How Business Owners Should Use Google Analytics
When I’m conducting one of our free SEO website audits, it amazes me every time I see a site that doesn’t have Google Analytics installed on it. It’s a great free SEO tool that can be as simple or as complex as you would like it to be. After talking to some of our clients, they either don’t have it because they don’t understand it, or if they have it, they don’t know how to use it.
So let’s take a quick look at 8 simple Google Analytics metrics that everyone can understand.
When you first login to Google Analytics, it seems simple enough but can quickly become overwhelming when you start clicking things that don’t make any sense.
After you click and open your account folder, the first screen you come to will be your Audience Overview, with a date range (generally the past month) that you can change in the top right hand corner. This screen will give you some good general knowledge about the performance of your site. Things to look at here…
This is the total number of visitors (both new and returning) that have come to your site over your specified date range.
2. Unique Visitors
This is the number of 1st time visitors to your site. (Welcome, make yourself at home.) While new visitors are great, you do want your site to have a healthy balance of new vs returning visitors. (Having a new visitor percentage between 50-75% is pretty healthy.)
- Example - Having 90% “New” means people aren’t returning to your site and having 90% “Returning” means new people aren’t finding you easily.
This is simply the total number of pages that all of your visitors, both new and returning, clicked on.
4. Pages / Visit
The average pageviews that your total number of visitors saw of your site, or how deep are they diving into your site. This metric can be viewed as both good and bad. If you have a low average, let’s say 1.5 and your site only has 3 pages, that’s great. But if you have 1.5 and your site has 1,000 pages, it could mean either the visitor found what they were looking for or is not interested in going deeper into your site.
5. Avg. Visit Duration
This is the average time spent on your site by your total number of visitors. (A 3 second average is not good.)
6. Bounce Rate
Your bounce rate percentage increases when a visitor leaves your site after viewing only a single page. Or if the visitor leaves the single page idle while visiting another tab. A 50% bounce rate is about the industry average but when you start getting into the 70% and higher, there may be an issue you need to address.
All of these Audience Overview metrics combined, can quickly tell you about the health of your site from the users experience. If you have a high bounce rate, low pages per visit and a low average time spent on your site, its time to start doing some digging to see what issues you can fix.
In the date selector box in the top right you are able to compare your current overview against previous dates and periods. If a site is having issues, this is the best place to start. See how your current overview compares to the previous period, month or year.
In the left sidebar, there is a tab titled Acquisition. Selecting this will open up 9 other subcategories with greater defined metrics.
7. Acquisition Overview
This is new to Google Analytics and gives you easy to read data about your traffic sources. It will break down your organic, social, direct, referral, and email traffic while giving you more defined data than your Audience Overview.
For example here you’ll be able to segment your bounce rate for organic traffic vs social. If you see your bounce rate for social is higher than organic, it could mean that your social posts aren’t relevant to the content you’re posting. If your organic bounce rate is higher, it could mean you are ranking for keywords not relevant to the landing page.
8. Acquisition Keywords – Organic
Here you’ll be able to see (some) keywords that are driving traffic to your site. With Google now putting more emphasis on privacy for users that are not logged in, (not provided) keywords will be your highest ranking. (Which sucks, I know!) But you still should be able to get a general idea of keywords users are searching to find your site.
In this channel, you are able to see bounce rates, pages per visit and other metrics broken down for keywords that are shown. If you are having issues, this can help determine areas of your site that need to be corrected.
As you learn more about Google Analytics, it becomes more and more fascinating. You are able to set up goals for specific landing pages as well as track conversions for different genders and age ranges. Google is constantly adding and updating their Analytics with metrics. (17 updates this year alone.) So there is something for everyone, even if you just want the basics.