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10 Google Analytics SEO Hacks To Increase Your Search Traffic

Keyword: (not provided).

computer smash other guys Mark Wahlberg angry

If this is you, read on.

You might think that Google Analytics (GA) has no value to your SEO efforts because it hides your precious keyword data.

Wrong.

This post provides my 10 favorite Google Analytics SEO hacks that save time, money and drive awesome insights.

What You Will Learn

  • How to use GA Referral reporting to build links
  • How to use GA Annotations to manage efforts, your team and clients
  • How to use GWT reports in GA to get around Keyword: (not provided)
  • The value of internal search data for SEO
  • Using Filters for SEO data cleansing
  • The Google Analytics SEO dashboard I use with 11 custom reports

10 Google Analytics SEO Hacks

Note: This post originally appeared as 6 hacks in a brilliant guest post from Ryan Stewart from Webris.

I’ve updated this post and added in my own comments, thoughts and extra points to make sure this article is just as relevant now and added 4 new Google Analytics SEO hacks.

01: Monitor Referral Traffic For Link Opportunities

If you’re doing a good job of promoting your site through guest posting, forums, Quora and other networks you’ll be receiving a tonne of referral traffic.

And I’ve got into the habit of checking my referral traffic report daily. Why?
Because it’s awesome for link opportunities. Let me explain…

First head over to:

Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals

Then look for traffic coming from sources you don’t recognise, like this result below:

matthew woodward referrals report

Take that URL and use Google to find the exact source by using this advanced query below:

site:websitesendingreferraltraffic.com “your website name”

That should take you exactly to the place that has referred back to your site:

matthew woodward referrals google analytics SEO

If the site name doesn’t work, you could also try searching for variations of the article title or the keywords of the content in it.

Using this method I was able to find the exact thread driving the traffic:

matthew woodward referral link outreach

It was coming from someone who found a blog post I wrote about some kick a** web analytics KPIs.

In his bio he had a link to his website which I followed to find an email address. I reached out with the following:

Hey [guys],

I’m sure you probably get these outreach emails daily, so I’ll keep it short.

I found a post featuring an article I wrote from a member of your staff. (link:
http://community.growthintensive.com/t/50-different-kpi-you-should-be-aware-of/69/3)
I appreciate the post and leaving the kind words!

If you have any weekly round up posts on your blog, I’d love to have that piece featured.

Have a great day!

Ryan Stewart

Here was the response:

matthew woodward email

Bang. You can also use Matthew’s Google Analytics profile hack to help you out!

02: Use Annotations And Follow The Trail Of Success

Why spend money on SEO management tools when GA gives you one free?

Annotations are GA’s best kept secret.

matthew woodward creating annotations

I use them for 2 reasons:

Reason 1: Client Management

I annotate everything I do. It’s how I communicate with my team and keep them updated. It beats writing a trello card or sending an email every time I make a change.

  • Image alt tags added? Annotate it
  • Blog post added? Annotate it
  • Keywords updated? Annotate it

My clients love it because they don’t need to reach out for updates. They just log into GA and
check the Annotations.

Reason 2: Cause and Effect

SEOs are notorious for making up BS facts. (Matt: I’m pretty sure SEO’s started the ‘fake news’ craze).

Don’t believe other SEOs – believe data.

Leaving Annotations creates a clear path to what works (and what doesn’t). How?

You can see exactly what changes you made and the direct impact it had on your search traffic.

Take link building as an example. When I place links on my PBN, guest blog or even build tier 2 links, I annotate the date.

If (hopefully when) organic traffic increases I can see the exact steps I took to get there:

Screenshot from one of my local SEO client's account

This also makes replications in the future easier for other clients. You have a constant notebook you can refer back to and replicate.

Mostly, annotations help take the guess work out of SEO

03: Sync Google With Search Console For Next Level Insights

Combining Analytics with Google Search Console helps you forget Keyword: (not provided).

If you don’t have them synced – stop what you’re doing and follow these simple instructions from Google:

  1. On the Google Search Console home page, click Manage site next to the site you want, and then click Google Analytics property
  2. Select the web property you want to associate with the site, and then click Save.

matthew google search console setup

Once connected, navigate to to Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization in Google Analytics.
Here you’ll find 3 reports:

  1. Queries: Search queries (in the SERPs), impressions received, average position and CTR.
  2. Landing Pages: Page URL (in the SERPs), impressions received, average position and CTR.
  3. Geographical Summary: The same as the previous two but instead of URLs or query terms, it shows countries.

Report 3 is useful, but insights are limited

However, the other 2 are gold.

thats gold jerry

Queries Report

You can find this under:

Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization > Queries

This report shows you:

  • What search queries your website is showing up for
  • The corresponding impressions received
  • Average position
  • Click Through Rates (CTR)

matthew google analytics seo dashboard

You can do your analysis in GA but I like to pull it down to Excel.

  1. Set the date range to the last 6 months
  2. Scroll to the bottom and set show rows to 5,000
  3. Scroll back to the top and click Export -> Excel
  4. Open the Excel file and click on the tab Dataset1
  5. Highlight row 1 -> right click -> Filter -> By Cell Value
  6. Click the arrow under Query -> Select All

The data answers 3 key questions:

1. What am I ranking for?

Keyword rank tracking tools only tracks what you tell them to. This report shows you all the queries your site is visible for.

This report can help to retain clients after you’ve ranked them for their main keywords.

