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Having spent time improving your SEO, building natural links and optimising on site elements then I bet you cannot wait to see the results. If you're anything like most people (including yours truly), you'd look at traffic to your site as an indication of how well you've done. Although the end result is higher numbers of visitors to your site due to better ranking, it might be while before your ranking will improve.

On the other hand by using Google Analytics it's easier to see short term improvement in your SEO by extracting hidden data gems so it's really a question of knowing where to look. Here are four tips...

1. See improvement in total number of indexed pages. Other then getting your existing index pages higher up the ranking chain, you should also aim at getting more pages, especially product pages indexed. To see how well you're doing at getting more indexed pages we'll analyse the total number of unique pages that received at least one non paid visitor. The basis for this, is if the page is indexed it will get at least one visitor.

Step 1 - Head to 'All Traffic Sources' in Google Analytics under 'Traffic Sources'.

Step 2 - Open the drop down window under 'Show' and select 'Medium':

Step 3 - Click on 'Organic' medium and under the 'Dimension' drop down select 'Landing Pages':


Step 4 - Result! Just look at the total number of unique landing pages which drove traffic to your site (50,791 landing pages below) and pick another date before starting your SEO work to compare this number:

2. See improvement in the total number of keywords you're ranking for. Another important goal which ties in nicely with the above improvement is seeing more keywords in Google Analytics driving your traffic. You might want to exclude brand keywords and report on those separately.

Step 1 - Head to 'Organic' traffic medium as illustrated in step 3 from before and under the 'Dimension' drop down select 'Keyword':

Step 2 - Result! Just look at the total number of unique keywords which drove traffic to your site (174,864 keywords below) and pick another date before starting your SEO work to compare this number:

3. See improvement in the total number of web properties driving your traffic - Other websites linking to yours AND driving traffic are the real indicator. While improvements in index pages and total keywords are an indication of how well your efforts have translated, the total number of 'Refereeing Sites' are a great prediction before these two come into play.

Step 1
- Head to 'All Traffic Sources' in Google Analytics under 'Traffic Sources'.

Step 2 - Click on 'Referring Sites' and look at the total number of sites on the right hand bottom corner:

Step 3 - Result! Just look at the total number and pick another date before starting your SEO work to compare.

4. See improvement in Google Merchant traffic
- Google Base (now Google Merchant) is a free service by Google allowing websites to potentially list products within the search results. The problem is, unless you tag or filter the traffic from Google Merchant you won't know how well you are doing as it will appear under 'Organic' traffic. To create a filter to highlight traffic from this organic traffic source, follow these steps:

Step 1 - In your main Google Analytics screen click on 'Add Website Profile' to create a new website profile to apply this filter (always keep your original profile intact).

Step 2 - Choose 'Add a Profile for an existing domain' and name your new profile:

Step 3 - Under the 'Action' column click 'Edit' and head to 'Add Filter' to apply the filter:

Filter name: Google base
Filter type: Custom > Advance
Field A -> Extract A under ‘Referral’ type google.co.uk/products
Field B -> Extract B under ‘Campaign Medium’ type organic
Output To -> Constructor under ‘Campaign Source’ type google base
Field A Required Yes
Field B Required Yes
Override Output Field Yes
Case Sensitive No


Step 4- Result! Now under traffic sources you'll see an organic traffic channel called 'google base /organic':

By using the four indications above you are able to predict how well your SEO is working out.

So, comparing a few dates, how well are you doing?

Ran Nir

Published 21 October, 2009 by Ran Nir

Ran Nir is founder of Conversion Counts, a web analytics and conversion optimisation agency, and a contributor to Econsultancy. He can also be found on Twitter and LinkedIn.

8 more posts from this author

Comments (14)

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Tom Telford

Great article, some really good KPI's there for reporting.

It's also cool for transactional sites to apply a user-defined variable indicating whether a user has 'purchased' before or not (if applicable).  It's interesting to filter out noise from existing customers and see the impact this has on your SEO KPI's.Google did a good instructional video on setting user-defined variables up: http://bit.ly/3cRAET

almost 7 years ago

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Greg Power

Nice post! As far as I can tell, Google is using product_url? for Base/Merchant/Froogle referrals now?

Also, I'm not 100% on this, but shopping results appearing in Universal Search need the Urchin Tracking Module parameters (or similar method) attached to the URL or it won't show as a referrer.

I experienced the above before; Google Webmaster Tools was showing me as position 4 in organic listings, when it was just a shopping link..

almost 7 years ago

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Patrick Murphy

Thanks for your post, very good for anyone just starting off with Google Analytics

almost 7 years ago

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Poonam Sud

Great Stuff... will implement it in few websites.

almost 7 years ago

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FreewareMatter

Cool tips. These settings already have in Google Analytics, but I didn't use them before. Thank for this post, I can compare some key parameters of my website SEO. Thank you again.

almost 7 years ago

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clavier arabes

great thanks allot for sharring

almost 7 years ago

Ran Nir

Ran Nir, Founder at Conversion Counts Ltd

@Greg Power
Thanks for the feedback.  I still see 'products?' as the referring url. The other option is of course to tag each product, but that's likely to cause content duplication if users start bookmarking and sharing the tagged URL instead of the original.

almost 7 years ago

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DropshipJack

Referring sites trends over time are also a good indication of your link building campaign progress.

almost 7 years ago

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dhiraj

Nice idea to analyse form the SEO point of view...

almost 7 years ago

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charles rinehart

A great blog here with excellent info. I will be back often. All the best.

almost 7 years ago

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IdoSEO

Great info I learned a lot from these thanks for posting it will help others too I'd love to know more about these keep it up!

almost 7 years ago

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Robert Carpenter

Some great tips as always.

Going to dig further into the google base advice.

almost 7 years ago

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Dave Barnett

Really, really good stuff. I'm printing this page out. It's a keeper!

over 6 years ago

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biz-Valuation Resources

Excellent articles and having valuable information. Thanks :)

over 6 years ago

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