Measuring SEO Impact Without Keyword Data

When the decision was made in September 2013 to add SSL encryption for everyone using Google, it sent shockwaves through the search engine community. In the past, marketers could login to Google Analytics and see specific keyword phrases that users typed into Google that lead them to their website. They could easily select two date ranges and see tangible growth of a particular keyword. For example, “cat videos” brought 500 organic visits in January 2012 compared to 1500 visits in 2013. Success!

Google Analytics

With the change in September, specific search term like “cat videos” have been widely hidden and thrown into a bucket called, “Not Provided.” This makes it more challenging for marketers to drill down and provide detailed information about increases or decreases for specific words.

Here’s one alternative still available in Google Analytics to show meaningful SEO growth at the page level.

In the upper right corner of the main reporting menu, set a comparison date range. In this example, we’re comparing August 2013 to July 2013.

Google Analytics Data Range

NOTE: This method of reporting will not work if the URI of the page you’re interested in has changed during your comparison period.

Then, use the standard reports option on the left side of the screen to drill down to the Landing Pages report. You can get there by clicking Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages

Google Analytics Landing Page Report

From there, in the center of the page, use the Secondary dimension dropdown box to add “Medium.” This dimension is located under traffic source.

Google Analytics Secondary Dimension

Now use the Search box in the middle of the screen to enter in the URI of a page you’re interested in seeing SEO traffic for. A URI is similar to a URL except it excludes the domain name. For example, the URI of is /online-marketing.

Google Analytics Search Box

Scroll down the report to find the medium called “organic” and you’ll be able to see how many visits came to that particular page from a non-paid organic source. Also known as SEO!Google Analytics Landing Page Report Screenshot

The report does not provide the exact keywords that brought traffic to the page, but it does show measurable growth in visits coming from organic sources (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc) at a very granular level.

This is just one of many ways to show value from SEO initiatives. How do you show SEO value? Share them in the comments…

Certified in both Google AdWords and Analytics, Jon has a passion for all things web and shares that experience here on the blog. You’ll find him frequently talking e-commerce, digital strategy, pay-per-click, and more.

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