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Measuring your Google search performance through analytics

How do you measure how well you’re doing in the Google search results? Sure, you can just look at Google traffic, but this may be misleading. For many companies, Google appearances are dominated by searches on their company name, which can vary in volume for all sorts of reasons. You can monitor the position of your website for specific searches, but they’ll be a very small sample of overall traffic, and could easily go down while general ‘long-tail’ searches are going up.

This was an analysis we wanted to make for one of our clients this month, so here’s what we did.

Firstly, we went to the ‘landing pages’ report in Google Analytics. Then we decided what traffic we wanted to focus on, and set up a segment to cover that. In this case, it was traffic from ‘organic search’ (which would be mainly the Google results) and which turned out to be worthwhile. For this company, that meant visits which spent some time on the site (more than 20 seconds) and were from the UK.

Finally, we set up a filter to only look at visits which arrived on product pages. We weren’t implying that visits which arrive on the home page (the majority) aren’t worthwhile, but we wanted to see how we’re doing for product-related searches.

The results for the company concerned were excellent. Over a five year period (see below), this quality traffic from Google had more than doubled on a monthly basis. There is no indication that searches have been increasing in volume in the company’s market sector, so we can conclude that the success is down to improved Google results page positioning and click-through rate.

As we know the company concerned well, tomorrow I’ll discus what might have contributed to this impressive chart.


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