Welcome to Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools for SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, in 2019. Learning and using Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, has helped me a lot over the last seven years as an entrepreneur online to build a website where I get traffic. Every day hundreds of people find me for free from Google Search. That’s what I’m here to help you with today in this tutorial.
Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools for SEO in 2019!
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What I will do, is give you two of the very most helpful tips right at the beginning, then I will show you some more in-depth walk-throughs, anything from getting to know Analytics and Webmaster Tools as a beginner, to site speed suggestions, which can powerfully improve your place in search results.
One of the most basic things that I see people miss in trying to rank their websites higher on Google, is how fast your page loads. Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools can help you with each of these.
First, I will show you just a basic thing you can look at over here in Webmaster Tools.
Go to Webmaster Tools, look on the left side of the interface in your “Search Console” under “Crawl Stats.”
You scroll down the page, then you look over here at “Time spent downloading a page in milliseconds,” and this should be as small as possible. Mine right now is 138 milliseconds on average, which is good, in my opinion. That means the “Crawl Stats” are downloading my website pretty fast.
I was able to achieve this by switching to a web host that is extremely fast, and actually runs the surveyors on the same Google cloud platform that Google uses for its services.
Therefore, even though I’ve got a website with a lot of stuff on it, that’s not even all optimized as perfectly as it could be, my web host helps me stay fast. If you have got a page that loads fast and a web host that can give you the ability to scale instantly, that is critical for ranking high, because you might go viral and that might be your chance to rank really high. If your website crashes, you have lost all that.
The “Crawl Stats” in the Webmaster Tools is a very good place to get a baseline of, from Google’s point of view, how fast your page is loading to the crawler that comes through and checks your website.
Hint, if Google is crawling your page and it’s taking a long time for your page to crawl, that’s not a good signal to Google about your user experience. Your users are probably having a much worse experience than the crawler. This is not a video about web hosting, but if you want to see what web hosting I use, you can go to Jerrybanfield.com/resources. I’m not even going to mention it here for just simplicity and a focus on the topic.
What we have gotten in Analytics that’s also helpful is the “Site Speed” tab where you can check for even more data. What I will show you right now on Analytics, you want to make sure to be familiar with this “Behavior” section and “All Pages.”
You want to know what pages on your website are actually getting the most traffic, because this will help you find out what you are doing right. You might be disappointed in your numbers, and the key with this is to look and see that every number is giving you an indication of what path to go down in the future. I see that “free courses” is the main page I’m getting traffic to.
There are hundreds of people a day, this is over a seven-day period. There are over 200 people a day loading this page. That means that’s worth more of my time and attention than most of the other pages on my website combined.
Most of my other pages are not getting nearly as many people to them. Then, this “time-travel-is-real” is a blog post. This is what helped me start doing a lot more blogging about just whatever I wanted to, because I never imagined this post would rank high. This post is pulling a hundred people a day, all off organic search and referrals, which is incredible.
Once you see what your top pages currently are, this provides guidance into, “Well, what can I do in the future to make more pages like this?”
What may be more important is, “How can I make my good pages great?”
Sometimes you can change them and they can become worse, but when you use these two tools, the “Crawl Stats” and the “All Pages,” these are basic things that can help you out a lot to know in Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools.
Now, if you are just a beginner, at this point you are wondering how to get all this set up.
How do I even get into this interface?
I’m going to go into a lot more of that now.
What you are watching is a free preview from an hour and a half long course that I’ve just published today on Skillshare.
My Skillshare is skillshare.com/r/jerrybanfield.
This is the link to the exact course I’m talking about. If you find that you like taking my video courses, will you please go over to Skillshare, because you will be able to watch there with no ads?
Skillshare is purely focused on video courses and learning content. There is no gaming videos or anything like that.
I think Skillshare is the best deal anywhere for students. You get two months, a free trial which includes over 24,000 paid courses you get access to, many of which will cost you $10 each or more somewhere else. Then on Skillshare, after the two-month free trial, it’s a few dollars a month or $96 a year to maintain this access.
After using other online teaching platforms of course hosting, this is such a good deal as a student, that even though I make less money as an instructor focusing on Skillshare, I’m putting my stuff on Skillshare because it’s the best deal for you.
You will also feel good about knowing that when you sign up for Skillshare directly using my link, I will get a $10 referral bonus. For that, I’m very grateful because that is about as much as I make from all the rest of my classes combined, the referrals plus the royalties.
