With 2018 freshly behind us, we recently finished analyzing year-over-year performance for all of our clients, and we wanted to share two reports that will help you answers the following question: simply put, how well is your SEO going?

We follow a simple process to create two reports in Google Analytics that answer this question in the following ways:

Report #1: Year Over Year SEO Improvement by Search Engine
This report shows you exactly how many unique visitors and conversions you received by search engine. And if you are creating these reports from scratch, it will also form the base for the other two reports that follow.

Report #2: Year Over Year SEO Improvement by Landing Page
This report shows you which landing pages gained or lost traffic — it let’s you drill down into the first report to find the specific causes of increase and decline.

You’ll be able to download the template for each of these reports below, but we wanted to walk you through the creation process so that you understand how we do it.

How To Create Report #1: Year Over Year SEO Improvement by Search Engine

  1. Start by navigating within Google Analytics to your pre-built “Source/Medium” report by clicking Acquisition—>All Traffic—>Source/Medium.
  2. Next, click “Edit” in the top right corner of the Google Analytics interface.
  3. Third, you are going to filter out everything but organic traffic. This means you will see only the free traffic from Google, Yahoo, Bing, Baidu, and any other search engines.
  4. Fourth, you are going to delete all metrics except for unique visitors and goal completions. You can add other metrics back in later if you want, but for now we want to focus on answering the question about whether SEO is improving or not, and those two metrics are all that matter.
  5. Name your report “1. SEO Growth by Search Engine” and hit “Save.” As you are doing this, your screen should look like this:

  6. Once you save this report, you will see a report with lots of jagged lines that look something like this:

  7. We strongly recommend that you “smooth” this jagged chart out by selecting the “Month” plotted option above the chart.

  8. Once you’ve done this, you are all done creating your first report, and you will be able to scroll down and see which search engines are increasing, which are decreasing, and how you have done for each of the last 12 months compared to the previous year. Analyzing our own data, the first observation we would make is that January and February of 2018 were terrible, and that SEO really improved starting in April 2018.

How To Create Report #2: Year Over Year SEO Improvement by Landing Page

  1. You’ll be happy to see that creating report #2 is significantly easier, because you start by duplicating report #1 in the following way: navigate to Customization—>Custom Reports and select “Copy” from the Actions dropdown menu, just like in the screenshot below.

  2. Next, change the name of the report to “2. SEO Growth by Landing Page.”
  3. Third, change the Primary Dimension from “Source/Medium” to “Landing Page.”
  4. Hit “Save” and you’re done!
  5. You should note that the aggregate data by month is going to be the same as in the previous chart, and so you don’t need to smooth it out, because the real value of this second report is to scroll down and see which landing pages have risen and fallen in results year over year. For instance, as you can see from the screenshot below, there is drastically different SEO performance for the #1 page and for the #4 page. The first page increased by 40%, and the fourth best decreased by 40%. Obviously, it might make sense to optimize the page that has declined, and to take lessons from the page that is significantly improved.

As promised, you can use the following template links to simply download and apply each of the two reports to your own Google Analytics account here, and we hope that this has been helpful for you.

How To Create Report #1: Year Over Year SEO Improvement by Search Engine

How To Create Report #2: Year Over Year SEO Improvement by Landing Page

Ashley Kirchmyer is a Digital Marketing Manager on the Will Marlow Agency Team who loves helping clients understand every aspect of the digital marketing process and how it affects their bottom line. She holds certifications in Google AdWords Search and Display, as well as a certification as a Bing Ads Accredited Professional.

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