How Analyzing Organic Traffic Patterns Can Improve Your SEO Strategy
When you are analyzing your weekly SEO reports and dashboards, it can be easy to get overwhelmed with the sheer volume of data at your fingertips.
This can lead you to overvalue vanity metrics. These are metrics that inflate your ego since they usually go up and to the right, but don’t tie back to a business goal.
Instead, one of the most valuable things you can do is look for patterns and trends in your organic search traffic over time.
“The traffic should be compared either with the previous month (for non-seasonal websites) or relevant last year’s period (for seasonal businesses),” says Slawek Czajkowski of Surfer. “Numbers, along with taken actions, should be explained comprehensively for the client, especially if the change in traffic was a succession of our SEO strategy.”
Here are four key areas to look at.
General Organic Search Trends
“A great starting point is looking at organic search trends,” says Raine Gaisford of LimeHub. “From there, it’s a filter-down approach looking into what has impacted those trends, which keywords are performing best, which carry the highest conversion rates, etc. Once a picture has been painted, then an action plan can be put together. Metrics are essential to reporting but still require a plan for continuous improvement.”
Dylan Zsigray of Kiwi Creative adds, “You devote time and energy to SEO to boost your organic search performance on Google. As such, as you begin to rank better on SERPs, you hope that the percentage of organic users on your website will increase. But, if you notice your organic acquisition percentage is stagnant or decreasing month-over-month or quarter-over-quarter, then it opens a discussion for additional changes that need to be made. While a website’s organic acquisition is not the only determiner of SEO success, it does provide insight into what’s working and what’s not. To take this further, you can also look at the source on a page-by-page basis to see what content your users find valuable and which are boosting your SEO growth.”
Branded v. Non-Branded Keywords
Are you getting more non-branded keyword rankings over time?
Charlie Whitworth of WhitworthSEO says, “Although Google Search Console is by no means the perfect solution to this, it’s a great start and should inform the start of your analysis into how your SEO efforts are impacting non branded performance. This can be easily interrogated and reported on using Google Search Console and allows you to track impressions and clicks and correlate with your implementation.”And, are people clicking on these pages?
Gennady Lager of DealNews“With the ever-changing nature of search results and the massive shift to mobile web, click-through rate (CTR) is more important than ever,” says “Traditional organic rankings no longer tell a well-represented story due to devices types, new ad units, featured snippets, and more. Everyone should use Google Search Console to understand the trends of their CTR’s at the page and keyword levels to see if their SEO efforts are panning out.”
Page Growth Trends
In addition, look to see which pages are generating the most search traffic. If search traffic keeps going up, you can find ways to increase the conversion rate. For example, you can use a content upgrade to collect email addresses.
Or, if you notice that the page was ranking well and is getting less search traffic, then it might be time to analyze that page further. Is the overall search volume for that keyword going down? If not, it might be time to update the content on that page.
“Dwell time is an underrated, but super important metric,” says Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media Studios. “It’s the one user interaction signal that correlates with the quality and is a likely search ranking factor. Dwell time is the average time on the page when the visitor comes from search. Check dwell time for specific URLs. If anything clocks in lower than the site average, go improve those pages by adding detail, data, examples, or contributor quotes.”
In conclusion, it is important to analyze the SEO traffic data that you are collecting. This can help you spot trends and patterns faster.