I look for keywords their website is ranking for that I wasn’t previously tracking. I then take those keywords and dump them into their KW tracking tool.

This shows them how much extra value I’m adding by ranking them for additional keywords! (wink, wink).

2. What else can I rank for?

Filter the data to find queries with Average Position between 10 and 30.

Take the queries and dump them into Google’s Keyword Tool to find high volume keywords.

If you’re ranking between 10 and 30 with no effort all you need is a little bump.

Use this data to focus link building efforts on pages that Google already favors.

3. How can I get more out of my rankings?

A couple months ago I sent a proposal for SEO to a blog that was ranking 1st or 2nd for all 100 keywords.

How can you pitch SEO services to a company that already dominates the SERPs?

By using their data.

They granted me access to GWT and GA accounts which I used to pull this exact report.
Using the Excel technique outlined above, I filtered the data to pull out branded queries.

What I found was their average CTR for terms ranked in the top 10 was less than 10%. When I cross checked it with SERP results, I found their meta descriptions were very poor.

NOTE: This is NOT the client I pitched but an example of a similar meta data issue.

NOTE: This is NOT the client I pitched but an example of a similar meta data issue.

A bulk of the pitch was using our content writers to create descriptive meta description tags.

For example:

“A true workhorse” – The HP Officejet Pro 8610 Printer, Scanner, Copier, and Fax tackles almost all of your small business printing needs! And now a great deal starting at $199 with Free Shipping.

We won the account.

Landing Pages Report

This can be found under:

Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization > Landing Pages

This report is useful as is, but I like to add a couple of tweaks to it.

You should create a custom report with the following columns-

  • Sessions
  • Bounce rate
  • Avg time on page
  • Avg session duration
  • % new sessions
  • Goal conversion rate

It should look something like this-

analytics report

What this report shows: Organic landing page performance by session, bounce rate, duration and goal completion.

You can use this report to derive keywords by analyzing the landing page. You won’t get the exact keyword – but it doesn’t really matter.

If you’re doing diligent keyword research, structuring your content for search and building relevant links, each organic landing page should have a theme.

Analyzing organic landing pages gives you a clear picture of how users are entering your site.

More importantly, it shows you how users are behaving once they reach your site. Google’s algo now builds in engagement signals as ranking factors.

If Google sends traffic to your site that bounces and spends no time, its a signal of a poor result.

Over time, high bounce rates and low time on site will erode your rankings.

Before you tear apart your site, let’s analyze the report. Below is my website’s report from yesterday:

google analytics seo custom report

I highlighted two landing pages with high organic bounce rates (one in green, one in red).

Landing Page 6’s bounce rate = 81.82%; Landing Page 8 = 94.12%.

To fix this issue, I would consider a number of solutions:

  1. Add internal links to drive page views
  2. Revisit the content: rewrite titles, intro paragraph, etc
  3. Add various WordPress plug ins to drive page views

Before I do that, I need to consider other factors.

People use search engines to find answers. If they find content that delivers their answer, they probably won’t click through to another page. They’ll leave the site satisfied and go about their lives.

The best way to figure that out is to look at Bounce Rate + Avg Session Duration.

Looking at my report: Landing Page 6’s = 2:04; Landing Page 8 = :15.

This tells me that although Bounce Rate for Landing Page 6 was high, Session Duration wasn’t.

They stuck around to read that whole article and left because it was probably what they were looking for.

Landing Page 8’s Session Duration was bad. This tells me that the content isn’t what they were searching for and I need to revisit the post using the potential strategies outlined above.

04: Unlock A Content Goldmine With Internal Search Data

The keywords people use to find your website are important. The keywords people use to search within your website are more important.

To get this data, you need two things:

  1. A search bar on your site
  2. Site Search reporting set up in GA

Here’s how to set it up in your GA account…

Setting Up GA Site Search Data Collection

  1. Under Admin menu click View Settings
  2. Select View Settings
  3. Scroll to the bottom to Site Search Settings
  4. Flip the button to On

You’re not done yet – you need to locate your website’s Query Parameter

  1. Open your website in a new tab
  2. Type Test into your search bar
  3. Look at the URL on your search landing page
  4. Before the search term (in the URL), there’s an equal sign with a letter in fron
  5. The letter before the equal sign is your website’s query parameter
  6. Enter this value into the appropriate box in GA
  7. Click Save

Sample:

  • Search: Test Search
  • Landing Page URL: http://site.com/landing/?s=test+search
  • Search Parameter: ?s=test+search
  • What to Enter: s

Internal Search Analysis

Once set up, there are 4 reports available:

  1. Behavior > Site Search > Overview
  2. Behavior > Site Search > Usage
  3. Behavior > Site Search > Search Terms
  4. Behavior > Site Search > Pages

I could write an entire post on each of these, so I’m going to focus on the Search Terms report.
I use this report to measure performance of content from organic traffic. Here’s how:

  • Navigate to Behavior > Site Search > Search Terms
  • Add a Segment for Organic Traffic
  • In the search bar type no-results

This report shows you visitors from organic traffic that used internal search and returned no results. In other words, the website doesn’t have what they’re looking for.

Here’s an example from a client’s site. The data is from 6 months ago and covers 1 week:

matthew internal search 1

As you can see, there were 18 internal searches that returned no results.

The majority of those users then searched again (% Search Refinements) and less than half found what they were looking on the second attempt (Time after Search + Average Search Depth).

Search engine keywords tell you how users find your site – internal searches tell you keywords users expect from your site.

