can be filtered, so use the Filters field (screenshot below) to filter for queries that included your branded or non-branded term(s), depending on which segment you're analyzing.
A few ways you can use this list:
- After searching for the branded content, click on the top branded queries to discover which landing pages they lead to.
- Review the list for expected keywords. If you keywords you expect to see don’t appear your site may not have enough useful content relevant to those keywords.
- Compare Impressions and CTR to identify potential areas for improvement. There are several steps you can take to make your content appear more compelling so that users click your site in search results pages. Your page title appears in the results, so make sure it's relevant and accurate. Google can display the text in your pages' meta descriptions in search results, so review your meta descriptions.
Refer to the Search Console help center for more tips and techniques.
Generating content ideas
Much of the analysis that we’ve discussed so far focuses on the performance of what you’re doing now. One technique for identifying keywords or clusters of keywords that would work well for SEO is to launch an exploratory campaign using Google AdWords. Here are a few analysis ideas:
- Use the AdWords > Keywords report to better understand which keywords generate conversions and revenue for your business.
- Segment out the paid keywords that are working and analyze why (best keywords for each geography / language, for each product, and for each customer segment).
- Analyze the relationship of keywords to different types of micro-conversions (email signups, adding to cart, store locator, PDF downloads).
- Use Multi-Channel Funnels to analyze where clusters of keywords sit in the conversion funnel; use this to valuate upper-funnel keywords that might not be obvious.
Internal site search analysis
Just as you can segment “google/organic” traffic to see landing pages, you can segment it to see which queries were performed using internal site search. This allows you to see what users who arrived via Google organic search look for once they’re on your website. These queries are usually related to the searches they used to find the website.
Use this Google Organic segment (link will take you to your Analytics account) and navigate to Behavior > Site Search. You will see the the search terms used by users who came to your site via Google organic search. Use the terms to refine your existing content strategy or create new content ideas.
On the same report, you can add a secondary dimension to identify the landing page for each of the internal search keywords. This information is an indication of sub-optimal keyword targeting: if the user is using internal site search to refine what they are looking for, it means they didn’t enter your site from an appropriate landing page.