Published on July 15th, 2019
Google Analytics is used by 56.7% of all the websites, that is a traffic analysis tool market share of 85.7%.
And, the best part, it’s FREE, it’s RELIABLE, and it’s filled with useful insights into your website.
Why You Need Google Analytics
If you have a blog or a website, then you need Google Analytics, a powerful indispensable tool, that provides valuable information about your website and visitors. Setting up Google Analytics helps you find many answers to your queries such as:
- How many people visit my website per hour, day and month?
- Do I need a mobile-friendly website?
- What traffic sources are sending traffic to my website?
- Where do my visitors live?
- How do new visitors come to my site, and why do they leave?
- What marketing tactics drive the most traffic to my website?
- How well does my site perform in regard to my stated Call- To -Actions (CTAs)?
- How many visitors have I converted into leads or customers?
- Where did my converting visitors come from and go on my website?
- How can I improve my website’s speed?
- Which blog content do my visitors like the most?
Google Analytics provides all these answers, and allows you to understand what improvements can be made to maximize conversion.
In this post we’re going to walk you through step-by-step some very basics of Google Analytics from the absolute beginner’s point of view.
How to install Google Analytics
To get things going you must first set up a Google Analytics account. For those who have a primary Google account, you must use that to do so.
1. Set up your account and property
Now that you have a Google account, create and set an Analytics account of your own.
Set Your Data Sharing Preferences
At the bottom of the form, you have the data sharing preferences, and here you need to check or ignore what all details you want to be included.
These are the services for which Google requests data access at that time:
- Google products & services: In the first box, they would ask if you would want to help improve Google’s products and services.
- Benchmarking: In the second box you are asked if you would be okay with sharing anonymous data with Google.
- Technical support: Here, you agree that the customer service representatives can see your data in case of any system error
- Account specialists: Here, you give Google marketing, sales, and other representatives access to your data which they can use to improve their products and other services.
In case you do not want to be part of any of them, you must uncheck that box and then click on “Get Tracking ID.” Finally, read and accept terms of service.
2. Add Your Tracking Code to Your Website
Google analytics tracking code enables Google to track the visitors to your website and analyze the visitors’ online behavior to optimize your site. The method of adding it depends on which content management system you have chosen.
For WordPress, plug-ins are available to add the tracking code easily while other CMS platforms have different methods for adding your Google Analytics tracking code.
3. Set up Your Site Search
If you want to set up Site Search in Google Analytics for a Word Press website, you have to select “Admin” in the Google Analytics account, and then proceed to click “View Settings.”
Now find “Site search Tracking” and put it on. Beneath the “Site search Tracking box,” you have the “Query parameter” box. You must go to your website and use its search box to look for a keyword. There would be a URL generated. See if there is an “s” or “q” after the question mark (for example, https://fitsmallbusiness.com/?s=a%2Fb+testing, has an “s” after the question mark).
Go back to the Google Analytics tab “Query parameter” box. In the box type “s” or “q” into the query parameter box. Click “Save.”
4. Set Up Your Goals
To start you need to click on “Admin”, then go on to “+New Goal.”
Here you get a pop up where you need to mention the goals for tracking. The choice would be from revenue, engagement, inquiry or acquisition metrics.
Click on “Continue” to move to the “Define Goal” section. Under the “Name” text box add your goal. Here you can also choose what goal type you are looking at.
Click “continue” again and mention the goals which would be different as per your requirements.
In this process you can at maximum set up 20 goals and these are the ones that Google Analytics would start tracking.
5. Familiarize Yourself With Google Analytics Reports
Google Analytics has quite a number of reports using which you can grasp what your customer’s behavior is like. This includes details like who they are, where they live and what they want.
Real-time Reporting: Here you get an overview of the conversions, content, and sources from where traffic is coming. Click on the report dimensions to choose pointers about which you want to assess your target.
Audience: Turn on the demographics and interests in Google Analytics, going on create the details of your audiences. Now you can get reports that would tell you all about their behavior and how they convert.
Acquisition: These reports tell you how the leads came your way and about the campaign, ads, social media, etc. Basically, you know which campaign produces the best results for you.
Behavior: The reports on behavior tell you how the visitors to your website navigate around and what goes on in their mind at that moment.
Conversions: Conversion reports are those which would help you understand how the conversions happened and which product is the most sold. You can also find under the header goals, e-commerce, attribution, and multi-channel funnel reports.
6. Create Custom Dashboards
To create custom dashboards and custom your Google Analytics dashboard go to “Home,” select “Customization,” then “Dashboards. Over there, you should click “Create.”
You can choose from “Blank Canvas” which is completely a new dashboard and Starter Dashboard” to customize a previously made one or “Import from Gallery” to choose from those created by other users.
Name the dashboard in the bottom left-hand corner. You must click “Create Dashboard” and then go on to “Customize Dashboard.” Under the title “Widget Title”, choose the report you would want to be included. There are various widget layouts for you to chose from.
As shown below select the matric you wish to track. Some common ones are clicks, cost per transaction, and costs per conversion.
