Google Analytics is an immense tool! While there’s a plethora of analytics suites available out there, Google’s product remains the most widely-used website statistics service – a clear favorite among almost 12.5 million websites and blogs out there, and is installed in 57% of the 10,000 most popular websites in the world!
And for good reason. It is extremely quick to set up and access (a common feature of all Google products), extremely simple, straightforward and easy to use, and a comprehensive, enterprise-class analytics tool that puts a plethora of data at your disposal – from basic stuff such as the number of new and returning visitors, to an in-depth look at your conversion and on-page analytics, to name a few!
And one of the best things about it is the fact that it is totally free to use!
Here is a list of 5 Google Analytics elements that you should keep an eye on:
1. Number of visitors
One of the most simple pieces of data provided by Google Analytics is an insight into the number of visitors that your website or blog gets.
However you get the same bit of information from Wordpress/blogger dashboard as well, so what exactly does Google Analytics offer over these pre-installed services, you might wonder?
The answer is, a lot!
Google Analytics goes way beyond providing you with simple visitor numbers; you can check your total number of visits, unique visitors, new and returning visitors (plus percentage of new visits), pageviews and pageviews/visit, and of course average visit duration. And this is just to name a few! All the available information can be presented in graphical format and compared with any other piece of data available in Google Analytics.
Conversions or conversion rate refers to the number of visitors on your blog that go on and actually undertake an action that you intended for them to undertake, such as buy a product (aka. convert). For instance if you have an ecommerce business or if you’re selling something online, the percentage of visitors that make a purchase would determine your conversion rate. For a membership-only website, the process of signing up would determine the conversion rate. For instance if 5 out of every 100 people sign up for a newsletter, it means that your conversion rate is at 5%. If 20 out of every 40 people like your Facebook page, your conversion rate is at 50%.
Measuring your conversions is an important aspect of Google Analytics. However it requires that you set up a ‘goal page’ on your website, and that specific goals are enabled on the website. Whenever a visitor lands on your goal page, and successfully finishes that goal (fulfills an objective, such as the ones mentioned above), that equals one conversion for you.
A high conversion rate means that more people are successfully doing what you wanted them to do on your website. A conversion rate of 3-5% is usually considered to be very good, however it varies with industry/niche.
Through the ‘funnels’ feature, you can even check where exactly in the process are you losing your visitors before they convert successfully, which allows you to rectify the issue and maximize conversions.
3. Bounce Rate
Another important metric when it comes to the well-being of your website/blog, bounce rate refers to people who arrive on any given page of your website, but leave without browsing any other page. Like conversions, bounce rate too is displayed as a percentage of total visitors.
Having a high bounce rate means that people leave your website right from the page that they landed on. Quite obviously, this is not a good sign, and could be due to any of the following factors: uninteresting content, outdated content, bad website interface, broken links, poor website design, difficult navigation, or bad pages.
What Google Analytics does is that it allows you to identify pages that have a high bounce rate, and gives an insight into the problems that might have gone unnoticed before.
While you can never expect to have a 0% bounce rate, depending on the industry you work in, anything below 50% would be an acceptable figure, with figures such as 20 or 30% considered to be exceptional.
You can use Google Analytics’ In-page Analytics tool to determine which page might have a high bounce rate, and rectify any issues.
4. Sources of Traffic
Google Analytics also lets you track your sources of traffic, and where you’re getting your visitors from. It shows this information in graph as well as pie-chart forms. And the tool divides this information into 4 major sources – search traffic, referral traffic, direct traffic and traffic through campaigns.
And it doesn’t quite end there; for instance you can look at the keywords that visitors used in order to get to your website through search engines. This allows you to see whether your keyword strategy is working or not, and how effective it really is. You can also view the sources of traffic for the search traffic category (eg. Google search, image search, Bing search, etc.).
The same applies to all other 3 sources; you can view the sources of your referral traffic, including the visits you received from different sources – including the number of visits as well as percentage. Detailed stats for each source are also displayed – including data like average visitor duration for a single source, pages/visit and the like.
5. Google AdWords Integration
Last but certainly not the least, Google Analytics integrates with Google AdWords and your AdWords campaign as well. If you’re using Google AdWords on your blog or website (which you should be), to monetize your online efforts through ads, this feature will come in real handy.
Integrating your Analytics with your AdWords allows you to monitor each and every individual aspect of the campaign. This includes visitors from different sources (non-mobile, mobile, tablet) that visited your website, as well as provides ecommerce statistics like revenue, total transactions, average vale of transactions and the like. Clicks-related data can also be measured here – including CTR, CPC, RPC and ROI, to name just a few.
There’s tons of other data at your disposal as well. What all this means is that you essentially have tons of information to work with, all of which gives you the power to optimize your ads and ad campaigns by identifying traffic sources, geographies, browsers and of course, pages that are the best and worst in terms of monetizing your blog.
Knowledge is power. Use this information to alter your AdWords strategy to maximize the revenues from your advertisement campaign.