I made the recommendation to my client to build out a b*** load of new content using the Search
Terms in this report as the main keywords.

Did it work? You tell me…

matthew organic increase

05: Use Filters To Maximise Your Results In Less Time

How much time do you spend on your website each day?

I have mine open on my browser 24/7. I also have staff that access it daily.
If you don’t filter out these sessions they’ll skew your data – badly.

GA defines a session as:

A single user can open multiple sessions. Those sessions can occur on the same day, or over several days, weeks, or months. As soon as one session ends, there is then an opportunity to start a new session.
There are two methods by which a session ends:

  1. Time-based expiry (including end of day): After 30 minutes of inactivity
  2. Campaign change: If a user arrives via one campaign, leaves, and then comes back via a different campaign.

For example, let’s take the following scenario:

  • You Google your business name or keywords to check positions
  • You click through to your website
  • You leave your website open in a browser tab throughout the day
  • You check for comments, work performed and general check ups every 2 hours over a 14 hour period

This doesn’t count as one session. It counts as 7:

matthew internal traffic

More importantly, you probably viewed multiple pages and spent 10 – 20 minutes on the site each time. This is going to skew your organic search data making it difficult to make important decisions about your website’s engagement factors.

Every time you access your website from a new location, set up a filter.

06: Track Your Site Speed To Improve Rankings

Site Speed is super important to your site.

Not only does it affect user experience, on-page time and bounce rates; if your site loads slowly on mobile phones, you’re going to see a drop in rankings.

But Google Analytics allows you to see your current site speed, which pages are holding you back, so you can take decisive action.

And if you’ve set up Universal Tracking it’s already being tracked. Follow these steps:

Behaviour > Site Speed > Overview

That’ll then give you an overview of your site. You can see a wide range of your site speed factors from the average page load time, redirection times and download times:

analytics load time

As well as a list of which browsers your site speed runs the quickest in:

analytics browser speeds

This section is easy to overlook. But if you’re getting a lot of traffic through a particular browser, like Google Chrome, then you can adjust your site and optimise for that browser.

Now the real SEO secret weapon here is when you break it down to individual pages. Head back to the sidebar and choose:

Behaviour > Site Speed > Page Timings

Here you’ll be able to see the actual timings for each specific page on your site:

Analytics page timings

But to make this SEO specific you’re going to need to take a look at your landing pages.

In the tabs above the table of results go ahead and select the last drop down menu, and choose the ‘landing pages’ option. That’s right here:

landing pages report

This will show you a complete breakdown of all the pages that people come to your site on based on their page views. And if your site speed is super slow, this is where rankings, subscribers and sales will all be lost.

This image below shows that lots of my top landing pages are slow performers in comparison with the rest of the site.

slow performing pages

Meaning I now have data to go in and improve the speed of specific pages that gather a lot of traffic.

That could include:

  • Decreasing image file sizes
  • Removing slow-loading features like carousels
  • Removing unnecessary HTML in the body text
  • Adding a lazy-loader function to the page

I’m of the belief your site can never be too fast. And the faster it is, the more people will hang around to share your content, read more pages and sign up to your mailing list.

All while improving your rankings on mobile.

After all, as I wrote here, site speed is money.

07: Create Local Content Based On User Locations

Local Listings can bring a lot of targeted, high converting, traffic to your site.

These long tail keywords are easier to rank for and a lot of the time people practically have their wallet out when they’re searching.

For example if you compare these two searches:

  • Hiking rucksacks
  • Hiking rucksacks in Houston

The second has a lot more intent to buy. Because instead of wanting to know about rucksacks, they’re looking for where they can go out and buy one.

But if you’re a blogger working on a global scale, how do you know where to localise your content to? Well Google Analytics gives you the answers to that, too.

Head over to:

Audience > Geo > Location

That’ll show you a complete overview of the countries that people are coming to your site from.

complete overview of the countries

If you’ve never thought of targeting your content to a particular section of your audience, this is already enough data to start tailoring your content.

Let’s say you’re trying to rank for hiking rucksacks like the above example, you could instantly start targeting content like:

  • Where To Find Hiking Rucksacks In Canada
  • The Indian Guide To Affordable Hiking Rucksacks
  • Hiking In Spain? Where To Buy Your Next Rucksack

But, through the power of Google Analytics, we can go even deeper than that and look at it on a city wide level.

In the section above the table of results select the ‘cities’ option found here:

cities breakdown

That’ll then give you a list of the most popular cities that are visiting your site. Meaning you can start targeting super specific content in search engines.

more cities information

What does this data show you? Well let me expand a little:

  • Areas where people are interested in your product or service
  • Areas that your brand/site already has a presence
  • Areas where people are more likely to buy your product or service

That means if there is a lot of interest in your Hiking Rucksacks site in the Houston area (for whatever reason) then you can begin to create hyperlocal content that converts.

  • The Best Hiking Rucksacks For The Terry Hershey Park Trail
  • The 10 Best Hiking Trails In Houston (And The Rucksacks You Need)
  • How To Prepare For Hiking In Houston

And these options are available for every city where people are visiting your site from. And, if you’re tracking conversions, you’ll be able to see which areas are most profitable and drill down even more.

Meaning you get to increase local search traffic and increase conversions. Not a bad sweet spot, right?

08: Follow User Journeys To Find Drop Off Points (And Increase On Site Time)

There’s a lot of discussion about whether your on site time affects your rankings in Google.