Next add URL your metric is based on. As an example, if the metric is the view of purchase confirmation you need to add its URL and then click “Save.”
You can use “Add widget” to add as many report widgets as you want.
How To View Only Organic Search Traffic?
This happens quite frequently, companies see a decline in the website traffic and presume that the fall is due to the organic search traffic getting reduced. However, when they carefully analyze they come to know that the fall is not as much because of organic search but because of many other factors.
To have a look at your organic search traffic you need to first open your channel grouping report. This you can find at acquisitions –all traffic channels. Here you can have a detailed idea of which are the main traffic sources for your website.
When you click on the “Organic Search” header you get a detailed idea of the metrics related to organic search.
The report dissects your SEO reporting and provides you a very distinctive analysis of the same. Out of the report, you can find out crucial details like top landing pages for the search traffic, keywords which get the maximum traffic, search engines which give maximum traffic and top exit pages, etc.
How To Measure The Quality Of SEO Traffic
Many people argue that there is no possible method to measure the quality of traffic and that might not exactly be true. If you also wish to see the rise and fall of your traffic, the report that you must go to is the Assisted Conversions report (Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions).
You can set a time range in this report like within the last month or so and get an analysis of the conversions that happened after each search.
In most cases, you can use this report to find if there has been a fall in the conversions during the search. If the numbers of conversion fall while the traffic quantity is the same that means there has been a decline in the quality of traffic.
Assigning Dollar Values To Organic Traffic
This strategy works best for businesses that need to be convinced of the importance of SEO in getting customers to your website. You can assign dollar values to the traffic by assuming how much any of the keywords would cost if you purchase from Google AdWords. In order to get an idea of the keyword phrases you can go to the report Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization > Queries.
Next, open your AdWords account separately and there go to Tools > Keyword Planner> Get search volume data and trends in this case. Now pick up the top keywords from the other tab and find its volume by clicking “Get search volume.” In the report, you will get an idea of what each advertiser is spending to get a click on that keyword.
Later in a spreadsheet list all these keywords which are driving traffic for you, the click through you are getting from them and the expected cost per each click. Now in a final column multiply both the values to derive the traffic value of each keyword and again sum it up.
A great way to tell the businesses the amount of money they save by having an SEO strategy in place.
Identifying Slow Loading Page Times
This is one aspect that is generally ignored overall. Often a slow loading page leads to the customers leaving the web page and moving elsewhere. Instead of figuring out how to make a website load faster you should first get an idea of the slow loading pages and the impact this has on your conversions.
To do so move to Behavior > Site Speed > Page Timings and set the middle column to an ‘average page load time’ and the right column to %Exit. Also, add the medium to ‘secondary dimension’ and reflect only the organic traffic.
When you receive the report you get an idea of the average time each webpage is taking to load. Also, the average exit percentage i.e. when the visitor goes away from the website which tends to be high in case your page is slow loading. Now take this report to your developers and ask them to fix these particular web pages. Once they do that run this report again to see if it made any difference to the same or not.
Create Your Own SEO Dashboard
It is quite tough to explain to certain people the importance of SEO unless you have avid results to show. They need detailed graphs, pie charts and figures to show that the strategy is particularly effective.
To do so, use the Google analytics dashboard to your advantage. Your dashboard holds many widgets which can pull out every single report and show them to you as one consolidated report which you can share, print and email. When you have this report you do not have to waste your time studying analytics. You can just proceed to put your SEO strategy in place.
To begin click on Dashboards > + New Dashboard and set up the widget needed to measure organic search. You can click on the + Add Widget”, and rename it as “Total Organic Visits.” It is better to stick with the metric display as that is comparatively easy to understand. Go to the header ‘show the following metric’ and choose ‘sessions’. You will have to filter the information by going to “filter data” and then select only show > Medium > exactly matching > organic.
You can also go ahead and set up another widget which deals with the keywords and their effectiveness. Here we can shift from metric display to “table” display. Go to ‘display the following columns’ and select Keyword > Sessions > Goal Completions. Rest organic search criteria can be the same as above. Use the widget created to show the number of sessions for each keyword and the completion of the goal from each one to convince your client.
SEO Metrics To Measure
1. Organic Traffic
If we talk of organic traffic in layman terms, it is the traffic that we generate without making an effort to get your ad placed. In other words, the traffic that reaches your website just by clicking on the Google search listings is organic traffic. When you track this metric you get to know how many people are actually coming to your site.
A. Using A Landing Page
Overall, organic traffic would be that of the entire site. However, if you consider it landing page-wise, you would get to know which of your web pages need improvement. Also, if you have been using different SEO practices for different pages you can know which one works the best for you.
B. Using Location Data
When you check location-based data, you get to know which are the locations that have brought you most organic traffic. So if you get to know that a market different from your current target has reached out to you, the next step is to expand your efforts towards that location. Alternatively, it is possible that you may be receiving traffic from a place which is not even remotely close to your area of business. In that case, you may need to rework your SEO strategy a little.
