The out-of-the-box SEO (organic search) reports in Google Analytics a very limited and provides little insigths beyond the top-level KPI's. However if you take advantage of the Google Analytics Custom Reports you are able to pull out very valuable and actionable SEO insights. Below I have listed a couple of such custom SEO reports and described how to use the data you get from them.
SEO image traffic
This report shows the traffic your website is getting through Google image results. With Google still pushing even more images in high ranking positions through universal search this factor becomes increasingly important to optimize and monitor.
Non-branded SEO traffic
This report shows your SEO traffic segmented showing only your "non-branded" traffic. By "non-branded" is meant traffic from search queries where your brand name is not included. Since the branded SEO traffic is highly affected by other activities than SEO (PR, offline advertisement etc.) if you do not segment your SEO traffic into branded and non-branded trafic you do not get a useful indicator of the impact of your SEO effort.
After downloading the report you must edit the report adjusting the brand terms to your own brand. This change is done in the filter indicated below.
Another way to use this Non-branded SEO traffic is to set it up as an advanced segment which enables you to view all your Google Analytics reports viewed only from the behavior of the non-branded SEO visitor. You will probably quickly discover that this behavior differs a lot from your branded SEO traffic.
Monitor 404 backlinks pages
This report shows the 404 error pages by the landing pages triggering these error pages. By drilling down in the report for each landing page the full referral from each of the links pointing to the missing page is also shown. This insight gives the opportunity to identify deleted pages that needs to be redirected. Furthermore it is possible to reach out to the pages linking to your site and change their links to other relevant pages.
After downloading the report you must edit the report adjusting the correct page title for your 404 error pages. This change is done in the filter indicated below.
Note that the individual setup of your 404 pages might require further adjustment of the report if for example links to missing pages are redirected to a /404.html page or similar.
Besides using this report for SEO purposes you are also able to affect the overall user experience of your site by minimizing customers hitting the 404 pages. And also remember to optimize your 404 page template to help the customer getting back on track on your website.
This report shows the external websites linking and generating visitors to your site. Drilling down into these links you are able to see which pages are linked to and also the full referer from the site where the link is. These insights enables you to optimize existing backlinks by getting additional and/or more targeted links to you website
This was my contribution to Google Analytics SEO reporting which I hope you will find useful. Please share any additional Google Analytics custom report you are using for your SEO work.
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I have over 10 years of experience within online marketing from both the "buyer" and "seller" side of the online marketing table. My buying experience is from managing various online marketing projects in Nykredit, one of the largest financial companies in Denmark. My selling experience is from my current position as founder and COO in Marketing Lion an online marketing agency specializing in search marketing with offices in London and Copenhagen.