Google haven’t said it is or it isn’t so we can’t be 100% certain.

But what we do know is that site usability plays a part in the ranking of your site. And these usage metrics can play a direct role in how your site ranks.

Google Analytics allows you to track how long people spend on your time and the direct path, or Journey, that they follow through your site.

You can then identify specific drop off points in your site and improve them. And this also gives you the chance to increase some of your other ranking factors too which I’ll explain later.

First let’s head to:

Audience > Users Flow

Where you’ll be able to see a flowchart of where traffic comes into your site, and where it leaves.

traffic flow chart

You’ll be able to see a list of countries, the content they’ve started with, and where people tend to go from that point onwards.

But how can you use this information to increase on site time?

Let’s look at the last box that has no real flow pattern. If I click on it it shows me the pages that are getting traffic and how many people drop off on each one:

identify drop off points

My backlink competitor analysis posts gets 7.68% of all my sites traffic but 82.2% of people don’t go anywhere from that page.

Using this information I can do a content analysis by heading to the post and look at why so many people drop off.

Think of questions like:

  • Not enough internal links to other content?
  • A poor call to action to get people to read another piece of content?
  • Is the content simply self inclusive and doesn’t need to lead to other content?

And do your best to give an honest answer about them. And if you’re not sending people to another page, how well is that page converting?

This is some low hanging fruit you can pay attention to and address straight away.

Run this with a few pages and see what changes you can make to bring more people through your site for longer periods of time.

09: Study Engaged Traffic To Improve Your Content And Bounce Rates

I take no credit for this section of the article, the seeds of this idea came from a brilliant article over at RazorSocial.

Google Analytics allows you to see the engagement rates of people on your site. Which means you can get a clear image of how engaged your audience is.

After all 100,000 views a month doesn’t mean anything if they’re not engaged and taking action on your page.

You’re going to need to look at three metrics:

  • How many returning visitors you have
  • How many pages they view when they’re there
  • How big your bounce rate is

Now this will be different for sites in different niches. If you’re only interested in someone coming to your site once, then this won’t apply to you.

However if you run a blog or a site that needs people to come back often and devour your content or products, then this may be one of the most important sections.

Returning Visitors

Firstly head to:

Audience > Behaviour > New vs Returning

This will show you the exact amount of people who are coming to your site every month and how many are returning visitors.

returning visitors

Your new visitors will almost always be higher than your returning so don’t worry. But what is important here is the percentage.

If you’re getting 80-90% new visitors and hardly any returning you can already see that you have a content problem.

Engagement Rate

The next step is to look at the engagement rate, that’s under:

Audience > Behaviour > Engagement

Here you’ll be able to see how engaged people are on your site. This is measured by the amount of seconds someone spends going through your site (a little like we saw in the last section).

engagement rate

The longer someone stays on your site, the more engaged they are going to be.

Now if someone comes to just one page on your site and then bounces Google will count that as a 0-10 visit, even if they spent four minutes there. So be sure to reference this with your Average Session Duration.

This data really tells you if your audience is engaged enough with your site and where you need to improve.

If 0-10 seconds is super high, but after their first visit people are dropping off after 30 seconds you need to look at what you can improve:

  • The length of your content
  • Your introductions
  • Your links to other pages in your site
  • The quality of the overall content

Bounce Rate

You’ll find your bounce rate on your dashboard. And when this is above 75% you really need to look at what’s causing people to drop off from your site.

bounce rate

While bounce rate may not be a vital statistic it’s still an important metric for your overall site performance. And the side effects of having a lower bounce rate will improve your search standings.

But what does all of this data mean together?

Well there are a number of variations, but if you find you have a:

  • Low returning visitors rate
  • Low engagement rate
  • High bounce rate

This all points to low quality content that you need to improve. Even if you’re running an Adsense where you want people to bounce off, this doesn’t look great for how Google views your site.

10: Set Up Custom Alerts

Another one of my favorite Google Analytics hacks is to add custom alerts that trigger when an action is taken on your site.

If you head to:

Customisation > Custom Alerts

You’ll be able to set up alerts for lots of specific actions and to be notified in a certain time period. For example, if your site gets no traffic, or if there is a significant decrease in the number of affiliate link clicks.

Here’s a list of all of the current Analytics alerts that I have set up:

google alerts analytics

These will take you no more than two to three minutes to set up, but you’ll reap hundreds of benefits from them. And gain a level of insight into the daily goings on of your site than ever before.

All you have to do to set it up is give it a name, and select the data you want to be notified about.

You can keep it simple and add values like this:

no traffic alert

Or you can make it more complex and specific, such as applying specific percentages of decrease in your traffic:

decrease in organic traffic

All you have to do is find the metrics that are important to your site and then set it up as a custom alert.

It also allows you to not worry too much about where your metrics are right now, because if anything does go wrong, you know you’ll get an instant alert. Giving you time to focus elsewhere.

Bonus Hack: Set up SEO Dashboards

I hope you stuck around to this point of my Google Analytics SEO tutorial.

I’m an analytics nerd but I refuse to spend more than 20 minutes a day reviewing data.

I like my data accessible with one click. That’s why I created a custom Google Analytics SEO dashboard.

Custom Dashboards allow you to add up to 12 GA reports into one easily viewable screen. I put together a Dashboard that contains 11 reports that all pertain to SEO reports which makes for a great SEO analytics tool.

This Dashboard is awesome for a quick glance and update on your website – it’s even better for client management.

