We began overhauling our SEO offerings more than a year ago and added custom monthly reporting for business owners to evaluate the marketing performance of their websites. We've received great feedback overall but felt we needed to do more to educate our clients on how to utilize these reports to make business decisions
Whether or not you are taking advantage of our monthly SEO packages, you're sure to take away useful information that will aid you in your online marketing efforts. Jason Kamara has hosted several SEO webinars over the past two years and will arm you with the knowledge you need to make the most of your monthly SEO and Google Analytics reports.
In this webinar, Jason will take you through:
- The difference between organic and local search rankings for different search engines
- Understanding reasons for fluctuating search rankings
- Evaluating the quantity, quality and source of your website visitors
- Using your custom Google Analytics dashboard to make marketing decisions
Pei En: Hi everyone! Let's get this webinar started. My name is Pei En and I'm your webinar host for today. Thank you all for joining us for "Understanding Search Ranking and Analytics Reports" with Jason Kamara. Before we begin, let's do a quick sound check. If you can hear me please type 'yes' into the questions chat box now. Alright awesome, we have yes's coming in, okay perfect!
So welcome everyone, again! As you all know we started offering out SEO packages over a year ago and while many of you are making use of our SEO offerings and are enjoying our custom monthly reporting, we want to make sure that you're fully utilizing these reports to make great business decision for your school, which is why we have Jason here today. For those of you who are not using our SEO services, this webinar is still going to be really useful to you, and you'll take away some valuable information as Jason is going to go through how to read analytics reports in general, even if they are not specifically customized by us. So learning how to make better sense of these reports in general will help you make better business decisions for your school.
Now let me introduce our presenter Jason Kamara. He is the Marketing Manager here at PerfectMind and he has presented some of our best webinars to date over the past two years relating to SEO. Jason is really an SEO expert and he's helped numerous ChampionsWay clients get their businesses straight to the top of the world searches, so you're really in a treat, and this will be a fantastic webinar today.
Before we begin, please also feel free to follow us on social media. We're on Facebook at facebook.com/championswayfans, or Twitter @championsway. We know you have a lot of questions during the webinar, so please feel free to type them into the questions chat box as we go along, and Jason will be happy to answer those questions at the end when we do our Q&A portion. So without further ado let's get started! Jason, take it away!
Jason: Thanks for the great introduction, Pei! Before I get started, once again you guys know the drill. If you can, please just type 'yes' in the chat box if you can hear me well. Pei, how are we doing?
Pei En: Yup, we've got yes's coming in.
Jason: Okay, alright awesome! Thanks everyone for joining me. It's been a while since I present in a webinar. I'm looking forward to this one because I think it really helped many school owners make the most of their search ranking and their Google Analytics reports and better use them to make online marketing decisions. For those of you that aren't current SEO clients and you're not receiving these reports, there will still be useful information and takeaways that you can apply to improve your online marketing performance. After the presentation component of the webinar, I'll have a special free offer for webinar attendees only, and this is for you who are not ongoing SEO clients. So make sure that you stay tuned in and I promise that they will be worth it. Let's jump right in!
At PerfectMind, we often communicate the importance of SEO and I'm sure many of you aware that it can be a very valuable channel, when it comes to generating new sign ups at your school. But these are some things that you may not be aware of. First is that it provides the second highest Return On Investment of all online marketing channels. This includes email marketing, social media, Pay Per Click (PPC), and display advertising. Only email marketing does better, and this is especially true for e-commerce companies. So you really are getting a good bank for your buck with SEO.
The second is that results are earned with expertise and diligence. Unlike with paid channels like Google Adwords, there are ongoing benefits. If I stop paying for ads, my website traffic drops instantly. But with SEO, you're still going to see some benefits, even if you stop optimizing. Though the benefits may not last that long and that kind of depends on what your competitors are doing. Another thing is that SEO also helps improve the quality of your content and your conversion rates.
I'm pretty sure I've said this in previous webinars but there are more than 200 ranking factors in Google search ranking algorithm, and many of them relate to the quality and relevance of your content. So it enforces you to create better content, and create a site that's more focused. By focusing your content, you're in a better position to create pages that convert better than they would otherwise. And of course that means generating more trial form submissions.
