If you own a small promo business you are likely to have a whole lot to deal with in your day-to-day. Product research, verifying information for quotes, and ensuring on time delivery, can take up most of your day.  Since you also have to keep those sales coming in at a steady pace, you’ll want prospects to find you when they’re looking and (almost) ready to buy. That’s when SEO comes in. You might be trying to do it yourself, or maybe you’ve hired an agency.  Either way, you need to have parameters to determine how things are evolving, other than just the calls coming in.

Just like when you want to lose weight and use the scale to measure progress, the easiest way to evaluate your site performance is with the tools Google has to offer, at no cost. The fact is, Google kind of rules the search world so what better place to find out how your site is performing than Google itself.  It’s like having inside information from the source that matters most. Let’s take a look at the information Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools provides and how it helps you SEO.

Google Analytics

This tool provides you with a bird’s eye view of how your visitors are coming from and how they are interacting with your site pages. The many components of this magnificent tool allows you to more effectively fine-tune your marketing initiatives, advertising campaigns and search engine success.

There is probably more data here than you will ever use, but some of the more important pieces of information you should know are the following five:

Traffic Sources

Knowing where your traffic is coming from is key to understanding and implementing your marketing campaigns. It will show you how much traffic is coming from organic search, from paid search, each of the social media platforms, etc.

Traffic by Device

As more and more people are performing searches on their phones, the need for a mobile friendly website has become the norm. White every industry is experiencing an increase in traffic coming form mobile, some are more than others, so making sure all the information is properly accessible and there is a good flow on a small screen is very important.

Demographics

Knowing the demographic characteristics of your visitors helps you have a better understanding of who they are and whether or not you are on point as far as attracting and communicating to the right audience, if you have taken the time to create your ideal client’s profiles.

Landing Pages

This shows through which pages are visitors entering your site.  You would think they are coming through the home page, but it’s not always the case. This report allows you to see which pages are performing the best, and how many visits each page gets. It helps you understand how people are viewing your site in general.

Bounce Rate

This indicates the percentage of visitors who leave the site as soon as they came in. A high bounce rate shows that we are either not attract the right audience, or failing to effectively communicate the value we can provide. A high bounce rate tells Google that your page is not relevant enough. The more time people spend on your pages, the better it will do in the search results.

Google Webmaster Tools

These extensive suite of tools provide comprehensive reports that help you find different types of issues that affect your site’s rankings, and what improvements are needed. Let’s take a look at four areas that will give you a lot of bang for your buck.

HTML improvements

The HTML Improvements report shows important technical aspects.  You’ll find how well your Meta data is optimized, title and descriptions deficiencies, along with duplicate content issues. Well worth a look.

Search Queries

One of the most useful reports by far.  Search Queries show loads of valuable data, such as impressions, clicks, click-thru-rate, keyword terms searched, image and video SEO and more. These information is especially valuable to guide you in your content marketing, because you’ll know what topics interest your audience.

Crawl Errors

This report will show any pages that are returning a “not found” 404 error code. You’ll want to address these as soon as possible, as they affect traffic to your site and search engine results.

Links to Your Site

This report lists the sites that are linking to your pages.  It will reveal which pages are drawing the most interest, which often is surprising. Many times pages you may not thought were important could be drawing significant traffic to your site.

The Point

You can’t improve what you don’t measure.  Tracking your data will make you aware of what’s working and what needs attention.  Although there is a learning curve to fully take advantage of both Webmaster and Analytics, you can start small.  As you start to review it, you’ll start becoming familiar with it. Most of all, you’ll start making changes that will make a huge difference in your results.  And did I say they are free of charge?