How to Build a Technical SEO Dashboard Using Google Data Studio

Guest post by Petar Jovetic.

Modern SEO demands a lot from marketers, and successful strategies are often highly dependent on third-party tools and the powerful data they provide. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the information that tools offer, and find it difficult to distill the data down into actionable insights.

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Even the most experienced technical SEO professional needs to have a manageable amount of information to be able to implement a reliable, data-driven strategy.

The domain of technical SEO pro is rife with a whole host of different SEO tools, all proclaiming to offer crucial insights into the technical health of your website. DeepCrawl, Screaming Frog, Botify, OnCrawl, Sitebulb… the list goes on.

It’s easy to rack up a substantial monthly expenditure on these tools alone. And the further you take your analysis, the more necessary tools become. Carrying out tasks like log file analysis can be done manually using a Google Sheet, but it’s far easier to draw on tools like Logz.io, Loggly, or Splunk.

The downside of using multiple tools (aside from the financial impact) is that it can be tricky to extract the data from the individual silo of each tool. This often leads to a disjointed workflow and makes it hard to understand how your day-to-day efforts are actually impacting your core KPIs.

While technical SEO experts can easily see the value of investing in tools like this, it can be challenging to convey this to key stakeholders.

For someone with a limited understanding of SEO, it can be difficult to understand exactly what the investment is going towards. So when it comes to getting sign off for budgets, being able to visualize and effectively demonstrate the impact of these tools is crucial.

That’s where Google Data Studio (GDS) comes in. Making good use of custom data connectors makes it possible to visualize almost any combination of data required, which can then be used to tell a story.

For example, it can be highly impactful to connect the dots between the technical metrics you have control over (e.g. crawling and indexing optimizations) and the wider KPIs from the rest of your marketing team (e.g. organic visibility, traffic acquisition, revenue, etc).

Google Data Studio offers the capability to match these data points together and get a much clearer picture of what is actually going on.

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While a fair amount of data connectors already exist to include technical SEO data into reports, there have been few (if any) that pulled all the data together easily. Until now that is.

This Technical SEO Google Data Studio Dashboard has been built and templated so that anyone can download and use to gain vital insights into the relationships between different datasets, and use these insights to create a truly data-driven technical SEO strategy.

Technical SEO DashboardDownload Impression’s Technical SEO Google Data Studio Dashboard

What does the technical SEO dashboard report on?

Technical SEO metrics

The dashboard currently captures:

  • Automated data from DeepCrawl, including:

    • Crawling considerations

      • Indexable URLs

      • Non-indexable URLs via:

        • Non-200 status codes: 3XXs, 4XXs, 5XXs

        • Robot Directives: canonicals, meta robots noindex/nofollow tags and disallows via robots.txt

      • Crawl optimisations available through your XML sitemap(s)

    • Indexing considerations

      • Thin URLs

      • Duplicate URLs

      • Orphaned URLs

  • Automated Google Analytics data, including:

    • Page load times

    • Server response times

    • Domain lookup times
      * available via various dimensions, e.g. site-wide, page, device and user-level

  • Automated Chrome User Experience data, including:

    • First paint

    • First contentful paint

    • DOM content loaded

    • First input delay
      *using the origin URL originally stated upon setup of the data connector.

There is scope to include additional metrics in the future but, for now, the dashboard focuses on these key metrics that are integral to a technical SEO’s “owned goals.”

Quarterly progress

This dashboard has been designed to report on progress on a quarterly basis. Three months tends to be enough data for the reports to be useful while remaining accessible and user-friendly for analysis. The template is set up to report on the previous quarter and will update automatically upon the following month of each completed quarter, i.e. April for Q1, July for Q2 etc.

How to Use the Dashboard

In its current form, the dashboard only uses three sample data connectors:

  1. The Google Sheets connector

  2. The Google Analytics connector

  3. The Chrome UX Report connector

Prior to building the dashboard itself, you should first make sure you correctly add your data sources to the connectors.

  1. Add automated DeepCrawl data to a Google Sheet.
    The simplest way to retrieve automated DeepCrawl data is via Zapier. This is API driven, but since it leverages Zapier to feed the data from DeepCrawl to Google Sheets, it’s very easy to do. Adam Gordon details a clear methodology for doing this here. With Adam’s first point, “Setup the Google Spreadsheet”, you’ll need to format your Google Sheet similarly to this example sheet. The reports from DeepCrawl will then need to match your setup when configuring the trigger via Zapier. Automate your crawls to repeat monthly in order to get continuous month-on-month data. The spreadsheet then needs to be pulled into GDS using the Google Sheets connector.
  1. Create your Google Analytics Data Connector.
    The Analytics Data Connector needs to correspond with the site you have analysed via DeepCrawl and CrUX. You’ll need to have at least “Read & Analyse” permissions to pull your analytics data through to GDS.

  1. Create your CrUX Data Connector.
    Creating the entire CrUX dashboard is a very simple process as all you need is the Chrome UX Report data connector. You’ll need to specify one origin URL as part of the CrUX data connector; either be the homepage or a landing page that’s representative of your wider technical SEO campaign. It can take historic data longer to populate via this connector.

  1. Create your dashboard!

Now that you have all of your data connectors in place, make a copy of the technical SEO dashboard. When creating your copy, you’ll need to specify your own data connectors so that the information for your website is used in the duplicated dashboard. When you copy the template, the following screen will flash up where you can set your connectors.Google Data Studio - Copy this report option

Next Steps

In its current form, this dashboard will only really benefit Deepcrawl users. However, further iterations are in the works which will look to incorporate other technical SEO tools such as Screaming Frog, Botify and OnCrawl, so that it can bring benefit to as many SEO teams as possible, irrespective of the stack they use.

Additional reports such as crawl depth and log file metrics are also in the pipeline. If you have any suggestions or feedback for future versions of the dashboard, let us know in the comments or drop me a note on Twitter.

Petar Jovetic is head of SEO at Nottingham-based digital marketing agency Impression and has worked with hundreds of online businesses across the UK and internationally, helping them to grow their organic presence through strategies rooted in content marketing and technical SEO.

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