Lastly --and I know I've definitely said this-- there's no wizardry involved here. It's not magic. You can think of it this way. If I'm a new student signing up at your gym, and I say, "My goal - I want to be a black belt or purple belt," - I can't expect to achieve this overnight. If you're a fan of the '80s movies, maybe I think overnight I'm going to take lessons from Mr. Miyagi in "Karate Kid" and I'm going to beat top black belts in the tournament. No! That's not going to happen okay. It takes time, it takes expert instruction and perseverance. And the same is true with SEO. There are limited number spots available on that first page of Google search results, so you can't expect to be number one and stay number one just by plunking down a few hundred bucks a month. It's really up to you and your staff to be active on social media, to work hard to get online reviews, and to do what you can to get your brand out there. And why do we do this? To get on the first page!
So here, this is a search for a keyword with local search /. The example that I use here is 'Martial Arts Scottsdale', which is something that a prospective student in Scottsdale, Arizona might type in the search box if they're looking to start martial arts classes. So just working my way down from the top here, the first one in red, is pay to play results. This is an Adwords ad, which is also referred to as Pay Per Click (PPC). I'm not sure what the name of the school is here but they have paid. So what happens is they pay every time someone clicks on this ad. Could be a few dollars, $5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 per click.
Then working our way down here in green. These are local search results and these are earned. They're similar to Google Maps results but they're not exactly the same. In fact it's a different ranking algorithm that runs this. So you won't always have the exact same results here as you will in Google Maps. This is in particular what we do focus on for ongoing SEO clients, we focus on local.
The third type here in blue, these are also earned results and we call them organic results, but they're non-local. What this is these are results that are not impacted as much by local factors. So it's still good to be here, but really you'd rather be here in green. Why am I showing you this? Because this will help you understand more when we're looking at your search ranking reports okay, so just kind of keep this layout in mind here.
If you have a monthly SEO package with us, you should be receiving a PDF report by email and it usually comes around the 7th of each month. This is a Summary section at the top of the report. All the examples that we'll be looking at today are from current martial arts client, so we're going to be protecting their anonymity. We don't want to give away their competitive advantages, like the keywords that they're targeting, so you're going to see some pixelated sections like here for the reasons that I just alluded to.
So the top of your report, your Summary section, you have all search engines. This is a summary of ranking's changes across all six search engines that we monitor. For this particular site this month, there were 30 rankings that went up, 18 that went down, 32 stayed the same, 19 were new - what that means is that these were rankings that were previously outside of the top 50 and now they're inside the top 50, so we consider them new. And then 'Lost' is the opposite. There were 14 lost, so these are rankings that were previously in the top 50 but they're not in the top 50 this month.
Then you get the same breakdown per search engine. We have Google, Google Mobile. This is a new ranking system that we monitor separately. I'm sure you guys all know the importance of mobile. And Google actually has a separate ranking algorithm for mobile, so we track that separately. Google Maps - like I said this is a little bit different.
This top one here Google. This is Google local and Google organic, both together, whereas Google Maps is pure local, which is using the Google Maps algorithm. We also have Yahoo organic, Yahoo local, and Bing organic.
Let's take a look at the bottom half of the report. Right here you can see current rankings for each search engine keyword. I've clicked this particular report at four keywords, you can see one, two, three four, there would be more, but I clicked it at four just so that would fit nicely on the screen. You can see the rankings for each of these keywords. If we start with this keyword here in the top corner, you can see that there's a new number two ranking, and this is for local search results. You can also see there's a B here because they're used to be an alphabetized ranking. If you recall there's A B C D which isn't really used anymore, so you can kind of ignore that. But this is the green results here, okay. So the second ranking would be equivalent to this in green.
For that same keyword, there's a number four ranking that stayed the same and a number five ranking that stayed the same, on organic results, and that is the blue ones. So one, two, three - local; four, five - organic. You can see that that keyword is dominating the first page. So whatever the keyword is --it's not this one-- that person has here, number two local, number four and five organic.
