What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a free tool from Google, that tracks and reports your website traffic. And monitors what your website visitors are doing on your website, and in this blog I will run through the main sections of Google Analytics that I recommend you pay attention to and track each month. You can set up your Google Analytics account here.
Let’s start with understanding your Audience Data
Once you log into your analytics account, on the left hand navigation you will see Audience. Click on Audience and then Overview. In the top right hand corner you will need to select a date range so you can look at full month and compare to full month prior to see how your audience data has changed/improved. This will show you:
- Sessions – Website visits
- Users – Unique website visitors
- Page Views – Number of pages viewed per session on your website
- Pages per Session – How many pages are being viewed by each website visitor
- Average Session Time – How long users are spending on your website
- Bounce Rate – Where someone lands on your website and jumps straight back off again
- New v Returning Visitors – Your percentage split
- Demographics – Male v female split and their age
- Geo – Where your website visitors are located
- Interests – What other websites and topics interest your website visitors
I recommend setting some targets around your audience data to track month on month to ensure your marketing efforts and investments are working to drive new traffic to your website. And also to monitor your new versus returning visitors ratio.
Where does your website traffic come from – Acquisition Data
The next tab down on the left hand side is your Acquisition data. This will show you what channels are the most effective in driving traffic to your website. You can look at the following data:
- Overview – This will show you, your split between direct, social, organic, referral, paid social traffic.
- You can also drill down into Google Search Console data, Paid Ads, Social etc. to drill deeper into the data.
- Google Search Console will show you what pages users are viewing and also what queries/keywords users are finding you with in Google.
It’s important to track where your website traffic is coming from to understand which marketing channels are working for you. You always want to be able to measure a ROI (return on investment) for any marketing activity that you are doing.
What content are website visitors viewing – Behaviour Data
Under the Behaviour Data tab go into the Overview. Here you can see what the most popular pages and blogs on your website are. Keep on eye on this because there is the opportunity to turn popular blogs into eBooks, or repurpose into video content.
And you can go further into the data in the drop down menus underneath such as: Site content, this will showing you entry and exit pages for your website.
The idea behind this data is you want to understand which pages are driving traffic and therefore you can produce more similar content, and identify your most popular services and promote these potentially through a paid search campaign.
Conversion Goals – You need to set some website goals
So what is it that you want users to do on your website? It’s important to plan this rather than just launching a website and forgetting about it. This will determine what goals to set up and track. For example you might want to track the following:
- How many people sign up for your newsletter
- How many people complete a contact form
- How many people download a content offer from a landing page
- How many phone calls you receive
To set up your individual goals go to the Settings cog icon in the bottom left of the screen. And do the following:
- Click on Goals.
- Then New Goal
- Pick a revenue, enquiry, acquisition or engagement goal.
- Click continue.
- Then give your goal a name.
- And finally select the final URL for the goal e.g. a thank you page.
Track these goals on a monthly basis and make sure you are achieving your conversion goals for your website. You need to be really clear on the path you want users to take on your website.
The final section I want to talk to you about is the little Insights icon in the top right of the screen. In here Google Analytics will give you some insights about your results that month, and how your metrics improved, such as:
- If your monthly users have increased
- More new users have returned to your site this month.
- You can then drill down further and look at things like:
- Users by device
- What percentage of your users came from organic search results?
- Show your trends for bounce rates over the last 3 months?
- What are your top pages in terms of page views?
So keep an eye on your insights as this section is great for seeing a snapshot on how your website has improved over time. I hope that you found this blog useful and you can use Google Analytics to help your small business grow and thrive.