A good friend of mine has recently asked me about key website analytics areas he should pay attention to. My head started spinning as the question was tooooo general. My response was that it depends on what you want to track and what your goals are. When we narrowed it down to SEO purposes, I briefly explained the key areas. I’m not saying that these are the only areas. After all, it all depends on your goals. Here’s what my answer was…

What you track on regular campaign basis depends on what your goals are. Generally speaking, there are three main areas of SEO analytics I look at on campaign basis: change in rankings, change in organic search traffic and change in conversions this month.

Change in rankings

At the onset of a campaign we choose a number of keywords we will work with in the following weeks and months. We need to able to track how we process on each key phrase from month to month. There’s a number of products available to track your SEO rankings including: SEScoutSEO rank monitor, Authority Labs and of course good old Google Analytics (GA). Here’s a good article going in details of how to track SEO rankings with Google Analytics by Yoast. I personally prefer having things in one place so I use GA.

Change in organic search traffic

There are three types of traffic you get to your website: direct, referrer, and traffic from search engines. Further, traffic from search engines can be segmented by different search engines and divided into paid and organic. For SEO purposes we’re concerned with organic traffic. The question here should be “Did we increase organic traffic to the website comparing to last month?”. This can be easily tracked by checking Google Analytics > Traffic Sources > Keywords. If you’re running PPC campaigns, then you’d want to segment the organic search traffic out.

Change in conversions

The ultimate goal of most SEO campaigns should be to increases conversions resulting from organic traffic, not the rankings or even traffic itself. So, I recommend creating conversion goals at the onset of the campaign. Once this is done, then it’s easy to track the change in number of conversions. Depending on your product or services your conversion can be “quote requested”, “product ordered” or “user path completed”. Usually a conversion results in some kind of “form submitted” on your website. Here, the question is “How did we do on conversions comparing to last month?”.

Whatever tools you choose to track your SEO analytics and the progress of your campaigns, make sure you go for positive change in the number of conversions, not change in rankings. Let me know if you feel that there are other important areas of SEO analytics.