If your website is not using Google Analytics, then your company is missing out on critical information that can be used to improve your website, learn more about potential customers, and identify the most attractive parts of your business.
What Google Analytics Can Tell You
The first step in setting up Google Analytics should be creating your dashboard. You can create multiple customized dashboards with different widgets. This is where you want to put the most important metrics that you plan to review often.
Where are your visitors coming from? You can use Google Analytics to identify your top referral sources and to determine what kind of content gets backlinks. Then, you can create similar content that more sites will link to, which is essential for building SEO.
AVERAGE TIME ON PAGE
The average time on page metric can help you see how much of your content people are actually reading. If a page or blog post gets a lot of visitors, but most leave after only a few seconds, the content needs to be adjusted. The average time on page statistic can also help you determine which pages are the most successful.
TOP PERFORMING CONTENT
You want to know what your best content is so that you can create similar content. Look at the pages that are visited the most and have the highest average time spent and try to find trends in the content. You can also view the percentage of clicks on all of your internal links by page. Pages that keep visitors on your site or lead to them to click on more pages are top performers.
LOCATION OF YOUR VISITORS
Google Analytics will give you the location demographics of your visitors. You can also see stats about visitors by location. For example, you can look at the average time visitors from Texas spend on your site or the bounce rate (the percentage of visitors who leave the site after viewing just one page) of visitors from Canada. This information can help you create targeted ads and campaigns based on the location of most of your visitors.
WORST PERFORMING PAGES
Check Google Analytics’ page performance metrics to review pages that visitors read for only a short period or exit your site after visiting. Compare these to your top pages and make the necessary adjustments.
Page performance metrics can also be used to see which pages are your top exit pages. If people are frequently leaving your site from the same page (and it’s not a blog post), they may not be finding what they need on that page. Review your content and add calls to action to make sure you aren’t losing potential customers.
MOBILE OR DESKTOP?
These days every business should have a mobile site, but Google Analytics provides valuable metrics that demonstrate the usage of a mobile site. Under the Visitors menu, there is a mobile option where you can see the particular device people use to visit your site by the percentage of total visits. You can also see the average time on site and bounce rate per device.
Access Some of Google Analytics Most Important Info
Logging into Google Analytics for the first time can be overwhelming. Element 47 marketing clients have access to their own dashboard that simplifies their analytics into bite-size pieces of the most important information. If you’re diving directly into the database, however, here are some direct paths that will take you to the most important information that Google Analytics has to offer. We recommend starting with these metrics:
1. Audience>Unique Visitors
Definition: This is the number of visitors that went to your site for the specified time. Each visitor is counted only once.
What you can learn: This tells you how many individuals are seeing your content. If you are trying to get more people to your site, this is how you measure your success.
2. Acquisition>Traffic Sources
Definition: A breakdown of how people are getting to your site. This is divided into direct, organic, paid, and referrals. Direct visits are when a person types in your URL to get to your site. Organic Search visits are when people find your site through Google or another search engine. Referral sites are links from another website. Social visits are visits that come from a social media platform such as Facebook or Twitter. Paid visits are from paid media, such as Google Adwords.
What you can learn: This is a helpful report to help you establish goals as well as measure them. If you are low in organic search, you may want to increase your blog posts. Google likes fresh and helpful content, so start writing. It might take a little while, but blogging on topics that interest your audiences will increase organic traffic. Another example is visits from social sites. If you are spending time and money using social to get people back to your website, social traffic sources is an analytic you’ll want to look at.
3. Behavior> Site Content> All Pages
Definition: This report shows several stats for pages on your website including page views, average time on the page and bounce rate. (Bounce rate means they left the site without visiting a second page.)
What you can learn: Here you can see which of your pages are getting the most and least amounts of traffic. If you know a page is popular, brainstorm what similar content you could create. Also, look at the other elements on the page. If the popular content is an article offering helpful tips, make sure you have a link to sign up for your email. On the other hand, if a page is not getting the traffic you would like, think about what other content you can place on the page to deliver your readers a more helpful page. Watching the popularity of your specific pages can tell you a great deal about the interests of your audiences. When you know more about what works, you can make content marketing decisions quicker and easier.
Definition: The number of people viewing your website from tablet, mobile, and desktop.
What you can learn: Regardless of this metric, it is crucial that your site is optimized for mobile (all Element 47-designed sites are). This metric can help with your design and where to place the most important CTAs. Further, if your site is skewing toward one source, adjusting your bids on paid search for certain devices could be helpful.
The ‘average time on page’ statistic can also help you determine which pages are the most successful.
This is just a start. Dive into Google Analytics and see what you can learn about your website. Questions? Just let us know!