Google is obviously the number one search engine world wide. But the country by country usage is interesting. In the US Google has about a 65% dominance, where in China it’s only about 18%. But the staggering statistic for Australia, the Google market share for search is nearly at 90%!!
So while Google remains so dominant in Australia it is important that you understand how your site can perform as well as possible within Google’s search results. Because by doing so you are immediately targeting nearly 90% of all search engine based searches.
This blog is related to an earlier blog I wrote called “3 SEO tips to help your website rank better” – so using the Google Analytics tools you can greater understand how you are going with your SEO.
But equally as important as getting people to your site, is understanding how well your actual site is performing once someone arrives. And that is where these tips for Google Analytics comes in.
1. Analytics Goals
You probably have one main overall goal for your website. And that is to generate a sale. Or at the very least a sales lead. And from a website, that generally comes in the form of an online enquiry. So that is normally where I start when setting up Google Analytics. I create a simple goal for the ‘Thank You’ page of a website enquiry. That way when someone reaches that ‘Thank You’ page, I know they have just filled out an enquiry form and I can then work out how effective my website has been in achieving that.
For example, someone may conduct a search on ‘adelaide web design’ and they find my website. They click through to the home page and they like what they see, they continue to read about what we do, who we have done it for and they themselves then make an enquiry. Using Google Analytics I can then see:
- how many visits on average it takes before someone makes an enquiry.
- Which page in that process is not performing very well
- And if someone has landed on a page from my website and not clicked on anything at all (that is called a bounce. And that is a great segue to tip number 2...)
2. Bounce rate
The bounce rate is an indicator as to how captivating your website is from a first impression. You can see in terms of % how many people land on a particular page and how many just close out straight away without clicking on a single thing.
This number is ambiguous to start with because you don’t have anything to compare it to. But it becomes a great measure as to the improvements you are making.
Analytics gives you the most searched for phrases that are bringing people to your site, so if you are bringing people to your site that are looking for ‘coffee machines’ but your page advertises ‘coffee beans’ then you are likely going to have a high bounce rate. So you need to refine your content to target a search phrase based on ‘coffee beans’ or you need to improve the way you highlight the fact you sell ‘coffee machines’.
It is probably the single most important stat that you can get from Analytics.
3. Time spent and pages viewed
These are two separate metrics, but combined start painting a picture of the quality of content you have and how easy and enticing it is for them to start exploring your page to find out more.
The longer the time spent, the better your site is engaging the visitor. You are providing them information they want to read. And you have a better change of getting an enquiry. And you can weigh that up against the amount of pages are being visited.
So you might have 7 page views per visit but a total average visit time of 40 seconds which means they are just clicking from page to page but not really engaging with your content.
That could mean your website is enticing - it may be design really well and have good internal linking, but the substance per page may not be there. You may not be providing enough information or in the right way.
On the flip side you may have a visit average of around 3 minutes with an average of 2 pages per visit. This may indicate poor internal link structure or poor design but well written content.
And again, the numbers can be a bit ambiguous to start with but you get a really good feel of what parts of the site are doing well, where your site is strong and where it needs to be improved.