How well are you doing in Google for the really important stuff?

Last spring I described a great analytics report which everyone should have. It gave you a general idea of how well you were doing in Google for the generic search terms you really want to be found for: the “blue widget” searches. It showed you how to ignore the searches on the company name. How quickly things change. Within weeks, Google started to remove the reporting on specific search terms, so that nowadays when you look under “organic keywords”, you just see the dreaded “(not provided)” for almost all your visits.

So what can be done about this? How can we track how much generic search traffic you’re getting from the search engines? How can we filter out the bulk of search engine traffic which is just searches on the company name?

An alternative is to think of it like this: searches on the company name are going to end up with search engine users being sent to your home page. So why not measure the search engine traffic to everywhere except your home page? This is quite straightforward to do. You could even get smarter, if you felt there was significant traffic to individual product names, and if your website URL structure allows it, by ignoring traffic to entire sections of the website, such as product pages.

For example, I want to know how well this blog (on my website) is performing in Google. So I set up a “segment” in Google Analytics for visits where the landing page was the blog. Then I looked at the sources of traffic (now limited to those visits coming straight to the blog), and picked out “google/organic”. Now I’m seeing the number of visits which Google sent straight to my blog pages.

I also used Google Analytics’ “compare to previous date range” function to superimpose last year’s performance on this year’s. From the results (below), I can see that Google sent a lot more people to my blog in 2013 than it did in 2012 …but that was only because there was a period in 2012 when it sent hardly any visits at all (see – it can happen to anyone). In fact, the Google traffic to the blog has been falling steadily since last May, and that’s something I should be concerned about – or at least it should be if I thought that blog visits were an important source of new business.

google-traffic

If you’re interested in this sort of report and are one of our clients, I’ll willingly set one up for you. Just ask.

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