You go to the time and effort to put up a website. You make sure it’s designed using best practices and written to enhance your search engine optimization (SEO). But how do you know if anyone is actually visiting it, and if so, how long are they staying? That’s where Google Analytics comes in.
When first glancing at a Google Analytics dashboard, website owners can be discouraged by the thought of reviewing and interpreting all the raw data found there. The data in the analytics report is extremely important though, for many reasons. Without this information, you’re missing out on insights that can help to improve your site and increase its effectiveness. That’s why we encourage our clients to use Google Analytics. Here are my top 5 reasons using Google Analytics should be a “no-brainer”.
You can receive invaluable data about your website for free. It is incredible that a free account grants access to a plethora of data that pertains specifically to your web visitors and potential prospects.
- Traffic Sources & Keywords
It’s important to know what resources are sending traffic to your site. Below, I have outlined the three most important traffic mediums and what they mean.
- Organic – Traffic that comes from search engines.
- Direct – Traffic that comes from (1) typing the URL into browser, (2) clicking on a bookmark, or (3) clicking a link via email, text, or instant message.
- Referral – Traffic from links on other sites (including blogs and social media channels).
Whether visitors are coming from organic search, paid advertisements, social media platforms or direct links, Google Analytics allows you to view different sources and pinpoint which calls-to-action are working and which are not.
- User’s Movement
A visitor’s movement through your site speaks volumes. Are visitors dropping off as soon as they hit the home page? This may be a sign that your home page content isn’t supporting the messaging or keywords that users are searching for. Other important movements to monitor include pages visited during sessions, amount of time spent on a page, and bounce rate (the percentage of visitors to a website who leave the site after viewing only one page). Keep in mind that a website should be constantly evolving. All of this data can be extremely helpful when trying to optimize pages for search engines.
- Mobile Friendliness
This past year, Google made it official that more searches occur on mobile devices than on desktop. Google Analytics can provide information regarding how many of your visitors are on mobile and how they behave on your site (e.g. pages visited, bounce rate, etc.) If your site is not mobile friendly, this can tell you how that is affecting traffic, since having a mobile-friendly website can positively affect your search ranking.
- Custom Reports
Not only does Google Analytics provide great preconfigured reports to work with, it also provides the ability to customize and build your own reports. A custom report allows you to gather specific insights and keep track of progress made toward a unique weekly or monthly goal. You can view/install templates created by Google experts and users by visiting the Solutions Gallery .
Google Analytics is a powerful tool that benefits any size business by offering a convenient way to analyze your website data. If you are having trouble understanding Google Analytics, the Google Analytics Academy courses are a great place to start. Google Analytics also has a YouTube page that has over 200 videos to help you get the most out of using this great reporting tool. Or, if you find it overwhelming and have limited time, engage a professional partner to help you break down the information and suggest ways to improve traffic to your site. But whether you do it yourself or have it done by someone else, the wealth of knowledge available through this service should not be ignored.