The SEO’s Guide to GA 5, Part II: Top 3 Features for Setting & Achieving SEO Goals

Dali Burgado
Dali Burgado
The SEO’s Guide to GA 5, Part II: Top 3 Features for Setting & Achieving SEO Goals

If you’re an SEO who’s still fumbling with the latest version of Google Analytics (version 5), fumble no more.  Here is a quick overview of 3 features you should know to help make your job easier.  These tips will also help you keep demonstrating the importance of your laborious SEO efforts and make you look smarter too.

This is part II of a three part series.  In part I of this Google analytics 5 series, I discussed keyword reports and reviewed some differences in where things are now located.  Here, I’ll go over my top 3 features for goal setting.  In part three we’ll get extremely geeky and go over a few custom reports you’ll want to save for your SEO reporting needs.   Bookmark this and come back to it to!  Ready to roll up your sleeves?  Grab a cup of Joe, and let’s go.

1) Customize Your Dashboard with SEO Widgets

One of the sexiest features about Google Analytics 5 is the ability for you to modify the dashboard you are used to seeing once you access your specific profile.  You can drag and drop certain widgets to organize your metrics in a way that is meaningful to you and have the data display as a metric, pie chart, timeline, or table format.  This allows you to see important metrics at a glance.  I’ve used this awesome feature to create separate dashboards for e-commerce, events, and SEO.

How to Add an SEO Widget for Your SEO Dashboard


Let’s start by creating a widget for top branded vs. non-branded keywords.

  1. Go to the “home” tab on the orange top navigation bar.  Go to the left navigation and click on “New Dashboard.”
  2. You will be presented with the option to create a blank canvas or a starter dashboard and provide a title for your dashboard.  Title your dashboard “SEO Dashboard,” and click on “Blank Canvas.”
  3. You will then see the “Add a Widget” box.  You can again, add a metric, a pie chart, timeline, or table.  Now, we’ll add a “table.”
  4. The next step is to add a dimension.  Dimensions are visitor characteristics and are the kinds of things you would see in the rows of a Google Analytics report. Dimensions are highlighted in green.  Choose “keywords” as your dimension.
  5. Click on the arrow and begin typing “keyword.” Google Analytics will auto-populate with the dimension, and you can either finish typing or click on the dimension “keyword” to fill the box.
  6. Your metrics are numbers and are represented by the color light blue.  Here we will add “Visits” and “% New Visits.”
  7. We will then keep the “show a table with” 10 rows (the max number of rows for any widget).
  8. To filter your keywords by “branded,” enter you main branded keywords by clicking on the “add a filter” hyperlink.  You will see “only show” and “don’t show.” Since we want branded keywords, we will select “only show” our branded keyword of choice by selecting “containing” your branded term.  You can repeat this for any other branded keywords.
  9. Name Your Widget “Top Branded Keywords.”
  10. When you are done adding your filters, name your widget.
  11. Now you can hit save and see your pretty new widget on your snazzy SEO Dashboard.

Analytics FYI:  You can also link this report to one of your standard reports.  However, linking to the report will not keep any of your filters you set in your widget; it will just send you to the unfiltered standard report for easy reference.

Once your widget has been created, you can easily go to that specific report by clicking the box at the top right of your widget to access that report.  To link this widget to a report, simply start typing your report name.  In this case, we will link to the “Traffic Sources / Sources / Search / Organic” report.

An Example Customized Google Analytics Widget for Your New SEO Dashboard

You don’t have to link all of your widgets to its report, by the way, but it is a nice option.

You can repeat this process for non-branded keywords by simply selecting “don’t show” your branded search terms.

SEO Tip: You may want to include a filter to exclude keywords under “not set” and “not provided.”

Analytics Quick Tip: An alternate way to create a widget for your SEO dashboard is to go to a your standard keywords report and filter the data accordingly (as I demonstrated in part one of this Google analytics 5 series) then clicking on “Add to Dashboard.”  If you do it this way, your report will automatically be linked to the keyword report.

Yeah, yeah.  Now I hear you saying, “Dali, if that was the easy way why didn’t you say so in the first place? “ Well you must know the manual way to get things done if Google Analytics if you want to be a true SEO/analytics geek.

