Slicing & Dicing Site-Search Data
Even though search engines hide much of the actionable keyword-related information from those responsible for success with search engine optimization campaigns, there is still a great deal of data that can be sliced and diced in a way that can provide meaningful insights on both a tactical and a strategic level about the performance of SEO initiatives.
Regardless of the analytics solution currently in place at your enterprise to track SEO performance, consider adding the following in order to get a better, more informed and generally broader understanding of a website's standing on the search results.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Keep in mind that we're really focused on natural/organic traffic and so will need to filter out everything else. For the following, drill down into your analytics account to explore organic traffic from search engines (it's best to focus on one specific source per time for the clearest view).
What is ultimately most important is understanding how search traffic impacts key performance metrics like the number and quality of conversions (numbers of orders and average order value). When virtual push comes to digital shove, nothing else matters.
TRACK THE TOTAL VOLUME OF ORGANIC SESSION: Believe it or not, it is quite common for enterprises not to filter out their organic traffic from their social or email traffic. This is obviously problematic as it is impossible in a scenario like this to understand
TRACK THE DURATION OF ORGANIC SESSIONS: It's no secret - consumers/end-users appreciate content that informs, educates, and entertains, and so do the search engines. Tracking the duration of organic sessions reveals the content (or products in the case of an online retailer) that are capturing the most attention.
TRACK THE BOUNCE RATE OF ORGANIC SESSIONS: Bounce rate is arguably one of the most important metrics to those concerned about the user experience. The metric can show not only the quality of the page being viewed by a a visitor
TRACK PAGE LOAD TIMES: Search engine optimization has always been about links (citations) and content (specifically its value to the end-user) but it increasingly is also about other elements of the user experience. Tracking page load times provides a very clear indication of the quality of the user experience being provided and as such should be tracked.
TRACK CHANGES IN REFERRERS: Even if no one ever clicks, a link on another Web property does benefit the recipient. That being said, the links and citations that do deliver traffic are arguably more important than those that don't. Tracking changes in referrals, referring domains and even social sources provides a clear picture of marketing performance in general and opportunities to optimize the relationships with those that have provided a link.