Google Analytics Tips

By David Hehman     Add your comments

Use the reports on Google Analytics to make smarter marketing decisions based on real traffic.

In our article on Website Analytics Dashboards we discussed the generic principles of monitoring your website. In this article we look a little more closely at one set of analytics: Google Analytics.

The top 4 ways that it can be helpful is to use it for:

  1. Understanding top landing pages and how well they convert
  2. Understanding overall traffic patterns to spot new and changing content demand
  3. Finding unexpected keywords
  4. Noticing time-based traffic patterns to see how SEO is paying off, e.g. year over year (YoY)

In addition to monitoring the day-to-day health and short-term trends of a site, here are a few of the other things we use it for:

  • Using the Keywords report to understand which keywords work well for a site
  • Using the Content Drilldown report to see what sections are most popular and how they are trending (note: it’s important to break up sections into logical directory structures for this report to work well)
  • Using Top Content report to see which pages are the best performers (provides additional insight into which keywords work well)
  • Tracking performance of new content additions (traffic growth, keyword performance, etc.)
  • Running year to year (Y/Y) analysis to see how we are tracking against the exact same time period a year ago

For sites that you are looking at for the first time, look closely at things like the breakdown of traffic sources to see how much comes from search engines as a percentage of total traffic. If that percentage is less than 70%, it’s a good sign that traffic might be able to be increased with SEO improvements.

Also look to see what the Pages Indexed-to-Search Traffic ratio is. Sites with little content but lots of search engine traffic typically have great growth potential.

Thanks to Jim Williams, founder of Letters & Arts Inc. and Doug Colbeck, founder of Trail.com for their input on this topic.

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