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Google Analytics has been an invaluable tool for SEO specialists, enabling them to delve into valuable insights through its comprehensive reports. However, as the discontinuation of Google Universal Analytics (UA) approaches in 2023, a pertinent question emerges: How can we continue accessing these valuable insights within GA4?
To maximise the potential of this update, careful planning and familiarisation with the reports are essential before the complete transition. Planning and executing a smooth GA4 migration is essential to seamlessly transition your analytics data and configurations to the upgraded platform, enabling you to unlock the enhanced capabilities and insights offered by GA4.
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Read on to discover how you can harness the power of your new analytics platform to maintain your SEO prowess.
When assessing SEO performance, one crucial metric to consider is the volume of organic search traffic directed to your website. With GA4, you can easily examine this by referring to the Acquisition reports. To access these reports, navigate to Reports > Life cycle > Acquisition. Within this section, you will find three default reporting options: Acquisition Overview, User Acquisition and Traffic Acquisition.
The Acquisition Overview report provides a comprehensive dashboard that summarises your website’s traffic, with several cards linking to more detailed reports. These reports offer valuable insights for optimising your SEO strategy.
The User Acquisition report focuses on channel data based on the initial traffic source that brought users to your website. By analysing this data, you can gain a deeper understanding of how users first discover your site and refine your marketing efforts accordingly.
Similarly, the Traffic Acquisition report emphasises channel data based on the last source that led users to land on your website. This report aids in understanding the final touchpoints that drove users to your site, allowing you to identify effective traffic sources and optimise your SEO approach.
By leveraging these reports in GA4, you can gain valuable insights into your organic search traffic and make informed decisions to enhance your SEO strategy.
Unlocking even more insights becomes exciting when you dive deeper into the data. GA4 offers a powerful comparison tool that allows you to analyse and make informed decisions for your SEO strategy. This tool, like using segments in GA-UA, stands out in GA4 for its user-friendly nature and ease of customisation.
Within GA4, all standard reports feature a filter and comparison button at the top, enabling you to precisely segment the data you want to analyse. For instance, you can filter the reports to display users who arrived at your site organically. By utilising the drop-down, you can modify the default channel group and compare the performance across different search engines, such as “Google / organic” versus “Bing / organic.”
Additionally, you can explore the performance of your organically performing landing pages by changing the filter to landing page + query string. Extend the use of the filter tool to other reports, including GA4 Events in the Engagement section.
By selecting and updating the audience filter, which is typically set to ‘All Users’ by default, you can focus on your key audience and gain insights into their interactions with your website. To further analyse the data, consider combining the table with a secondary dimension, such as content type, for deeper insights.
With GA4, you have the recommended events feature that provides valuable insights for optimizing you SEO strategy. Leveraging Google GA4 allows you to unlock a wealth of data and gain a comprehensive understanding of your website’s performance.
Analysing the key metrics available in GA4 reports is essential for evaluating the effectiveness of your SEO campaign and understanding user behaviour.
Here are some relevant metrics for measuring organic performance:
These metrics provide valuable insights into the performance and effectiveness of your SEO strategy within the GA4 analytics platform.
If you haven’t already integrated your GA4 property with Google Search Console (GSC), I highly recommend doing so. This integration unlocks a range of new reports that enable you to analyse GSC data directly within GA4. Once connected, you will automatically see two new reports in the GA4 navigation menu: the Google Organic Search Traffic report and the Queries report.
These reports provide valuable SEO-specific metrics, including:
You can examine these metrics concerning the landing page or search query, depending on the chosen report. This integration offers a convenient way to view your top-line metrics and performance in a single location, allowing for a comprehensive analysis of both GSC and GA4 data.
When analysing website traffic, it is crucial to consider both seasonality and trends. Seasonality refers to predictable patterns of behaviour that occur during specific seasons or holidays, while trends represent the overall patterns of behaviour that show increases or decreases over time.
Understanding both factors can help explain any anomalies in your data. For instance, seasonality can account for a high position of a landing page or query but a drop in traffic.
GA4’s standard reports feature line graphs that provide a visual representation of these seasonal patterns and trends. These graphs enable you to easily identify consistent increases, decreases, spikes, or drops in the data within a specific period, making it simpler to detect patterns or trends in user behaviour.
By leveraging these visualisations, you can gain valuable insights into the impact of seasonality and trends on your website’s traffic.
Learn More: Optimising Landing Pages for SEO
By integrating GA4 with BigQuery, you can unlock advanced analysis capabilities and gain deeper insights into your SEO data. BigQuery’s warehouse functionality allows you to access and store a significantly larger dataset, which is crucial for identifying meaningful patterns and trends.
While GA4 only displays data from the moment tracking is set up and has a maximum retention period of 14 months for user and event data, connecting it to BigQuery provides access to all your raw data. This means you can examine a more extensive time to investigate web traffic trends, resulting in a clearer understanding of patterns that may emerge.
Furthermore, exporting data from GA4 to BigQuery enables the use of SQL queries for performing sophisticated analysis and creating custom segments. This empowers you to uncover patterns that may not be immediately apparent in the GA4 interface, enabling you to make more informed decisions regarding your SEO strategies.
Leveraging the capabilities of BigQuery adds depth and flexibility to your analysis, enhancing your ability to optimise SEO efforts effectively.
As evident, we understood what is GA4 and that it offers valuable features that can greatly benefit SEO specialists in evaluating their website’s performance. However, it is important to note that GA4 should not be the sole platform you rely on.
Instead, it should complement and work in tandem with your other primary SEO tools. By leveraging multiple platforms, you can conduct a comprehensive analysis that provides a holistic view of your SEO efforts.
If you require assistance in understanding and enhancing your SEO strategies or need guidance on utilising the GA4 interface to support your work, our team of experts is here to help. Feel free to reach out to us for professional guidance and support in optimising your website’s performance.
Learn More: Holistic SEO