How To Use Google Analytics To Track Your SEO Efforts
By Peter Boyd, a Florida attorney who founded PaperStreet. He has helped over 1,500 law firms with their websites, content and marketing.
Your website may look just the way you want, but how can you tell if it’s working the way it should? All your marketing efforts really hinge on the performance of your website and the SEO efforts you’ve put into the site.
Installing Google Analytics on your site allows you to track how well you are bringing potential clients to the site and your success in converting users into clients—and it’s free to use. So let’s explore how it works.
Setting Up Google Analytics
The tools in Google Analytics allow you to customize, organize and filter various types of data. For instance, you can learn:
• How many people visit your website and where they came from (e.g., organic search, social media, etc.)
• Which pages people view most often
• How long visitors stay on the site or on a page
• Audience demographics
• What people click on when visiting the site
You start by creating an account and signing in on the website for Google Analytics. Set up a “property” (a.k.a. your website) in your account, and then create a reporting view of the site based on the information that you want to track. You can use filters (i.e., “views”) to track specific data, but remember that each filter excludes certain data.
It is a good idea to also set up an all-inclusive unfiltered view to keep track of all overall data so you can see information that was filtered out of other views. If you sync Google Analytics with Google Search Console, it is easier to see the full spectrum of data available.
Firms that use Google Ads can link those accounts to see how much traffic the ads bring to the website. Additionally, if your website has engagement opportunities such as a contact form, you can set up goals in Google Analytics to track the efforts.
Compiling Metrics From Google Analytics
It is important to keep track of analytic data from your website on a regular basis. Many of the law firms I’ve worked with chart their progress monthly in areas such as the number of newsletter sign-ups, bounce rate (i.e., how quickly a user left the site) and most-viewed blog posts. The precise metrics your firm chooses to track will vary depending on the features on your website and the aim of your marketing strategies.
If you choose to work with a legal marketing company, they should be supplying analytic data regularly and helping you review results to determine how to adjust your strategies. For instance, if blogs on a particular topic are receiving more views than average, you may want to develop a practice area page for the website based on that topic and market more heavily in that area. If you have a high bounce rate or low overall traffic numbers, that indicates you might need a new overall approach to bring high-quality traffic to your site.
Special Features Offered By Google Analytics
While many law firms realize they can measure data such as the top-performing pages, there are other features not as well understood and utilized. For instance, you can:
• Set a custom dashboard segmented for organic traffic to filter out fake referrals and ghost spam
• Use the Content Drilldown tool to analyze page impressions and clicks on non-sales pages
• Track the top landing pages to optimize content for those pages
• Use annotations to track the performance of content that has recently been freshened
• View the Multi-Channel funnel report to reveal when SEO was indirectly involved in a conversion
• Calculate “halo traffic” coming from related or longer-tail phrases containing target keywords
• Use referral data to detect links that don’t appear using other tools
• Set up Custom Alerts that are triggered to send a message when certain changes occur in results
Before delving into some of the specific strategies for tracking, however, make sure that you’re measuring the basics. This includes mobile traffic, time on page, bounce rate, site speed, organic conversion rate, dwell time and return on investment.
Watch For Updates And New Opportunities
SEO strategies and methods for measuring performance are always changing, and Google Analytics is generally at the forefront of these rapid changes. That means your law firm needs to be alert for new features or new ways to take advantage of existing features to analyze metrics and use that data to improve the functioning of your law firm’s website. If this sounds like it would be a considerable drain on your resources, there’s always the option to work with an outside marketing firm that can be fully devoted to the task.