This Dashboard makes up 90% of my monthly report to clients – it’s that d*** good. I simply share it with my clients and they can view it whenever they choose.

That’s what I love about Dashboards – if I share the link with you all you have to do is click. The Dashboard will upload to your account and pull through your website’s data.

seo analytics dashboard

Before I give you the link, let me run you through what’s included in the Dashboard:

  1. Organic traffic counter widget
  2. Organic traffic graph by day
  3. Goal completions (organic traffic only)
  4. Search engine distribution (pie chart – Yahoo, Bing, Google, etc)
  5. Organic landing page engagement: bounce rate + time on page
  6. Organic traffic by city
  7. Organic entrances by keyword
  8. Internal search query report
  9. Organic traffic: mobile vs desktop
  10. Referral traffic: goal completions
  11. Page speed report

Ok, I’ve made you wait long enough. Here’s the link:

Wrapping It Up…

Still worried about (not provided)?

When used correctly, Google Analytics is one of the most powerful SEO tools on the market.

These 10 hacks will help you unlock the true potential of Google Analytics and get you on the path to search success.

How do you use Google Analytics? Anything that should be included on this list as your favourite hack? Let me know in the comments…

141 Responses

  1. jesse
    4.30.2015

    Simple Awesome .. Thanks for Sharing.. :-)

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 30th, 2015 at 3:56 am

      No problem :)

  2. prince ellis
    4.30.2015

    g** your in another league what i would give to be coached by you…

  3. Kirill
    4.30.2015

    So… Where is the dashboard link?

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 5th, 2015 at 4:50 am

      At the end of the post

  4. Mark
    4.30.2015

    It’s how I use analytics as well, it is worth noting you can make your backlinks trackable as well. This is useful if you do get a blog to run an article on your product or service, but works with any backlink (you only want to use this for quality links). Use google’s URL Builder, enter the url, campaign source, name etc (it’s very self explantory), once you get the long url, to go goo.gl and shorten it, that’s it. Remember to use a different name of each link. When you go to Aquisition, all traffic, sourcemedium all traffic from your URL BUILDER links will show up.

    Anyway nice article Matthew, it’ll help those new to analytics alot. If you’re in any type of e commerce work, it is de facto to be very familar with analytics.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 5th, 2015 at 4:48 am

      Great extra tip Mark thanks!

  5. Leigh
    4.30.2015

    I use the Real Time data all the time on Analytics (to the point where I have it continously open on a tab).

    Although most of the time the keywords are not provided I find that the “Top Active Pages”, with the Pageviews bar charts are a useful tool – however you have to keep your eye on it through the day.

    It’s especially useful when posting a tweet or blog post to say how many people are looking it.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 5th, 2015 at 4:47 am

      How does monitoring real time traffic all day add value to your business?

      For example on this blog it is mostly pointless and serves only as a distraction with no tangible benefit

      • Leigh
        May 5th, 2015 at 4:56 am

        I have found real time monitoring useful to identify at what times of the day Twitter followers look at and engage a tweet that I have posted.

        For example I never post a Tweet between 10am and midday because from my research during this period you get hardly any engagement. If I tweet between 12 and 2 on the other hand I have found that I get more views and engagement as generally people are on lunch break and are browsing Twitter

  6. Bryan
    4.30.2015

    Appreciate you sharing this! Great info.

    You have a small typo in your banner at the bottom of article… Dashboard

    Get Instant Access To My Custom Google Analytics SEO Dashbaord & Discover How To Increase Your Search Traffic Today

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 5th, 2015 at 4:45 am

      Ooops my bad fixed it :) You would have a field day on this blog with typos though to be honest haha

  7. Sana
    4.30.2015

    That’s gold Jerry – Gold!

    This post is like a double chip chocolate brownie with extra vanilla frosting!

    • Sana
      April 30th, 2015 at 7:03 am

      Ryan, I truly appreciate the time you have spend on making your point(s) come across so beautifully.

  8. Carl Ashfield
    4.30.2015

    Hey fella – awesome post! Ive not being doing SEO for that long and a lot of the tools are expensive. Even though I do like the look of Sem Rush.

    I found this post really helpful as I haven’t really got a grasp on GA .. So good stuff!

    Thanks bro :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 5th, 2015 at 4:42 am

      Welcome to the world of SEO Carl – don’t worry about tools, just build your knowledge and then your experience through trial and error :)

  9. Ileane
    4.30.2015

    Hey Matthew,

    I really appreciate you sharing your tips for finding great data in Google Analytics and the dashboard is fantastic. I added it to all the sites I track in Google Analytics. Thanks so much.

    I would love to see a tutorial about how to create a dashboard that provides meaningful data for my YouTube channel. I have a GA account for my YouTube channel but haven’t figured out a way to make the data useful. Since it only tracks traffic coming directly to my channel (not my videos) I’m wondering if it’s a total waste of time to even bother. Just want to make sure I’m not missing something though.

    Thanks!!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 5th, 2015 at 4:42 am

      I will add it to my list of ideas thanks :)

  10. Kulwant Nagi
    4.30.2015

    Reading and implementing side by side. :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 5th, 2015 at 4:41 am

      Thats what I like to hear =D

  11. Rocio Martinez
    4.30.2015

    Hey Matt

    Thanks for this guide, it is really useful. I have problems with the link “custom report auto upload to your GA account”
    GA tells me there is a security problem and it can’t verify the credentials account.
    Is there another way around this?

