7 Ways to Use Data Analytics to Improve Your SEO Ranking
We’ve all heard the phrase big data analytics being thrown around. Technology has made it possible to get clear on how our campaigns and content is doing – giving us valuable information about our audience, even down to the exact search terms they’re using on Google and other search engines.
Are you already using data analytics on your business? If you are, are you leveraging it so that you can improve your SEO strategies to get better rankings?
Whether or not you’ve already jumped on the big data train, read on below to see why you should be using big data analytics, as well as the exact ways you can use them to help boost your site’s SEO.
The value of using big data analytics
Ever since we entered the current era of SEO – where quality of content counts much more than questionable SEO techniques in the past – it’s critical to really understand how your audiences think and even interact with search engines.
This is where big data analytics comes in. The data you get from analytics tools can tell you exactly who your audience is and what they’re searching for. You can see how they found your business or website or if they’re staying on your site long enough to get what they need.
There are a number of different web analytics tools you can use. What’s more important than the right tool, however, is how you use that data. Whether it’s to create better products or services or even improving your overall marketing strategy, analyzing and creating next steps with said data becomes key.
Below we'll tackle 7 different ways you can use your data to improve your SEO rankings.
1. Spruce up your website’s navigation structure
How you structure your website’s navigation can play a big role in improving your SEO ranking – the longer people stay on your website, visiting different pages and posts, the more search engines learn that your site is full of valuable resources for viewers.
Having an effective, easy-to-use navigation structure can help direct visitors through a customer journey, helping you reach different goals such as getting them to sign up for an email list or to make a purchase on your site.
If you want to see how well your different pages are doing in getting audiences to stay on your site longer, you can find this under the Behavior tab on your Google Analytics reports.
Simply navigate to Behavior > Behavior Flow to find out what visitors do when they land on a page.
Source: Single Grain
You can track how many visitors drop-off (or bounce) after landing on a particular page, as well as seeing which pages others might immediately check out.
So your start page might be your homepage. The links that appear under the 1st Interaction column signify the most-visited pages immediately after the start page, so you can keep tracing the path your visitors took.
Knowing where people drop off your site or which pages they frequent most afterward can help you improve your pages. Add more CTAs or internal links wherever necessary. Sprinkle in lead generation forms for most-visited pages if possible.
2. Build content around organic search queries
Does your website have a search bar? If so, you’re in a perfect position to find out what visitors are looking for on your site, giving you a tremendous opportunity to create content to answer their queries.
Data analytics can tell you what exactly people are searching for on your website. Sometimes their queries can tell you if you should be featuring a particular product or page more; other times, the data can give you hints about what kind of content to create.
Take a look at what people are searching on your site with the Site Search tab on Google Analytics.
Alternatively, you can also use data analytics to see just exactly what your audience is searching for even before they land on your website.
On Google Analytics, look for the search terms your visitors used by navigating to Acquisition > Search Console > Queries.
Look for queries most relevant to your company and create content – be it pillar blog posts or a funnel – around these.
Source: Cognitive SEO
Don’t have a Google Analytic Account? Click here to learn How to Setup Google Analytics In Under 15 Minutes
3. Improve your page loading speed on mobile devices
What almost everyone is talking about these days is Google’s shift to mobile-first indexing.
In case this is the first you’ve heard of it, that means Google and other search engines prioritize how mobile-friendly your site is to determine your SEO ranking.
There are a number of ways you can optimize your site for mobile to make them load faster. Here’s a good checklist to follow if you’re doing this for the first time.
If you visit Google Analytics, you can check the loading speeds of individual pages across your site. They also have a feature called Site Speed Suggestions that can give you recommendations on how to optimize each page.
Source: Search Engine Roundtable
4. Convert high performing posts into lead magnets
If you have a blog post that’s already doing well organically, you may benefit by turning them into lead magnets across your website.
With the data analytics tool of your choice, you can determine exactly which posts are getting the most organic traffic per month. This should tell you the kind of content that people are searching for – and if your page is ranking well on search engines, then there are other factors also contributing to its ranking, be it readability or depth.
Don’t let your website visitors leave without turning them into leads. Turn these high performing posts into lead magnets to easily boost your ROI.
Pro Tip: Here are 5 Expert Ways to Increase Your Social Media ROI
There are a number of ways you can do this. Perhaps a high-performing listicle can offer a handful of exclusive other list items in a free PDF. You might also opt to use content gates, where you give complete access to your content in exchange for their email address.
5. Utilize channel groups to better target your campaigns
Some web analytics tools including Google Analytics can neatly organize your website traffic in what we call channel groups.
These channels are the path that your website visitors take in order to land on your site. Some people enter your domain name, some might search for your brand, while others still might have searched a keyword in other and found your content.
While the default channel groups might be helpful as is, you can still go further by creating custom channel groups, helping you create a better, more accurate insights and making sense of your traffic in more concrete ways.
An example of custom channel groups. Source: Jeffalytics
After you’ve created specific channel groups, you can then set specific goals for each group, helping you tweak and create better targeted campaigns without all the guesswork.
6. Maximize your top referrers
Chances are you already get a significant amount of traffic from third-party sites and pages, where these sites and pages refer visitors who might otherwise never have found you on a search engine.
Plenty of data analytics tools can tell you which sites are driving you traffic. Tracking these referrers, be it paid or organic referrers, can help you measure your ROI to keep improving on your marketing efforts.
Once you know who your top referrers are, you can either try to improve their performance even more – perhaps these referrers, if third-party site owners, can change the link text to something that encourages more clicks.
Or you can approach different publications that have already used your links to link back to a different blog post to improve on theirs. Either of these techniques can help improve your CTR and traffic.
7. Geo-targeting for local SEO
Many businesses, especially brick and mortar businesses, target local neighborhoods in which they’re based. If your business would benefit most from visitors around your city or state, then you’d do best to first create and optimize your own local SEO strategy.
Where does geo-targeting come into the picture? If geo-targeting can be defined as all the methods that determine where your audience is from as well as delivering content based on their location, then using this for local SEO can be a powerful mix.
Using your data analytics tool, you can find out where most of your audience is from. Depending on the scope of your business, this could be as general as countries down to the very specific cities.
With this data, you can optimize your website for better local SEO rankings. You can edit pages with more local keywords, use a language that connects better with your target audience, and even tweak the design to better cater to and reflect the local area you want to talk to.
With data analytics, we no longer have to feel around in the dark wondering how on earth we’re getting traffic, where our traffic is coming from, or whether we’re getting traffic at all.
The tools, however, are only the beginning – if you can properly read all your data and glean all relevant insights about these, you should be on the road to creating a better content marketing and SEO strategy.
About the Author
Kevin Payne is a content marketing consultant who helps software companies build marketing funnels and implement content marketing campaigns to increase their inbound leads