It’s fair to say that most of us are running Google Analytics on at least a few of the sites we deal with.
Market share for Google’s traffic tracking platform was estimated last year around 75-80% in a few separate studies – here’s one from Ghostery.
Let’s not get into the whole “Google knows too much” thing. The truth is, the platform is a pretty solid and user-friendly. (Even if it is the lure of an evil empire.)
But from an SEO standpoint Google ANalytics definitely leaves some things to be desired.
Luckily there are plenty of clever SEOs out there who take on complicated and difficult projects that make our lives easier.
Here are five such supergeek gifts that hack Google Analytics into a killer SEO tool:
This guest post on Yoast’s blog from Andrй Scholten walks you through how to use custom filters to pull the referring page from Google – which tells you on which page the site is ranking in search results.
Ideally we’d see which position, but until Google rolls out AJAX search results (or some other version) we’ll settle for this.
Note: it’s a good idea to create a new, duplicate profile for whatever site you’re going to try this on. Filters work on data before it’s collected. That means if you do something wrong and end up filtering the wrong data (or all data) you can’t get it back.
2. Better Google Analytics Firefox Extension
This nifty Firefox extension from VKI Studios uses Greasemonkey userscripts to enhance your interaction with Google Analytics.
First, it allows you enter Google Analytics quicker/easier – for example, it kills that annoying 2nd step of clicking the big blue “Access Analytics” button by clicking it automatically.
Second, and more importantly, this extension gives you better tools and data inside the reports, such as:
- Allows you to perform Google Insights research on keywords in your reports
- Adds Social Media Metrics and Yahoo inbound link metrics to reports
- Ability to export data to Google Docs
- Converts percent values to absolute values in tables
- Allows you to jump between profiles while carrying over your current report and settings
That’s not all it does, but you’ll have to install it yourself to give it a try – it’s a good one.
This Greasemonkey script from Jeremy over at ROI Revolution adds a ton of additional data to your reports – including the raw number of conversions (instead of just a percentage) as well as conversion revenue.
If you’ve worked with GA for eCommerce sites you know that having this data in separate reports can drive you nuts. This script pulls them all in.
Jeremy also included a modified segment drop-down menu, which adds the ability to segment individual page/content traffic by both source and medium (which GA doesn’t do out of the box).
Google Analytics, by default, will only track the last referring source/medium that led to a conversion.
This means the last in line gets the credit.
The problem is that users often visit a site more than once before they decide to purchase/sign-up/whatever (especially if what’s on offer is a bigger commitment with a longer sales cycle). Sometimes the conversion credit goes to a branded search term instead of the non-branded term that originally made the referral.
This script, original written by Brian Clifton of Advanced-Web-Metrics.com, was modified by the folks at FreshClicks.net to correct a few small errors. It stores the initial referrer using the User Defined variable for Google Analytics – so you get a more complete story when visitors visit more than once before converting.
5. Tracking Universal Search Traffic with Google Analytics
Martijn Beijk of SearchCowboys.com was annoyed that Google Analytics didn’t show you traffic that came through the blended universal search results. So he set out to dissect the source code of the universal SERPs.
The result is this how-to guide that walks you through setting up custom filters that pull this data into your GA reports. With this can you segment users who click on images/videos/local/etc from users who click the regular results – which means you can measure how these users behave (and convert).
As #1 above, it’s a good idea to create a new, duplicate site profile before you start tinkering with filters if you aren’t experienced.
Got any SEO hacks for Google Analytics that I don’t know about? Give ’em up!