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 5th, 2015 at 4:41 am

      Sounds like you have your Google login wrong?

  12. Nathan Payne
    4.30.2015

    Great post – I have been struggling to find the motivation to go through all my GA reports and fix them but it looks like I will need to push this to the top of my todo list for a few of my money sites next week!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 5th, 2015 at 4:41 am

      hustle hustle :)

  13. Riri TBMR
    4.30.2015

    Wow, like your article soo much Matthew, great and usefull.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 5th, 2015 at 4:41 am

      Thanks Riri!

  14. Tony McCreath
    4.30.2015

    Some nice ideas.

    For the referral one you could save some time and add the secondary dimension of “full referrer”. It gives you the exact pages the referral came from.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 5th, 2015 at 4:40 am

      Yes that works but the data is ugly and messy to work through

  15. Asim
    4.30.2015

    @Matthew it was fabulous, especially referral links acquisitions and internal search data. I like them most.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 3rd, 2015 at 6:26 am

      Glad you enjoyed it :)

  16. Chad Musgrove
    4.30.2015

    Nice write up. Does linking GWT with GA allow GA to store all your search queries for longer than 30 days? (I always link – but in all honesty I’m guilty of getting busy and not looking at those reports as often as I should).

    I know when you log into GWT – you only see the previous 30 days of data. 3rd party tools will store all the data longer than that but if GA will do the same thing, there’s no reason to pay a 3rd party!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 3rd, 2015 at 6:25 am

      I don’t believe it does

  17. Towhid
    4.30.2015

    Without going through all the hassle, If you go to Acquisition -> All Traffic -> Referrals and click on the source you’ll get the full referral URL

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 3rd, 2015 at 6:25 am

      Yes but that means you have to actually click into every single site one at a time rather then getting a complete list of raw urls in traffic order

  18. Shumaila Kamal
    4.30.2015

    Thanks Dear Admin for writing this useful post. It is better plz in future write this kind of posts in simple language. As the same is not fully understandable for all the visitors, I hope you will ponder over this issue in future.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 3rd, 2015 at 6:22 am

      How could it be made simpler to understand?

  19. Roshan
    4.30.2015

    Spot on! All in-one kind of GA tutorial

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 30th, 2015 at 10:48 am

      Glad you liked it!

  20. Matthew Insardi
    4.30.2015

    Hey Matt, good stuff as always! Do you have any recommended sources to outsource backlinking?

  21. Tony
    4.30.2015

    Like your gif above, THIS IS GOLD, Matt! Really appreciate these tips.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 3rd, 2015 at 6:19 am

      Glad you enjoyed the post

  22. Clint Butler
    4.30.2015

    Great post and some perfect information to help me get more out of GA. I will admit I don’t use if beyond looking at traffic numbers because there is just so much there, it can be a bit intimidating.

    Just a quick note, in the landing page section you shared your setup, however, when I click the link it doesn’t work properly. The Dashboard import does, just no that one.

    • chantel
      May 4th, 2015 at 2:28 pm

      same happens for me… the link to the landing page report in GA does not seem to work, any ideas please?
      Thanks

  23. Yaro Park
    4.30.2015

    Hey Matthew,

    Another tip:
    Remove spam referrals which will s**** up your google analytics.
    I made the list of 200+ spam referral websites and currently using in .htaccess file. You can also made filter in Google Analytics to exclude this traffic.

    I can send the list to you if you would like to post it.
    Or just email anyone to me if you want to get it.

    Regards,
    Yaro

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 3rd, 2015 at 6:18 am

      That would be awesome please share it :)

  24. Raoul
    4.30.2015

    Can you pot a “zoom plugin” for the images. they are small.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 3rd, 2015 at 6:17 am

      Yes that is on the list of things to do

  25. Thomas
    4.30.2015

    Wow this is great! I still have a lot to learn about GA so please keep the awesome posts coming!
    Greetings from belgium

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 3rd, 2015 at 6:17 am

      There is always more to learn :)

  26. Boss
    4.30.2015

    Solid gold. I’ve been staring at the GA control panel on earlier attempts to make some further use of it than seeing number of visits. I’m telling you, sometimes I feel like its in latin. But this article has opened my eyes to several things, thx!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 3rd, 2015 at 6:17 am

      No problem :)

  27. Ilya
    4.30.2015

    Hey Matt!
    Once again, great post!
    I loved the bit about the Landing Pages Report and the fact that you explained that a high bounce rate isn’t always bad makes me real happy as I’ve seen people try to “fix” their bounce rate even though their time on page was over 5 minutes!
    Sadly I could not download your custom report as it said “We cannot verify your account credentials. Please verify your account information, then sign in again.” I’m not sure what the problem is, but it’s probably something on my end…
    Also, a HUGE thanks for the SEO dashboard. It’s actually exactly what I’ve been looking for for a while.
    Once again, thanks for putting out great content!

  28. IMNabeel
    4.30.2015

    I have run out of words man! This was really amazing, deep, detailed and step by step read. Are you on steroids??

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 3rd, 2015 at 5:59 am

      hahaha drugs are bad mmmmk

  29. Dale Reardon
    4.30.2015

    Thanks very much for this information.

    I didn’t realize you could get any useful keyword information from GA so this is very valuable.

    Dale.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 3rd, 2015 at 5:59 am

      No problem :)

  30. Philip Danic
    5.1.2015

    As always – simple and actionable advice. This is why I follow your blog! :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 3rd, 2015 at 5:57 am

      Thanks Philip!

