| | |

Google Analytics 101


You’ve worked hard on your website. It’s loaded with keywords and amazing content. The design is modern, responsive, and intuitive. You’re paying for online advertising. Every piece of your social media strategy is in place.

Now it’s time to sit back and watch the customers walk through the door, right?

Without analytics, you can’t be sure how your website is performing. Relying on customers to tell you where they found your business hardly gives you any insight into how effective your website is at marketing your business. Here’s what you need to know about using Google Analytics to help bring your internet marketing to the next level.

Install Google Analytics when your site is being developed.

Installing Google Analytics yourself is a fairly easy process if you’re comfortable with the backend of your website. If you’re like most business owners, you may find it easier to have a web-savvy person do it for you.

  1. First, set up a google email address if you don’t already have one. Yes, this is necessary because you’ll have to log in with a gmail account.
  2. Next navigate your web browser to analytics.google.com and create an analytics account.
  3. Then, set up a new property, account, and view. Google will ask what you want to measure and you can toggle on/off the appropriate elements.
  4. Fourth, take the Google Analytics script (a snippet of HTML code) and add it to the <head> of your website. If you’re unsure about this step, you can give the script to your web developer. They’ll know what to do with it!

Set-up goals.

Google gives you the option to set up conversion goals. Basically, where do you want users to go or what do you want them to do on your site? Are you offering a coupon somewhere on your site? Do you want users to click through to the Contact Us page? What’s the final destination for your web visitor? Or maybe you’d like your visitors to spend at least 15 minutes looking at your products.

You can set all of these up in the Conversion portion of your Analytics account. You’ll have to create an event (or use one already populated by Google) and set some parameters. For instance, if you want users to submit a contact form, you could create an event that notes when users view the /thank-you page after submitting the form. This makes reading your report much easier, and this allows you to identify problems easily if your goals are not being met.

Read specific areas of your report weekly.

Audience Overview – Look for the ebbs and flows of your visitor chart over time. Is there a pattern? Are there more visitors to your site on specific days? Are you doing anything specifically during those days to drive traffic to your site?

Traffic Sources – See which keywords are driving your organic Google searches. What content are people looking for when they click through to your site? Is it prominent enough? How do you develop more content like it? Do more users come through organic search or paid search? Or possibly even another popular website that links to yours.

Traffic Sources > Social – Another important piece of the Internet marketing puzzle is how well your social media channels are driving traffic to the site. If nothing is referring users, you might need to rethink your strategy for those platforms. This might include the frequency of posts, types of content, or how you use tagging and hashtags. Time to strategize!

Conversions – See how well you’re doing on those goals you’ve set up.

Look for trouble.

Here are a few red flags to look for:

No Visitors/No New Visitors – Your website might be lacking the kind of content people are looking for which means you have an uphill battle in front of you. Time to get together with a strategist and see what you can do to feed the internet SEO machines. Think of your website as a starving athlete in desperate need of performance-enhancing proteins to get it moving. However, good content and SEO strategy are not overnight miracle solutions. So, if you have put time into developing good content for your site, look for a increase in results 6-8 weeks after consistent posting. If nothing happens, seek help.

High Bounce Rate – When you’re looking at your overview, if your bounce rate is higher than 50%, dig into why that could be. Your site’s bounce rate is the percentage of users that visit your site without going to another page. They see your page and leave the site immediately. Not all high bounce rates are bad. Some web users might simply be looking for your phone number. Most of the time, by searching through the report data, you can find out what page your users visit and where they exit. You may discover your bounce rate is high because of mobile users. In which case, it’s time to make your site mobile-friendly.

Referral Traffic is Not Varied – You never want all of your eggs in one basket. If you’ve got a well-oiled internet marketing machine working on your behalf, your referral traffic should have a wide variety of search engines, social media, and bookmarking sites referring traffic your way. If only Facebook is sending you traffic, you’re one algorithm change away from being irrelevant. Develop your presence on other sites that allow you to host a profile of your business. Post more often to your social media outlets. Ask other websites to share your valuable content and link back to your site.

Google Analytics will give you more than you ever wanted to know about how your website is performing. You can drown yourself in information. Use this as a guide to getting started with analyzing your website’s performance. Keep it simple and check in often. Let the stats drive your strategy. The information is useless if you don’t use it to empower your digital marketing. Good luck!