If you’re in the world of search engine optimization (SEO), or you’re looking to enter the world of SEO, this blog will showcase a few methods to track your SEO work with Google Analytics.

Before we get started, three disclosures:

  1. I’m going to base these ideas on the general idea of SEO = more traffic to your site (versus just increase in rankings)
  2. For link building, there’s one main rule -- get desired anchor text links on desirable websites that match your business niche.
  3. Google has made it harder to track SEO in the past year or so, so it’s not a perfect model.

For this example, I’m going to pretend I got a few good links for SharePoint courses on a few SharePoint related sites, and I want to track results, if any.

Landing Pages Report

In this report, found under the Content reports, we can see which pages people are landing on. In essence, most website’s homepages will rank as the best landing page. And assuming your SEO efforts focus on inner pages, this report may be very key to your success rates.

If you have only done SEO outreach and gathered links for Page A, you could simply use this report to see how much your traffic has increased. If you have had Page A on your site for a while and you added a recent SEO push to the mix, we’ll need to mix in a Secondary dimension of Keyword.

This new report view will show your most popular landing pages mixed in with organic keywords that got visitors to that page. Notice any SEO jumps? One note here too -- Google has a privacy setting where you may see (not provided) a lot. Unfortunately, this is just a setting we need to try and work around.

Referring Sites Report

This report, found under the Traffic Sources reports, will really help your SEO measurements because you can see exactly what external websites brought you traffic. Assuming you’ve created a spreadsheet of your SEO outreach, take a look at this report and see if you notice any of those sites that you have incoming links from.

Not only will this report prove that your incoming links are helping with SEO, more importantly, it will show you if those links are powerful enough to get people to click on them and come onto your website. Now that’s an SEO win!

Webmasters Integration

Lastly, probably the best SEO tool Google offers is their Google Webmasters service. This will allow you to see which incoming links they’ve indexed and also how many times your website showed up in search results for specific terms.

You can integrate your Google Webmasters account with Google Analytics. Once you setup the integration in the Admin panel, the Search Engine Optimization report opens up under Traffic Sources.

The biggest benefit here is the Queries report. This report will show how many times your keywords have been displayed to Google users when they search for your desired keywords. Keep an eye on this report at least once a month and see if your SEO efforts are paying off and you’re increasing impressions for your targeted keywords.

And that's a wrap for this article! If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below. I’ll have more Google Analytics articles coming up. And I’ll leave you with one thought -- stay away from grey areas when it comes to SEO. While shortcuts may save you time now and boost your traffic, Google is smart, and there’s a very good chance “black hat” tactics will come back to haunt you in the future.

Editor's Note: Bob has many tips for making the most of Google Analytics. To get more, read Content Marketing with Google Analytics