This is part 3 in a series of blog posts capturing our SEO makeover for the Melete Foundation.

On any SEO project, before you jump into core tasks like keyword research, content optimization, and link building, it’s important to learn as much as you can from existing data sources.  This could be Google Analytics or another web traffic tracking tool, as well as AdWords or another search advertising platform.

Your goals with “pre-SEO analysis” are, in order of importance, to …

  • Identify anything that will help you do smarter keyword research and search optimization
  • Create a baseline against which to measure your post-SEO results
  • Gain familiarity with the site’s overall metrics and trends

Melete has had Google Analytics running since September of 2010.  I spent about 90 minutes analyzing and summarizing their data, focusing on the traffic sources reports.  You can read my pre-SEO analysis for Melete here.  As I note in the report, to date they’ve had almost no search traffic from the types of target keywords we identified in our kickoff meeting brainstorm.  The vast majority has come from brand searches (e.g. “melete foundation”), people searches (e.g. staff names), and generic searches related to songs mentioned in blog post titles (not a good match).

Melete Pre-SEO Analysis Excerpt

If I had found traffic from our target keywords, I would have tried to break those keywords into buckets (e.g. teacher-related phrases, volunteer-related phrases) and looked at their respective levels of engagement on the site (bounce rate, time on site).  I would make a note of which keyword groups perform best and worst on these measures — information that would help us as we prioritize target keywords during keyword research, our next step.

In the absence of this kind of data, this exercise mostly serves to reinforce the need for rigorous SEO on this site, and to act as a baseline going forward.

Up next: keyword research.  See posts on all of our Melete SEO makeover steps so far.