Having knowledge about the performance of your website is incredibly important. Knowing how your visitors are interacting with your site can help you to fine-tune your website for performance, conversion, and usability. Google Analytics allows you to track and analyse all the major visitor metrics that apply to your site.
However, using Google Analytics can be a intimidating experience for the uninitiated, and as a result many business owners forego it altogether. This is a mistake. Becoming familiar with this fantastic tool is the first step understanding how and why your website is performing the way it is, and gives you tremendous insight as to how to correct things moving forward.
But everyone has to start somewhere, so in order to keep things simple, we’ve broken it down to 5 reports within analytics you’ll want to watch. This is manageable, and will give you a glimpse into seeing just how powerful this tool can be for you.
5 Google Analytics reports to start with
Search queries – Analytics used to show more keyword data than it does now, but a very useful way to get some of this intelligence is by viewing the search queries report. You should have your Google Webmaster account linked to your Analytics for this to work properly. After you do that, you can see very valuable data such as the keywords you are currently ranking for, the amount of impressions they get, and the click-through rate on that page.
Mobile usage – Knowing how well your pages are doing with mobile devices is important data to know when nearly 50% of all traffic is emanating from these.
Referring sites – Knowing which sites are sending you traffic (and links) on an ongoing basis is something you’ll want to check regularly. If that traffic begins to dip, you’ll want to know why, and see if there is a remedy, such as a bad link, dated content or other reasons.
Session information – A report showing you data detailing how much time a visitor spends on your site, and on which pages and how long they are there. Since time on site and page is a large element in the search algorithm, this is highly prized information.
Raw page views and exits – This is how many times your pages are viewed. Closely related is the pages where visitors exit the site from: you want to know this and study why.
Knowing where your visitors go while on your site, or how long they spend there, or even where they came from are very important metrics in maintaining a good oversight of your website. Google Analytics gives you this information plus a whole lot more. It will allow you a level of knowledge that will lead to informed decision making regarding the best optimization of your site and business.