Making sense of Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a fantastic tool, and one I would recommend any business owner to use in conjunction with their website. Unfortunately, time and time again I see business owners set up their Google account, open Analytics, and become completely overwhelmed with everything there is to analyse. This is understandable, as there is so much information available it can be tricky to determine what’s relevant and what’s not. Here is a quick list and guide through some of the most valuable reports you’ll find in Google Analytics.
- Overview Report
As the title suggests, this will give you a general overview of all your website statistics. To access it, go to Audience, then Overview. Everything is shown within a date range, so make sure the range entered is appropriate.
This overview gives you a snapshot of what has been happening on the website and how engaged the users are. By seeing how long they spent on the website and the number of pages they have visited you can get a good idea of their overall engagement. Have a look through all of the totals underneath the line graph.
To give a quick overview of the terminology;
Users tally the number of different people/computers that visited your site within that date range.
Sessions are the number of times a user was actively engaged on your website.
Pageviews tells you the total number of pages that were viewed.
Pages / Session tells you how many pages were viewed in the average session, and the Average Session Duration tells you how long the sessions usually were.
Bounce Rate tells you the percentage of sessions where users came to the site, viewed only one page, and then left. Ideally, you want your bounce rate to be as low as possible, which means that your website is getting more engagement and is more likely to convert but sometimes there is a reason for a higher bounce rate if most people are likely to call your business. They can come to your website, find a phone number and leave again, so it’s not always bad.
- Geo Report
This report shows you where your website visitors are coming from. To access it, go to Audience, then Geo, then Location.
Click on a country, such as United States to get more information about the regions within that country that most of the traffic is coming from.
You can also add a primary dimension so that you can see the cities instead of the regions, which gives a greater level of detail. This report will give you a look at the quality of the traffic from each different location. When you know where your top converting users come from, this can help you measure your marketing activities.
- Mobile Report
The mobile report will show how many people have come from different types of devices. Being able to compare the traffic you get from different devices can help drive your marketing strategy. To access it go to Audience, then Mobile, then Overview. If, for instance, you have a high percentage of traffic coming from mobile devices, it’s important that you make sure your website is properly formatted and optimised for both desktops and mobiles, and it’s really easy to navigate on a mobile device.
- Source/Medium Report
The Source/Medium report enables you to see where the traffic to your website comes from, this is probably my favourite report and the one I use most often. To access the Source/Medium Report, go to Acquisition, then All Traffic then Source/Medium.
Google Organic is the natural results that you get from Google searches, and you can enhance this through good SEO, this will also include people searching for your brand name and finding you in Google. Direct Traffic is generally when people type your URL directly into their browser, but it can also include untracked email marketing campaigns, untracked Facebook ad campaigns, and links that people send to each other. You can also see the quality of each type of traffic by looking at the bounce rate and the pages/session columns. If the bounce rate is much higher from one source than from another, this would suggest that this source isn’t generating traffic from your target audience. If the pages/session is low then people from this source of traffic are generally less interested in your website than other sources of traffic.
- Landing Page Report
To see the most popular pages that people arrive at when they visit your website, you want to look over the Landing Page Report. Find it under Behavior, then Site Content, then Landing Pages. This will give you insight into which pages on your site are drawing the most traffic, and may illuminate some pages that aren’t being seen as much as you would like them to, suggesting a change needs to be made.
- Goal Conversions
The last report I am going to cover is Goal Conversions. To reach this, go to Conversions, then Goals, then Overview. Here you can see results of the goals set up for your website (Goal set up is under Admin-Goals)
This is a great way to keep track of particular conversions and work toward more. If you have a Contact Us form make sure that it takes the user to a thank you page once they have filled it out. That way you can measure the number of enquiries that you get coming through the form. This will help you measure how many people are converting and will also let you know what Source they came from. This can all be tracked in Goal Conversions.
Just a quick note to help you compare your data from month to month or year to year, you can change the date range in the top right corner of Google Analytics. This will change all of the data to what is within that range.
While there are plenty of other useful reports that you can explore down the track, hopefully, this guide has gotten you through the initial overwhelming effect that Google Analytics can sometimes create. Just go through each report and you will not only become comfortable with the software but also learn valuable statistics about your website along the way.
If you want to learn more about Google Analytics and SEO so you can you generate more traffic to your website, take a look at The SEO School, an 8 module self-paced course to help your business get found online.
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