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Google Analytics is free—which means pretty much everyone and their grandmother has it installed on their website. But it’s also really dang complex (and constantly improving changing), so the average business owner can get a little lost in the different reports and even the reporting metrics.
And even once you find the right report and understand the reporting metrics, you’re still left with the challenge of finding actionable takeaways from the plethora of available data.
To put it simply, there’s a reason why it pays to have someone analyze your data (even though Google Analytics is free).
But if you’re not ready to do that, let me walk you through one of the most basic (but important) pieces of Analytics data for your business: organic traffic data.
What Is Organic Traffic?
People find their way to your website in many different ways. If someone is already familiar with your business and knows where to find your website, they might just navigate straight to your website by typing in your domain. If someone sees a link to a blog you wrote in their Facebook newsfeed, they might click the link and come to your website that way.
But say someone is unfamiliar with your business and is looking for one of your products or services. For example, say I’m looking for a garage door company in Gaithersburg, Maryland. I ask my good pal Google who I should call:
Gaithersburggaragedoor.com is showing up all over the place, so the likelihood that I click one of their listings is pretty high. If I click this one…
…I would be clicking on their paid listing (see where it says ad?). This is NOT organic traffic. This is paid traffic.
But say I bypassed the ads and clicked this listing instead:
This is an organic search listing—Gaithersburg Garage Door hasn’t paid to be there. The search engine (in this case Google) simply deemed them the most relevant and authoritative listing for the given search query.
Anyone who clicks this listing or any other non-paid listing in search engine results = organic traffic.
Where to Find Organic Traffic in Google Analytics
The easiest way—in my opinion—to access organic traffic data in Google Analytics is to select the “Acquisition” option in the left sidebar menu. Next, click the “Campaigns” dropdown menu and select “Organic Keywords.”
This will show you all the people that have come to your website by clicking one of your organic search engine listings in Google, Bing, Yahoo, or any other search engine.
From here, you’ll be able to see what percentage of your traffic is organic:
And by changing the date range, you can also get a good look at how your organic traffic has improved, gotten worse, or remained unchanged over time:
Since we’re in the “Organic Keywords” report, the primary dimension will be set on keywords. Most organic keywords show up as [not provided], so this view isn’t super helpful. Change the primary dimension to “Source” and you’ll see which search engines brought in the most organic traffic:
Change it to “Landing Page” and you’ll see which pages on your website have brought in the most organic traffic:
If you click the “Other” option, you can choose pretty much any dimension for slicing and dicing your organic traffic data. For example, you might want to know where in the world (geographically) your organic traffic is coming from (select “Users” then “Country” or “City” under the “Other” dropdown):
You could also add a secondary dimension to get even more specific. Say you wanted to know, for some reason, if people in those cities were using their mobile device (vs. a desktop computer) to find you:
As you can see, there are many different options for generating different organic traffic reports depending on what you want to know about how your website is performing and how users are interacting with it.
Why Organic Traffic Matters
Now that you know what organic traffic is and how to dive down to several different valuable organic traffic reports, let’s talk a little bit about why it matters.
If you want to grow your business, you want to market your products and/or services to people who aren’t already familiar with your brand. While repeat business from your existing customer base is extremely valuable, it’s tapping into the aforementioned market that’s really going to help you grow.
Non-Branded Organic Traffic
For the most part, organic traffic is a good representation of people coming to your website who aren’t already familiar with your brand. Of course, there a few exceptions. For example, some people will search for your business name to find your website:
And while filtering your business name out of your organic traffic keyword report can give you a somewhat better picture, it doesn’t account for all of those [not provided] searches that could contain branded keywords.
One way we get around this is by filtering out landing pages that typically would be triggered by a branded keyword—pages like your home page, about us page, meet the team page, contact us page, etc.
We refer to this as non-branded organic traffic. Tracking and growing this portion of traffic is key for growing your business and widening your customer base via the web.
How to Increase Your Organic Traffic
There are two main ways I recommend growing your organic traffic:
- Optimizing your current pages for search engines (SEO)
- Adding more pages to your website optimized for keywords and phrases relevant to your products and services (starting a blog is a great way to do this!)
Conveniently, Blue Corona can help you with both of those 😉 Start with a free SEO analysis below:
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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