Using Google Analytics for a Competitive Advantage

google-analyticsGoogle Analytic Reports allow you to examine the details of how your website is working and how your visitors are interacting with it. You can find out how visitors are arriving to your site, and where they are leaving. This valuable information will allow you great insight on what is working on your site, and what is not. The details of the reports allow you to customize your search engine marketing efforts to strengthen the weak areas of your site, and to further strengthen the areas that are already performing well. The report provided by Google is meant to be easy to read, and allows you to see a timeline of how your website is doing through time (similar to stock market reports).

The analytics report will examine your data from month to month. As time goes by, you will be able to examine your report on a monthly timeline, allowing you to see how your traffic fluctuates with time. In order to add Google Analytics to your site, you will need access to your website files in order to add your custom analytics code to all the pages you want to track. You will need to create your analytics account to get your custom code. Once you have it, simply add it to your website to ensure that all activity will be tracked. Although some dabate exists on where exactly the code should be added, adding it just before the closing body tag (</body>) of your document should allow the entire web page to load first, before your analytics code. According to various developers, this will ensure that your entire site will be tracked, and will help prevent the code from interfering with other parts of your website.

In order to implement working strategies based on the data you collect, it is best to work with a professional online marketing agency that can confirm that you will be getting the most for your marketing efforts. The following information will give you a good idea of what is possible with Google Analytics, and will provide an argument for choosing to use it for your website.

Getting Started With Google Analytics

1. Once you have added your code to your site, allow a few days to begin collecting data. Log into your Google Analytics account and select from the “view reports” drop down menu, select the site you want to analyze. If you only have one website registered with your account, you will only see this one website. If you have registered several websites, they will all appear in this drop down menu. If your website is relatively new, its not uncommon to see very little activity within these first few days.

2. You can review any past reports by changing the date on the top right hand side of the dashboard page. You will be able to view specific days, weeks, months, or years. This makes it possible for long term trend analysis. Over the years, you may find that more traffic visits your site during specific periods such as holidays, or after special events and promotions. Use this knowledge to predict future traffic peaks, allowing you to make smart decisions in your marketing efforts.

3. You can export your analytics reports directly to pdf, xml, cvs, or tsv. This will help you in presenting your reports, or to help you sort your information for finding specific trends and for deeper analysis.

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Understanding your Analytics Dashboard

Google Analytic help

Your dashboard gives you a quick look at the most popular information every web master wants to see, the traffic rate. According to your dashboard report, you will be able to see how many visitors your site receives per month and the average number of pages these visitors looks at. You will be able to also see the average bounce rate (people who visit your site, but quickly leave), the time they spend on your site and it will tell you how many of these visitors are new and unique. Google analytics does not take into account whether it is you visiting your site, or someone else. If you have visited your site several times for any reason, you will see this reflected in your visitor count. For this reason, you may want to give more significance to the number of visitors who are “unique” or in other words, those who have never visited your site before.

Visitor Overview

Visitor Overview gives you greater detail on those visiting your site including “unique” visitors. Pay close attention to this “unique visitor” concept because it gives you a good idea of those who are reaching you for the first time. The idea is to retain these people, or to give them enough good, useful information to make them want to return in the future. This page gives you the same report from your page 1 dashboard, but adds the browser people are using to reach your site including firefox, safari, and chrome. This page also tells you what type of connection your visitors are using to connect to the internet. This info can be useful if website size is an issue. If you find that the majority of your visitors are using a cable connection for example, you can be safe in placing high definition video, high quality images, etc.

Traffic Sources Overview

Traffic Sources Overview allows you to see where your traffic is coming from. You can use this information to find out how many people are finding you via search engine, how many are finding you from referring sites, and those typing your URL directly in the address bar. This page also gives you information on which keywords are attracting your visitors. You can use this area to find out what search terms are the most successful and which may need to be revised.

Content Overview

Content Overview tells you which pages are being visited the most. You can use this information to find out which pages are succeeding at attracting traffic, helping you to further develop your website based on your strengths and weaknesses.

Understanding Your Google Analytics Tools

On the left of your dashboard, you will see the left hand navigation menu with the following items. Intelligence, Visitors, Traffic Source, Content, and Goals. This is your main navigation within Google Analytics. Look through it to find the valuable tools available for all Analytics users.

Screen shot 2011-06-03 at 3.01.33 PMIntelligence allows you to create custom alerts that will automatically email you when your website has performed a certain task, such as reaching a set number of visitors, reaching the desired bounce rate, etc. You can arrange your alerts by day, week, and month. You have the ability to create any custom alert that will notify you when you have reached a goal. Setting small, reachable goals will ultimately help you to reach the main objective of a higher ranked website.

Visitors will tell you about the people accessing your site. It gives you insight on who is visiting and how long they are staying. You will also be able to access any information regarding their country of origin, the type of browsers they are using, what percentage of visitors are new vs which ones are return visits, their connection speeds, along with detailed information regarding the time they spend on your site and how many pages they read.

Traffic Source simply tells you from where your traffic is coming from. It will tell you where they are being referred from, or from which search engines they are finding your site. It will also give you a good idea of what keywords are working to help you attract traffic, and to which pages. Use this tool to help you find out which of your advertising efforts are paying off in attracting customers. You will be able to see which are your top referring sites, making it easy for you to see which advertisements are working and on which websites. You may find that a low funded web banner is attracting more leads than a high funded one on another website. You will be able to make smart decisions about which ads to better fund and which to cut out of your campaign based on this information.

Content tells you what pages your visitors are accessing when visiting your site. You can find out which pages are the most popular, and which ones are not getting any attention. Use this information to modify your site according to what your visitors are looking for. You may find that a lot more people are looking into a case study, when you have been focusing most of your attention in promoting your service page. With this information, website owners can make smart decisions in placing targeted information, lead generation forms, or advertisements. They will likely get a better result if their acquisition efforts are spent on the pages that have the most visitors. You will also be able to see which pages will need revisions in order to increase your visitor count. Edit these pages accordingly in order to bring those numbers up. A website with more high ranking pages will rank higher in search results overall.

Goals allows you to set up a metric for measuring your conversion rate. Setting it up will allow you to measure how many people are actually reaching your set goal (goal may be signing up for an email newsletter, signing up for a consultation, reaching your contact page, etc.). It will give you another way to gauge how many people are converting into customers aside from how many people pick up the phone. Setting up goals will give you an opportunity to further tailor your online marketing efforts by allowing you to plan your sales funnel around reaching these goals.

Working with a Professional Analytics Consultant

When creating a website, consider partnering with a company well versed in Google Analytics. A professional analyst can help you in finding common trends based on your data. This information can then be used to help you plan for future online growth, and it can be tracked to find out what marketing efforts are paying off, and which ones are not. Contact Incitrio Branding & Marketing Agency today to set up a free website consultation with one of our professionals. We are a San Diego Integrated Marketing agency focused on helping your company grow. We specialize in Branding, Web Design, Online Marketing, SEO, and Email Marketing. Be sure that your company is on the right track and is poised to grow. Contact Incitrio Branding & Marketing Agency today at 858.523.1822 for a free online evaluation. We will help you at any step of the way in understanding your analytics reports, and can help to guide you in the right direction in your online marketing efforts.

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