Attracting organic traffic to your short-term rental website is a long-term investment. But, after crossing off items on your SEO strategy to-do list, how can you monitor results? What metrics should you use to determine your progress?
Tracking your progress is crucial to your vacation rental website's development and the best way to do so is through Google Analytics - a free, robust tool used by everyone from small business owners to Fortune 500 companies. Installing Google Analytics is your first step to learning more about the audience visiting your website and tracking volume over time.
It's important to implement this as soon as possible, as Analytics is not retroactive.
Google Analytics has many default and customizable tools to accomplish your goals. But this can also be overwhelming. What KPIs matter when it comes to tracking SEO?
Today we’ll highlight the top 3 reports that can help you measure website traffic: Channel Report, All Pages Report and Source/Medium Report.
If you would like a free tutorial on driving organic traffic to your website, Google Analytics and other tracking tools like Google Search Console specifically for short-term rental property managers, download the free MyVR SEO eBook.
The Google Analytics Channel Report quickly gives you a bucketed view of traffic. Google predefines channel groupings and each of these traffic “buckets” helps you quickly see how people are finding your website without digging into lots of detailed reports.
The default Google Analytics channels are defined like this:
To break this down further, the channels that are most likely to be important to you are:
- Anyone directly inputting the URL of your website is a Direct visitor.
- A visitor to your website that came via click-through from search engine results (Google.com, Bing.com, Yahoo.com, DuckDuckGo.com, etc.) is Organic Search.
- A visitor that comes to your website from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and other marketing channels is Social.
- A visitor that comes from a tagged email marketing newsletter is Email.
- Clicks from advertising platforms are Paid Search (Google AdWords / Bing Ads). Nearly all Paid Search visits are on a pay-per-click basis.
- Referral captures click-throughs from other sites that don’t fit into the above categories (Chamber of Commerce websites, for example).
All Pages Report
After you have a good handle on what each channel means and how you are doing with overall traffic and traffic by channel, you can analyze just your organic search traffic and track progress over time as the impact of your SEO efforts build.
In addition to total volume, you’ll want to see which specific pages that traffic is coming to. Go to the segment tool and create a segment of just organic search traffic.
Once the Organic Traffic segment is shown, your data inside of Google Analytics will reflect just those who are coming from search engines. As you build more traffic to your website you can quickly see on an ongoing basis the top pages that are generating traffic inside of Google Analytics. In this example, we can see that this website is getting most of their organic traffic from an event page, their “properties” page and a “things-to-do” guide.
The final report that we’ll review is the Source/Medium Report. This report shares a lot in common with the Channel Report, but with a more detailed breakdown of the traffic sources.
The Source/Medium Report breaks down traffic sources by where they’re coming from (source) and the method they arrive (medium). This gives you a more detailed view of what search engines are delivering the most traffic. Refer to the channel breakdowns above for medium details.
After becoming more familiar with these three views, the next steps are to find a process and frequency that works best for you to monitor these numbers. This can be as simple as using an Excel spreadsheet and recording you monthly numbers.
Most importantly, it's important to be patient...as it takes time for your SEO efforts to be reflected in your metrics!
To learn more about driving organic traffic to your short-term rental and tracking your progress, download the free MyVR SEO eBook!