Google Analytics is a service offered by Google that provides valuable insight to businesses, allowing them to better understand their customer base. It generates a massive amount of data, ranging from session durations to online shopping cart abandonment. The reports it creates can be sent to you automatically via email. From that data, you can determine where your business is suffering or what could be tweaked to improve your sales and make actual improvements to your model or, at the very least, get a plan in motion to do so.
How to Get the Most from Your Data
There are multiple ways a business can benefit from the use of Google Analytics. On a superficial level, quick snapshots of your metrics can help you keep track of any sudden changes from month to month. To use the service effectively, you have to dig deeper. Unfortunately, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the vast amount of information available. As such, many users are not getting as much value from Google Analytics.
Here are 5 tips to help you make the most out of your data.
- Set up Goals and Goal Values. To get useful reports from Google Analytics, you have to create goals and goal values. The values help you quantify what site traffic is actually worth. An ecommerce site, for example, might have completed orders as a goal, and the revenue from those orders as the goal values. Goals can also be tied to specific page views, a minimum number of pages viewed during a session, a minimum session duration, and more.
You can also set “Contact Form Completions” as a goal and identify the value of a completed goal, and then use that for the value of each submission. If you’re not sure where to begin, there are templates available to help you get started. Your account might also be eligible to use smart goals. If that’s the case, those can help do a lot of the work for you. Just keep in mind that regardless of what kind of goals you create, Analytics does limit you to a maximum of 20 goals at a time.
- Get Top Google Analytics Reports Emailed To You. As mentioned earlier, you can have reports emailed you on a regular basis, helping you keep track of changes in your metrics. To start receiving monthly reports, start by signing in to Google Analytics and then going to “Admin,” followed by “User Settings.” Finally, select “Performance Suggestions and Updates.” This way, you spend significantly less time searching through the data trying to piece together insights.
What would otherwise take hours of browsing is conveniently delivered right to your inbox instead. Outside of these reports, you can also set up custom email alerts. This can be done by selecting “All Website Data” under “View” while in the “Admin” section, and then navigating to “Custom Alerts.” Here, you can adjust the settings so that you’re immediately notified if one of your goals is completed, or if there’s a sudden, drastic change in website traffic.
- Optimize and Improve Paths Through Your Website. The Behavior Flow Report is a feature in Google Analytics that shows you what path users use to travel from one page or Event to the next. By studying said path, you can discover any potential content issues that are causing users to disconnect or deviate from desired behaviors, exposing weak points in your site which you can then address. You can also use the information to determine what kind of content is keeping users engaged with your site. Overall, this can be extremely useful to improving overall site performance and user experience.
- Leverage ‘Low-Hanging Fruit’ Pages to Boost Search Performance. If you’re looking for a quick way to optimize your site, you can use Google Analytics to find keyword opportunities to focus on. Do this by using the “Acquisition,” “Search Console” report. From there, locate “Search Queries” and their average positions, then filter the results for rankings currently on page two. These “low-hanging fruits” are an excellent source of keywords to use in future content creation for quick SEO wins. You can create new posts entirely or add the keywords to your existing content and give your page a boost.
- Improve Internal Linking with Popular Content. There’s another report that can help you isolate which pages on your site contribute the most to your conversion rate, information you can then use to your advantage. You can access this by using the “Conversions,” “Reverse Goal Path” report, and sorting it by “Goal Completions.” This should yield a list of pages that are popular amongst your viewers. You can then ensure those same pages are targeted by links throughout your site and in any new articles or blog posts you publish. Linking to existing content that is already popular with your users is a great way to capitalize on your own success.
Bonus Tip: Track On-Site and Industry Updates with Annotations. One last tip you might find helpful involves the use of annotations. Annotations allow you to make notes to track when changes are applied to your website. You can also do this when Google announces algorithm updates. This provides you with context to better understand how said changes impact your site’s performance. If a change you made yields positive results, such as testing a new format, you can then duplicate that change and continue to reap the benefits. Alternatively, you can determine if any changes are affecting you negatively and need to be rolled back.