Skillshare instructors get paid by minutes watched, so if you have a choice, watching my courses on Skillshare helps me earn income for every minute you watch.
Thank you for getting started with this free preview from Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools from SEO. I filmed this beginning part to give you some tips right away upfront, and then what I’m doing is I will go through and give you a few lectures free from the course right here.
If you would like more, I trust you will go over to Skillshare and sign up there.
Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools for SEO!
1) Introduction to Google Analytics
Once we get our content created on our website, what really helps us is to get some positive reinforcement to see what actually is working. That way we can do more of it. Google Analytics makes that really easy. We can look on our website, see where we are getting traffic, see where people are coming in and what people are doing once they have entered our website.
That helps to guide us to say, “Okay, what are we doing that does work and how do we do more of that?” Google Analytics as we can see is a freemium web analytics service offered by Google. It tracks and reports website traffic. It launched this service in November 2005.
This is what the dashboard looks like for Google Analytics inside the Admin menu.
If you go over to the “Home” menu, the basic tracking might look something like this, which is cool because I can see there are five active users on my website right now.
I can see exactly what pages people are on, and I can see how I acquire users.
For example, social media, direct traffic, or other.
These are some of the basic things, and you can get into a lot of advanced features, track how much individual pages are worth. Sync this up with Webmaster Tools, and you can really get crazy with all the things you can do in Google Analytics.
Users by time of day, et cetera.
Now, this can be a helpful tool. At the same time, we can get lost in Google Analytics. We can put more time and energy in Google Analytics, than we do into what we create.
I use Google Analytics today to occasionally check on my traffic, to see what people are looking at on my website, and to get an idea for planning what to create in the future.
I’ve spent a lot of time in the past trying to obsess over things, set up advanced features, track how much money each page was making. I can say today most of that time was a waste, except for my ability to now teach you about Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is a helpful tool to understand what we are doing right.
When we try to start getting into the deep down tiny details of what users are doing, we are often better off just asking people what actual experience they are having on our website.
For example, talking to our customers or our website users on the phone, or emailing back and forth. That qualitative data can help us get a better idea of the big picture. A lot of the time we might spend analyzing data in Google Analytics, often doesn’t give us the big picture of what the user is doing.
Often, Google Analytics does not include all of our traffic or give us even an accurate measurement of what people are looking at, because there are browsers now that have “do not track” by default and there are other ways of accessing our websites that don’t come up in Google Analytics at all.
Therefore, Google Analytics is a helpful tool to quickly look at things like what web pages are getting the most views, to guide us in our creative efforts. At the same time, I don’t see it as something that is worth putting one person to do it full time or putting a ton of time and energy into because, in my opinion, the primary focus is what we are creating and what we are sharing with others.
If we can understand how to best do that, that’s helpful. If we are taking so much of our time trying to understand what we are getting and what people are doing, then we are missing out on time to essentially create and give, and do more.
I appreciate you getting started with this Google Analytics section of the course, and I hope it’s helpful for you to use Google Analytics.
2) Accounts, properties and views – Adding tracking code
This is the newest interface as of October 2018.
To get started in Google Analytics to even see any traffic, the first thing we need to do is add Google Analytics on to our websites. If you have got a website, like I do, with a WordPress theme and something like the Enfold theme, which is one of the most popular WordPress themes on the Envato marketplace, it’s really super easy to get Google Analytics on.
All we need to do is put our Google Analytics account number into the theme options under “Google Services.” This allows us to get Google Analytics on our website and start tracking the data. Obviously, you can’t track any data until the code is actually on your website.
Therefore, if you don’t have the code on your website, you can’t retroactively track anyone who has come through before the code was actually on there.
What we do to get our code is we use our Google Account in the Analytics. You go to analytics.google.com and you will start your Analytics account. Then, what you need to do is click on “Admin.”
Now, this can be a little confusing, so I will explain each of these really quick. There are three different levels. First, there is the account level. This should be used to group all of your properties by a common theme.
For example, I’ve got my account as “JerryBanfield,” and then each website I want to track with Google Analytics is an individual property.
The account level, what I did before, I didn’t understand this, I made a different account for every property and that’s annoying. You want to just do one Google Analytics account for each property. For example, if you have different clients, you might put each client in a specific account, and then you could track a client’s website Shopify store, et cetera, all in that one client’s account.
