Google Analytics doesn’t provide much SEO data by default. A few simple tweaks will give a more complete view of how organic search is affecting your website.
FOR THE IMPATIENT: If you want to skip my setup and get right down to the nitty-gritty, here’s the scoop: We’ve put together a how-to guide that tells you how to connect Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. The benefit is that you get awesome and thorough data in your Google Analytics account (the default SEO data is lacking). For the not-so-impatient, keep reading.
Thinking about search engine optimization (SEO)? Of course you are – we all are. And Google Analytics seems like it’s positioned to provide some extremely valuable data that will help with SEO.
But there’s a twist.
By default, Google Analytics doesn’t show you very much in the way of organic (unpaid) search data. The regular old organic search report (Acquisition > Keywords > Organic) puts most everything under the "(not provided)" bucket.
While it may be a pain for analysts, Google has valid reasons for obscuring the majority of keywords: namely, the privacy of their users. If someone is logged into his or her Google account and performs a search, the interaction takes place over a secure connection. In these cases, the keyword data cannot be passed to Google Analytics. And it turns out that most folks are logged into their Google accounts. Here’s a month of data from on one of our Google Analytics properties. You can see that almost 91 percent of search queries for the month fell into the "(not provided)" bucket. So we’re only seeing 9 percent of keywords that led users to our website! That’s simply not good enough.
Getting the organic search data back into your Google Analytics account
We have good news for you, though. There is a way to get a better picture of your website’s organic search results. Google Webmaster Tools provides great insight into organic search data, but it requires you to log in to another, separate tool.
The best solution is to connect Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. That way, you get the full spectrum of organic keyword data, but it’s available to you from within the Google Analytics interface. You can get things such as clickthrough-rates (CTR) on organic search terms, average position of your site’s pages in Google search results, and the total number of impressions your pages are getting in search. You can even see the top pages on your site that users are landing on after performing searches.
We’ve put together a handy guide (with screenshots!) for connecting Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. If you’re interested, you can fill out a simple form and grab the PDF.
Once you’ve completed the connection, the data will be available within the Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization section of Google Analytics. The benefits of having this data far outweigh the small investment of time to get it up and running.
So what are you waiting for? Grab our guide, and start looking at that valuable SEO data!