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Analytics and Search Engine Optimisation

We measure website performance through Google Analytics 4 (GA4), a service which tracks and reports online traffic. Analytics provides website owners with useful data such as:

  • how users find your site (referrals)
  • how users navigate through your site
  • your number of page views
  • user location/demographics.

With this information you can assess the impact of particular pages within the University’s wider web presence. You can also review the usefulness of your content and respond to the needs and expectations of your users.

University of Leeds analytics

To gather analytics for a site, each website must have a Google Analytics ‘snippet’ included within its source code.

If your website has been built internally within our website development service, your site will be automatically set up with the University of Leeds Google Analytics code.

All site owners can access website analytics data as part of a wider dataset through the University’s All Data View.

To access Google analytics, you need to ensure a Google account is set up for your email address. This will allow you to sign in with your University email address for Google Analytics and other Google programmes.

How to create a Google account using your email address

Shared accounts

For security reasons, we are no longer allowing teams to share accounts to login to Google Analytics – each member of the team must have their own account. To set up access to Google Analytics, create a Google account with your University email following the instructions on this page, then complete the Google Analytics access request form.

Training and support

Access training on Google Analytics (GA4) via the IT website (staff login required).

Google’s online courses and LinkedIn Learning offer also user training and support.

Any requests for support with reporting and gathering insight from data should be first discussed with your local marketing managers.

Any technical issues should first be submitted to IT Services.

External suppliers

If your website has been developed with an external supplier, you may have been offered an independent analytics service as part of your package. If you opt for an external analytics service:

  • your reports will be confined to the scope of that service
  • the University cannot provide additional analytics or support
  • governance of the data is untraceable.

We can grant access to the University’s Google Analytics to external agencies and partners on a temporary basis, with the following conditions:

  • Shared email accounts are not used for access – for agencies, an individual is selected for access on behalf of their team.
  • A confidentiality agreement is signed by the external party.
  • Dates for access are agreed in advance – a start date and end date, at which point access will be revoked.

To request access to existing University data with an external agency, please contact the Digital Communications team at

Removing users from Google Analytics

If you are leaving the University, or moving into a job role where you will no longer need access to Google Analytics, it is important you inform us so we can manage our user list.

Please email the Digital Communications team: if you no longer need access, confirming a leaving date if applicable.

How to optimise your website for search engines

The following guidance provides basic information on how to make sure your audience can find your content easily using search engines such as Google and Bing (usually known as search engine optimisation or SEO).

1. Good content design and accessibility

Search engines are built and continually updated to help meet users’ needs. Following good content design principles should always be your number one priority and will lead to good search engine performance. This means publishing clear, well-structured information that meets identified needs of your audience.

Web accessibility is also important. Not only is it a legal requirement, but search engines such as Google factor in accessibility when ranking web content.  If your users can all access and use your content properly, this contributes to good content design.


2. Using keywords

Keywords are popular words or phrases that users submit to a search engine to find content.

If your web content is relevant and concise, you may have already used a number of effective keywords, which will help drive traffic to your pages, but you can also help improve your SEO by adding in some carefully considered keywords.

You can also identify keywords through applications such as Google Adwords. LinkedIn Learning offers free online training in keyword research.
using online platforms, channels and forums being used by your audience to research the topics and words they mention when discussing your subject matter.

Long-tailed keywords can help your audience find your content. These are detailed search terms, such as:

  • campus tour booklet
  • gain qualified teacher status
  • becoming a teacher.

You should try to use long-tailed keywords that are specific and relevant to your content, but which are also popular in search.

The University’s Jadu and WordPress content management systems help you to effectively apply keywords throughout your web page development:

H1 heading (page title)

This is the title of your page and will appear as the page title in your search results. Avoid generic titles such as: Welcome, Research Project or Home Page.

Imagine how the user will find your page in Google. Centre for Total Artificial Heart Implant Research or School of Law Alumni Networking Event are likely to be effective because they are informative, descriptive keyword titles.

H2 and H3 headings

These are the subheadings of your page and can help readers to skim-read effectively. Search engines use these headings to assess the usefulness and readability of your content.

All subheadings should be relevant, using keywords where possible to clearly signpost sections of your content.

Meta description

This is an overview of a page which provides the snippet of text that appears as a description in search engine results, for example:

It should be a maximum of 158 characters. A 90-character description is considered to be minimal, with 120 characters optimal.

Your meta description should:

  • use focus keywords
  • be specific to your content
  • be written in the active voice.

Meta keywords

We recommend using between five and ten keywords/keyword phrases in the meta keywords field. These phrases should be separated by a comma.

For example, you could use the following meta keywords for a page about MA Social and Political Thought:

social theory, political theory, contemporary social thought, critical theory, liquid sociology, Bauman Institute, Zygmunt, social transformation, global societies, classical sociology