Fundamentals of SEO – Part 1: Using Analytics to Define Successful Searches

We see a lot of clients who want and need help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Moz, one of the leading SEO experts, describes SEO as “the practice of improving and promoting a web site in order to increase the number of visitors the site receives from search engines. There are many aspects to SEO, from the words on your page to the way other sites link to you on the web.” This series will focus on the “words on your page,” or “On-Site SEO.”

This article is Part 1 in our series on Building a Great SEO Strategy. The series will focus on on-site tactics to help your company or organization with SEO. Part 1 focuses on how Google Analytics can provide the fundamentals of a great SEO strategy.

At KW2, our SEO team looks at data in Google Analytics to find out what the client’s current site users have in common to provide a starting point for SEO. Let’s examine further at what data we look at, how we help businesses define their SEO objectives, and how we build keyword categories to help our clients enhance their online presence for future success.

Weeding Out Searches That Include the Company Name

We put the most value on the search terms that do not include the company or brand name, since these words are what someone searches for when they aren’t already familiar with the company. These are the kinds of site visits and search terms our team wants to learn more about, so we can use information to capture more searches like them.

This information helps us find common trends among new visitors and their behavior on-site. Keep in mind, the way someone interacts with a website is very different depending on whether they have been there many times, or never before. For many of our clients, one key area of growth is the website’s ability to bring in new potential customers. Therefore, we want to understand as much as we can about someone who landed on KW2 by searching for “local advertising agency,” and we place less emphasis on someone who landed on our site after typing in “KW2 Ideas in Madison Wisconsin.”

Time On-Site and Bounce Rate by Keyword

Once we’ve narrowed our Analytics view to people who just learned about the organization (“advertising agency” rather than “KW2”), we sort the remaining keywords to find those with the best time on-site and the lowest bounce rate. This information helps us find out—of the people entering terms that bring up the site—which of these people thought the site’s content was relevant to their search, and which of these people exited because they did not find what they were looking for.

If a keyword consistently results in a high bounce rate, we can assume that users have something different in mind when they enter that keyword. For a more detailed look at what this looks like within Google Analytics or how we’d suggest improving it, check out our blog post that illustrates a working example.

On-Site Actions and Goal Conversions by Keyword and by Keyword Category

Next, KW2 uses site analytics to find out which keywords (or categories of keywords) consistently produce desired on-site user actions. Do searches within one category of terms consistently bring in new social media follows? Does one keyword category usually result in the visitor filling out a contact form? If so, KW2 suggests exploring these terms more to bring in similar types of traffic.


Want to learn more about how to use Google Analytics to find out about how potential customers are searching for you? Contact Us or leave a comment below.

Next up in our series on Building Great SEO Strategies:


Fundamentals of SEO Example: Successful (and unsuccessful) Search Terms

In a previous post we discussed how to spot problematic keyword phrases using information from Google Analytics. Here’s a detailed example of what that might look like, and what we’d suggest to do about it.

In this example we’ll consider an organization that raises awareness about types of child abuse and neglect, and provides services and education to help reduce these types of abuse. This example is not based on any real client of KW2 and is meant to help illustrate a concept regardless of industry or topic area.

Fundamentals of SEOOver time this scenario would hurt the organization’s website ranking because Google sees high bounce rates as a sign of site irrelevance. However, that doesn’t mean the organization should avoid talking about stress—it just means they should start talking about it in clearer ways. Here are some tips KW2 would offer this organization to help filter out the wrong searches, and bring in the right searches:

o   When talking about “stress” on-site, always use “toxic stress” in the phrase, never just “stress” on its own.

o   Add crucial on-site SEO elements: Page Titles, meta-descriptions and alt attributes for images.

  • Page Titles for this example should mention the nonprofit’s name, and should include a phrase such as “Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect” in the page title. This will appear in search results, and will help people understand what this website covers.
  • Meta-Descriptions usually appear below the page title in search results, and can help users learn more about what’s on the page before they click. This is usually 150 characters and summarizes the content on the page.
  • Alt Attributes in images will not appear to most users, but they help Google classify your page. For example, the images of infants found on the site in this example should be labeled “toxic stress in infants.” Google will then “know” that the site talks about type of stress in infants, not stress in the workplace.


Want to learn more about how to use Google Analytics to find out about how potential customers are searching for you? Contact Us or leave a comment below.

Looking for more?

Fundamentals of SEO – Part One: Using Analytics to Define Successful Searches

Fundamentals of SEO – Part Two: Developing a Keyword Strategy (coming soon)

Fundamentals of SEO – Part Three: Keyword Optimization and On-Site Implementation (coming soon)



The Google Analytics Tools You Need to Apply Right Now (Part 1 of 3)

Get ready for a bold statement folks: Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful tool that can help you look at past results, present performance and future strategies for websites. Knowing its capabilities, and leveraging the data to achieve your goals are invaluable. This is the first of a three-part blog series to explain some basics of Google Analytics that aren’t always considered when it comes to integrating it into websites.

To really get a good sense of your website’s success, it’s more than just looking at an increase in visits or a decrease in bounce rate, month over month. There is so much to unearth, but knowing where and how to begin Analytics integration is key. All the data in the world is useless, if not set up properly and strategically. There are many lesser-known aspects of Analytics that should be considered and implemented as you create a website or online campaign. In this post, I’ll give you two important ones that are simpler than you may think.

Take advantage of Views
In Analytics, you create one Account. Under that account, you have Properties, which are the different sites (or apps) you want to track. For each site, you can create multiple Views. Depending on your goals and objectives for your website, applying different Views can quickly give you the specific information you need, based on the settings, dimensions and Filters you assign. For example, if your sales team is divided among the United States, Canada and Mexico, it may be beneficial to create an individual View for each country. As a result, each salesperson doesn’t have to sift through the cumulative data of every country to find their unique statistics. Another example: creating a mobile and desktop View to see only the data from either of those devices. Regardless, even if you decide you do not need multiple Views, it is important to create a test View. This will allow you to make new changes in your criteria for gathering information without being detrimental to your site’s results. Once you’re pleased with its setup, apply those settings to your main data View.

Filter out the unnecessary data
To take advantage of Views, we’ll need to set up filters. Analytics’ filters are crucial to collecting the best information from your site’s performance, and nothing is more frustrating than skewed and inaccurate data. You can filter nearly anything you can think of. Definitely filter out your internal employees’ visits via an IP address filter. If one of your Views is only concerned with sales and revenue, filter out the job board sites. If you only care about visitors coming from desktop computers, remove the mobile and tablet visits. If you think it’s a filter that will stick around indefinitely, save it as a View.

An important note: Always keep an unfiltered/original View for raw information, and as a backup for your data. After that, add as many unique and customized Views as you want. Make sense? (Call me if it doesn’t – I dream in Analytics)

Some of these tools are very easy to implement, however, others may take serious time and effort, requiring some research, testing (that’s where a test View comes in handy) and even programming. Remember that altering the data Google gathers for you will be applied from that moment and onward. Analytics doesn’t store information, “just in case,” if you tell it to exclude the data from the beginning. Therefore, be sure you’re monitoring your filters and data in the beginning, and be prepared to make adjustments on the fly if you aren’t satisfied with the information you are or are not gathering. Filters and Views implementations make your website’s data indisputable and reputable. Keep an eye out for the next post in this series where I will discuss Goals and the strategies that will be useful for your Analytics information.