  31. Josh
    5.1.2015

    Great post, thanks for reminding about annotations, need to use that function more.

    Something I find that can be quite handy for some clients is the Technology > Network function. Many organisations have their name in their network, making this a handy way to see how the target market interact with your site.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 3rd, 2015 at 5:56 am

      Great extra tip thanks!

  32. James Blackburn
    5.1.2015

    Wow. Okay, I definitely have some work to do in Analytics. Sometimes you think you have it nailed down, until Matthew comes along and blows that out of the water… lol…

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 3rd, 2015 at 2:51 am

      That happens to me on a weekly basis as well, don’t worry :)

  33. Chris
    5.1.2015

    I’m almost blown away by all this in google analytics! I use GA for just some minor things but this have brought it to a whole new science. I bookmarked this and am making a note to do all of these methods more. Great guest post from Ryan Stewart! He helps out a ton of the FB groups I hang out in too. Great guy and ridiculous content writer!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 3rd, 2015 at 2:48 am

      Glad I could bring him to the audience :)

  34. White D
    5.2.2015

    Thanks Matthew for this post. This is very useful for a company like us which does digital marketing for Travel clients . Keep these posts coming

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 3rd, 2015 at 2:42 am

      Drop me an email, I have something for you

  35. Asif Ahmed
    5.3.2015

    Good info,
    But I am really not sure I have the energy to do all that and still manage my blogs.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 3rd, 2015 at 5:54 am

      If you spread yourself too thin, you leave a lot of moeny on the table!

  36. Feng Liu
    5.3.2015

    Very cool GA hacks; the hacks are basically display useful data, but how do those actually help increase website traffic?

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 5th, 2015 at 4:38 am

      They give you the data you need to make decisions moving forward

  37. Amit
    5.4.2015

    Man you rock ! Seriously things i have learned from your blog are priceless. Specially when i tried SE Slingshot ! Really appreciate your hardwork in teaching newbie like me

  38. David Briard
    5.4.2015

    Love that dashboard. I also like the integration of Adsense with GA

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 5th, 2015 at 4:34 am

      No problemo!

  39. tony
    5.5.2015

    I was wondering do you have a video tutorial or know of a good tutorial for this subject. I have long tail pro. Unf and market samurai. I’m not sure what settings to use and what factors to look for. Thanks

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 13th, 2015 at 4:47 am

      Which subject?

  40. Colm
    5.6.2015

    Hey Matt,

    INCREDIBLE POST! It’s really opened my eye on how to make more money by using GA.

    I’ve already started to plan changes in the coming weeks that should boost my clicks.

    Just one problem I had was the landing page report in GA. It keeps coming up with a security issue and asks me to sign in again. My login details are correct but it just won’t let me.

    Is there another way around this?

    Cheers, Colm

  41. Edgar
    5.12.2015

    Great article! Your post is such an eye-opener for online marketers in understanding problems that clients face. Thanks for sharing such an informative blog.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 13th, 2015 at 3:59 am

      No problem Edgar :)

  42. Jim
    5.23.2015

    Matthew, I’m a big fan of your blog and this is why – yet another great tutorial full of gold nuggets ! Can I just ask you to expand on the WordPress plugins you might use to drive page views (with regards to reducing bounce rate) ?

  43. Minhaj
    5.28.2015

    Hi Hey Mat

    Really awesome post! This tutorial helped me a lot. Thanks for such kind of an informative article. Eager to learn more from you! Bookmarked!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 29th, 2015 at 12:39 pm

      No problemo :)

  44. Martin Skovmose
    6.7.2015

    Thanks for some great tips for Google Analytics. It was very helpful.
    I would love to get the dashboard addons from you, but I’m not liking, that I would have to give you access to post on my Twitter in order to get them.

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 10th, 2015 at 10:24 am

      No problem, you know where they are if you change your mind :)

  45. Waheed
    6.10.2015

    Simple Awesome .. Thanks for Sharing.. :-)

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 10th, 2015 at 10:11 am

      Glad you enjoyed it!

  46. Paul Anderson
    8.29.2015

    Very nice hacks and tricks. Google webmaster linking is very necessary.

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 31st, 2015 at 9:52 am

      All of the linkz :)

  47. scarface
    11.2.2015

    great tips, I never tried them but will give this a go and update on the result soon thanks once again

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 2nd, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      No problem :)

  48. Johny
    12.16.2015

    thanks for help, but didn’t got anything to increase traffic

  49. Richard
    12.31.2015

    A helpful article. Thanks for sharing.

    Richard,
    http://online-formatter.com

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 3rd, 2016 at 5:43 pm

      No problem Richard :)

  50. nandu web
    4.19.2016

    wow this is awesome!I’ve been staring at the GA control panel on earlier attempts to make some further use of it than seeing number of visits. Thanks for sharing such an informative blog.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 20th, 2016 at 11:31 am

      Yeah you can do a lot of damage with custom dashboards :)

  51. Gerge Lorent
    7.18.2016

    Thanks man!!!
    This passage I find exceptionaly useful:

    “Filter the data to find queries with Average Position between 10 and 30.
    Take the queries and dump them into Google’s Keyword Tool to find high volume keywords.
    If you’re ranking between 10 and 30 with no effort all you need is a little bump.
    Use this data to focus link building efforts on pages that Google already favors.”

