Making Analytics Actionable: How to Improve SEO by Employing Data & Metrics (with SEOmoz’s Rand Fishkin)

Rand’s going to talk about how to make standard metrics actionable. [woot]

To make Analytics actionable, always ask:

Why am I measuring this?

What would I do if results were different?

Search Referral Analytics

# of visits per search engine over time – You want to see this number increase over time, in relationship to the search engine’s market share/overall global growth [Action: find out if it’s a ranking/indexing issue]

# pages getting search referrals over time – Measure for each search engine and often. [Action: discover if indexation is an issue worth effort, read more about that here]

# of keywords sending traffic from a search engine over time – Look for increase in number of keywords sending traffic to your site – especially if you create a lot of content [Action: might be a rankings/demand issue; determine if content additions are accretive and what drives growth/shrinkage in search traffic]

Keyword Referral Analytics

# visits per keyword – Compare week by week, or even month by month [Action: Analyze top traffic drivers from a value perspective, check rankings for potential easy wins & get answers if traffic dips]

First time vs. returning visits per keyword – Business decision: which is better for you? [Action: Determine value of reaching new visitors vs. converting branded users (focus efforts on the more valuable one)]

Keyword rankings – They can be valuable! [Action: know if traffic spikes/dropoffs are from rankings, indexation or search demand shifts by matching traffic with rankings, SEOmoz has their own ranking tracker and you can track rankings using Analytics!]

Engagement Analytics

Time on site – Take it to the next level [Action: compare ROI metrics; if they correlate, improve on keywords/landing pages with low time on site]

# of Pageviews – Again, take it further than “sweet, it went up this month” [Action: Depending on your metrics, a “sweet spot” of pages browsed often dictates a conversion event – optimize towards it!]

Repeat visit ratio – [Action: Find what content/activities/referrers send engaged (read: returning) traffic and copy those while improving subpar pages]

Sharing/linking activity – Start tracking these actions, just like a conversion! [Action: Find patterns/sources that predict sharing activities (both content and CTAs) and make them testable conversion events]

Latent Conversion Tracking

Removing last-click attribution – Do you know what happens before their last click when they become a conversion? Look at full path analysis within Navigation Summary in your Analytics. This post will show you how to do this.

ROI Analytics

Lifetime Customer Value = CLTV (Customer Lifetime Value): how much money they spend, how many referrals

Cost of Acquisition = CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost): how much spent on sales, SEO, marketing, advertising


Always be asking “What’s the ROI?”


Q: In your opinion what’s the best Analytics software?
A: Depends on the person using it. Omniture experts will have difficulty with WebTrends. You can get a lot of the same information from all of the packages.

Q: Why the symmetric dip in SEOmoz’s traffic?
A: B2B websites will usually see dips on the weekends.

Q: How can I see the number of unique visitors for a particular section of my website?
A: At the bottom of Google Analytics, you can filter  landing pages based on page, like:


Q: Is there a big difference between different Analytics packages?
A:  Eric Enge did an extensive study with this at StoneTemple.

Q: Is there a way to automatically see rankings in Google Analytics?
A: Yes, here’s the Yoast link again.

Q: What’s the best tool for measuring ROI?
A:, SEOmoz uses Infusionsoft.

Q: In your opinion, what’s your favorite part about Google Analytics?
A: Simplicity; the greatest thing is it’s easy to use, fairly fast.

Q: How do you compare bounce rates with other websites in your industry?
A: Google Analytics will let you view your site stats compared to similar sites in your industry using Benchmarking. You can find these stats under Visitors > Benchmarking. [You can set your industry at the very top of the page.] It’s up to you whether you actually believe these stats or not, obviously.

Q: Tell us something about bounce rates.
A: I only care about them when they happen in my conversion funnel. Always tie it to conversion and ROI.

Q: Why is rank tracker different than actual search?
A: Make sure personalized search is off (use &pws=0 after your query); local search could also change your results.

Q: When looking at social media sites, what are the metrics to track?
A: It depends on what you want them to do. Branding? Time on site. Go to your site and look at ads? Maybe page visits.

You’ll be able to find the archive of this webinar here shortly. And here is all of the Twitter chatter about the #mozinar.

Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz

  • Great overview.

    However, I think you forgot to mention when Rand said “he was a PC” ? 😛

  • Chris,

    Right you are! Thanks for adding one of the important points I missed in 🙂