After SEO, PPC and Social Media, Google Analytics is sometimes considered a bit of an afterthought for some individuals when building a business on the web.
But optimizing and measuring the successes of your SEO, PPC and Social Media campaigns is made a lot easier by using Google Analytics. It provides a whole array of statistics for you to delve into, showing you how the visitors to your website found you and how they’re interacting with your site.
One problem with Google Analytics however, is that it is so in-depth it can be a little daunting for first time users as to which metrics they should be looking at to analyse effectively the performance of their website and SEO practices.
By taking the time to use and learn Google analytics, you’ll find that it can be very simple to use, all you need to do is paste a tracking code into your website to start using it and away you go, you now have all kinds of metrics available at your fingertips.
Analyzing Your Keywords
One of the first things you’ll want to look a the Google Analytics’ Standard Reporting to find organic keywords that bring traffic to your website and to see which exact pages your visitors are visiting (click on the ‘Landing Page’ on the ‘Primary Dimension’ tab).
For ease of access in the future, summaries of these reports can be added to your dashboard. In fact you can create several different dashboards if you like by clicking the ‘Add to Dashboard’ link near the top of the page.
Track Your Visitors & Your Traffic
Other useful tools include seeing who your visitors are by using the Audience tab.
From here you can see the demographics of your users, such as which country or city they are from, the behavior of your visitors, how many are new visitors or returning ones and the duration of their visits to your website. You can even see what browser visitors are viewing your website from, and even more amazingly, what device! From iPhones to iPads or a Samsung phone, you can see how many visits are made to your website from these devices as well as the amount of pages visited and the average visit duration.
One of my favorite tools in Google Analytics is a function that tracks the route of visitors through your website, so not only can you can see how long on average visitors are viewing your website, but you can also use the Visitor flow function (found under the Audience tab) to see what pages visitors are landing on, which pages they are travelling to, and also see exactly which pages visitors are deciding to leave the website from. So if there’s a particular page that visitors leave from, that’s a red flag to you that changing that particular page would be the smart thing to do.
It also gives an understanding into the thought process of your visitors and the way they interact with your website, showing you which pages that they are most interested in or naturally drawn to. You can customize this feature to segment it many different ways, so have a play around with it as it throws up some interesting and useful information.
In terms of evaluating how effective your social media campaigns are you can find data under the Traffic Sources tab and select Social. Here you can see how much referral traffic you’re getting from websites like Twitter and Facebook and also track how many conversions you are getting through these websites.
Using the Real-Time feature in Google Analytics, you can also see how many visitors are being referred from Twitter and Facebook as it’s happening, so if you recently posted a link on Facebook, or tweeted a link on Twitter, you can see the immediate effect of that. You can view this by clicking on the Home tab, then on Real-Time (BETA) and then Traffic Sources.
These methods gives you a simplified view of how traffic is being driven to your website and how visitors are interacting with your website, giving you a level of accuracy that will help you understand how your strategy is working and how you can improve.
“Analytics: Nothing more than learning from records of experience” – John Behrens
About Our Guest Author: Inderpaul Rai is a Digital Marketing Executive at Touchpoint Digital – an internet marketing company that has expertise in Analytics, SEO, PPC, Display Advertising and Web Creative.
Photos courtesy of jscreationzs, Stuart Miles, EA and freedigitalphotos.net