Understanding Google Analytics – Get The Best Tips & Advice

Google Analytics is an important part of reaching your Search Engine Optimisation* goals and monitoring your ongoing SEO.

Google Analytics is a full-featured web analytics package where you gather, view, and analyse data about your website traffic and use these statistics to improve your website usability and functionality. You have spent a lot of money in creating your website – understanding how customers are interacting with, and navigating your site is critical to generating a return on that investment.

As well as measuring your top landing pages and web traffic, here are 6 Google Analytics tools and reports that you may not have even known existed.

Benchmark tool: The Benchmark Tool does exactly that; benchmarks your websites against similar websites. By enabling benchmarking in Google Analytics, you can view valuable data for similar sites within your category. You will be able to compare the following:

  • Visits
  • Pageviews
  • Pages per Visit
  • Bounce Rate
  • Average Time on Site
  • New Visits data

Google’s Analytics Benchmarking tool can give you insights into how your website is performing compared to your competitors and identify areas of opportunity where you can improve your Search Engine ranking and web presence.

Overlay tool: The Overlay Tool overlays a page on your website and this feature allows you to be able to analyse any page of your site to see which links on that page your visitors are clicking on. Mousing over any link will show you the number of times that link was clicked on and the percentage of total clicks on the page that link was responsible for. You will be able to analyse the following:

  • how users are navigating your site
  • where they are going from the landing page
  • which links they are clicking on
  • which links they aren’t clicking on
  • how effective those links are in achieving your goals

This will provide you with valuable data to be able to determine whether your links are intuitive, valuable or even necessary. If you have “goals” (see below) set-up within your Google Analytics account the site overlay tool will also tell you how effective links on a page are in achieving those goals.

The Google Analytics site overlay feature is one of many tools at your disposal. The biggest limitation is that the Site Overlay can only be used for static pages with unique links to content located elsewhere on your website, it will not work with dynamically generated content.

Goal tracking and funnels: This gives you the ability to create up to 20 goals for important events (actions) that users take when they visit your site that you would like to keep a record of. These specified goals may include making a booking, filling out an enquiry form, signing up for an email newsletter or catalogue requests.

You can also opt to track funnels as well. Put simply, when you combine goal tracking with funnels, points out any problems customers may face in conversion to a goal. Funnels indicate whether there are any problems in that chain of conversion and whether the navigation is user friendly.

For example, you may own an online fashion store and want to track the steps customers make on the way to the checkout. If you see customers dropping off at a page explaining shipping charges, it may mean that the shipping charges may be too high or customers do not understand the information on the page.

The information gathered from goal tracking and funnels allows you to analyse the content on the page and revise accordingly to improve conversion rates.

Length of visit: This is a measure of visit quality. A large number of lengthy visits suggests that visitors interact more extensively with your site. In order to capture the length of a visit, Google Analytics tracks the elapsed time between pageviews. The last page of a visit will not be recorded (as there is no subsequent pageview).

The graph allows you to visualise the entire distribution of visits instead of simply the ‘Average Time on Site’ across all visits. Keep in mind that ‘Average Time on Site’ is skewed by visitors leaving browser windows open when they are not actually viewing or using your site.

You can see whether a few visits are skewing your ‘Average Time on Site’ upward or whether most visits to your site have a high average time. Look at your average bounce rate, time on site and pages viewed to get a good understanding of your visitors.

Average page view for visits: Page views is the number of times any page was viewed by any visitor. This is often divided by visits to give a page-views-per-visit figure that represents the average number of pages each visitor viewed on a single trip to your site.

Increased page views can mean one of two things; that your site is interesting and compelling or that people cannot find information easily on your site and need to click through a few pages before they find what they are looking for.

Websites have different purposes and goals. A government website may want people to find information quickly and thus keep the average page views low but a hotel website may want to increase the average as it shows greater interest from the visitor.

Average Bounce Rate: The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who enter a site (or a page) and then leave immediately. It is often confused with Exit Ratio. Exit ratio is usually expressed as the percentage of exits from a page to the total number of visits to that page.

Bounce rates can be used to help determine the effectiveness or performance of a landing page. An entry page with a low bounce rate means that the page effectively causes visitors to view more pages and continue on deeper into the website.

Again the bounce rate is relative. If you have an ecommerce website where people are landing on a contact page and using the details to call your company, then your bounce rate may be high. However, most websites are looking for a low bounce rate and more interactivity with the website.

Google.com analytics specialist Avinash Kaushik says that it is really hard to get a bounce rate under 20%, anything over 35% is cause for concern, 50% (above) is worrying.

These are just a few of the many features and reports you can run with Google Analytics. When you sign up for an SEO Package with seoWorks, your Business Analyst will be happy to show you how you can use Google Analytics to track statistics for your website and improve your traffic and online revenue. Contact us now or take a look at the great SEO Package options and SEO Services available.

*Sometimes referred to as Search Engine Optimization

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