How to Set and Track Your SEO Goals by Using Google Analytics

By Bruce Clay

Google Analytics is free software that helps website owners understand what’s going on with their online business. Besides collecting and analyzing data, you can set SEO goals — specific actions that you want website visitors to take. As you see how well those goals are being met, you can evaluate how effective your site is and make improvements as needed.

Create a new goal

  1. Sign in to Google Analytics.

  2. Choose the Admin tab and then locate your desired account, website property and view.

  3. In the View column, click Goals.

  4. Choose +New Goal (or Import from Gallery) to create a new goal.

    You can also edit your previous goals from here. Instead of choosing +New Goal, just click the name of the goal you want to edit.

  5. Decide whether you want to set up your new goal based on a template (an existing sample) or from scratch.

    If you choose Template, you should select one from the list. If you choose Custom, click Next step and choose the type of goal you want to create.

  6. If you want, assign a monetary value to each goal (using whatever currency is appropriate).

    Setting up these goal values gives you a way to measure conversions (the actions visitors do to meet your goals) objectively and see what’s working and not working over time. If you don’t know what value to assign, you may leave it blank.

Common goal examples

An e-commerce site could set up a destination goal for reaching the Thank You page after completing a purchase, in order to track the percentage of time it takes a website visitor to buy something. Smaller goals can also be set up to track people’s progress to that point — for example, viewing additional images, clicking to read product reviews, or other. Think of all the little steps that contribute to making a sale or downloading a file and consider whether they can be made into goals or mini goals.

An information site could set up goals for actions such as signing up for a newsletter, downloading an ebook, and so forth.

After you set a few goals for your site, explore all the cool tools, charts, and reports that Google Analytics offers to help you pull insight out of your website data.