Are you overwhelmed with all the data provided about your website when using Google Analytics?

Without clear goals or the right approach to interpreting event tracking, bounce rate, direct traffic, unique visitors, traffic sources and a lot of other website data, you can easily get lost in a sea of numbers, charts and data confusion.

The following seven tips for understanding Google Analytics are intended to be quick and easy guide for using Google Analytics data effectively.

They will help you to test and get a better grasp on how your website is performing and how you can improve that performance by using Google Analytics in conjunction with Search Engine Optimization Services.

1. Google Keyword Analytics – Connect Keywords with Bounce Rates

By evaluating organic traffic by keyword phrase it becomes clear that not all keywords bring in the same quantity or quality of unique visitors:

  • Some keywords can attract lots of visitors; while this may sound great initially, if that traffic isn’t engaged immediately, a strong majority of them will click away from your website on the first page they view causing your web page to have a high bounce rate for those keywords.
  • Other keywords may not bring in as much traffic but because most of those visitors become actively engaged on your website they tend to stay for a longer time; these keywords will have a lower bounce rate.

Using Google Analytics to review your bounce rate, you will be able to see which keywords have a low bounce rate and bring high value visitors. Focus on improving your rankings for these key phrases so that you can attract even more qualified visitors who will actively engage and interact with your online brand.

Consider revising your targeted keyword list and reduce your efforts to obtain top rankings for keywords that bring in lower quality visitors.

Perhaps these keywords are not as relevant to what your website offers. For instance, let’s say you have a computer repair business. If you have optimized your site for “laptop computers” you might get a lot of traffic but not all traffic using this term will want computer repair. A better phrase might be “laptop computer repair”.

If you feel the keyword phrases you are targeting are relevant, consider tweaking the landing page to make a better first impression and better meet the needs of the visitors you do attract.

2. Google Page Analytics – Identify Your Most Popular Pages

When it comes time to update your pages do you know where to start? Take a look at the most viewed pages on your website (likely your homepage and main category pages) and start there.

If you find pages that you think are more important than what Analytics is indicating, perhaps they may need extra attention.

Are they poorly optimized and not ranking well in the SERPs? Is the page not clearly included in your main navigation? Could there be other reasons why visitors don’t visit this page…or stay on this page longer?

3. Write More Successful Blog Posts

Some blog posts are just more popular than others. By drilling down the most viewed pages on your blog you can see the posts attracting the most attention. Can you see any common themes in terms of topic, post title or other attribute? How can this inforamtion improve your blog strategy?

4. Using Google Analytics to Harness Your Brand Power

Analytics can give you a good understanding of how many people search for your brand to find your website. What percentage of visitors know your brand well enough that they will use it to search for the type of products or services you offer?

If the majority of your traffic comes from your brand you may want to consider strengthening your optimization for unique keyword phrases that are not brand related so that searchers who don’t already know you can find you.

If the majority of your traffic is from non-branded keyword phrases perhaps you need to build your brand both offline and online. With the help of Analytics you can find a healthy balance between branded and non-branded search traffic.

5. Using Google Analytics to Track Where Your Visitors Click

Ever wonder where your visitors click when they are on a specific page? The in-page analytics overlays click through rates on each link for a particular web page. This helps you understand how visitors move through your site.

Are your “main links” in the main navigation actually getting clicked? Are there links that are not clicked on and may just be adding clutter without any value for the user?

6. Google Analytics Can Help You Choose When to Go Mobile

Take a look at your mobile-enabled users and monitor the growth of these users over time. If you are seeing a noticeable rise in mobile traffic (which you likely are) you may use the information to justify investing in a mobile friendly website version or mobile enhancements.

7. Using Google Analytics to Track Relative SEO Changes

Understanding Google Analytics will also help show you the number of visitors who reach your site in a specific period. By using the comparison tool you can look at keywords that have significant changes in traffic in the past week, month, quarter etc.

You can set up custom variables and investigate any keywords that get 20% more or 20% less traffic than the previous period and try to pinpoint a reason why:

  • Did rankings improve or decrease?
  • Did your competitors change significantly?
  • Did you make changes to your website (ie: update any meta data?)
  • Did changes to Search Engine algorithms affect the way your website is evaluated?

Keeping an eye on your high performing keyword phrases can be crucial to driving your search engine optimization campaign.

Understanding and using Google Analytics effectively can improve the quantity and quality of traffic to your website and dramatically improve your online efforts.

For help establishing a well-defined Web Analytics program or to learn more about using Google Analytics, please feel free to contact us:

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By Carissa Krause