The first step is to start asking yourself questions that you’d like answers to. This is the crux of good analysis. Once you know what questions you’d like answered then you can go to work on finding ways to tweak Google Analytics to give you those answers.
Analysis without Goals is Useless
To begin with, the most important question is, what are your goals? Where is the company spending money? SEO? PPC? Does your site have E-commerce transactions? Or is it mostly focused on lead acquisition?
Think of the 80/20 rule. If 80 percent of your traffic comes in through PPC, then you should start by focusing on better ways of analyzing your PPC data and creating custom reports that quickly give you the most useful data.
Before we continue, a word of caution: Don’t go report crazy! You can easily create a million custom reports, all giving you parts of the puzzle. Again, 80/20. Create a few reports that will give you the most data—data that you can process and combine to create an actionable plan leading to increased ROI.
Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty (or granular, in GA speak):
1. Keywords with a low click-through rate but a good average position
This report can be found under Traffic Sources > Search Engine Optimization > Queries (once you’ve connected your GA and GWT account).
Look for keywords that have a low CTR. Then consider optimizing your Meta Title to draw in more clicks.
Also, we know that if a visitor clicks through to your site and spends a certain amount of time reading your content, and then you click back to the SERP, Google will pop up more sitelinks.
Optimizing the title or clicks, and then optimizing the content to keep people on the site longer, can then lead to more engagement as people go back to your site again via Google.
2. By chasing the head, are you losing out on the tail?
Many businesses select highly competitive head terms as their target keywords and focus their link building and optimization on those terms. They assume those terms will bring both a high number of visitors and a high number of goal completions. The truth lies hidden in your company’s analytics data.
Based on sites sales funnel, long tail keywords may give you visitors that are at the bottom of the funnel, ready to convert. They are so sophisticated and well informed about your topic that they know exactly what to look for and are ready to convert.
Enabling your website for Ecommerce or adding in conversion values, you can determine exactly what each keyword is worth.
If you are unable to do so, there are others ways to visualize this data:
Create segments for 1, 2, 3 and 4+ word terms.
Then, install a custom SEO report looking mostly at keyword data and organic traffic:
Then, using the advanced segments tab, click on the four segments mentioned above and look at the comparison between these advanced segments:
Once you have this data, you can analyze the value of your keyword selection. Perhaps you thought that most of your traffic was coming from your one- to two-word terms?
As you can see in the report above, there is almost as much traffic in the long tail as there is in the head, with a similar amount of goal completions. The suggestion: Spend equal amount of time/resources optimizing for the head and the long tail. On other sites, the results can be very different, that’s why it’s essential to view all of these as ideas that lead you on your own digging adventure.
3. Not all visitors are created equal
An area where segmentation is even more crucial is Local Businesses. People may find one of your informational pages but may not have the ability to perform a conversion because of the geographic location. This is an area where you should create an advanced custom segment based on geographic location.
Below you will see some data based on a local immigration firm, Oltarsh & Associates:
Once you’ve created this report, look at all of engagement statistics for just this demographic. You will see a tremendous difference in the results as you look at the actions of people who have actionable potential of interacting with your site/brand.
This is for visitors from the New York metro area:
And this is for All Visitors:
4. What pages have a high-bounce and exit rate? Why oh why are they leaving?
Start by using a Standard Report for Traffic from organic results to your landing pages. Go to Traffic Sources > Search > Organic. At the top of the results (under the graph), click on “Landing Pages.”
Keep them sorted by visits and look for the page with the most visits with the highest bounce rate. Drill down to the first landing page meeting the criteria above, and use a Secondary Dimension of “Keyword.” This will give you the keywords that visitors used to get to that landing page, and then departed from.
Once you have this data, visit that page on your site and do some detective work. Perhaps they are leaving because the information is too dense? Or not detailed enough? Tweak the content of the page, create an annotation, and then watch how the Bounce Rate and Avg. Visit Duration changes.
Keep in mind that Bounce Rate measures how many people looked at just one page of your site and then left. Could it be that those visitors found exactly what they were looking for and didn’t need to stay on your site any longer? Look at Avg. Visit Duration to determine if those visitors are actually reading your content. You may also want to create an event and track that event on that page to get better/clearer insights on that particular behavior.
5. Are they mobile? And if so, can they find what they’re looking for?
I don’t know about you, but I spend a considerable amount of time searching for information on my mobile phone.
Waiting in line at the grocery store, waiting for my turn at the DMV, waiting in line at the bank to deposit checks … these are all excellent opportunities for me to find nuggets of information. And the amount of times that my efforts have been thwarted due to sites that are not optimized for mobile devices is countless. And very annoying. In most cases, those websites lost me—forever.
As the mobile web grows, Google Analytics can give you a wealth of information about how your mobile visitors are interacting with your site.
Start by creating a custom report for Mobile Visitors who arrive at your site via Organic Keywords.
Once you have this report in front of you, look at some of the Engagement metrics, such as pages / visit, Avg. Visit Duration, and Bounce Rate. Consider adding a secondary dimension of landing pages so you can get a better idea of not just what they are looking for but where they found it.
Then, evaluate the Bounce Rate and Avg. Visit Duration and find pages that could be improved for mobile users.
There you have it! Five different ways of looking analytics data to:
- Optimize for the right keywords
- Maximize the benefit gained from each and every one of your hard-earned visitors
- Segment your data for increased accuracy
As we are only a few days into the New Year, why not include better decision-making via Analytics Data as one of your company’s New Year goals?
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Raywoo