9 Steps to Google Greatness: Step 9 – Google Analytics

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WE MADE IT! This is the last post in my 10 post series called 9 Steps to Google Greatness! If you followed along each day and did your homework you should know that you are lightyears ahead of 90% of all websites on the Internet. With great work comes great reward…this final lesson is to prove that.

You have no way of really knowing if what you have done up until this point (and beyond today) is actually working without measuring your results. So, that’s what we’re going to talk about today. Of course, the best proof is your phone ringing or an increase in new orders through your website, but Google Analytics is a pretty good second. Besides, it’s free and it gives you more than enough data to play around with!

Just like yesterday with Google Webmaster Tools, there are a ton of different reports you can look at when using Google Analytics. We’ll likely get more into the specifics in a future post, but for today this is going to be more of an introduction to Google Analytics in order to help you understand some of the more basic reports.

If you haven’t already signed up or have never logged in, let’s start there:

  1. Go to http://www.google.com/analytics and either signup or login with your Google Account.
  2. Click the “Admin” button in the top right hand corner.
  3. Click the “+ New Account” button.
  4. Enter the name of your site along with the website address.
  5. Click “Create Account” on the bottom of the page.

Once you have added a new account, you need to include the Analytics code on your website. There are several ways you can do this…you can add it manually into the html or if your website is developed using a CMS you can install a module that just requires you to enter in the account number. Here are a few modules I would suggest, depending on the CMS you use:

Once the code has been installed on your website, give it a day or two to start accumulating some data. Here are some of the reports that I think are the most important for you to start with.

Instead of getting intimidated because of all of the stuff Google Analytics has to offer, we’re going to focus on just two sections: Traffic Sources and Content. The combination of these two will give you a good idea of how your visitors found you and what content they checked out when they got there.

Traffic Sources
Start by clicking “Sources” and then “All Traffic” for a look at where your visitors are coming from. Here is what you are looking at:

  • Source/Medium: This is just where the referral came from
  • Visits: This is the number of people that came to the site from the Source/Medium listed
  • Pages/Visit: This tells us an average number of pages per visit you are getting
  • % New Visits: This is the percentage of people that have never been to your site
  • Bounce Rate: This is the percentage of people that get to your site and within a few seconds click back and move on

Here’s why all of that information is important. If you happen to notice that you have a lot of people coming to your website from a specific location like Facebook and there is an exceptionally high bounce rate, you can investigate what you are doing on Facebook and change your strategy and decrease your bounce rate. The same holds true if  you find that there is a source with a very low bounce rate, in which case you might want to focus on driving more traffic from that source!

Next, click on “Search” and then “Organic” in order to see what keywords people are searching to find you. If you don’t show much if any, don’t worry.  Remember, we just started. This report will really help you determine how well your SEO strategy is going over time.

Content
Next,  under the “Content” button click “Site Content” and then “Pages” in order to see which pages people are looking at. This report will help you gauge the more popular pages on your site and learn what your audience is most interest in. Here is what you are looking at:

  • Page: This is just the page of your site
  • Pageviews: This shows how many times the page was viewed
  • Unique Pageviews: This shows how many of the pageviews were from a first time visitor
  • Average Time on Page: Tells us how much time people are spending on the page
  • Bounce Rate: This is the percentage of people that get to your site and within a few seconds click back and move on
  • % Exit: This shows the percentage of people that were viewing this page and then left your site.

There are a lot more reports for you to dig through, so feel free to click on each link and look around. Regardless, if you never make it past looking at these two sections you’ll be in pretty good shape because it will give you enough insight to get you started.

Conclusion
That does it! I want to thank everyone that stuck through each of these lessons the past two weeks. If you committed and really followed through on each of these lessons you can expect to start seeing some results over the next few weeks. If you didn’t make it through each lesson or perhaps you didn’t do the homework, I highly recommend that you go back and work through each one.

In the comments below, please drop me a note and let me know what kind of results you are getting and make sure to include your link!

« Step 8 - Google Webmaster Tools

  • Lynn

    Thank you, Marc! I received a copy of this guide after subscribing to your blog. That was about six weeks ago. I followed along, doing each step as you recommended, and as of 9:10pm this evening, my client’s website moved from page 117, to pages 1,2 or 3. It now ranks equally with key competitors, for the first time in the history of their site. Thank you so much!

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Thank you so much Lynn! Your comment just made my day!!!!! Feel free to tell all of your friends :)