Okay so moving across the columns for different search engines, you can see Google Mobile is static, nothing changes this month. Google Maps, Yahoo organic, Yahoo Local, there aren't any rankings, and it sometimes takes a while. Yahoo is notoriously slow. It is brutal getting local results from Yahoo. I don't know what's going on over there but it's really a challenge, it takes a while. Bing organic and Bing local.
I'm sure that many of you are thinking, "Well, what's the point of even looking at Yahoo and Bing?" Obviously Google is the big dog and a lot of our clients typically have 80, 85% of their search traffic coming from Google. But the thing with Yahoo and Bing is that the quality of traffic can be quite a bit better. One thing that I did notice, for example working with an e-commerce company previously, I notice that the traffic that came from Bing and Yahoo, they spent more on average. So the average checkout amount was like 10 - 15% higher than it was from people that came from Google. So they actually made me pay more attention.
Another good thing with Yahoo and Bing is that it's not as competitive, because people aren't really targeting those search engines, they're not trying to SEO for those search engines. While I don't recommend focusing your efforts on them, it is kind of nice to have and it is something that we do take a look at here for our ongoing efforts, and particularly of course, like I said, local results. Before I move on, I'm sure many of you are wondering, why do we have some results that are going up and some that are going down? Shouldn't they all be going up?
Well, rankings fluctuate okay, they're not static. Rankings can fluctuate monthly, weekly, even daily. Let's take a look at an example of this.
This is a similar report to what we just saw but it's for a different client. So these are different keywords and a different client. What you notice here, like if you look at Google results, you'll see one dropped, there's a new one, one dropped, and then we see a bunch of up and down, new, no lost. But there's still these fluctuations. This is normal, this is nothing to be alarmed about. In many ways it's similar to investing in stocks. So you shouldn't be checking your stock prices daily unless you're a stock broker, it'll drive you crazy. What we're looking for is trends. It can take months for any changes to your website or your promotional efforts to actually impact your search rankings. What you want to do is take a look over a few months to see if your rankings for your most important keywords have increased over that period. Keep in mind that many local businesses pay thousands of dollars per month to achieve top rankings for competitive keywords. But this can still be a bargain when you compare it to Adwords, when you're paying maybe $5 - 10 for a click, and that's just for a click. It's not for a new sign up, it's not even for lead, it's just for a click.
Taking a look at some of the reasons for fluctuating search results. One is changes to the search ranking algorithm. You may be familiar with some of the big ones okay. They like to use animal names, we call it the Google Zoo sometimes. So there's Penguin, Panda, Pigeon, Hummingbird. Those are the big ones. But there are more than 500 updates per year made by Google, so that equates to more than one every day.
They also change the layout of the search results periodically. For example you may recall that there used to be Adwords ads on the right side of the search results. I'll just take you back there. Here where we have the Scottsdale Martial Arts, the top, where there also used to be a bunch on the right side, but those are gone. So that's a big drastic change to the page layout.
Those layout changes can have an impact on rankings but they can also have an impact on Click Through Rate. Because we don't want to just rank, we also want people to click on our results, so it's also important.
Another reason that they can change of course is, it depends on what your competitors are doing, right? If you look at competitor that's working hard to get reviews online, they're going crazy on social media, and they're doing public relations for their gym, they may start outranking you, regardless of all the optimization that we do. So it's really important to look at this holistically as part of your overall online marketing strategy. To do this you should really look at your website Analytics data.
If you're using our ongoing SEO services then we have set up a Google Analytics account for you, and we've created some important filters, conversion goals, a custom dashboard, to organize all your most important data in one view. You're sent this report every month but you can also log in to your Analytics account, and view the data whenever you want.
Once I log in to my Google Analytics account and I choose my view, if you go to Reporting and then Dashboards, and then depending on whether you've shared this dashboard or not, it'll show under Private or Shared, you click on that, and this is the custom dashboard that we build for our clients. So there's seven widgets here, and what we've done is we've added the widgets that you've told us you wanted. So we ask our clients what is the most important data that you care about, that you want in a single glance? Now of course you can go digging through Analytics to get everything you need, but as far as having everything in one view, this is quite handy to have.
