How to Use Google Analytics to Improve Your Website Performance
If you’ve dipped your toe into the ocean of information that is Google Analytics, then you’re probably already aware of its sheer depth of data. The tool allows you to track metrics such as traffic volume, traffic sources, keywords, user behaviour and conversions to name but a few.
You can then use this data to optimise your site to reach more potential customers, improve the user experience and maximise your sales. In this article we’re going to give you an overview of its functionalities and briefly explain how to use Google Analytics to improve your business. It can all be a bit overwhelming at first, but bear with us – it’s easier than it looks.
Using Analytics to Pinpoint Your Traffic Sources
One of the most significant things that we can learn from the data available is who our online audience is. Firstly, we can tell how they are arriving to our site, whether they are coming from search engines, through paid advertising, social media, other referral sources, or if they are typing our website address directly into their browser.
This is useful because it tells us how we need to tailor our online strategy. For example, if we’re getting a lot of referral traffic, but not much organic traffic (traffic that comes from search engines) then we can assume that we need work on our search engine optimisation and keyword rankings. If social media referrals are drastically low, then we can dedicate some time toward developing our social strategy.
All of this is valuable enough in itself, but we can break the data down even further. Google Analytics can give us the geographical locations of our visitors and the languages that they speak, which is especially useful for international companies. We can also learn what device they are accessing the website on, which browsers they are using, and even their age and gender.
This opens us up to a world of possibilities and shows us where we need to target our marketing campaigns. Perhaps we notice that there’s a dip in traffic from women aged 25-35, living in Auckland, and using a mobile device. We can use this information to create an ad to be displayed on apps that may be of interest to a 25-35 year old woman living in Auckland, or a Facebook ad targeting this demographic.
Using Analytics to Inform Your Keyword Strategy
It’s true that Google Analytics doesn’t give us the insight into keyword data that it once did but, combined with Google Webmaster Tools, a professional website analytics consultant can use the data available to develop an effective keyword ranking strategy. We can learn which keywords are bringing the most traffic and use this information to take advantage of those keywords and to focus our efforts on improving the performance of other less effective keywords. Our efforts can then be analysed based on the resulting impact on the organic traffic mentioned above, and we can use that feedback to scale up what works best.
Using Analytics to Monitor User Behaviour
The third major thing that we can do with Analytics is monitor our users’ behaviour. We can see the bounce rate (the percentage of people who click onto the site and then immediately leave again without viewing a second page), the average time spent on the site, the average number of pages viewed and the number of conversions made. This allows us to see how engaged users are with our site, and draw conclusions regarding the quality or relevance of our content.
As is always the case with Google Analytics, we can take it even further than that. We can track a user’s movements through the website, pinpointing the page upon which they either make a conversion or leave the site. We can even see which traffic sources are more likely to convert. Perhaps we identify a page that has a high drop off, or low conversion rate; we can check this page for any technical errors, improve the quality of the copywriting or change the call to action (‘Buy now!’ to ‘Buy today!’ for example). The effects can then be monitored and assessed.
Getting the Help of Google Analytics Consultants
Finding your way around website analytics tools can be a bit like navigating a maze. It can be extremely time consuming and the learning process relies very heavily on trial and error. If you don’t have the time or the confidence to look into it yourself, then don’t jump in at the deep end – we would strongly advise you to seek the help of a professional website analytics consultant.
Harnessing their vast experience, Google Analytics experts can quickly and efficiently identify potential areas for improvement on your website. With the proper understanding, making one small adjustment such as altering the keywords on a page, changing the call to action or fixing bugs can have huge consequences, especially if your site already receives a large amount of traffic. As a result, your investment tends to be low, while the impact on your sales can be potentially enormous.
If you’re struggling with your website analytics, don’t get caught in the undertow – contact us today to find out how we can help!
Tom McSherry is the founder and chief strategist of Premium SEO NZ. Tom has been in the digital marketing industry for 8 years providing digital copywriting and optimisation services to businesses in New Zealand and around the world. Connect with him on LinkedIn here.
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