Google Analytics is a free tool that will help you to understand how visitors are using your website. It can provide insights into how visitors are finding your website, what they do on each page, and how long they spend doing it. This information will help you to see what content on your site is performing well, and which may need some work to improve the visitor's experience.
Google Analytics can track:
- Traffic - Where your visitors are coming from
- Conversions - What visitors do on your pages
Engagement - How long visitors spend looking at your content
Google Analytics shows you how your visitors are finding or getting to your website. Traffic to your page comes from:
- Organic search - When someone finds your site using a search engine like Google
- Social Media - When a visitor lands on your page after clicking a link from Facebook, Twitter, etc
- Direct - When someone types your domain name into their browser's address bar
- Backlink or Referral - When a visitor finds your page by clicking a link on another website
Once you know more about how visitors are finding your website you can look at ways to increase the traffic.
For example, if most of your visitors come from Facebook, you could spend more time on social media marketing by sharing links and customer success stories that link back to your site.
You could also use this information to improve the results from your weakest traffic source. For example, if your organic traffic is low, it might be a good idea to review your content and make sure it's SEO optimized.
Google Analytics allows you to set up targets or "goals" and track them. Each time a goal is hit, it's a conversion. Conversion simply means getting your visitors to do what you want them to do. A conversion can be anything from signing up to your newsletter to purchasing an item.!
If your conversion goals aren't being hit you can try different things to make your buttons or links more visible and attractive, for instance:
- Moving the button to a different position on the page
- Changing the highlight color
- Changing the wording on the button (the "Call to Action")
- Offering an incentive to encourage users to click (for example, offering an free ebook if a customer signs up to your mailing list)
Google Analytics engagement insights help you see how visitors are interacting with your website content. There are lots of metrics to look at that go into detail about how visitors use the site. The simplest metrics to look at are Bounce Rate and Average Session Duration.
Bounce Rate - The percentage of visitors that navigate away from your website without interaction, after viewing only one page.
A high bounce rate indicates that your website doesn't contain the information that the customer is looking for, or that it's difficult to find. This is especially bad if your major source of traffic is organic search, as Google will drop your site further down the list of search results.
Average Session Duration - The average amount of time a visitor has spent on your website (not including visitors that bounced).
Pretend you’re seeing your site for the first time. How long does it take you to read all the text, watch your videos and look at your images? If the Average Session Duration is similar, it’s a good indication that your content is interesting. And if your content is interesting, visitors are more likely to want to interact so you should also see high conversion rates.
If your Average Session Duration is short, it shows that visitors aren’t staying on the page long enough. This can be a sign that your content isn’t what visitors are looking for, or that it’s too hard to find information on your site.
To improve the session durations you could:
- Spend time creating more content that is SEO optimised
- Restructure or rearrange information on the site
- Add more links and/or clearer calls to action
- Add video or audio content
To learn about the full capabilities of Google Analytics, check out the free online courses at Analytics Academy!