Google Analytics Part I of III: The Basics of ROI for SEO

For businesses looking to deflect the impact of this economic downturn, analyzing return on investment (ROI) is more critical than ever. And the key to that is choosing the most trackable of marketing options, of which search engine optimization ranks close to the top. In fact, according to a recent online poll, SEO is the number one internet marketing tool that website owners plan to use over the next six months, with blogging and cost per click advertising ranking second and third.

Of all the tools you may use to track ROI for your internet marketing, the most important one to master is Google Analytics. Last week, this fact was reinforced at an SEO seminar where much of the focus was on this valuable tool.

In this first installment of a 3-part series on Google Analytics, let's start with the basics.

Through your Google Analytics account, you can easily determine the ROI for your SEO by tracking all of the following within a specified period of time, be it daily, weekly, monthly or the entire year:

  • Total number of pages viewed on your site
  • Average number of pages viewed by each visitor
  • Average time visitors spend on your site
  • Percentage of visitors that leave your site after viewing just one page
  • Percentage of new visitors to your site
  • Which countries your visitors are from
  • How visitors are finding you, including:
    • Search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc.)
    • Typing your URL into the browser
    • Referring sites that link to your site
    • Emails that link to your site
  • Top viewed pages

Though this information is especially important in determining the ROI for your search engine optimization, it's equally beneficial in terms of evaluating the effectiveness of your content.

For example, if the percentage of new visitors who find your site via search engines increases by 20 percent each month, it's really inconsequential if you're seeing similar increases in the percentage of visitors leaving your site after just one page view without converting. In that case, your SEO may be right on target, but the call to action on your pages may need to be strengthened.

Stay tuned for Google Analytics Part II: Tracking Visits from Start to Finish.

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