Use Google Analytics To Get Actionable Data


Here are some facts:

  • The online retail business market is estimated to reach USD 6.7 trillion in 2020. - Frost & Sullivan, 2015
  • 90% of consumers research online before buying. - MyCustomer, 2012
  • 60% of consumers start their research using a search engine. - RetailingToday, 2013
  • Google controls 65% of online search. - SearchEngineLand, 2015
  • 50.4% of online searchers view only the first page on Google results, while 36% reach results pages 2 to 3, and only 13.6% view pages 4 and above. - Moz, 2015

What have we established from these numbers so far?

  1. Consumers are increasingly doing their shopping online, and whether you’re an ecommerce or brick-and-mortar store, they’re researching your product, business or company online before they trust you and buy anything from you.
  2. Google is the top search engine that most consumers use, and for consumers to notice your site, you have to appear on Google’s search results.
  3. There is a higher likelihood of your website getting visited if you show up on the first 1 to 4 pages of Google’s search results.

So what does Google Analytics have to do with these facts?

Google Analytics gives you the kind of actionable data you need to monitor and improve your SEO efforts. It lets you know how many visitors your site gets, where your visitors come from, how they got to your site, and other information you can use to refine your SEO strategies.

Here’s how to get started with Google Analytics:

  1. create a Google Analytics account.
  2. enter your website as a property in your Google Analytics account.
  3. set up your Google Search Console account.
  4. verify ownership of your website so you can merge your Google Analytics and Search Console.

Once you’ve done all these, you’re ready to dive in to your Google Analytics dashboard.

From the Google Analytics home page, click the property name of your website, then click Reporting.

Here are some of the data points you should look into:

1. View Your Search Results In More Detail

From the left sidebar, click Acquisition > Search Console > Queries

“Impressions” shows you the number of times any URL from your website has appeared in search results viewed by a user. “Search Query” identifies the exact search keywords used. “Average Top Position” points out how your website URL ranks on average for the search queries used, and “Clicks” indicates the number of times users clicked on your website URL out of the other search choices.

How To Take Action

When you know which search queries generate the most impressions for your website URL, you can best optimize your content for those keywords. If you know which of your website URLs get the most clicks for certain search queries, you’ll know your SEO strategy worked and you can replicate the technique for other content pieces.

2. View Your Visitor Demographics

From the left sidebar, click Audience > Demographics > Overview

What the age and gender categories will show you is self-explanatory.

How To Take Action

You can adjust your marketing according to the age and gender of your visitors. If you have a young, hip, mostly female audience, you can adjust the language, color palette, and template of your content to fit their demographic. If you find the majority of your visitors are male baby boomers, you can modify your content presentation accordingly. If you find an equal distribution, you can segment your sales funnel to either demographic and setting up this feature on your website is a not-so-simple process which is best saved for another story altogether.

3. View Your Visitor Locations

From the left sidebar, click Audience > Geo > Location

Obviously, you’ll see from which parts of the world your visitor traffic comes from.

How To Take Action

If you’re a local business targeting consumers in Texas but you see you’re getting the majority of your traffic coming from visitors in Nigeria, then there’s something about your SEO practices you have to address. There are different SEO techniques for ranking globally versus ranking locally, and if you see from this Google Analytics report that your visitor locations don’t match the visitor location you’re targeting, then the data will direct you to make the proper tweaks to your SEO and content marketing strategy.

4. Know How Long A Visitor Spent On Your Site And How Many Other Pages He Or She Viewed

From the left sidebar, click Audience > Behavior > Engagement

“Session duration” shows how long a user spent actively using your site for a single period of time, while “Pageviews” shows the total number of pages a user visited in your site for that single session, as well as the number of repeat views for a certain page per session. “Page Depth” is the average number of pages your visitors viewed in a single session.

How To Take Action

If you see which page gets the most and the longest duration of views, you can take advantage of this opportunity. Using this page as a stepping stone to your landing page, you can either insert a link or a call to action button.

About the Author: Hazel Mae Pan

Wide reader, online course consumer, computer science and transhumanism enthusiast, among other things.

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