Regardless of how much effort you’re putting into your SEO work, you are more to likely to succeed if you regularly keep track of your progress and adjust your SEO strategy and tasks as you go along.
The tough part about using Analytics to track SEO-performance over time, is to know where to look. This SEO Dashboard will hopefully make it a lot easier for you to find valuable data and execute based on your findings!
In this blog post I will introduce you to a Google Analytics dashboard that will help you understand how your SEO work impacts the amount of conversions on your website.
As an extra bonus, do this SEO dashboard is also make it a lot easier for you, to spot animals like Penguins and Pandas in the Google Zoo.
What is a Google Analytics dashboard?
Our friends at the Google HQ at Mountain View are usually pretty good at hyping new Google features or products, but quite surprisingly Google have not been overly vocal about their excellent Dashboard feature which was introduced by Google back in March 2011.
With the introduction of dashboards it is now possible to get a complete overview of your most important KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) within a single browser window.
You cannot get all the bells and whistles which are available through standard (or custom) Google Analytics reports, but unless you are very GA savvy, a custom Google Analytics dashboard can deliver pretty much all the stats that you need to care about.
Before we move on, there are a few critical things that need to be in place first:
- You need to have Google Analytics installed on your website
- You need to identify which valuable actions that your website visitors can perform while visiting your website (like buying something, signing up to your newsletter, clicking on your +1 button or whatever action that might directly or indirectly drive money into your wallet)
- You must assign an estimated value to each of those conversions
- The identified conversion actions (see bullet 2) must be set up as conversion goals in Google Analytics and you must enter the estimated value (see bullet 3) as the conversion value for each of those conversion goals
You now have your bases covered and we are ready to move on to the interesting part.
The Perfect Google Analytics Dashboard for SEO
You can either grab the dashboard right away (click here) or read below dashboard instructions first.
Remove the brand related searches
When you want to measure the effect of your SEO activities you are primarily interested in the search terms and keywords that are NOT directly related to your own product or brand names.
For that reason pretty much all widgets in this SEO dashboard contain filters that weed out searches related to your own brand. For those filters to work you however need to manually update each filter and type in your brand name (add additional filter rows if your visitors know you by more than one name or there are common misspellings).
Contents of the dashboard and how to action the data
Widget “Visits from organic search results”
The below Google Analytics widget shows the amount of organic visits that search engines such as Google are sending your way.
The small greyed out figures on the left side of the widget (just below the main metric) tells you how large a percentage of your visits that can be attributed to organic visits.
The graph on the right hand side of the widget is only useful if you have a fair amount of data points. But when you have, the graph is pretty handy for showing trends.
We are only interested in organic visits so I have added a filter in the widget settings. We want Traffic Type to match “organic”.
Widget “Most popular search engines”
Pretty straightforward. If Google isn’t your largest slice of this pie then you either have a really odd website or some very odd visitors.
If you want, you can change the maximum amount of slices to be shown.
Widget “Most popular search terms”
Now it gets interesting.
This widget shows what people type in the search engine input field before clicking on your listing on the results page.
The 2nd column shows amount of visits (which shouldn’t be confused with amount of visitors).
The “Per Visit Goal Value” column shows you how much you – on average – earn from each visitor that finds you through this specific search term. (Your earnings are based on the goal values that you have assigned to your Google Analytics conversion goals).
Keywords with many visits and a high “Per Visit Goal Value” are often the ones that you want to target with your SEO work (but remember to factor in your competition and expected effort to improve current rankings before making your picks).
Widget “Total number of conversions”
This widget shows the total number of conversions that you have achieved through visits from organic search results.
If you have more than one type of conversion and those conversions have different goal values then this metric is less important than the “Value of conversions” measure which we will discuss later on.
Widget “Which search terms bring in the money”
This widget is pretty similar to “Most popular search terms” widget.
This time search terms have been sorted by highest total goal value and we have included the “Goal conversion rate” instead. (A goal conversion rate of say 25% signifies that 1 out of 4 visits to your site leads to a conversion).
Widget “Internal searches”
I know. The sample widget is pretty rubbish.
But I have yet to add an internal search function on my DashboardJunkie website.
When I eventually implement internal search, this widget will show me the most popular search terms and whether those internal searches generate conversions or not.
Widget “Value of conversions”
Shows you the money.
How much are you making? (in total and based on the values you have assigned to each of your conversion goals).
This is really your key metric. If it goes up, you need to make it go further up. If it goes down, you need to do something about it.
Widget “Conversion rate”
This widget displays how large a percentage of your visits that give you conversions.
A high conversion rate is often good. But you should really focus on the trend, rather than the actual figure. It rarely makes sense to compare conversion rate between different websites.
If you make changes to your website, watch this widget closely. Your total amount of conversions will often fluctuate along with your search engine rankings and seasons, but your conversion rate won’t (at least not to the same degree).
Widget “Paid search terms”
It’s not a mistake that I have included a widget that shows you data about paid traffic.
If you are running Google AdWords campaigns then take advantage of the valuable information that you are gathering through AdWords.
Use this widget to spot keywords that convert well and have sufficient monetary value.
If you can turn some of those paid visitors into organic visitors instead (or get both) you could potentially earn yourself a considerable extra income.
AdWords is also great for testing the potential of keywords that have been shortlisted for SEO activities.
Test the conversion rates and potential earnings for your shortlisted keywords with a quick and dirty AdWords listing before you invest your time or money in massive link building campaigns.
Remember to use the widget filters to exclude any AdWords traffic that is triggered by your brand or product names. But since you already neatly grouped those keywords (right?), it’s an easy task to exclude brand related searches.
Download this free SEO dashboard now!
NB: If you sell stuff directly on your website and use Google Analytics e-commerce tracking to track those sales, then you probably want this SEO dashboard for online retailers (click here) instead.
Thanks to Troels for sharing his awesome SEO Dashboard. It’s a great tool to keep track of your SEO performance over time. If you are serious about your SEO and content marketing, which I know you are :) – you might like this post with 28 Examples on How to Create Link-worthy Content. If you have questions regarding the dashboard, just drop a comment below and Troels will follow-up.