How to Track Your Key SEO Data on Autopilot
Are you trying to track SEO data to improve your rankings, but getting tired of manually updating spreadsheets?
Keeping your finger on the pulse of your SEO efforts is crucial when you’re trying to drive more organic traffic. Because, as you know, the world of SEO is full of ever-moving parts that require your constant attention.
By the time you’ve updated an SEO spreadsheet with key data from your current rankings, it’s nearly time to check all your metrics again.
That’s why it’s important to find a system for tracking your SEO data in a way that’s fast, easy, and, of course, automated.
So, today, we’re going to share a way that you can throw your SEO tracking on autopilot.
But first, let’s get clear on why you need to track your SEO data in the first place and what specific metrics you should be looking for.
The Importance of Tracking Your SEO Data
If you were to read some marketing blogs, you’d get the impression that search engine optimization (SEO) is some magical, mystical art. You identify your keywords, publish your content, and then depend on the whimsical – and often cruel – gods of search engine algorithms to decide whether your content will be successful.
If you aren’t tracking your SEO data, I can see why it might feel that way. Without regularly checking on your key performance indicators (KPIs), you’ll really be at a loss as to whether your efforts are paying off or not.
Because, at the end of the day, you really want to know ONE thing: is the work I’m putting into my content bringing in more money than it’s costing to produce.
If it is, that’s what we call a good “return on investment” (ROI). If not, that’s what we call “time to go back to the drawing board” (though the acronym “TTGBTTDB” is way less catchy).
And while traffic from organic searches doesn’t cost you per click in the way paid ads do, it certainly isn’t free. There are still tons of costs involved in creating optimized content, including time, staffing, tools, and so on.
You need to know that the effort involved is worth it. Unless you’re tracking and comparing your SEO data with your other digital marketing metrics, you’ll have no idea whether it’s bringing you the ROI you need.
And tracking SEO data also means you can evaluate whether you’re targeting the right keywords or what your audience is responding to.
You may have done everything perfectly and gotten your content high up in the rankings. But if the traffic coming through your site doesn’t convert to leads or sales, then it is time to rethink the audience you’re attracting.
At the end of the day, it’s undeniably clear: your SEO strategy will be greatly improved once you track the right data that shows your content marketing ROI.
But that leads to a very important question: “What is the RIGHT data?”
Let’s look at 2 sources to pull your SEO data from:
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
Then, we’ll teach you how to track this information automatically week after week.
Let’s now turn our attention to SEO data from Google Analytics.
SEO Data from Google Analytics
Here’s a quick tip before we get started with the KPIs you should include in your SEO reports from Google Analytics. If you haven’t already synced your Google Search Console account with your Google Analytics, go do that now.
Need a bit of help? Check out this helpful resource that includes a tutorial on how to sync Google Search Console with Google Analytics.
It’s quick, easy and will give you access to some additional information to help you track your SEO data.
All synced up? Great. Let’s take a look at which Google Analytics metrics are crucial for monitoring SEO performance.
1) Organic Traffic
At the bare minimum, you’ll want your SEO efforts to bring visitors to your site. That means you need to include data on your organic traffic in your SEO reports.
On top of the basics like users and sessions from organic searches, you’ll likely want to track new and returning visitors to see whether you are reaching new audiences and retaining existing ones.
2) Most Popular Landing Pages/Blog Posts
As well as the overview of your organic traffic, your SEO reporting should look deeper into how those visitors behave once they arrive on your site.
One of the first steps is tracking which pages they engage with.
Tracking page views and time spent on page as part of your SEO monitoring gives you an idea of which pages are most popular with visitors from organic searches. You should also use the entrances metric to see where people are first arriving on your website. This indicates the landing pages and blog posts that are doing well in searches.
Once you can see which content is performing best to bring in organic traffic, you can adjust and plan your content marketing strategy accordingly.
Assuming your Google Analytics is now synced with your Google Search Console, you’ll be able to see which keywords bring you the most website traffic.
It’s a great way to verify that you’re targeting the right keywords. If you see plenty of expected search queries in the list, you’re definitely on the right track. On the other hand, if there are lots of irrelevant keywords, you’ll be attracting visitors who have no interest in your offering.
That means you’ll get a lot of “dead leads” which are people coming to your site who likely won’t convert into customers.
4) Bounce Rate
Another essential KPI from Google Analytics is the bounce rate for your different landing pages. This shows you how many visitors leave your website without exploring further.
A high bounce rate can be an indicator that your content isn’t well matched to the search intent of the visitor, especially if it is combined with a low time on page. Or it might suggest that you aren’t signposting them effectively to other content or sections of your article that matches their needs.
Either way, you’ll want to include this metric in your SEO data tracking.
5) Conversion Rate
I’ve saved the most crucial Google Analytics KPI for last. Traffic to your website is just the tip of the iceberg. For your investment in SEO to be worthwhile, you want to see a reasonable number of those visitors converting once they arrive.
Before you can track your conversion rate in Google Analytics, you’ll need to set up some conversion goals. With that done, you can compare the conversion rate from organic traffic with visitors from other sources to see how your SEO stacks up.
You can also see the conversion rate for different landing pages.
Like bounce rate, this will help you determine which content is well-matched to search intent. And it will also indicate underperforming landing pages, so you know where you need to make changes.
Now that we’ve seen the most essential SEO data from Google Analytics (though the list is NOT exhaustive), let’s look at what you should prioritize from Google Search Console.
SEO Data from Google Search Console
Once you have your Google Search Console account linked to Google Analytics, there are some metrics you can only access via the Search Console.
