Google Analytics gives you actionable insights regarding demographics, top pages, the results of your SEO efforts, places to improve and possible technical glitches.
1. Uncovering Demographic Information
Google Analytics provides a lot of demographic information that you may not even realize is available to you. The reason why it’s so easy to miss this data is because usually when you’re thinking about demographics, you’re programmed to look for things like age, gender and location. However, there is better demographic data if you look in other areas – things like language, device, browser, new versus returning visitor, number of pages viewed, number of visits within a 30 day timeframe, etc.
Google makes it confusing to know where to look for find this rich data because it’s not all in one place like you might expect. Once you have this data though, you can make important decisions like:
• Which browsers to optimize your web design for first
• Which languages to offer on the site (and have customer service representatives speaking)
• How important having a mobile strategy is to your business
• Whether your typical buyer is impulsive or more calculated
2. Identifying Top Pages
Knowing which pages are your top landing pages gives you a sense of which have the most inbound links and/or are ranking well organically for search terms. These top pages can clue you into which of your products/services are the most popular and which blog post topics resonate the most with your audience. Analyzing what the pages are doing right and what they have in common can help you to improve your other pages and even to set the future course for your business.
3. Measuring SEO Efforts
Within Google Analytics, you can see top search queries and organic keywords, which is a decent way of determining whether your SEO efforts are having an influence. (I say “a decent way” instead of “a good way” because many sites are seeing most of their traffic showing as “Not Set” by Google, which thwarts any attempt to accurately determine which phrases are bringing people to your site.)
Other metrics, though, like channel distribution and overall traffic volume, can help you to determine whether or not your SEO work is increasing your site’s relevancy. Monitoring these types of metrics closely will allow you to pick up on small changes as they occur and can signal that your efforts are working.
4. Finding Areas for Improvement
Metrics like bounce rate, time on site and pages viewed per visit can all point to instances where you might need to improve your targeting, on-page content, layout/navigational structure and calls-to-action. Evaluating these Google Analytics metrics will shed light on whether or not people find your site relevant, engaging and easy to follow. If you are making design changes or re-writing content, these metrics will help you to determine which version is performing better as well.
5. Discovering Technical Issues
Looking at top exit pages in Google Analytics can identify places where there might be technical errors. Very high exit rates on a page can indicate that a link on the page is not functional, which would bring visitors to a 404 error page and potentially scare them off. It can also indicate that a button isn’t working that would have otherwise brought visitors to the shopping cart checkout page, let them request a quote, submit feedback or request assistance.
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!