Utilising Google Analytics is a necessity for any business website. But sometimes it can be overwhelming in terms of actually getting usable information from this powerful platform. In this article, we take a look at four key functions in Google Analytics that you can use to improve your analysis.
- Ensure your goals are correctly setup
Goals are some of the most important factors in Google Analytics, and they should be tracked as closely as possible. But unfortunately, it is all too common to see goals that have been setup either in an insufficient way – or simply incorrectly. If your goals are incorrectly set up you won’t be able to make sense of conversion reports.
It is important to understand the difference between macro and micro-goals too. A macro goal is the most important goal on a website – such as a customer making a purchase, or completing a form. Many businesses set these up, but then neglect micro-goals, which are secondary goals such as watching a video, or signing up to a newsletter.
Remember that micro-goals will naturally feed into macro goals so ensuring that both are setup correctly will help you with your overall marketing strategy.
- Pay close attention to user behaviour – it’ll affect your SEO
Google has always been good at ranking pages by understanding the quality of the backlinks pointing at the site, and assessing the content on the pages. But the search engine recently published an article that revealed something new about how its algorithm works. The article acknowledged, for the first time, that user behaviour was taken into account when ranking pages.
User behaviour was always a missing factor in Google’s algorithm. Despite the fact that the goal of the search engine is to return the best possible results for users, it wasn’t taking advantage of its own data on how users behave. But now it seems that Google is testing the results by placing pages higher up in the rankings and seeing how users behave when on the site.
“Google is testing to see the effects of placing a website in a higher position,” said Justin Aldridge, Technical Director at Marketing specialists Artemis “this makes sense, as it can then see if users find a particular page result more useful than those in the main algorithm”.
So, what does this mean for your analytics? Certainly, you will need to keep an even closer eye on key metrics such as bounce rate and time on page. If you can improve these, you should have a better chance of ranking higher.
- Create custom reports
If you are looking for a Google Analytics shortcut that should save time, then it is definitely worth thinking about custom reports. First of all, you need to understand that Google Analytics presents in excess of 80 standard reports – and it is often necessary to combine the information in various reports to get a full understanding of your site.
However, you might find that you can simplify this process significantly by utilising custom reports. These will help you bring all of the important metrics that you want to track into one easy-to-read report.
This can be done easily. Simply choose a standard report that you are familiar with and click on the ‘customise’ button in that report (most can function as a template for your new report). You can then make changes and select only the metrics that are going to be relevant to your analysis.
- Identify pages to improve internal linking
It is important to take the time to identify the key landing pages where visitors enter your site, as well as those that are ‘exit’ pages – the ones where they left your site after interacting with your website over a number of pages. This is one of the most overlooked aspects of your website – but there are important changes that you can make.
Once you know what the pages are you can prevent exit pages from leaking with a smarter internal linking strategy. Additionally, you can use internal links on your entry pages the same way to get customers to the right place faster, potentially improving conversions.
Of course, there are many things that you can do with Google Analytics, but having correct goals, understanding user behaviour, using custom reports, and improving your internal links are absolutely crucial to the success of your website.
This article was contributed by Chester Avey. Chester has over a decade of experience in Business Growth Management and Digital Marketing. He enjoys sharing his knowledge with other like-minded professionals through his writing.