Part 1 in our “How-to SEO Tutorial” series covered SEO Basics, and this post will go a little deeper into SEO. We’ll cover how to track, create title tags and description templates and add them to your website.
Analytics and tracking set up is essential to do before you do any SEO. By setting a baseline before optimization, you see which of your efforts work and which don’t. Ideally, set up Google Analytics one month before you begin optimization. Set up rank tracking about 7-10 days before you start optimizing.
Tracking really involves three main tools: Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Rank tracking. Let’s discuss each of these so you can put them to use. With all the available SEO tools, don’t guess, you don’t have to!
Google Analytics is a platform that collects data for useful business reports. It’s essentially a tool to track and obtain reports for website traffic, but it doesn’t track rankings. Google Analytics helps you discover how many visitors your site received, how long they stayed on your site, where your customers are located, etc. You can use the information that you gathered about what online behaviors led to purchases in order to reach more customers. This information can include how much time was spent, how many pages were visited, what city the visitor is viewing your site from and whether a visitor only viewed one page and left the site, which is known as a “bounce.” Your site’s “bounce rate” is how many visitors only visited one page and left your site.
You can get Google Analytics setup by following a few simple steps. First, you need to set up a Google Analytics account. To set it up, go to Google.com/analytics and create an account. Next, go to Admin in Google analytics to add a new property for your website.
Add a UA (Tracking Code)
You’ll place a small piece of code, which includes a UA code, within <head></head> tags to track data. This tracking code will collect data on your website users. All of this data gets packaged and sent off to Google Analytics so you can create reports.
Here’s the instructions for adding to the <head> tag with an example of the code:
If you use a content management system (CMS) to edit your website, you will just have to have the UA code. CMS examples include WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, Shopify, etc. In WordPress or any CMS, there will be a place to insert the UA code. The UA code that looks like UA-######-##. Here’s an example what it may look like in your CMS.
Google Search Console
Next up is Google Search Console. Google’s Search Console provides tools and reports to help you measure your site’s Search traffic and performance and fix issues.
First, you’ll need to go to https://search.google.com/search-console/welcome and create an account. Next, set up Google Search Console “Ownership verification.” There are several options to verify, but if your set up of Google Analytics was successful in the previous step, use the “Google Analytics” verification option.
Go to Admin in Google search console to add a new property for your website. Then, add your URL to Google console. The reasoning for doing this is that it hands over your URL to Google on a silver platter rather than waiting for web crawlers to find your site. You will need to complete this process a total of four different ways for a secured website for each prefix of your URL including: http://domain.com, http://www.domain.com, https://domain.com, and https://www.domain.com
Keyword Rank Tracking
A keyword rank tracking tool, like keyword.com, is a valuable resource. A keyword rank tracker allows you to track your website’s rankings for target keywords in Google’s top organic search results. Tracking your keywords over time shows you how well your optimization efforts work. There are plenty of available rank-tracking tools, so you can select the right tool for you. We use keyword.com (previously known as SerpBook) and WebCEO’s SEO tools.
Before you get carried away entering your ideal keywords, make sure you review our post on Keyword Selection. The first step involves a little research and some brainstorming. Research takes time, but it’s crucial for long-term results. You may know what you want to rank for, but what you’re actually ranking for (in terms of your audience) might be different. You’ll need to think like your audience and use keyword data to determine potential keywords for successful SEO.
That’s as far as we’ll go in this post for tracking. Check out our post about Tracking SEO to learn more about tracking you can do.
How are you doing with all of this info? Have any questions about tracking and analytics? If so, we can help answer questions and we’d love to chat about SEO. Please reach out if you have SEO questions or go ahead and get your FREE SEO Analysis!