Last week, we offered up our thoughts on SEO methods that do more harm than good. We advised you not to ignore your analytics, but instead to use the data you have to make informed decisions regarding quick fixes for SEO.

We want to dig into that a bit more, as understanding your audience through analytics will benefit your site in many ways – not just SEO rankings. Think of your analytics as an online focus group, telling you what content is most compelling, ideas for future content, and which pages need work.

It’s not as easy as it used to be to see which organic search keywords were driving the most traffic to your site in Google Analytics. You’ve probably noticed in the last couple of years that the vast majority of your keywords are categorized “(not provided)”. Perhaps we could suggest they rename that (not helpful)?

Follow the steps to link your Google Analytics account to your Google Webmaster Tools. Log into Google Analytics, and click Acquisition – Search Engine Optimization – Queries. Then follow the instructions to enable the Webmaster Tools. Here is a little more background from Google Support, if you need it.

Once you do that, take a look at’s 3 reports you can use to generate more SEO traffic. Pay particular attention to the spreadsheet the author suggests you create, cross-referencing your top landing pages with your top organic search keywords. For more advanced SEO techniques to find low hanging fruit, consider our own SEO Report featuring BrightEdge.

By focusing on the low hanging fruit – pages with lots of traffic, but with low SE rankings and/or low CTR [click through rate] – you can work quickly to make an impact with link building techniques, on-page optimization, and title tag/meta description editing.

There are plenty of other quick take-homes you can derive from your analytics data that will improve your SEO, and help your readers feel taken care of. They’re telling you what they want more [or less!] of with their clicks. Now, let’s give it to them:

1. Pay close attention to the long tail keywords [and your ranking for them] from that queries report. You’re likely not optimized for these 4+ word phrases – that would feel far too clunky. But you may be ranked. You can improve that SE ranking and even click through rate by creating content around those phrases. Perhaps a blog post that could answer a question or provide expert advice?

2. Take advantage of Google Trends, to find out what content you should be creating and optimizing for. Say your website is about marathon running, so you search for interest based on those keywords. Scroll down and take a look at the Queries-Rising list. People searching for “marathon running” are also searching for “marathon running shoes.” Have you covered that topic on your site? Consider a new page, with strong SEO content that will provide your readers with helpful information [and perhaps even capture incremental traffic].

3. Bounce Rate is the rate at which a user visits your pages, and then leaves without performing an action. There is something your readers think they will find find, but aren’t finding, on those high bounce rate pages. Make sure the content is consistent with your page name, meta data, headings, etc. That will allow the SE to send you searchers looking for what you’re offering.

Just like you, feel strongly about metrics based decision making. It’s what we love about Internet marketing. Unlike Print or TV marketing, you can know if someone flips past your article without reading it. You can know if you’re not meeting a market demand for a new subject matter related to your site.

With so many free and easy to use metrics tools available, it’s never been easier.