How much of your precious time is sucked up by repetitive manual tasks? I’ll hazard a guess that your answer will be something along the lines of “Too much!”. Unfortunately, I can’t wish away your crappy tasks by waving a magic wand, but I can point you towards some dashboards that can lessen the time you spend on reporting and data mining.
Google Data Studio to the Rescue
If you’re relying on the reporting available directly from tool interfaces, you’re likely wasting a significant amount of time. If you’re willing to invest a bit of energy into learning about and setting up dashboards, you’ll be able to save massive amounts of time in the long run as you won’t need to keep reconfiguring reports to surface the insights you need.
Data Studio is the most obvious dashboarding solution out there because it’s free, simple to set up and has a wide range of data connectors available (provided you have a Supermetrics license).
❓ #QUESTION ❓
To what extent do you and your team use Google Data Studio (or similar) for SEO reports and dashboards?
— DeepCrawl (@DeepCrawl) August 10, 2018
In a recent poll on the DeepCrawl Twitter account, we found that over half of the 800 respondents had never touched Google Data Studio. With this in mind, I wanted to introduce a few dashboards to those of you looking to get started with Google Data Studio. Below are five freely available templates that you can use to start building your dashboarding empire.
1. Google Search Console Report
Google Search Console has come on leaps and bounds since the new version was released last year, not least due to the much more usable Search Analytics report. However, reporting on the information provided in the Search Analytics interface is far from ideal, as you have to reconfigure filters every time you enter the platform.
Bringing Search Console insights into Google Data Studio is a far more flexible and efficient solution for reporting on organic search performance. The simplest way to add Search Console as a source in Data Studio is by using the standard Google Connector, which will give you the Search Analytics metrics (clicks, impressions, CTR and average position). If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, then you can pull in a more impressive range of Search Console data, including index coverage information, using Supermetrics.
With Search Console set up as a data source, you can use the official Search Console dashboard template to visualise this data. All you need to do is go to the template, click “Use Template” and select your Search Console data source in the dropdowns.
With your Search Console data populating the template, you can:
- More easily configure date ranges and comparison periods than in the Search Console interface.
- Instantly see the overall impressions, clicks, CTR and the percentage difference to a comparison period.
- Trend click and impression data over time. The graphs can easily be changed to be aggregated on a weekly and monthly basis rather than the daily default.
- Compare a breakdown of impressions and CTR by device type.
- See your top performing landing pages from organic search and the search queries that sent users to your site.
This template, as well as this variation by Aleyda Solis, provides a good base for starting to build out visualisations in Google Data Studio with Search Console data. You can take this template a step further by creating different dashboards for specific areas of your site, looking at performance split out by branded and non-branded queries and by surfacing the biggest wins and losses in a given time period.
2. Google Analytics Audience and Acquisition Overview
Google Analytics is a go-to tool for most digital marketers, but it isn’t without its flaws. The Analytics interface isn’t that smooth or easy to use, but fortunately, you can pull this data into dashboards which are.
A good place to start with Analytics dashboards can be found in the Data Studio Report Gallery with the Audience and Acquisition Overview dashboards. While the dashboards are fairly top level, they can provide you with a foundation on which you can build out more graphs and charts that can reveal more targeted insights related to the performance of the sites you manage. These two starter dashboards allow you to:
- Instantly see an overview of top-level metrics like users, sessions and session duration.
- See a breakdown of new and returning users.
- Understand your audience by revealing their top languages, countries, and cities.
- Find out the top performing channels on your site.
- Trend the number of users and conversions on your site over time.
- Gain a more detailed view of acquisition, behaviour, and conversion by source/medium.
It’s important to remember that a template is very unlikely to fit your needs straight out of the box. However, using templates can often be easier than starting from scratch because you have an initial framework to work with.
Once customised, these two dashboards would make for insightful monthly reports which you can share with clients or internal management teams to communicate overall site performance. Data Studio now includes a handy PDF download feature so you can send reports easily, or you could provide a direct link to the reports.
3. Google Merchandise Store Ecommerce Report
Google Analytics can also be put to good use in Data Studio when reporting on the performance of ecommerce sites. With an ecommerce dashboard, you can quickly get to grips with revenue performance, as well as looking at how many people are making it to various stages in your conversion funnel.
The Google Merchandise Store Ecommerce Report is another template in the Data Studio Report Gallery that acts as a helpful starting point for getting into ecommerce reporting. In the default report you can:
- Look at trends for sessions, revenue, the number of products added to cart and the cart-to-detail rate. These graphs can easily be customised to specifically view metrics in the buying process on your site.
- See top-level metrics for the various micro and macro conversions that you track.
- Get a more detailed breakdown of your top performing products and their associated ecommerce metrics.
- Breakdown ecommerce metrics by source/medium to understand which channels, are driving the most revenue.
- Further split out ecommerce metrics by dimensions like device and city.
4. Chrome UX Report Dashboard
Improving the speed of your site is massively important in providing a good user experience and in minimising the number of visitors that abandon due to slow load times. On top of this, Google has now incorporated page speed as a ranking factor in mobile search, so it’s now even more important to have a fast site.
In terms of measuring site speed, Google has helpfully published the Chrome User Experience Report, which provides metrics for how real-world users experience websites. The Chrome team has even gone as far as to publish a publicly available Chrome UX Report dashboard showing a select few visualisations of the Chrome UX Report dataset.
The Chrome UX Report dashboard is dead simple to set up, as you can see in the video below:
Once you’ve entered your domain and created the report you can:
- Visualise the distribution of First Contentful Paint (FCP) times trended on a monthly basis for the past year.
- View the distribution of devices trended on a monthly basis for the past year.
- See a distribution of connection types (4G and below) trended on a monthly basis for the past year.
This dashboard is by no means a comprehensive view of page speed but could complement other performance reporting. If you have access to BigQuery you could potentially bring in the full spectrum of metrics from the Chrome UX Report to Data Studio to get a more complete picture of performance.
Once this tag has been configured, the Uncaught TypeError message is sent to Analytics where it can then be pulled into Data Studio. You can find Builtvisible’s Data Studio template here and you can use it to:
- See a full list of error messages ordered by the number of times they occur and filterable by error message and URL.
This dashboard does require a bit of prep work with the tag configuration, but once it’s set up you’ve got an invaluable dashboard for communicating technical errors with development teams.
Let’s get sharing
So there you have it, five dashboards to kick you off on your Data Studio journey. Let me know how you get on and, if you have any questions you can find me on Twitter. For those of you who have already dabbled in Data Studio, I’d be keen to find out all about your favourite dashboards and efficiency hacks so please share them with me.