If you just have your own business, like I do, you can just pull all of your properties in one single account. If you don’t have an account already, you create one, then you name it whatever you want to and that will group all those together. That’s the accounts side. This is where if you want people to help and participate in analyzing and have access to all your properties, then you can do that in “User Management.”
This way I can use “User Management” on the account level to add one person who can then go in and look at all of my properties on this specific account, which can be helpful if you have got clients and you have got employees or coworkers, you can use the “User Management” by account, and then put people on specific accounts that way.
Once you have got the account level, then within each account, you can do up to 50 properties.
The properties are individual websites. You get the tracking code at the individual property level, which means what you are seeing in the tracking code here is at the property level. I could have 50 different websites that I want to track in one single account, which makes it easy.
Then, if I have 50 websites, I can go to the account level, and have one user on the account who can then go in and view everything for all those different accounts.
Once I’ve got a property, I create a property and that’s how I get my tracking code. You have the account, and then you create a property in the account, that gives you the tracking info, which you can get to under “Tracking Code” over here.
Then what you do is you got your tracking code and you paste that into the website.
Now, you have got the actual code over here.
If you are doing your own website or you need to put the code in directly, you can use the global site tag or the Google tag manager. If you got something like a WordPress theme where you can just put the tracking ID in, then you just put the tracking ID in like this.
I followed the instructions on here. You can either put your Google tracking ID or your full Analytics tracking code in here.
This has the option to give your visitors to stop being tracked, you can put the privacy Google tracking somewhere on the website also with that.
Then, if you have Google Maps in this exact WordPress theme, you can put the API key in there also. This is what you need to do in order to get tracking started onto your website. Google also has a new option to send test traffic where you can put the code on, and then send test traffic over to it.
It can take up to 30 seconds, it said. Note, if your website has caching, you may need to clear the cache to get the code to actually load on your website.
I’m grateful, I’ve got seven active users right now, so I can show you while I’m doing this that the code is really working. One of them hopefully is me, and then there are a few other people on the website, which is cool.
Once you have got the property level, you can go back to the “Admin” interface, then you have individual views that you can make within a specific property.
To summarize, you have got the account level, which includes all the properties, then each property is an individual website or application to track. Then, within each property, you can do specific views that just show certain settings.
I don’t use any of these individual view settings because this is more than I need right now to just guide my content creation.
What I have done a lot of in the past is linking Google AdWords accounts and Adsense accounts, and then doing remarketing.
If you want remarketing though, you need to go in and link Google AdWords accounts, like you have got my Google AdWords account linked here, and then you need to go into audiences, and you need to put in these audience accounts to start your remarketing.
You do that at the individual property level and you need to go back into Google AdWords to do it.
The Google AdWords remarketing can be an incredibly powerful tool, especially if you want to do something like having remarketing ads back to your website or some kind of affiliate system where you have people come to a page, you have got them on a remarketing list, then you can run targeted ads just to people who have been to those pages.
You do all that at the property level, and in the admin part is where you can link up each of these different accounts.
I appreciate you taking a look inside the Google Analytics admin dashboard, and I hope this is helpful for you to get started.
3) Site speed in Google Analytics
For the best user experience, Google Analytics has a helpful tool to look into site speed now. This is pretty new.
If you go over under the “Behavior” tab, then you click on “Site Speed,” and then you get “Overview.” You can go in and see the average page load time, which can give you an idea of the user experience you are getting on your website.
I went over here, selected a longer view time, and then I’m able to get into the “Average Page Load Time.”
Now, what Google Analytics does, it takes a sample of the people browsing the website, and then it takes how long they take to load the page.
Now, this is one of those areas where you might be able to find some opportunities to improve the speed of your website.
Generally, making a website faster makes a better user experience, and a better user experience helps to rank higher in search. My average page load time here is actually pretty slow because I haven’t paid much attention to the page load over time.
Now, this can be skewed by certain really slow pages on the website, and we can go in and look in more detail at this.
This can also be skewed significantly based on the browser speed and where users are loading from. For example, I can go into “Country” over here and check my site speed, and then I can see that the average page load time varies greatly by the particular countries that are loading the page.
These countries over here have a very quick page load time, and then I can view the full report and I can see where I’m getting a lot of those really slow page views from.
Then the slow page views can help me understand where my opportunities for improvement are. If I go over here and do the average page load time, I can look at it by country now and I can then see where the longest page load times are.
