When it comes to SEO, one of the most useful tools to get insights about your performance is Google Analytics. In fact, Google Analytics can deliver tons of data to monitor your SEO performance from user behavior to social media traffic, content engagement or any other on-site metric that influences your rankings. Combined with a SEO crawler, Google Analytics can strengthen your search efforts, open new opportunities and offer new data about your SEO performance. Though, unlike a crawler, Google Analytics only knows the pages a visitor has seen in a given period. That is why adding crawl data to your Goggle Analytics can be extremely helpful in evaluating the visits, understanding how your website structure is impacting them and identifying any issues that could affect your popular pages. Such a combination of two types of data is particularly helpful for e-commerce websites, since they need to improve their SEO performance of their money pages in order to instantly increase traffic and conversions.
In this post, I am going to focus on 3 situations where combining your Google Analytics' data with your crawl data is efficient and allows for more powerful analysis.
#1. Spot Inactive Pages
One of the main goals of SEO today is to improve the ratio of active pages of a given website. Active pages are pages that receive at least one visit from organic results, whereas inactive pages are pages that don’t receive any SEO traffic. Inactive pages don’t have a lot of value and are wasting your crawl budget. The purpose is not only to know where those active pages are, but also to identify the type of pages that generate traffic from search results. This data — combined with other metrics like crawl ratio or depth — is the key indicator to follow when building your SEO strategy.
Since Google gives you a limited crawl budget, you want to make sure that the search engine is crawling your most important pages. The best way to identify those inactive pages is by looking into your logs. However, accessing your logs can sometimes be difficult. An alternative solution is to combine your crawl data with Google Analytics. By knowing your active pages, you will be able to:
- — Decide to keep them and optimize them in order to improve their positions using the right keywords;
- — Decide to keep them and use them to send link juice to pages that are less active;
- — Decide to remove them by using 301 redirects to pages that deal with the same information
Depending on your group of pages, the strategy won’t be the same. Inactive pages in competitive groups should be your top priority.
#2. Identify How Your Content Influences Your SEO Traffic
Using your Google Analytics in combination with an SEO crawler can also tell you how your content is impacting your SEO traffic. To optimize your content strategy, it might be useful to understand whether the length of your content has an impact on your bounce rate. Of course, bounce rate depends on a variety of factors, such as the specificity of your industry, popularity of your topic and on-page SEO elements. Yet, the density of your content can have an even bigger impact on your bounce rate and on your rankings. In most cases, pages with less than 300 words have high bounce rate and low time-on-site.
Also, you should take into account that your meta tags effect search rankings. When it comes to active pages, meta tags are especially important: they can increase your active pages' rankings in SERPs, and hence improve your traffic and conversions. By combining your Google Analytics with crawl data, you can evaluate your meta tags and tell which ones are duplicated, unique or not set. Your titles should be unique as well, since having too many duplicated titles can lower your SEO performance, and thus minimize the reach of your active SEO pages.
#3. Detect Your SEO Orphan Pages
Combining your Google Analytics with your crawl data can help you detect active orphan pages. Those pages are generating SEO traffic from the SERPs, but they don’t belong to the structure of your website. It means that your crawler might not find those pages, but Google Analytics does. While orphan pages don’t have any SEO value and are just wasting your crawl budget, active orphan pages are valuable, since they drive qualified traffic. You should identify those pages accurately, so you can reattach them to your website’s structure and maximize their potential.
Also, you should segment your website with page groups. Indeed, it is much easier to identify where your ratio of active orphan pages is the most important. If you spot too many active orphan pages that are also pages that convert the best, you are losing chances to maximize your conversions. You should detect your top active orphan pages and see which ones drive the most SEO traffic. Those pages could be integrated to your website’s structure to increase your conversions.
To sum up, Google Analytics is a great partner when auditing the SEO performance of a website. While the majority of this information can also be found in your logs, it is sometimes hard to access them or invest in a log analysis solution. As a way out of this problem, you can try to use SEO crawlers, like OnCrawl, as they let you connect your Google Analytics with your crawl data and access combined analysis of crawl and traffic data.