Saturday, October 8, 2011

Google Analytics (New Version) & SEO Reports

Google has added SEO reporting to the new version of Google Analytics, which is currently in testing mode but accessible to anyone with an analytics account. Going against the traditional grain of holding their card close to their proverbial chest, it seems that Google to some capacity is making it easier for SEO professionals, webmasters, and company owners to analyze their campaigns and make adjustments based off of such analysis. Regardless of how these reports will be altered moving forward before Google eliminates the old version of analytics, this is certainly a step in the right direction regarding the oft tense relationship between search engines and the SEO industry.

Reports: there are 3 new reports in the new version of analytics. They are the Queries, Landing Pages, and Geographical Summary reports. The Queries report allows one to analyze keywords that are driving traffic to the site. The Landing Pages report allows one to analyze web page performance in the search engine results pages (SERPs). And the Geographical Summary report allows one to identify what regions of the globe their web traffic is coming from.

Metrics: what makes these reports different from what is accessible in the current version of analytics is the metrics that Google is giving us access to. They are the following: impressions, clicks, average position, and click through rate. This is the first time that through analytics one has the ability to assess how may times their site is showing up in the SERPs, the keywords that are triggering such visibility, and how many people are actually clicking through to a landing page.

Limitations: it is difficult to measure any significant drawbacks of these new reporting features due to the fact that Google just made them accessible within the last week or so. The data just isn't there yet. With that in mind, we know that the new version of analytics is not yet "live", that is, developed to the extent that Google wants the software before eliminating the current version. These reports are basic, and do not provide cross-referencing metrics for actual conversions. This could prevent sites from determining at a more confident level what keywords are really driving form submissions, phone calls, or sales for e-commerce sites.

For now, the SEO industry and anyone  should be happy that these reports are accessible, and take advantage of the data that was once not available to improve on and further develop a well rounded campaign. It isn't often that we can all acknowledge that Google is voluntarily making our jobs easier. As these reports are enhanced (or removed - hopefully not!) I will ensure that I keep everyone apprised as to what those changes are and any potential impact they may have, positive or negative, on the world of search engine optimization.

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