I can see there is a few countries like St. Vincent, Venezuela, Tanzania and Bangladesh, that may be heavily skewing my page load times. These might be giving me a lot of essentially artificially high page load times in the average.
If I go over here and show more countries, I can get a better view of how a lot of the different countries are loading. This can help too, based on the amount of traffic, so I can see what my page views are by country over here.
I can see that the US, India, the UK, Canada, Pakistan and Australia have the most actual page views on my website.
Therefore, these are my primary countries to consider how fast the page is loading, and then I can also look in the page load time by specific country.
I can see that Bangladesh and Mexico are loading significantly slower over here.
This helps me get a better picture of my total page load time and I can go over to “Average Page Load Time” on here and scroll down to see what the page load time is by country.
Now, in the US, my page load time is 13 seconds, which then if the site average is 20 seconds, then my US page load time might give me a lot better idea as to what my kind of real page load time is based on my user experience.
But then, this is by individual pages as well. If I look by the primary dimension, if I look by page instead of by country, what I can see in the full report is that certain pages are loading a lot faster than others.
In fact, I can see certain pages on my website that are having the very slowest load time. This is the slowest load times on my website. I can see which pages on my website are loading the very slowest, and this can potentially be skewing my time over here.
This can provide good opportunities for optimization. For example, I could see, “Oh, okay, these pages are loading slow.” I can intentionally go in and optimize the images or make some changes to help those pages load faster, which could help get more traffic to those specific pages.
Now, for me, this doesn’t make too much sense to put too much effort in the individual pages, unless they are already getting a lot of traffic on the website, in which case it could help a lot.
For example, I noticed the “YouTube channel copyright strike” page was loading pretty slow and that page is getting a good number of views. I might be able to optimize the page to load faster, and then I might be able to rank a lot higher with the page loading faster because people would come through.
With the page loading faster, there would be fewer clicks back, which would reduce the number of negative signals to Google essentially of the user experience, which will help my page to rank higher.
Honestly, with all the stuff I’ve gotten in my business, I can’t be bothered to go in and try to optimize pages, because I could create a video and a post that will turn into a thousand page views a month just as easily as I could go in and try to optimize some of these pages.
Now, in the past, I’ve gone through and tried to optimize some of the individual pages to maximize traffic, but now I focus mostly on site-wide optimizations.
You can get some good site-wide optimizations when you go into “Overview” of these page timings. You can go into the “Speed Suggestions” tab on the left.
If you click on “Speed Suggestions” over here underneath “Behavior,” then what you can do is get some recommendations from Google as to what you can do to make your website faster.
You can click the “PageSpeed Suggestions,” and Google will pull some suggestions for individual pages to speed them up. It’s ranked in order of page views, which is really nice.
You will notice that the suggestions are often the same. Therefore, these are site-wide changes that can be made. Then often, the best bang for your buck, the best return for your time and energy is to do site-wide optimizations that will increase the speed of the entire website.
Now, the downside of doing this is sometimes you can change things that if not done correctly, you can break your website, screw a whole bunch of things up on it, which, of course, I’ve done stuff like that before.
It’s definitely something you want to back up if you are going to try some of these page speed suggestions. You want to back up your website before you try to change big things like how the images load or turn off certain CSS optimizations. You want to make sure to back your website up in case you break it, and then you can just restore to a previous version.
You might want to research at Google some of the speed suggestions. Some of these are limited by specific themes. Some of the complaints I’ve seen with my Enfold theme is people saying it loads slow.
Therefore, if you are using something like a WordPress theme, you may have limited abilities to speed up and follow some of the page speed suggestions. The speed suggestions are by desktop and mobile. Sometimes your theme might work differently on desktop and mobile. Mine works really fast on a mobile device, it loads significantly slower on desktop. Therefore, you do the best with what you have got.
It’s a matter of trying to focus your time and energy on where you get the highest return, where can you go in and make a few changes that will make a big difference. Sometimes improving the top page on your website, making it a bit faster, you can rank higher in search. That can bring in a lot more traffic than trying to fool around on a bunch of the lower traffic pages.
That said, sometimes you can lose traffic to your top page and you can have wasted time on that.
You just do your best with it each day and try to consider how you are using all of the time you have available to make the best improvements for every user on your website, which would generally be site-wide changes, but occasionally, you can use the “Speed Suggestions” tab over here and “Site Speed” tab to find some things you might be able to change pretty quickly on some of your top pages that will help get a lot more organic search traffic that way.
