Keyword Position Tracking with Google Analytics

Do you ever search for the same thing and get different results in the search engines at different times? Most people who have dealt with search engine optimization know that the position of their website for a specific keyword phrase changes in the search engine results, sometimes quite often. Keeping tabs on how your keywords are performing along with ones you never thought of becomes a daunting task very quickly. Today I am going to show you how to track your position in Google, Yahoo and Live (the search engines). Once you’ve gone through the steps I outline you will be able to see some very cool data:

  • Average keyword position broken out by search engine
  • Average position of landing pages
  • SERPs page number sending traffic
  • Keywords you are ranking for that you don’t know about.

First off a bit of a disclaimer, this utilizes event tracking in Google Analytics which is currently in beta so you may not be able to see the data yet. You can check if event tracking is enabled for your analytics account by going into your reports and clicking on Content. Right below Sight Search (assuming it is enabled), here is a screen shot:

Here is how to set this up in Miva Merchant 5.5:

  1. Download the file seoposition.js (right click and choose Save Target As or Save Link As)
  2. Upload the file seoposition.js to your server
  3. Add the following line below your Google Analytics code: [sourcecode language=‘html’][removed][removed][/sourcecode]

Note I normally put the Google Analytics code in the Footer section in Global Header & Footer so the above line should go there. Also you need to be using the new ga.js code not the old urchin.js. If you are still on urchin.js then upgrade to ga.js.

Using the Data

After some data has collected for 2-3 days it’s time to dig into the reports to gain some insight. Lets go over the data you will see in each of the event tracking reports and what the columns actually mean since we’ve repurposed for our own use.

Categories Event Tracking Report

The most valuable data in the categories event report is the category which is the search engine the visitor is coming from and avg value which is the average position of your website when someone clicked through from a SERP (Search Engine Results Page).

Here is an overview of each column in the report:

Category = Search Engine
Total Events = Number of clicks to your site from the search engines (same in all event reports)
Unique Events = Number of visits from the search engines (same in all event reports)
Event Value = Ignore, it is meaningless for our purpose (same in all event reports)
Avg Value = Average position in the search engines (same in all event reports)

Actions Event Tracking Report

The actions event report shows the page number you received traffic from the search engines aggregated.

You can click on the page number (action) to see landing pages (labels) by page or toggle the dimension to anything else such as keyword or country. You can also do this in the Category and Labels reports.

Labels Event Tracking Report

The label in Google Analytics SEO position tracking is the page name (URL) that is ranked in the search engines.

My favorite use of this report is to click on a specific label / landing page and change the dimension to Keyword (the default is action). This will show you what keywords someone found your page or in my case blog post:

Keyword Position in Google

Now that I’ve shown how to install on Miva Merchant and given an overview of the reports I want to share my personal favorite at the moment which is the average keyword position in Google (you can also do this for Yahoo! & Live). To generate the report start by clicking on Categories under Event Tracking, next click on the search engine of choice so I picked Google. Finally change the Dimension from Action to Keyword and voila you have the keywords, number of clicks from Google (Total Events) and average position (Avg. Value). Obviously the goal here is for the average value to be as close to one as possible since that indicates the first page.

Proper Credit:

I first came across this concept at André Scholten’s blog (English version) but found this much simpler solution by Andy Edmonds of StomperNet LLC over at the Always Be Testing blog.

Post your thoughts below with a comment. Would you like to see more Google Analytics tips and tricks?