While Google Analytics tells you how people behave once they arrive on your site, Google Search Console gives you KPIs to monitor how your content is doing in searches (and how your site is performing).
Obviously, this is a vital source of data to help you track your SEO performance.
1) Keyword Performance
Knowing which keywords you are ranking well for means you can monitor and adjust your content marketing strategy to increase the number of people you attract to your website.
Google Search Console lets you track impressions by keyword, showing you how many times your content appeared in the SERPs for that search query over a given period.
Of course, your links showing up in searches isn’t necessarily the same as your content appearing high up the rankings. There is usually a correlation, but you can supplement the impressions metric by including the average position in your SEO data tracking.
This gives you the position of your content for each search query over time. Because the positioning in Google will fluctuate, it’s given as an average (instead of a range). So, for example, you might have appeared anywhere from the first ranking to the seventh and ended up with an average position of four.
Combining these two metrics in your SEO reports gives you an indicator of which keywords you are ranking for and which your competitors are beating you to.
Want to take things to the next level? With a tool like SEO Scout’s keyword rank tracker, you can accurately see how your keywords are performing and how well they stack up to the competition.
2) Clicks and Click-Through Rate
Seeing your link and having people click on it are not the same. And it’s those clicks you need to move people along your sales funnels.
Google Search Console gives you a few options for monitoring clicks. The first is a raw count, which can be displayed as a total for your site or broken down by URL. This is useful for monitoring website traffic and builds your understanding of keyword performance.
Another option is to see your average click-through rate for each search query. This is arguably more important for tracking your SEO, especially if you monitor it over time. You might find the keywords that have a high click-through rate aren’t the same as those that have a high number of impressions.
And if some relevant search queries have a low click-through rate, it could suggest your content isn’t catching the attention of searchers as it should.
Ok, now we have a good idea of the SEO data you should be tracking with Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
Now for the big question: how do you create automated reports to frictionlessly track and share this data?
How to Create Automated SEO Reports
Google does provide you with a few tools to create customized reports from your Google Analytics dashboard.
These are fairly easy to create and they’re sent via PDF attachment by email. For a full tutorial on how to create reports in Google Analytics, check out the following post: How to Send Google Analytics Marketing Reports by Email.
But there are a few problems with doing so, namely the following two:
- These reports will be limited to Google Analytics data
- PDF attachments aren’t always ideal for busy teammates or clients
The first issue is problematic if you’re creating comprehensive marketing reports that include more than just SEO data.
For example, if you need to send clients or teammates information about email marketing stats, paid ad platforms, social media performance, and so on, you’ll need to create multiple reports with data not included in your Google Analytics account.
The second issue is also problematic if you’re working with multiple clients.
Sending PDFs adds a layer of friction to your SEO reports that assumes your recipients will take the time to actually look at it.
In the same way that adding too many fields to an eCommerce checkout page results in cart abandonment, every additional step with report-sharing can lead to your SEO data gathering dust in your recipients’ inbox.
That’s why I created a report-building tool, Metrics Watch
Metrics Watch is a simple tool that solves a complex problem: how to create global marketing reports that includes all of your most crucial KPIs.
This includes data for SEO, email marketing, social media, and paid aids by pulling data from:
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Google Ads
- Facebook (paid and organic)
- Instagram (paid and organic)
- LinkedIn (paid and organic)
With a codeless drag and drop builder, you can create your comprehensive marketing reports in just a few minutes regardless of your technical background.
This is also nice as many marketers get overwhelmed by Google Analytics’ user interface (UI).
Finally, where this tool really shines is the frictionless reporting feature. Rather than sending reports via PDF, the data goes directly to your recipients’ inbox.
By removing that small step, you create a big impact on the likelihood that the information will actually be seen (and used). Then you can automate these reports to be sent on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
This helps your team and clients make the most from the SEO data you’re tracking. Plus, you can check it out for a free 14-day no-risk trial (no credit card required).
No matter what tool you use to gather and share your SEO data, one thing remains clear: you need to understand whether or not your SEO efforts are paying off.
If you find that they’re not, no worries! That doesn’t mean you need to stop working on SEO. In fact, it means the opposite.
That’s why you’ll find tons of free SEO tools and resources right here on the SEO Scout website. We help businesses of all sizes create content that ranks so they can attract better, more qualified leads to grow.
Here are a few resources you might find interesting:
- 17 Amazing SEO Tips to Fuel Your Organic Traffic
- On-Page SEO Analysis Checklist: 30 Things to Check in Your Content
- Why You Need an Evergreen Content Strategy in SEO
These articles will have even more information to help you create a more efficient (and profitable) SEO strategy.
Author Bio: JP Boily is Founder of Metrics Watch, a marketing reporting tool used by agencies and startups all around the world for their analytics, advertising & SEO reports. 📈
How To Guides
- How to check your keyword positions and rankings on Google
- Content Pruning: How To Consolidate Pages with Little to no Search Visibility
- How to Find and Fix Thin Content Pages for Your Website’s SEO
- How to Find and Resolve Orphan Pages On Your Site
- How to Track Your SEO Keyword Rankings Over Time
- 'Page 2 Potential': How to Find Striking Distance Keywords to Rank Higher
- How to Fine-tune Your Content by Adding Missing Long-tail Keywords
- How to find the FAQ keywords you can easily rank for
- How To Find and Rank for Long Tail Keywords: SEO Guide
- Discover question keywords and other low hanging fruit in your Search Console data to rank for easily