4) Overview of the new Google Search Console
On the “Overview” page of our Google Webmaster Tools, we get a basic look at our overall performance, given whatever time period we have gotten it on.
This is 90 days, I can see the total search clicks on any individual day over a period of 90 days. This helps me then see the trends over time, which you want stability, and wave movements are natural.
You can also see the coverage. You obviously really want to know how many pages are indexed in Google Search, because if you don’t have a page index, it’s not going to be in there.
If you have got it set up by default and you haven’t messed with anything, it should get indexed soon enough in Google, especially if you do something like tweet it or you have got your sitemap uploaded and synced.
Then for example, on my page right now I’ve got 1,400 valid pages indexed in Google.
Then you have got this mobile usability down here, which is important to make sure your website is working on mobile devices.
What we can do then on the left side of the map, we have got additional tabs we can use, the “Links” tab gives us a look at our top pages over here.
This shows where the external links are now.
Let’s just look at all the external links we have.
For example, I had a voting bot on Steem that was dropping my contact page, that has linked my “Contact” page 47,000 times.
Then this is the total number of external links to the rest of my website, 5,000 links to jerrybanfield.com, and then you can see my “Top linked pages” there.
I can also see my “Top linking sites” over here as I said with the voting bot on Steem.
All these were linked a bunch from Steem.
Then I can see YouTube, thousands of links on mostly my own videos.
I can see the text that was linked in proximity to the pages.
Then, I can see the “Top linked pages.”
These are internal links, pages I’ve linked on from one page to another within my website.
In the “Settings” tab, we have got “Users and permissions” and “Ownership verification.”
We have got the “Mobile Usability” tab, which shows us if there is any problems for mobile devices on my website.
I’ve got the “Sitemaps” tab on here.
I’ve had some issues submitting the sitemap, I will try it again in the new interface.
On the “Coverage” this shows where my pages are in Google and which aren’t. I’ve got a lot of excluded pages, and I would imagine most of these have media files, which is fine. If you look at my website, I’ve got thousands of pages on.
I have 600 blog posts, then I’ve got almost a thousand more pages that are indexed, so that’s what I want. You actually don’t want low-quality pages in the Google index because those can actually bring your ranking down. It’s okay if there are some excluded over here. You want to focus on the valid ones.
I can inspect individual URLs with the “URL inspections.”
Then, I can get a more detailed look at the exact type of search, and the exact click-through, and the exact position, and the exact keywords I’m ranking on the “Performance” tab.
Now, all of these provide a good opportunity to get lost in the data.
Again, it helps to take a look, learn some things, and then focus on what we are contributing and adding to our website.
This is an overview and introduction on the basic things you can do in the new version of the “Google Search Console.”
Wow, you are one of the only people who made it all the way to the end of the video, or you skipped ahead and just wanted to hear the sales pitch.
I think given that you got here, there is a very high likelihood that you will love learning with me on Skillshare, because it’s just learning and class videos there, nothing else for you to get distracted by, no ads either.
When you sign up for Skillshare, you get access to all my classes, plus 24,000 other classes from instructors, all for two months for free to start.
Then it’s a few dollars a month or something like $96 a year for a membership. It’s the best deal, in my opinion, for anything I’ve seen for students. Even though as an instructor, I make less doing it this way, I am doing it this way because this is the best deal for you.
I am a student myself, so I like it this way too. I wish every instructor put their course on Skillshare, a lot already do. I generally won’t go anywhere else to watch a course outside of Skillshare or YouTube.
Because you will feel good knowing you are helping me earn $10 when you sign up directly through my link.
Skillshare is very happy to know exactly how you got here and they are very happy to give me $10 knowing that’s how we made the connection. What an awesome deal for all of us, right?
Skillshare gets another user, you get 24,000 courses available for free for two months, I get $10. Everyone wins, right?
Actually, no, the course platforms charging one-time sales and people and universities charging a fortune for education, they lose in this equation.
The future I see is with education on Skillshare where a family can pay $96 a year, educate their children with practical real-world skills that provide fantastic value.
I see Skillshare is providing an opportunity to level the playing field educationally all over the world. I’m grateful to be a part of that today.
I love you.
You are awesome.
Thanks for making to the end of this blog post.
I hope it was useful for you today.
I imagine I might see you on Skillshare soon in the comments or in the class project.
Edits from video transcript by Michel Gerard at www.michelgerardonline.com.