So there are seven widgets - Website Visits, Form Submissions, Organic Visits, Visits by Social Network, by Device Type, your Top Cities, and your Most Popular Pages. Let's look at this in a little bit more detail.
What this is here is, this is the top part of the dashboard, but it looks different because this is actually taken from the monthly PDF that you get. So it's formatted a little bit differently but the same data.
The four matrix that we have here are Website Visits - this is the total number of visits got that month.
Form Submissions - this is the number of people that completed your free trial offer, or downloaded your schedule, or however you have it set up.
Your Organic Visits - this breaks down your search engine traffic, okay, so you can see there.
And Top Cities - these are the cities that your visitors are coming from.
Now looking at this data and using it to make decisions, for example looking at Form Submissions. By looking at this, I can identify and evaluate how well my sign up form is working. And looking at Top Cities, I can see maybe if I'm spending my advertising budget on the right cities, for example.
Let's take a look at the bottom part of that same report. In the bottom half, you can see which social networks are referring traffic. At the top here, you have a break down of visits by device type and your most popular pages.
So looking at Visits by Social Network, you can see how well your engaging on different social networks. From this particular example, I can see that Wordpress has driven some traffic here, so it's possible that this school has a separate Wordpress blog that's sending traffic.
I'm looking at Visits by Device Type. You can see just how important mobile is. So how important it is to have a mobile-friendly or responsive website. Almost half of traffic from this school is coming from mobile or a tablet.
And then Most Popular Pages. So this can help you identify which pages you should update regular, and which programs are the most popular. For example your homepage of course should be the most popular page, but then wouldn't you like to know which of your programs are being viewed the most? Let's say you have kids program, self-defense, adult program, maybe there's after school program, bully prevention - wouldn't you like to know which of them are getting the most views? And then you can also focus on those pages and maybe add more new content often.
We could really look at Google Analytics all day, there's a lot in there, but I'd like to take a quick look at another tool just very briefly. It was previously known as Google Webmaster Tools but it was rebranded as Google Search Console. I'm only going to take a quick look at some of the great keyword data that you can get to help you understand how SEO relates to your website traffic, so it kind of ties things together. For those of you that aren't ongoing SEO clients, we do also set up your Google Search Console account. So we set up both Analytics and Search Console. And then we also submit the XML sitemap, so you don't really need to worry about that.
We're just going to take a quick look here though. This is another totally different school. Once I log in to Search Console and I choose my domain, there's a lot less in here than the recent Google Analytics but it has some amazing data. So if you go into the Navigation, you go to Search Traffic and Search Analytics, this is a fairly new report. It's been around for I think less than a year, and there's some great data in here. So when you go to Search Analytics, you're going to want to check these boxes here, because they're not checked by default. There's Clicks, Impressions, CTR, Position. Once you click those, then your columns will appear. The cool thing about this is that these numbers are directly from Google. And you can't get this information in Analytics.
For example the queries. Queries are the same as keywords but they're from the user perspective. This particular keyword here - it got 20 clicks, 57 impressions, CTR (Click Through Rate) of 35%, and the average position is 1.5. What that means is this link showed 57 times when someone search for something, and it was clicked on 20 times, which leads you to a Click Through Rate of 35%, which is pretty reasonable for an average ranking of 1.5. So like I said remember search ranking can fluctuate - this is the average ranking.
So there really is a lot of information in here. This is only a tiny clip of this report. You can drill down, you can look at like thousand different keywords, you can export this into Excel if you want, and there's lots of cool stuff in here.
We've really gone through a lot once again in a short amount of time. But I encourage you to head over to our academy. And if you haven't, shame on you okay, you should be there. academy.championsway.com - this is the blog for ChampionsWay. I published a post on Tuesday that goes well with this webinar. It's called "Making Sense of Google Analytics Reports". It's long, I think it's like 1,500 words, and it uses martial arts school as an example again, and it gives you more information about how you can use specific reports in Google Analytics to help you make those business decisions, alright.
That's pretty much the end of the presentation component, but if you recall I said there is a special offer for attendees only. And boom, there it is!