Okay, I’ll admit it immediately. Google Analytics is pretty intimidating there are a lot of windows and tabs and there is a lot of information out there for you to digest. But, be honest now, are you actually using Google analytics?
Or do you use it like most people in that you only really look at how many people visited your page? If you’re in the latter camp then I’ve got bad news and good news. The bad news is that you’ve been missing out all this time on a fantastic resource. Even while the rest of us have been moving into the era of big data you’ve been hanging out in the era of the big gut (because you’re working with your gut rather than your head, not because you’re fat).
The good news?
That’s about to change and an entire new world is going to open up for you, where you can use the information presented in the great GA to grips with how well your website is actually doing so that you can see if your SEO tricks are actually working (as well as what you can do to improve it). Sound good? Great!
Let’s jump right in, shall we?
Is your site easy to access with a mobile device?
Most of us now look at the internet with our mobile devices. That means it’s vital that your site is mobile friendly. Is it? Do you know?
If you don’t, then you’ll be happy to know that it’s pretty easy to find out with Google analytics.
All you need to do is go to the bounce rate of a page and compare the bounce rate of desktops and phones. If you’re finding that they’re both high, then you’ve got a bad page and you’ve got to take action in that front (have you considered that your keywords might not match what the page is about?).
If, on the other hand, desktops don’t bounce while mobile devices bounce in massive numbers, then you’ve probably got a page which is not mobile friendly and in this case you’ll have to take action on that front.
Understand your audience
If you’ve already got an established site, make certain that you spend some time actually working out what your audience is. This can be done under the demographics tab. Here you can find out their age, their sex as well as location.
Now, you could treat this information as ‘I’m here and I want to get there’ but you’d be far better of looking at it as a way to figure out how you can change your marketing and what you’re doing to suit this group better. So, for example, you might want to adjust your language, your colors and your layout to more closely match what different age groups expect (younger groups will like louder colors while an older group might prefer more subdued colors).
Note that you don’t’ have to immediately throw everything you’re doing overboard. Obviously you’re already drawing in this audience in some way, so you don’t want to end up throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Tweaks are far more successful.
Also, the geographic tab might give you a good insight into where you might want to expand your sales opportunities to, or what alternative language you might want to embrace. Are people in Latin America reaching out to your service? Then it might be time to also have your pages available in Spanish!
Find out which pages convert best and worst
In google analytics it’s relatively easy to find out how well each page is converting for you. Just run the conversion report and see which pages are doing well and which aren’t. Now be certain to take a look at which pages are doing best. If you stop there, however, you’re once again falling into the vanity trap. You’re again only looking at the good news and that isn’t half as useful.
Instead, turn to your worst performing pages. Then compare the pages that perform well and those that don’t. From there you can work out what has to be changed in terms of your worst-performing pages to make them act more like your best performing pages.
Also, be certain to see if your authority is actually increasing or decreasing. If it’s decreasing then it’s time to start looking into whether there is some sort of SEO issue going on.
Also be certain to stay up to date with when changes are being carried out to the Google algorithm and compare these with the statistics on your page. This might well be why you suddenly see a big jump or (far more worryingly) a big fall. Particularly in the latter case be certain to comb through the changes that have been made to see what might be affecting you (and seeing if you can’t do something to perhaps counter that change).
And these are just three possibilities! There really is a lot more that you can only get to grips with if you’re willing to wade in and take a detailed look. To get an even more detailed look into the behavior of how your visitors are behaving can be had by installing the Google search bar on your page.
This will do two things:
- It will decrease you bounce rate as people use it instead of giving up on trying to find whatever they’re looking for
- You can use the information that you get from the search bar to find out what people are actually looking for when they hit your page.
This is absolutely invaluable information to allow you to create the content they actually want if you don’t actually have it, or to make the information they’re looking for more easily available – by for example putting a link to it in the menu bar – if you do happen to have it on your site.
The real ticket to getting used to Google Analytics is to read, study and experiment. Just spend some time opening up all the tabs and figuring out what they things mean. Because if you know how to use the tool correctly not only can you see opportunities that you weren’t even aware of, you’ll that dangers often are readily visible months before they become a real problem. And then you can still do something about them. That doesn’t sound too bad, does it?