Google Analytics is arguably the most essential marketing tool you have in your SEO toolbox. Considering the service is free, the insight this vital resource provides is an absolute gift from the Big G. We run through how to use Google Analytics and the metrics you should be watching.
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a tool that helps to measure how well a website is performing by looking at site traffic, conversion rates, performance and how visitors view and use your website. The Google Analytics service is free to anyone with a Google account. By installing a small amount of “tracking code” on each page of your website, Google tracks data and records information about every visit to your website. Google Analytics can help you make marketing decisions based on customer behaviour and conversions. Google Analytics can also provide some great preconfigured and customisable reports that help you gain valuable insights into he performance of your website. It is, all in all, a useful tool that helps you to better understand how well you are performing in the online marketplace.
Is Google the new God?
You may well wonder. The multiple terms and numbers Google Analytics (GA) throws up are certainly as mystifying and difficult to decipher as the esoteric symbolism in the Holy Book – unless you know what to look for.
So today, we’re going to give you a work hack to analysing how well your content and website is performing.
Improving search engine rank is primarily about engaging your audience. Content, user experience and marketing should therefore top your list of priorities and these five GA metrics are what to look out for:
- Where you traffic is coming from
- What pages visitors are interacting with
- Which pages are performing and which are not
- Where are visitors leaving
- How much pages are costing your business
Let’s dive straight in shall we!
Knowing where you are getting most of your traffic from is a good indication of which digital marketing tactics are working and which need more work.
If you select Acquisitions>All Traffic from the menu down the left side your Analytics interface, GA will pull up a screen which shows you how visitors are arriving at your site; search, social, mobile, specific 3rd party sites etc.
This table is also important because it provides information on behaviour and conversions as well, vital data which we will look at more closely as we skip through this article.
Site Content>landing pages
The information in Site Content gives you all kinds of information about how well content is performing. Start with landing pages as this tells you which pages and keywords are pulling in the punters.
Make a note of this information as it may come in useful later on when you try and work out the path people take after arriving to your site – especially if you are content performance. It is important to paint a picture when attempting to decipher GA.
By analysing the data on this page you will be able to determine which keywords and pages, or content are performing well. And which are not performing well. You can therefore amend your strategy and address pages that are underperforming.
Exit Rate (and Bounce Rate)
We’ll club these two together as they are both important metrics although the overview of the latter can be misleading.
Bounce Rate records the number of visitors that leave after viewing one page without exploring other pages of your website. If you have a high bounce rate, compare the list of landing pages you made above with the page titles listed in your exit rate. Exit rate shows you the pages from which visitors leave your website. If you are getting a high bounce rate on specific pages, improve the content or define the keywords to focus on user intent.
The same principle applies for every page that is underperforming. Exit pages help to determine if you have a weak link in your conversion chain.
Ideally, the list of pages in your in this list should be contact pages, purchase pages and sign up forms. You don’t want to be seeing landing pages, homepage and any pages during the checkout process, but if you do, at least you know to take action on these pages.
You should compare your exit page metrics with:
All pages record how many visitors each of your pages receive. The most popular are listed at the top and filter down to the least viewed. You can view this table by clicking Behaviour>Site Content>All Pages.
The data you recover from this metric gives you significant insights into how effective your pages are and what type of content your audience engage with the most. Be certain to check out the average time spent on each page and the bounce back rate.
User Explorer is a new GA metric that is still in beta testing, but promises to offer critical information to marketers that value providing a personalised service.
The new metric tracks the user behaviour of individuals and provides data that is drilled down to the dates they visit your site, the device used and the channel they came through on, i.e search, social, PPC etc.
The metric also tells you how much time and money they spend on your website. There are opportunities here for marketers to use this data to draft customer service questionnaires and coax visitors to take the next step along the purchasing path.
But marketers will find that User Explorer could be a highly valuable tool for your customer loyalty program and pitching personal offers to your most valued customers.
More from Google Analytics
There are many other metrics you will find useful in Google Analytics. It really depends on your campaign and the goals you hope to achieve. For example, if you are in the midst of a local SEO campaign, you can pull up metrics for mobile activity, geo location and local SEO keywords.
However, in general, regardless of the campaign you are assessing analytics for, the five metrics above will help you determine how well your content and keywords are performing for each campaign.
To make things a little easier for you, and especially if you are new to Google Analytics, we’ve linked this free dashboard for you to use. We’re good like that!
To wrap up
Even equipped with this knowledge, Google Analytics can be difficult to navigate at the best of times. If you need a helping hand with your SEO or even with producing fresh and engaging content, talk to The Content Works. You can drop us a line on 0207 305 55 99 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to talk to our team of experts about how we can make your site the best it can be.