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Five reasons to use Google Analytics

Touted as essential for web marketing, Google Analytics can also be overwhelming to the casual user running a small business. IAN SPENCER outlines the best ways to interpret data from the popular analytics service.

Readers who are aware of Google Analytics probably already have a basic understanding of why it is important for their websites but too much analysis is not always a good thing.

Google Analytics is a beast of information, offering hundreds of charts about website visitations and activity. So much information can put people off from using it properly as they don’t understand how to access the data they really need.

Here are five insights that can help small businesses gain more from the Google Analytics service.

Traffic sources

Google Analytics is perfect for knowing how visitors arrive at your site, which is crucial when it comes to measuring the success of online marketing efforts.

Businesses can see how many people visited their sites from search engines (organic traffic), paid advertising, other websites (referrals) and social media campaigns. Knowing where traffic originates allows businesses to identify not only their best traffic sources but also their worst.

Site content

Google Analytics offers excellent insights into how people use websites and one of the quick wins that businesses can draw from the platform is to identify which website content is doing well and which content needs to be improved or drastically re-thought.

Usage statistics for each page on a website – from landing page to contact page – show how long visitors spend on each page, where they came from, the bounce rate and so much more.

This all means businesses can identify the content that has most engaged their customers and produce more of it.

It also allows businesses to find content that isn’t hitting the mark and then make an informed decision about what to do about it in the future.

Page speed

Page speed is now a ranking factor for search engines so it is really important to keep an eye on this and make sure a website and all of its pages are loading quickly. While a slower than average website is not going to push a page out of the rankings, it could hinder users – research shows that people are just not willing to stick around and wait for websites to load. They want things quickly and will simply not tolerate slow pages.

Although this section in Google Analytics is not 100 per cent perfect, it does give a really good overview into the site so be sure to monitor this section and learn the lessons that it can teach you.

Bounce rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of website visitors that navigate away from a site after viewing one page. Now, this is a statistic that should be taken with a pinch of salt but if a business has a website with a really high bounce rate – say, greater than 80 per cent – then there is probably something that requires attention.

Break the bounce rate down by traffic source as the spam bots and web spiders will often leave a site’s bounce rate artificially high but if organic or paid traffic is showing a high bounce rate, then businesses should be using this data to work out why it is high and what they can do to improve it.

Bounce rate is not always a bad thing; however, if it is really high or increasing steadily, use Google Analytics to spot this and then do something about it.

Goals and conversions

If businesses are not using Google Analytics for monitoring success via the goals tool then they are missing out big time. Not only can businesses tell how many conversions and successes a webpage has but one can also see where these conversions came from, how they occurred and so much more. This gives businesses a sense of what works and how to push conversions further.

Retailers might need a bit of help to set up the goals and the conversion-tracking code but it really is so important that they know what is working and how it came to work.

From there, businesses can then improve their successful conversion avenues and ditch the areas of marketing that are not  as effective.

Google Analytics can come across as an overload of data for business owners who simply do not have the time or the ability to get to grips with all of the ins and outs; however, these five features will go a long way to helping businesses yield the benefits from this important service.

Ian Spencer

Contributor • IS Digital Marketing

Ian Spencer runs IS Digital Marketing and specialises in SEO, Google Adwords and online marketing strategies. Learn more:

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Saturday, 21 September, 2019 09:17pm
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