With Google Analytics there are hundreds of metrics you can look at, and although all are important, there are seven that you should focus on:
Location: Audience > Overview
Knowing how many visitors your site has is important. It tells you if your marketing is working, what days of the week you get more visits, etc. You can also see how many unique visitors you are getting, and from there drill down and see how many people are coming back to your site more than once. Depending on your site return visitors may be very important, so it’s important to know if your site is giving them a reason to come back.
2) Traffic Sources
Location: Traffic Sources > Sources > All Traffic
It’s important to know where your visitors are coming from. If you find out 50% of your traffic is coming from Facebook you should focus on your social media, but if you find out only 1% of your traffic is coming from Facebook, you should either modify your tactics or spend less time posting updates that focus on getting visitors to your site. You can also see how many visitors are coming from search engines, and what keywords they searched for to find you. You should then use this data to work your popular keywords into your site. If every keyword contains your company name you have some major search engine optimization work to do.
Location: Audience > Mobile > Overview
Do you know what percentage of your visitors are viewing your site on a mobile device? The number may surprise you, and if your site isn’t optimized for mobile devices you may be losing business. Some sites don’t display at all on mobile devices, and if your percentage looks like the example above, over 50% of your visitors are lost.
You don’t have to redo your entire site to be mobile friendly, you can add a “Mobile Gateway”, which is basically a landing page that comes up when someone visits your site on mobile. It has your major calls to action such as “Call Us”, “Request a Quote” or “Get Directions” if you’re a local business and a “View Full Site” link which takes them to the website. If you’d like to add a Mobile Gateway to your site give us a call.
4) Top Pages / Exit Pages
Location: Content > Site Content > All Pages – Content > Site Content > Exit Pages
Knowing what pages on your site are the most visited is important for site layout, content design, etc. If your goal is to get every visitor to your “Request Info” page and it’s your #20 most visited page, and your #1 exit page, then you have a major problem. An exit page is the last page a visitor was on before they left your site. If you have an AJAX form this data can be skewed since they may exit even after filling out the form, but your Goals (more on this below) should tell you that. To avoid this problem you should have them redirect to a Thank You page after filling out the form. This allows you to put calls to action on that page such as join our newsletter, like us on Facebook, etc. that will have a higher probability of being completed since they already completed the first action.
5) Landing Pages
Location: Content > Site Content > Landing Pages
Landing Pages are pages your visitors entered your site from. It’s important to know what pages most visitors are entering from because these pages are the first experience visitors have with your site. You may have spent most of your time making your homepage look great and neglected your interior pages. However, if 50% of your visitors aren’t entering through your homepage, you need to make sure your interior pages are optimized. From this list you can also see how well each landing page is performing, including how many pages the average visitor views, how long they stay on the site, etc. If a certain page has great numbers you should try to implement whatever calls to action that page has on your others. If a landing page has a high bounce rate (when someone only views that page and leaves your site) you definitely need to redo that page ASAP.
Location: Content > Conversions > Goals > Overview
Do you have Goals setup? If you don’t, and you collect information on your site such as leads, email addresses, etc, then you should. Goals tell you how many people completed an action such as requesting more information, and more importantly how they got to that step. If you sell products on your site you can add a monetary value to a goal so you can see how much that conversion is worth to your business. You can also see what the conversion rate is for each goal, and tweak as necessary if a goal isn’t converting well.
7) Visitor Location
Location: Audience > Demographics > Location
Google Analytics allows you to see what part of the country (or world) your visitors are coming from. If you are a local company and a large percentage of your traffic is coming from across the country this is wasted traffic. You can drill down and see what sources are sending traffic from a specific state. For example if you’re running an ad on a website and 95% of the traffic from that site is from across the country, you probably shouldn’t run that ad anymore.
Do you have Google Analytics installed on your site? If you don’t, then you should install it right now. It’s FREE and will soon become one of the most valuable tools in your marketing toolbox.
Check out our other posts about analytics.