5 Things Business Owners Should Look for in Google Analytics

5 Things Business Owners Should Look for in Google Analytics

Google Analytics reporting for business owners has become some kind of digital enigma to many, which is understandable considering the vast amount of data in the dashboard.

Traffic, funnels, tracking codes- it’s a lot to handle for the average human which is why we’ve taken the top pieces of data in Google Analytics and explained why its important, what it tells you and what it doesn’t tell you.

Prior to outlining the top five, it’s important to even understand what Google Analytics is! Beyond just a fancy code that Google likes to keep on your site, Google Analytics and the UA Tracking code are the number one tool for tracking and traffic, data, and conversions on any business owner’s site. Unfortunately, many companies “set it and forget it,” never returning to the GA dashboard to measure their business goals. Yikes.

Whether you are participating in digital marketing or not, you should have tracking set up on your website. We recommend using Google Analytics – it’s free, easy to set up and provides a ton of information about the people visiting your website. If you don’t already have Google Analytics set up, take a break from this email and go set up the tracking code. Before you begin optimizing your website, you want to make sure you have a solid benchmark to look back on to determine if your site metrics are improving or not. (We love Google Analytics so much we even got GA certified!)

Okay, lets dive in. Here are some of the most important metrics you should be keeping an eye on in GA:

#1 – Audience / Traffic Data

GA Traffic

Why it’s important:

Obviously the first choice in a webmaster’s data analytics arsenal. This is your one-stop-shop for traffic data and the first piece of data that loads upon arrival within Google Analytics. From Organic to Paid this is where you can discover all the important bits of information that tell you how many users come to your site, who they are, what they do, and everything in between.

What it tells you:

Organic Traffic – If you are participating or plan on participating in any SEO Campaign, you will need to have your eyes on Organic Traffic. Organic traffic tells you how many visitors are coming to your website from search engines. The majority of this traffic will probably be from Google, but you will see traffic from other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo as well.

Mobile Traffic – As you know, Google’s Mobile Algorithm Update went live on April 21st. One unique thing about this is the effect was only for mobile users (with no effect on Desktop Searches). One of the only ways you would know if this applies to you is by determining what devices are contributing to your overall traffic.

There is a specific section for Mobile traffic data within “Audience” that tells you how much traffic to your site is mobile specific and even what kind of devices are visiting your site “Ipad Traffic and Mobile Phone traffic is usually very different!”

What it doesn’t tell you:

Now you might be thinking: “But traffic doesn’t tell me enough!”. That’s true tiny-voice-in-your-head, but before even touching the rest of the data in the SEO world, traffic to the site is going to be your best indication of how well your site is doing out there in the web! We use traffic so much we even pull that data into our SEO Reporting which adds extra visibility into how well a site is driving qualified traffic.

#2 – Engagement Stats

GA Uder Engagement

Why it’s important:

Not only do you want to see how many people are visiting your website, but you want to see what they are doing once they get there. There are a variety of engagement metrics available in Google Analytics. Bounce rate, average time on site, and average pages viewed per visit are metrics within a GA report that can accurately gauge how well (or not well) your users are engaging with your site:

  • Bounce Rate – measures how many people visit your website and leave right away. If they click on your website and decide that it isn’t what they were looking for, they will “bounce” and Google will count this towards your bounce rate. The higher the bounce rate, the less qualified the traffic is.
  • Average Time on Site – provides an average of the total time that users are spending on your website. The longer people are spending on your site, the better. You want to provide content that is engaging users and keeping them interested in your business.
  • Pages Viewed per Visit – shows an average of the total pages that users are view on your website per visit. You want people to visit multiple pages on your site to find out as much information as they can about your company.

#3 – Acquisition

GA Acquisition

What it tells you:

Acquisition data can tell you everything– from which landing pages are drawing in users to what content on your site is performing the best. This is the more specific data that helps you improve and optimize your site to provide better user experience and perform better in the SERPs.

Why it’s important:

Knowing how many users come to the site is great, but knowing how they got there and what they do after they’re there is even better.

Received a ton of traffic from Facebook? Your social strategy must be working- keep it up and consider promoting your posts. No Traffic from organic search? Maybe you’re not properly indexed.

Improving anything requires information and the more information, the better.

What it doesn’t tell you:

The Acquisition section of Google Analytics has a plethora of different metrics to base your changes on, but knowing how it all works towards your overall SEO Strategy is important too. If you’ve never experimented with SEO for your site in the past, consider a starter’s SEO Strategy, which helps interpret all this nice data for you and forms recommendations around these insights.

#4 – Goals & Conversion Tracking

 

Why it’s important:

The fundamental premise of any business, online or otherwise, is to provide customers with products or services. Don’t you want to know exactly where those customers came from before making a purchase? Google Analytics can help!

What it tells you:

What is the ultimate purpose of your website? Do you want people to fill out a form? Do you want people to purchase a product?

Google Analytics makes it easy to track these goals and gain insight on the types of people who are fulfilling them. You should set up the goals specific to your business in Google Analytics and measure them throughout time. The data that’s presented can be separated into source, medium, landing page, and more! It can even tell you the entry point of the site (paid search campaign, organic search, etc.).

What it doesn’t tell you:

Google Analytics Goal Conversion data is incredibly helpful but it does require webmaster input. You have to tell the tool what a conversion on the site exists so it can track the data around it. But this gives you opportunities to attribute value to non-direct forms of revenue. If one out of ten form fill outs leads to a dollar worth of revenue, you can attribute 10 cents to each form fill out to help measure your success. The examples of goals are as endless as your ambition to grow your business!

#5 – User Flow

GA User Flow

Why it’s important:

Converting users into customers is all fine and dandy but understanding the process behind their purchase can help you perfect that process. Now, if we can pause for a moment, this may easily be one of the most overlooked sections of Google Analytics reporting for any business. This tools gives you very precise conversion funnel and outlines each step in a buying process that Business School Professors have consistently implanted into the minds of marketing students everywhere. This section of GA provides the data to you easily!

What it tells you:

User Flow sits within Audience and can help identify which landing page a user first arrives on when coming to your site, then identifies which other pages the user clicks through before making a purchase or completing a goal (such as a form fill-out). By identifying these paths, you can experiment with call to actions to improve click throughs.

What it doesn’t tell you:

User flow tells you everything! Well, maybe not everything, but it sure does tell you a lot, and can help add context to some of the recommendations for on-site changes. For example, when doing SEO for small businesses, many find that they have too many steps in their conversion funnel. A business owner with the right GA acumen might find this data in User Flow, which helps identify how they can streamline the purchasing process, leading to more sales and an improved customer experience.

The moral of today’s story is that Google Analytics is an amazing tool full of amazing data which any SEO or business owner could geek out over for hours upon hours. But knowing which pieces of data do what and how each work in concert towards your SEO Strategy is half the battle.

Consider partnering with a dedicated team of specialists like the SEO Experts at V9 SEO to help interpret the wonderful GA data and form it into great optimization recommendations.