Every digital marketer or business owner at some point will ask how to use Google Analytics to monitor website traffic properly.
Once you’ve invested time and money into building a professional website, creating content and sharing on social media - you want to know how all that hard work is paying off.
Thankfully, Google Analytics is at your fingertips.
Google Analytics is free and provides a wealth of information that helps you track your traffic and get to know what your customers want and more importantly, where they’re clicking.
If you haven’t used the platform yet - it’s time to rectify that.
Google Analytics is one of the greatest website reporting tools you have at your disposal. So we give you the lowdown on how to use Google Analytics for insight into your website.
How can I use Google Analytics for my website?
How can I grow my traffic online? That’s the million-dollar question for anyone with an E-commerce or digital business. Even if your business exists as a physical entity, you’re still going to need a website to promote your product or service. Once you set up your free Google Analytics account, your first step is to get acquainted with the following insight features.
The first category in your reports dashboard is ‘Audience’. This is where you can source the demographics, geographical location and even the interests of your users. You will see various tabs that you can expand for a more detailed view of who’s looking at your website.
All the data shown in your Google Analytics account is aggregated. Segments are a way of narrowing the data down each section and making it more specific - or relevant - to your business. Essentially, a segment is a subgroup of your audience so you can filter the results you want. For example, if you’re searching by age, Google breaks it down for you into different age groups. You can also add what’s called a ‘secondary dimension’ so you can add another filter to see where they’ve found your website – organic, Google ads, social media.
One of the handiest features in Google Analytics is the mobile category. Mobile web traffic has overtaken that from desktop and laptop browsers quite significantly over the last few years.
For both Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and web design purposes, you need to understand which platform the majority of your traffic comes from.
Navigate to Audience > Mobile and you can analyse the acquisition, behaviour and conversation of your users across mobile and desktop.
The behaviour column is relevant as this tells you what your bounce rate is and how many pages a user has visited. Understanding your bounce rate is important because if it is high (over 70%) it means that something needs addressing. Whether that’s a landing page, content update or SEO, or even source of the traffic, there’s something not quite right.
If your bounce rate is significantly higher for mobile or tablet this could indicate that your website isn’t optimised for portable devices.
The more pages they visit the more likely you are to see a conversation. A high bounce rate and low session duration is a sign that your website content needs strengthening or optimising.
Another important thing GA can do is identify where your website traffic is coming from. You can do this in the Acquisition reports.
Acquisition > All Traffic provides an overview of your acquisition traffic across emails, organic, paid, socials, referrals and direct. Each source will be listed so you can analyse which of your marketing campaigns are performing the best.
Again, you can assess each user journey through the length of their session, the number of pages visited in one session and the bounce rate.
Acquisition > Campaigns is one of the most valuable website reporting tools for any digital marketer or website owner. This is where you can analyse the impact that your keyword strategy is having on your site.
You can track any organic keywords you have used in your SEO strategy and discover how this translates into acquisition, session duration, bounce rate and conversion.
In addition to organic search campaigns, you can set up campaigns that track your Google Ads activity or any other external campaigns that you have running – either via email or social media.
You can set up campaigns under your own specified perimeters using something called a UTM where you add keywords into the URL so you can track where each click has come from directly.
Your behaviour reports provide you with details about how your website visitors interact with the content on your website. It can help you determine which pages perform the best and those that could do with a little improvement. It also provides insights into exactly how your acquired users spend their time on your site.
If you’ve ever wondered how to increase your traffic – this section can give you some indication of which pages are working for you. You can then adapt the rest to create something similar or improve on your content.
This tool is only valid if your website features a search bar. Essentially, this function enables you to learn what your site users are looking for once they arrive on your website. It’s basically your very own keyword research tool for your website.
Visit Site Search > Search Terms and you can see what search times are used on your site and what steps the user takes after results are yielded. For example, you learn how long after the search they stayed on your site. This can give you some good insight into which pages may need some improvement.
Conversion reports are where you can measure the success of your website – i.e. who’s coming to your site and doing what you want them to do.
In Conversions > Goals you can set up goals as per your business that will allow you to evaluate how your site fulfils your objectives. Goals vary from a customer making a purchase to subscribing to your newsletter or filling out an enquiry form, depending on how you set them up.
Conversions > Goal Flow provides a report that helps you see and understand how your users engage with your content as they edge towards the conversion.
Meanwhile, Conversions > Ecommerce provides specific insights into how your products are selling (if you run an e-commerce site). This function works once you insert a snippet of code into your website which will collect transaction data including product sales and purchase locations.
You can combine goals with funnels in order to fully analyse the actions a user takes leading up to a goal.
Conversions > Multi-channel funnels communicate to you how your different sources of traffic are working together to create conversations. For example, a conversion might occur after both an organic search and a referral takes place.
You can also study the top conversion paths by multi-channel funnels and map these against your keyword performance.
Using Google Analytics for your website
We’ve just provided a brief overview of how you can get started with using Google Analytics for insight but hopefully, that gives you a kick start on the most useful aspects to monitor your website performance. This is an essential tool for any business that wants to generate more traffic and more sales.
We hope our guide helps you understand how your site is functioning, we provide all our clients with a simplified report and help with understanding their Google Analytics so they can exactly how their website is performing, as well as offering SEO and content marketing strategies to give you the extra boost!