    As I’m using SEO tool in paid and it uses GA’s API I’ve been able to lacate for which keywords my pages get ranking in this 10 to 30 ranking position gap and get extra SEO boost just playing further around with these keywords.
    Still on top of organic search. No problem at all. The I’m using calls SERPStat.

    Thank you so much!!!

  52. MUKESH MAJUMDER
    2.25.2017

    Traffic is one of the main target for a site.. Your article helps me to learn many thinks about SEO and traffic…

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 25th, 2017 at 11:14 pm

      No problem Mukesh :)

  53. empowee
    4.27.2017

    Hey Matthew,

    You owe it to your audience to create a step-by-step SEO Course. When are you going to run one?

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 4th, 2017 at 2:08 pm

      One day :)

  54. CW
    4.27.2017

    At the top of the most, all you have to do is use Secondary Dimension –> Full Referrer to see the exact link on the site you’re getting traffic from.

  55. Mark
    4.27.2017

    Great post Matthew. I like google analytics but I have never thought of the gold within. Really appreciate the tutorial

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 4th, 2017 at 2:08 pm

      No problem Mark!

  56. Boosterberg
    4.27.2017

    Perfect article – I was using annotations but I was not thorough – after reading it I have added 20 of them :) Just one thing I noticed – in point 3 – syncing GA and GSC, you navigate to “Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization” in Google Analytics, however, I see it as “Acquisition > Search Console”.

  57. mohammad umair ansari
    4.27.2017

    Brilliant: The one word that aptly describes this article and Matt. This is the kind of content that is being referred to when experts say write evergreen content. Even few years down the line, this will be still relevant.

    Insanely helpful and practical hacks that anyone can wants to make the most of GA.

    If anyone ever asks Matthew Woodward who? (which should be rare in online marketing world) then just show them this article. It will shut them up for good and for a long time to come.

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 19th, 2017 at 1:18 pm

      Well perhaps the interface will change a bit but yes these tips will last forever :)

  58. sanjay upadhayay
    4.28.2017

    Such a informative post. Even after a long time i read a full post with each of word. Which is very rare to me. I generally read few para that’ It.

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 19th, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      No problem Sanjay!

  59. Louis Schoeman
    4.28.2017

    Solid Article!!!! Worth a Bookmark!

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 19th, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      Thanks Louis

  60. niranjan kumar
    5.1.2017

    This is really awesome, now i can understand more complicated data GA and save my time.
    Thanks :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 2nd, 2017 at 7:36 pm

      No problem :)

  61. Robin Khokhar
    5.2.2017

    These are amazing hacks, I was not knowing about most of them. So, Thanks for sharing.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 2nd, 2017 at 4:47 pm

      No worrys Robin :)

  62. klea
    5.2.2017

    Most of the hack mentioned on this post, l didn’t know about it. I will try to set it up to understand more about my audience. Hoping to see Good result once l implement this

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 18th, 2017 at 5:48 pm

      Let me know how you get on Klea!

  63. nuskhe
    5.3.2017

    your post help me a lot, thanks MW ..

    or

    BMW ( Big mathew woodwards) :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 18th, 2017 at 5:48 pm

      Hahah thanks!

  64. S******
    5.3.2017

    Amazing Hacks Thank you!

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 18th, 2017 at 5:48 pm

      Thank you for reading :)

  65. Saurabh
    5.3.2017

    Thanks for this because i am a beginer and i really need to know this and can you please tell me that how can i make my website more powerful

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 18th, 2017 at 5:43 pm

      Just browse one of the many tutorials on the blog!

  66. Lucky
    5.3.2017

    i think GA is the best analysis tools for own site research

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 5th, 2017 at 9:00 am

      For sure!

  67. Pola Hidup Sehat
    5.3.2017

    Wow. Nice Article .. Thanks Matthew for this post.
    thanks for help , thank for sharing

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 5th, 2017 at 8:59 am

      No worrys :)

  68. Vikas Pandey
    5.5.2017

    Your article is very helpful and its very amazing to know wonderful hacks about google analytics, thanks for sharing, thanks a lots.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 5th, 2017 at 8:55 am

      No problem Vikas :)

  69. Matija
    5.5.2017

    Truly Great Article Matt.

    There is one bit regarding the search console Queries Report. It shows only three months data, so it is a bit superfluous to put 6 months back.

  70. Christine Maina
    5.5.2017

    Google Analytics has come a long way since the early years. I only used to use it to see how much traffic is coming to my site….I guess there’s more to learn from this tool. I still don’t like Google but I have to admit that Analytics is probably their best tool

    Thanks for these great tutorial. It shall go a looooonnggg way towards achieving my online goals.

    By the way, have you thought of more tutorials just on analytics. Truth is it’s a scary subject since it sounds like math.

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 18th, 2017 at 5:42 pm

      Yes and they are always adding new features!

      Yes I could do a tutorial on analytics in the future for sure

  71. Prateektechnosoft
    5.8.2017

    Hi Your Article is excellent. You given a best examples for everything. Thanks for your wonderful information.

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 18th, 2017 at 5:35 pm

      No problem :)

  72. Raghbat
    5.20.2017

    Great post! it was very insightful and informative. Keep posting you great work.

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 14th, 2017 at 8:24 pm

      No problem :)

  73. SSC preparation
    5.22.2017

    well explained.. content as per local visitors is a great tip…

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 14th, 2017 at 8:21 pm

      It is indeed :)

  74. Jack
    6.3.2017

    Wow! its really amazing for me.

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 13th, 2017 at 10:57 am

      I hope you put it to good use

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