Google Analytics is something everyone when asked will say they have installed on the website, but the vast majority will admit to not actually knowing how to use, and some will even say they never look at! Which category do you fall under? Whether you are someone who never uses it because they don’t understand it or can’t be bothered, or even if you are a frequent user, the Streetwise Guide to Google Analytics is a two part guide, aimed at helping all users get the maximum benefit out of their website’s Google Analytics. It’s all in the customisation and knowing what you want to get out of it.
Measuring Traffic: Don’t Count Yourself!
Measuring traffic is one of the most common uses of Google Analytics and is probably the one feature that everyone can hold their hand up as a user of at some point. But understanding how to look at the initial data Google Analytics provides in regards to traffic. You will see a pie chart with percentages indicating the amount of ‘Search Traffic’, ‘Direct Traffic’, and ‘Referral Traffic’.
The company website in the image above only has a small amount of direct traffic, but I have known it in other cases to be in the range of 80% and above because all of the company’s computers, laptops, etc. had the browser homepage set to the company website, meaning anytime an employee logged on they visited the site directly.
So, when considering traffic information, disregard the direct traffic figure as it is most often inaccurate, and focus on the search and referral figures only.
When looking at your own website figures, you need to take into account your own visits. Does your company have your website set as your browser homepage? Even if this isn’t the case, there is still anyone working on your website, like web developers, agencies, any other employees who might need to visit your website to work, to take into account. This will all show in the direct traffic percentage making it largely inaccurate. Therefore focusing on the other figures will give you a much more realistic view of genuine traffic.
Measuring Marketing Efforts: Set ‘Goals’
Google Analytics is a great tool for measuring your marketing efforts, especially digital. Landing pages have always been a great way of measuring marketing generated traffic, and still are, but there are also many other ways to measure your marketing. Setting ‘goals’ on Google analytics is the best way to measure the performance for all manner of objectives in one place. For example, if one of your goals was to get people to sign up to your mailing list, you could add this as a goal, and Google Analytics would then show you the amount of people who signed up, and where each of those people came from. So 10% of sign ups may have come from a Facebook ad, 50% may have come from a call to action on your homepage, etc. This information can be correlated by Google Analytics for all your company’s marketing objectives, allowing you to see which strategies have performed better than others.
Measuring Metrics: Don’t Class Traffic as a Metric for Success
It is easy to rest on your laurels if your website is gaining hundreds or thousands of visitors per month. But the real metrics for success lie in how many of those visitors actually engage. A website with 50,000 visitors a month could be getting just 10 enquiries out of them, in comparison to a website with just 500 visitors per month that is getting 300 enquiries. Just goes to show that sheer volume of traffic doesn’t mean your website is successful. So to measure the true success of your website, you need to focus on the right metrics, and the right metrics are those that tie in with your goals.
Measuring Keywords: Look Past the Top 10
When it comes to measuring the top keywords and search terms that are bringing up your website and are driving search traffic to your website, the top 10 are not what you need to be focusing on. The top 10 are likely to be just variations and misspellings of your company name, where as looking further, say in the top 50, 100 or even further than that, is where the real search term treasure lies.
Look for keywords and phrases that could be easily incorporated into the content of your website, paying particular attention to the longer terms. This will not only give you an idea of what your audience is searching to get to your website, but the specific topics they find of interest, which can influence your website and blog content as well as social media marketing strategies.
Part two will be up on the blog and in your email inbox (for subscribers) same time next week, and will look further at features such as custom dashboards, site search tracking, data ranges and reports.