First off, Happy Birthday! No, not you. Google Analytics, turned 10 yesterday.
In the past decade, the web analytics platform has grown from an invite-only tool in 2006, to being used on between 30–50 million websites.
Thanks to its ability to track and measure important metrics, webmasters can quickly fine-tune marketing campaigns for better traffic and conversions. For businesses with a marketing campaign in place, measuring efficacy can be an issue. How do you know if those tweets are actually producing any new business? Or how visitors are interacting with other pages on your site? With Google Analytics, you can get a 10,000 foot view or get as detailed as you require.
That’s the power of modern data analytics; 10 years ago, it was impossible to get this kind of data. With traditional marketing, you’d have to get data (estimates, at best) from a newspaper publisher. With modern analytics, you can track every stage of your campaign, often from a central dashboard, and analyse what’s working and what isn’t.
An industry consensus is that high keyword rankings means more traffic and more profit, but this isn’t always true. While rankings can be a measure of SEO success, but do they really paint the full picture of the value of SEO? Google Analytics makes it easier to measure the impact of SEO efforts. Here are five ways you can use it to quickly understand the effect of SEO on marketing.
Understand Visitor Queries
In GA, it is easy to compare the efficacy of different traffic channels. In the Organic Search view, Acquisition → All Traffic → Channels, presents you with a report showing how much traffic organic search attracts compared to social, email, referral, and paid search.
Seeing this can tell webmasters which channels they are most likely to attract visitors from. This data can also show which keywords are providing the most value versus those that have a high bounce rate.
With this data, webmasters can then track high-value keywords and weed out those that result in poor conversions. While Google often displays the dreaded ‘not provided’ entry, but there are other ways to suss them out. This data is invaluable for understanding the impact that long tail keywords, branded keywords and even unrelated keyword searches have on your site and its rankings.
GA allows users define and track goals; whether they are website, marketing or sales goals. Knowing the rate at which previously defined goals are completed on the site will show if your marketing objectives are being met. Because this data is available in real time, it also allows site owners make quick decisions to stop failing campaigns/channels.
With goal tracking spread across Revenue, Acquisition, Inquiry and Engagement, you can set very specific goals that are in line with marketing objectives. This can be especially useful if you have to prove your marketing methods work, to a client.
Geographic Data Mining
Do you sell to overseas customers? Are those customers more valuable than your local ones? GA allows you gather information on your visitor location, allowing you determine everything from keywords you should target to which platforms to market on.
In the Analytics dashboard, the Location Report can be found at Audience → Geo → Location.
This shows, down to city-level, where your visitors are located around the globe. Users can then filter the results by source of traffic, landing page even type of browser. This information can help with planning future marketing campaigns.
Improve Page Speed
Few visitors linger around waiting for a page to load, so optimizing your landing pages for speed is essential to making a sale. Google itself also factors page speed into ranking factors.
To identify any slow-loading pages on your site, go to Behaviour → Site Speed → Page Timing.
Filter for organic traffic only, and the report generated displays the average page load time across the site on a page by page basis. Having identified pages with high load times, optimize elements on the page to reduce it.
Monetary Value of Each Visitor
Not all businesses are technically savvy, many of them just want to see what organic visitor acquisition is costing them. This can be done with a simple comparison of how much the ‘free’ visitors cost versus if they had used Google AdWords.
To create this report, go to Acquisition → Search Engine Optimization → Queries. This provides a list of keywords the site is being found with. To generate the report to compare with, log into your AdWords account → Tools → Keyword Planner. Enter the keywords from your Queries report and then click Get search Volume.
The report returned will display Suggested Bid amounts, which is what other advertisers are paying for each keyword. By comparing both columns, a monetary value can be assigned to each keyword and necessary marketing decisions made.
We all know SEO is the backbone of any website, whether on-page or off-page. While getting it right can be straightforward, it’s best if regular adjustments are carried out. Google Analytics allows webmasters create custom dashboards that cut through masses of data and show them the exact metrics that matter to their business.
On its 10th birthday, we salute the Google team for providing a free program that can help businesses grow due to to its powerful tracking and reporting ability. Have you got any insights into using Google Analytics? Or are you stuck at looking at only total sessions, pageviews and bounce rate? Contact Search and More and let us show you how a targeted campaign plus Google Analytics can grow your business today.