In the autumn of 2011, Google Analytics changed the rules for SEOs, promising to its users that whilst browsing using SSL their queries would remain private and anonymous to webmasters. Since then, (not provided) keyword referral data levels have continued to increase - a 100% (not provided) world is upon us. To help measure your SEO efforts, we have created and shared 7 of our most frequently used Google Analytics SEO reporting templates (including custom reports, a dashboard and custom segments) below which you can import into your own Google Analytics accounts.
1. Landing page custom report with titles
There has been a seismic shift in SEO measurement following the rapid rise of (not provided) keyword referral data. Today, most SEOs report on landing page performance to evaluate which keyphrases users queried before arriving on a website. Whilst SEOs have always evaluated landing page performance, today it has become a critical part of SEO measurement as SEOs try to assess which keywords are driving profitable and high-converting traffic to the site.
The SEO landing page report can be found by navigating in Google Analytics to ‘Behaviour > Site Content > Landing pages’ and applying a segment of ‘Organic traffic’, or you can simply import the template below to save the report for future use. We have also included the page title alongside the request URI as this is often useful for recalling which keywords your pages are targeting.
Custom report template >> https://www.google.com/analytics/web/template?uid=3muvDVgbREquQ4UuhgAFvA
2. 404 error page custom report
Page locations are constantly changing - content is either no longer relevant, multiple content pages are merged or mobile specific templates URLs are abandoned for a swanky new responsive design - whatever the scenario, pages need to be migrated and correctly redirected to ensure any link equity is correctly re-distributed to the new page location.
404s are a common problem for both SEOs - this custom Google Analytics report template helps to identify which pages users are entering with a 404 HTTP status. The template relies on the logic that your page titles will contain ‘404’ when a 404 HTTP status is detected. This template will help you to identify both broken internal links and external links that point to an old address.
Custom report template >> https://www.google.com/analytics/web/template?uid=XyTcJJwjSHCqymfA59y8uw
3. Search engine traffic attributed to referral sources
SEO attribution is extremely important and in order to understand your customer's complete journey and decision-making process, it is important that search engines are recognised for their part in the purchase funnel. As you may or may not know, Google Analytics has a list of identified search engines which it uses to collect and present data within its reports. Frequently, there are search engines which are not included in this list and are treated as a referring traffic source.
This custom report template will help you to identify all of the referring traffic sources which are not being treated as search engines within your reports. Using this information, you can then customise your list of organic traffic sources via the Google Analytics admin UI. Note, this is only available to Universal Analytics users. Classic analytics users will have to modify the core tracking script using the _addOrganic() method.
Custom report template >> https://www.google.com/analytics/web/template?uid=e2qlWtlMSIilubQFlAq4yA
4. Third- party referral links driving traffic to your site
Backlinks form a critical component of SEO in two ways - they help increase your page and domain authority and relevance against a particular query, as well as drive relevant traffic to your website. Using Google Analytics, you can monitor which websites and web pages are linking to your website and evaluate which types of websites are driving the highest-quality visitors.
The custom report template below shows you exactly which pages are sending traffic to your website through back-linked content endorsing your product and services.
Custom report template >> https://www.google.com/analytics/web/template?uid=09w_WYPARE6RVUfZUC-t7Q
5. Google Tag Manager optimised keywords vs. landing pages custom report
A keyword-targeted SEO strategy is still very important - if you do not optimise your pages for a particular group / theme of keywords, search engines, prospective customers and your internal teams will not be able to locate relevant and important information on your website.
To complement the landing page report and your keyword strategy, you can use Google Analytics custom dimensions to set target keywords for each of you landing pages using some Google Tag Manager magic inspired by Lunametrics. The report will show you the landing page users are entering from search, alongside the target keyword group for that particular page.
Custom report template >> https://www.google.com/analytics/web/template?uid=rr4X61ljS1qW-JfqXqHtzg
Image source: http://lunametrics.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/optimized-keyword-analytics3.png
6. SEO branded vs. non-branded traffic (landing page based) advances segments
Differentiating between branded and non-branded SEO traffic is now extremely difficult in Google Analytics as a result of (not provided) keyword referral data. Once commonly used KPIs, these numbers are now much more difficult to obtain.
Both segments are based on landing page entrances and assume that visitors to the homepage arrive via branded queries, and users that enter the website via deeper pages have arrived via non-branded queries. This, of course, is not 100% accurate but does give a high-level indication of the performance of branded traffic vs. non-brand. These segments are based on those contained within Justin Cutroni’s Inbound Marketing ToolsGoogle Analytics shared asset library.
Non-branded SEO traffic segment >> https://www.google.com/analytics/web/template?uid=g44aZpZcTbycpcMXYcajPw
Branded SEO traffic segment >> https://www.google.com/analytics/web/template?uid=QJNUXogGTFm96gUJ6hqZgQ
7. SEO KPI dashboard
The SEO KPI dashboard template brings together all of the above custom reports and segments to provide a summary of how your website is performing from an SEO standpoint. All of the above Google Analytics template assets can be copied via the template link below.
SEO KPI dashboard template >> https://www.google.com/analytics/web/template?uid=lUCIHrt_SgOPDMFy_kZ4mQ
Download all Google Analytics template assets >> https://www.google.com/analytics/web/template?uid=I_eAZ9UAQW-fhcuoz3rj2A
If you regularly use any Google Analytics custom reports, segments or dashboards to manage and measure your SEO performance, please share your suggestions in the comments - we would love to hear how you tackle (not provided) in Google Analytics!