The column was originally published in Afaqs.
In the modern digital landscape, having a data-driven approach to SEO, is crucial for staying ahead of the competition and achieving long-term success for your business. SEO is an essential component of any successful digital marketing strategy, as it can help businesses reach their target audience and increase online visibility.
With the utilisation of analytics tools, businesses can gain insights into how their website is performing, in terms of search engine visibility and user engagement. However, SEO is a constantly evolving field and, in recent years, the use of analytics has become an integral part of the process.
Understanding the basics of analytics-driven SEO
Analytics can be used to measure the success of an SEO campaign in a variety of ways. Marketers can leverage tools like GA4, Adobe Analytics, Mixpanel, etc., to understand how users interact with their website, identify areas for improvement and make informed decisions about their SEO efforts. This can lead to improved user experience, and higher traffic and conversion rates.
Website traffic analysis is another important aspect of analytics-driven SEO. Businesses can analyse website traffic data to identify the pages that receive the most visitors on their site, the sources that drive the most traffic and the pages that experience high bounce rates. This information can be used to improve the overall user experience on the site and optimise the most popular pages for search engines.
An example of how GA4 can be used for SEO, is by tracking user behaviour across different devices. GA4 can help marketers see how users interact with their websites on different devices such as mobile phones, tablets and desktop computers. This information can be used to identify areas of the website that aren’t performing well on certain devices and make changes to improve the user experience.
Conversion tracking is also an essential element of analytics-driven SEO. Businesses can determine which pages on their site are most successful in converting visitors into customers. This will help optimise those pages and further identify areas where the user experience can be improved.
Adobe Analytics can be used for SEO by tracking the performance of different keywords. Tracking the keywords that drive traffic to the website, enables marketers to identify the keywords that are most important for their business and further optimise their content accordingly.
For example, if a marketer finds that a specific keyword is driving a lot of traffic to their website, they may want to create more content around that keyword to capitalise on that traffic.
Using analytics to optimise website content
Analytics can also be used to identify gaps in a website's content and inform the creation of new content. By analysing search data and website traffic, businesses can identify topics that are in high demand among their target audience, but that are not currently covered on their site. They can then create new content to fill those gaps and attract more visitors to their site.
One of the most important uses of analytics, is keyword research. By analysing search data, businesses can identify the keywords that their target audience is using to find products or services like theirs, and then optimise their website to rank well for those keywords. This can be done using various keyword research tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs and Semrush.
Additionally, analytics can be used to optimise existing content. Businesses can identify which pages are ranking well in search engine results and which aren’t by analysing the performance of individual pages.
They can then make data-driven changes to improve the ranking of the underperforming pages. They can optimise page titles and meta descriptions, add internal and external links, or update the content with new information.
Using analytics to identify technical SEO issues
Analytics can also be used to identify technical issues that may be affecting a website's search engine performance. For example, broken links, slow page load times and mobile responsiveness, are common technical issues that can negatively impact a website's search engine performance. By analysing website traffic data, businesses can identify these issues and take appropriate steps to address them.
Another example of how Adobe Analytics can be used for SEO, is by tracking the performance of different pages on the website. Tracking the number of visits, bounce rate and average time on page for each page, allow marketers to identify the pages that are performing well and the ones that aren’t.
They can then make changes to the underperforming pages to improve their performance, such as by optimising the content or improving the design.
Adobe Analytics also provides advanced features such as segmentation, allowing you to create segments of visitors based on characteristics like demographics, behaviour and conversion data.
Using analytics to track the success of SEO efforts
Finally, analytics can be used to track the performance of an SEO campaign over time. By measuring keyword rankings, website traffic and conversions, businesses can determine how well their campaign is performing and make data-driven decisions to improve it.
Another powerful feature in Adobe Analytics is funnel visualisation. It allows you to track the user journey through different stages of the conversion process. This feature can be used to identify where users are dropping off in the funnel and make changes to improve the user experience.
Adobe Analytics also provides a feature called ‘Workbench’ that allows you to create customised reports and dashboards. It can be used to track specific metrics that are important to your business and make data-driven decisions.
Analytics is an essential component of modern SEO. By using analytics-driven insights, businesses can improve the performance of their website in search engine results pages, increase website traffic, and ultimately generate more leads and sales.
It’s recommended that businesses implement ongoing analysis of their website's performance and stay up-to-date with the latest best practices in analytics-driven SEO, to keep their campaigns running effectively and efficiently.
Additionally, businesses should consider integrating analytics tools into their SEO strategy, and continually monitor their website's performance and make adjustments as needed.
The use of analytics provides a wealth of data that can inform a comprehensive SEO strategy, enabling businesses to make data-driven decisions and measure their progress, thus providing a greater return on investment.
In conclusion, analytics is no longer an optional aspect of SEO. It’s now an integral part of the process. By using analytics to identify gaps in website content, optimise existing content, track the performance of SEO campaigns and identify technical issues, businesses can gain a significant advantage over their competitors.
With the insights provided by analytics, businesses can make strategic decisions to improve their website's search engine performance and drive more traffic to their site, leading to more leads and sales. The use of analytics in SEO is no longer a trend, but a norm in today's digital age.
(The author is Rewati Khare, Group Head - SEO & Media Planning, Dentsu Creative India)