Of all the platforms available that provide business owners with website metrics, Google Analytics is one of the most widely used. According to Google, this platform “not only lets you measure sales and conversions, but also gives you fresh insights into how visitors use your site, how they arrived on your site, and how you can keep them coming back.” With a comprehensive set of features, Analytics provides pretty much everything needed to optimize your efforts. Here are some primary features and how they can be used to improve your marketing campaign.
Search engine optimization is becoming more and more important, and for good reason. For many businesses, it’s their main source of traffic. Identifying patterns and understanding which keywords are bringing in the bulk of traffic is highly advantageous for getting the most from SEO efforts. From the Google Analytics dashboard, clicking Traffic Sources > Sources > Search > Organic will provide a list of keywords in ascending to descending order in terms of how many visits they have received.
This will give you a firsthand look into which keywords are the top performers and which are hardly bringing in any traffic. It will also display the average number of pages viewed from each keyword, average visit duration, and the bounce rate. This data is helpful because you can tell how long the average visitor is spending on your site after landing. By finding a keyword that’s bringing in a significant amount of traffic, you’ll be able to capitalize on this information by creating content based around similar topics.
Another great thing about SEO is that your content will often appear in search results for queries that you never anticipated. By looking through the list of keywords that visitors used to find content, it can provide insights into their logic and thought patterns, which can be used for planning your future content strategy.
Another way to use Google Analytics is by using the “Content” feature to determine how many page views each piece of content is receiving. Clicking on Content > Site Content > All Pages will bring you here. This provides an overview of how much exposure a particular product, blog post, page, etc. is getting. It also shows the number of unique page views, average time on the page, and other information. This feature is beneficial because it offers concrete evidence of which content is most popular and which is receiving very little attention.
By noticing patterns on hot topics, this information can be used in your ongoing efforts to better provide the audience with what they’re looking for. It can also help prevent wasting time on creating content that visitors won’t be interested in. For example, if blog posts about subject (x) are bringing in a large volume of traffic, you would probably want to create more posts concerning that subject. If blog posts about subject (y) are bringing in a low volume of traffic, it would probably be smart to leave that subject alone in future endeavors.
Paying attention to the bounce rate is important because it’s an indicator of how much visitors are interacting with a page and how long they are staying. The higher the bounce rate means the quicker people are leaving, and vice versa. Therefore, a bounce rate of 100 percent means visitors and landing and immediately leaving a page. If the bounce rate is 0 percent, it means that all visitors are interacting at least on some level.
Knowing the bounce rate is useful because it’s an indicator of how each overall visitor is responding to a piece of content. Whenever you spot a bounce rate of 90 percent or more, it shows that visitors aren’t hanging around to explore that content; this means it could probably use some improvement. On the other hand, a low bounce rate of 40 percent or less shows that visitors are interacting. Over time, bounce rate patterns should help you fine-tune your content and maximize the attention that each piece of content receives.
If your business is using any type of social networking site like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest, this platform can provide key insights into each network’s performance. Clicking Traffic Sources > Social > Overview will quickly show you how many visits each network is bringing in and the overall percentage in relation to other networks.
This is useful because it’s tangible evidence of the impact of your social media campaign and shows how well or poorly each network is performing. For example, if Facebook was bringing in a massive amount of traffic and Twitter was bringing in very little, you might spend more time on Twitter to drive more traffic. If a particular network continues to have poor performance, you might scrap it altogether and spend more time on the networks that are performing well.
Due to the rising popularity of mobile devices for browsing the Internet, it’s become somewhat of a necessity to provide visitors with a mobile friendly experience. Fortunately, Google Analytics has the capability to show how many visitors are arriving via desktop/laptop PCs, smartphones and tablets. This information can be found by clicking on Audience > Mobile > Overview. Once arriving on this screen, you will see how many overall visits are coming from each device, pages viewed per visit, visit duration, etc.
If you notice a considerable number of visitors accessing your site via mobile devices, it may be a good idea to invest in making your site more mobile friendly. For instance, responsive web design and creating an alternate mobile version are popular options.
Businesses looking to save time and money sometimes use a plugin like UppSite to create an HTML 5 app. You can take it one step further by clicking on “Devices” from this screen to determine the specific mobile devices that are being used. If there is a relatively equal balance of tablets and smartphones, responsive web design is probably your best option because content can be viewed on nearly any device regardless of the screen size.
Finally, this feature can provide an all encompassing view of the logic and preference of visitors when navigating your site. This can be found by clicking on Content > In-Page Analytics and a screenshot of your website will appear. Scrolling through this area makes it easy to determine which links are getting the most clicks and how the exact percentages break down. For instance, if you have a “Top Posts” or “Recent Posts” widget on the sidebar, it will display which links visitors are most interested in and getting the bulk of traffic.
By looking at the individual pages underneath the header, you will know which pages are being clicked most. For example, there may be a trend of numerous visitors clicking on the “About” section of your site to learn more information concerning your business. If this page is lacking comprehensive information, it would be smart to spend some time on it. As more data is unearthed, you can make the necessary adjustments to improve site navigation and give visitors the best experience possible.
Have you found any other ways to use Google Analytics to improve your marketing campaign? Let me know in the comments below!
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