If a majority of your organic traffic is coming from the USA, you can divide the results on a state basis. Now, you know which states are getting you traffic and accordingly the SEO pattern changes. For states which are giving you more business, increase your marketing resources. And those who are losing out, work out to find the missing piece in your website and change the same.
It is also possible that certain metropolitan cities have more users for you, so direct your efforts towards them.
2. Organic Bounce Rate
Bounce rate is the number of people who leave your website without completing the purchase process. This is usually depicted as a number, and the lower the value the better it is. In case you notice that this figure is towards the high side, you might have to change certain things. Start by posting links of related items so that the customers stay glued and move further ahead.
By Landing Page
It is always better to analyze the bounce rate on the basis of each landing page. Those ways you would get to know which page is not working for you. There are two ways to understand this, either the page did not match the keyword search and hence the customer left. Or it could be possible that the purchase process was quite possible hence the customer finished the process and left in which you may not have to worry at all.
3. Organic Conversion Rate
Always remember that organic traffic may only bring customers to your website. Finishing the process of purchase is a different ball game altogether. You need to find if conversions are happening or not.
For this, you need to measure the aggregate conversion rate. Doing this you will get a fair idea of how much appeal you hold for the customers who land on your website. You would also need to segregate segments to know what factors influence the conversion rate.
A. By Landing Page
You would have to measure the conversion rate as per the landing page as that is what convinces the customers to move ahead. If any page has a better conversion rate than yours, then you need to have an effective strategy to promote your page.
B. By Location
When you track your organic conversions by location you are able to identify which zones are providing more lead conversions. Obviously, then you can target your marketing efforts towards those areas.
C. By Device
Nowadays, majority of people complete their purchase on the mobile. Hence, finding conversions on the basis of the device is crucial. If you discover that your conversions are happening more on the desktop then it is a sign your mobile website is not properly customized. Ask your development team to work on the same immediately.
D. By Browser
There are multiple browsers, and your customers could be using any one of them. It might be possible that one particular browser is not producing any conversions for you. That means your website is not properly functioning on this particular browser. Find the reason, and get it fixed.
4. Top Exit Pages For Organic Traffic
Exit pages would be the last pages that your customers were on when they left the website. This means that these are the problem creators and need to be fixed quickly. You again need to find what the issues are in this case and find remedies to fix them up.
5. Breakdown Of Organic Traffic From Bing And Google
IT is true Google is the most important browser, but who knows some of your customers may be using Bing. It is better to breakdown and asses the organic search data between the two search engines. In case you notice that both the browsers are not giving you the required traffic better start working on your SEO strategy soon.
6. Keywords Ranked In Google
Use a detailed Keywords tool to find out the number of keywords that make your site rank on Google. Now that you have an idea of the keywords you can formulate your SEO plan accordingly.
Notice which keywords you wanted to rank but have been unable to do so and focus on them in the future. Also if you find that some keywords make your website rank on top then use them in your content marketing efforts too. These keywords are getting you the maximum traffic and ensuring that landing pages have these keywords would reduce the bounce rate faced.
7. Local Visibility
Your business may be having physical locations also which a customer may want to visit. You need to find out if your website is showing in the keywords related to that area. This means that when a customer searches for leads in that particular area your website should be figuring on the list too.
8. Click Through Rate (CTR)
By accessing the Google console report you can even understand the average number of people who click the link after reaching the search results. Also known as the Click Through Rate (CTR) this shows how well your pages are being treated by the search engines. If people like the content you are offering when they see your link they would proceed to your website next.
A. By Landing Page
When you examine the CTR by landing pages you get to know two things. Firstly which pages are making money for you and are doing their job well. Secondly, the pages which have been non -performers so far and need little change in SEO strategy.
B. By Top Keywords
Also, check the CTR of your top keywords in the search engines. There would be keywords which are getting more clicks and they should be used more in your website content. Find out landing pages which have the keyword optimized appropriately.
Again if you notice a keyword with low CTR you need to find pages where that figures because they would be suffering too. It is possible that the title of the page is not enticing for customers to stop and notice.
9. Pages Indexed In Google Search Console
If your page has not been indexed it would never figure in Google’s search results. Give due attention to the number of webpages that are not indexed in your case. You can even submit your non- indexed pages manually by visiting Crawl>Fetch as Google option in the search console.
Another thing that you need to take care of is the number of pages that have been indexed vis a vis the number submitted for the same. If you notice that only a few web pages are indexed submit them manually again.
10. Pages Crawled Per Day
The Google Search Console can also be used to find how many pages were crawled for the last 90 days. If out of the thousand pages you have only a few are getting crawled, then it should be a cause of concern. If Google feels that crawling your website would consume its resources, you might have to check your crawl budget.
11. Duplicate Titles And Descriptions
Use Google Search Console to figure out if you have any kind of duplicate content on your website. It has been emphasized time and again that duplicate content is not acceptable. When there are too many pages having the same keywords and meta description the value of your website gets compromised. If you find duplicate content on your website, promptly remove it.
12. Crawl Errors
The Google Search Console would also give you an insight into the crawl figures for your website. Though the report would show site wise crawl errors you can reduce it to find those by segments and address them quickly.