SEO Dashboard FYI:  You can only add keyword report widgets from the Traffic Sources -> Sources -> Search -> Organic keyword report and not the reports with Google Webmaster tools data located at Traffic Sources -> Search Engine Optimization -> Queries (or Landing Pages).  Dear Google Analytics, that would be a nice additional feature for the next update!

Other Ideas to Add Spice to Your New Sexy SEO Dashboard

  • Add line charts to show your organic search visit trends
  • Add a metric widget telling you your average page speed
  • Add a pie chart featuring your top sources / mediums
  • Add any specific goals you have added into your Google Analytics profile related to SEO to tie your dashboard with outcomes and conversions

Imagine the look on your boss or clients face when you are able to show them your SEO Dashboard!

In all, you can create up to 20 dashboards, and each dashboard can contain up to 12 widgets.  What’s sweeter is that you can add any of your specific custom reports to your dashboard as a widget too.   Don’t you love me… um, I mean the new analytics now?

2) Set up Custom Alerts to Inform you When a Specific SEO Goal Has Been Met

Wouldn’t you like to know right when a goal has been hit?

Under your “Home” tab you will find a left navigation menu item named “Intelligence Events.”  This is where Google Analytics monitors any significant variations in your website’s traffic and will automatically generate alerts when they occur.

Custom alerts were a beta feature prior to Google Analytics Version 5.  However, it is now out of beta.  You can set all kinds of cool analytic geek alerts.

For instance, you, upper management, or your client may be obsessed about the performance of one keyword, and may want to know exactly when you hit a goal you’ve set out to achieve.

Below are two examples of custom alerts you can create for your SEO goals.

– How to Create Custom Alerts for SEO Goals

  1. You can create custom alerts by clicking on the “home” navigation menu and then selecting “intelligence events.”  You can view any interesting statistical variations in your Google Analytics profile by day, week, or month.  Select whichever you want.
  2. In the middle of the screen you will see the specific date or date range and then blue links on the far right to “create a custom alert” or manage an existing custom alert.  Click “create a custom alert”

 – One Custom Alert Monitoring an Increase in Visits for a variation of keywords


Once created, you will find that your custom alert will also be found (and could be edited) by clicking on your settings gear icon on the far right and clicking on “assets.”

Google Analytics Geek Tip:  If you have added any custom/advanced segments in your profile, those will be available for you to choose from when creating your alert.

Google Analytics Ice Cream with a Cherry on Top:  You can request the alert be sent to you by email and even mobile phone when it is triggered.  Yes!

And of course, you can create custom alerts to for AdWords and ecommerce conversions.  Woo!

A list of your custom alerts will be found under your settings (again, click the gear icon on the far top right) and under “assets.”

 3) Get Deeper Insights into your SEO Conversion Process with Multi-Channel Funnels

The Multi-Channel Funnels reports show you how your traffic sources work together harmoniously to create sales and conversions.

You will see:

  • How many steps assisted in those conversions (conversion paths)
  • The number of conversions from each path
  • The value of the conversions

Before this feature, you only could only tell that a visitor converted from one specific source (the one right before the conversion took place).

This is pretty exciting because you can see if you have any conversion patterns that may help you focus on a type of marketing you may not have been focused on i.e. (social media).

Additionally, you can create a channel grouping to see if a specific pattern is contributing to your conversions.  If so, you know your marketing strategy is right on the money! Oh my word!

Here is an example of a customized Channel Grouping that involves non-branded keywords via organic search and twitter traffic!

Like all reports, you can filter.  Below I’ve filtered out all of the channel groupings that include social. (click image to expand)

Ooh la la la!  This may finally help prove the value of your social media marketing efforts (especially if you report to upper management or clients who are afraid of engaging in social marketing)!

SEO Dashboards, Custom Alerts, and Channel Groupings will keep you on task; make your job easier, and help you look like an SEO web analytics genius.  Stay tuned for more on custom reports in The SEO’s Guide to Google Analytics 5 part III.

What do you think about these features, and how do you plan to use these tips to expand your SEO/analytics skills?

Any other super geeky nuances you’d like to share about Google Analytics version 5?  I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Dali Burgado

Dali Burgado

Dali Burgado, also known as "The Dali Blogger" teaches creative entrepreneurs how to carve a web presence that connects with ... [Read full bio]