Any good SEO provider will include in their project process a recommendation stage, whereby they identify certain pages to optimize for certain keywords. Of course, with the various algorithm updates over the past several years it is now almost pointless to attempt to optimize one page on a site for a theme unrelated to the rest of the site. For example, if I establish a 95% optimize rate on a page for the term ‘tires’ on a website that sells televisions, I will have an uphill battle getting that page to rank against sites whose prevalent themes relate to tires. That improvement to the science of ranking relevance was part of what the Panda algorithm was all about.
As we all know, the utterly annoying and counter-productive “(not provided)” label pertaining to organic keyword data in Google Analytics reports makes it nearly impossible to tie keyword traffic to specific web pages. It is not an issue of clearly identifying what pages within a domain rank well for certain keywords across the various search engines; there are plenty of software products you can use for that. The challenge is: how do you actually measure or quantify the number of organic website visits to those pages that any improvement on those rankings has generated, when you cannot – under any circumstances, see any keyword associated directly to any page?
The answer is: you can’t. For the most part, the reporting will need to occur at the domain level. When you start a project, make SURE you have analytics all setup and that you know the current rate of organic traffic to the site. As rankings improve, you should see a commensurate rise in the rate of organic traffic. If not, while it is great that you are having success getting the domain to rank higher for those keywords – the harsh reality is that the keywords you have optimized for are not adding any value.
If, however, you are seeing some gains – you need to dig further and see what is really working and capitalize on it for your customer. How do you do it?
There are two primary sources:
- The ‘search queries’ table in Google Webmaster Tools
- The ‘paid & organic’ report in Google AdWords
Option 1 is very clean and easy-to-read. Option 2, if you are an AdWords advertiser, is much cooler. It contains much of the same data as Webmaster Tools, but it also juxtaposes paid and organic performance.
We have some great ways to better analyze site performance on both keyword and page level. For example, the chart below shows how we look at keywords and leverage a new “Calculated visits” formula; that is, we have industry leading software that can calculate your current keyword traffic with 91% precision – making it that much easier and more efficient to see which keywords bring the most visits, which pages get those visits, and see what the bounce rate for those visits looks like – all in one place and via one report!