Tracking SEM more effectively

In Analytics by Marius Badenhorst

New Google Analytics filters and methods pop up all the time from various sources. Sometimes the simplest of filters or tweaks within your analytics that are all that is needed to help you track your SEM more effectively and streamline your process. So, you have setup a large SEO campaign, traffic increases can be seen and all seems to be well, but are you refining your strategy effectively over time to ultimately show that much needed ROI figure?

Organic Search

Ranking reports are good and well, however, we all know that the SERPS change daily, even hourly and running ranking reports every day is simply a waste of time. If you are using Google Analytics, you are able to track your search phrase rankings (positions) in analytics that result in clicks and the traffic your site receives. This information will help you decide which search phrases and “pages” require additional work as well as fine tune your optimised pages for your “money” phrases.

Do you have a members or login area within your site? You may want to track members VS non members within your analytics. You can do this using the Google Analytics setVar method, which you can use to “label” members visiting your site (seen within the user defined section in analytics).

setVar pagetracker in Google Analytics

Remember to only add this line of code in your GA tracking script to one page within the member area that will be seen by all members. This will help track performance of non member traffic to the site through informational or transactional queries (even navigational).

Paid Search

You should have goals setup within your Google analytics profile. Import your analytics goals into your AdWords account and use the conversion metric to help refine your AdWords campaigns. This can be found under the Reporting section in AdWords and then the “conversions” screen.

Import Analytics Goals into AdWords

Do you know what search phrases resulted in your AdWords ad clicks? If you are running phrase or broad match types for your PPC campaigns create a new analytics website profile and apply term filter to this profile. This will help you to track the actual PPC search phrases that resulted in the clicks for your campaigns.

Conversions & Goal Tracking

Is your website ecommerce enabled? Enable ecommerce tracking within your analytics profile and update the GA tracking script on your receipt page. Track ROI off any marketing campaigns that may be running such as email marketing right through to SEO & PPC. Simple enough, however you would be surprised by how many ecommerce sites are not using ecommerce tracking within analytics.

Run an ecommerce site with the ecommerce tracking enabled and create successful/failed transaction goals to help with conversion analysis and data to help improve the purchase funnel. Are buyers falling out the funnel when selecting payment options or typing the card details incorrectly?

Not running an ecommerce website but you still want to track the most valuable pages on your site? Assign a value to your analytics goals, allowing you to use the $index value within analytics reports to monitor the top earning pages or those pages that should be performing better than they currently are.

Assigning Goal Value in Analytics

Don’t have a specific URI to use for goals? This may be the case for downloads or click events such as mailto scripts. Track these with custom onClick tracking:

onClick Pageview Tracker in Google Analytics

This can be used to track contact using mailto, or for those with blogs wanting to track comments as goals, then use the onClick tracker on the post comment button. As the script is customisable and will appear as a URI within your analytics content report, you are also able to use this URI to set up goals in analytics.

Keep your data clean

Always keep a backup analytics website profile. When creating filters it is usually best to apply new filters to a new website profile. If anything goes wrong, you have a backup profile to fallback on.

Exclude your internal traffic and website owner traffic using exclude filters for specific IP address ranges. No point including your own visits within your analytics reports.

WordPress users create an exclude filter for your page/post previews, get rid of those pesky preview=true occurrences within you analytics content drilldown reports.

About the Author

Marius Badenhorst