Google Analytics – 4 Key Metrics to Watch

Google Analytics provides a lot of great detailed charts, graphs and tables that show how well your website is helping your company establish credibility, enhance brand awareness and increase sales. But for some, the sheer amount of data can be overwhelming.

Fear not. We have simplified it down to four key Google Analytics metrics to indicate how good a job your site is doing.

Website visitors

1. Site Visitors

Google Analytics tells you how many total visits you’ve had over a set time period, how many were Unique Visitors (i.e., the same person viewing your site more than once), the average time spent viewing your site, and the average number of pages viewed per visit.

What this data tells you:

  • Traffic spikes could be the result of a website redesign, an event you spoke at, or links from other sources. A steady increase shows that what you’re doing something right.
  • Traffic that is flat or declining could mean that your website needs some work or you need to promote it more.
  • If the average time spent on your site and number of pages viewed is consistently low, consider revising your content, layout or navigation to entice viewers to stay longer and delve deeper on your site.

2. Traffic Sources

website trafficNow that you know who is coming to your website, find out how they got there. Viewers get to your website via three basic methods:

  • Direct Traffic: Someone specifically wants to find your company and types your URL or company name in the search engine.
  • Search Traffic: Visitors find your website by search engine results. This includes Paid Search, where they click on an ad paid for by your company, and Organic Search, which is free.
  • Referral Traffic: Viewers find your site via links from other sources such as blogs, email, websites, social media sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) or e-newsletters.

What this data tells you:

  • The best traffic sources for your website, and where to concentrate your marketing efforts.
  • The ROI of your pay-per-click ad campaign.
  • The most effective key words to secure top placement on search engine listings.
  • The amount of traffic to your site generated by social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn).
  • Other companies you can partner with to refer viewers via links to each other’s websites.

3. Content & Layout

Once you’ve given people a reason to come to your site, give them an even better reason to stay. Your website needs both well-written content that readers can relate to and an attractive, easily-navigable format so they’ll want to find out more about your company and begin the journey from prospect to client. If your website’s text and design don’t inspire readers to visit other pages, your site may need modification.

What this data tells you:

  • Look at the pages that are the most popular AND the ones with high exit rates to get an idea of what is and is NOT working. Sometimes it’s just a page or two that needs to be tweaked or perhaps deleted.
  • Your website text may not be resonating with readers. Perhaps the copy is too long, too detailed, has too much industry jargon, or is too much about YOU. The focus should always be on the benefits you provide your clients. Consider hiring a professional copywriter to edit your current website content.
  • Your website design may not be as appealing as you think it is. Avoid design pitfalls such as type that’s difficult to read (too small a font, white type on a black background) and generic stock photos. Hire a professional web designer and listen to their recommendations.
  • Likewise, your website structure may be too complex and layered, making it difficult for readers to find the information they want. Make your site structure simple and keep text “above the fold” to minimize scrolling AND to make sure key copy points don’t get overlooked.

4. Conversions

website conversionFinally, now that people have seen your site, get them to do something. A “conversion” is getting the viewer to take some measurable action—whether that’s subscribing to your newsletter, signing up for an event, downloading an item (whitepaper, report, sales material), making an online purchase, or filling out a contact form to set up an appointment.
What this data tells you:

  • Perhaps it’s too difficult for viewers to take action? Make sure that subscriber forms, contact information, downloads and online purchases are easy to find AND to complete.
  • Consider creating a separate landing page for a specific action or a particular promotion.

Want to learn more? The Google Analytics Academy offers free online courses at https://analyticsacademy.withgoogle.com/explorer.

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