Blog | Marketing Madness

Google Analytics: For Beginners and Small Business SEO

06/07/2011

Every day we speak with businesses who aren’t fully aware of what Google Analytics can do and what they can learn from it.  There are a number of ways to check the performance of your website and this is certainly one of them.

As a website consultancy, we believe every webmaster and business owner should be aware of their prospects activities and how to use the information on the screen.

This article will give you a better understanding of what to look for within Google Analytics and how to use the information.  The first thing we will cover, is how to sign up:

The Sign Up Process

We could argue that signing up for Google Analytics is possibly one of the easiest sign up processes around. Quite simply, type ‘Google Analytics’ into Google and once on the site click ‘Sign Up Now’.  Follow the instructions, enter the URL you want to track and at the end you will be presented with some HTML code. Copy and paste this code into a word document and either email it to your web developer or use a HTML editor and put it within the header of your web page.

Then you’re done.

The Dashboard

Each time you log in you will be shown an overview of your websites traffic behaviour. It displays some of the most popular and possibly the most useful stats; ?

1. Visual Graph of the activity over the set time period

2. Bounce Rates (represents whether people are going past the first page), Average time on site, percentage of new visitors in comparison to the last 30 days

3. What areas of the world your traffic is coming from.  This can go much more detailed as far as towns/cities

4. How people found your website (Direct input of URL, Search Engine or a different website)

5. What pages are people viewing the most

The first section that we are going to start with is Point 4, the Traffic Source Overview.  We want to know how our visitors are finding our website.  We obviously have SEO work continuously being carried out on our website so this will be a good way to check which Keywords have worked for us over the last 30 days.

Traffic Source Overview

From the ‘Traffic Source Overview’ section on the dashboard, click ‘View Report’. Once in the section, we’d like to draw your attention to 2 main areas: Keywords and Sources, both found within Top Traffic Sources.

a) Keywords

By clicking ‘View Full Report’, you will be shown a screen similar to the below.  On this page you will be able to clearly see the Keywords that your visitors are typing into Search Engines before they click through to your site.  You can extend the list to 500 per page and also export the information to present to others.

What you want to be looking for here is the number of visitors that are coming from the Search Engines (Point 1 on the diagram) and the relevance of the Keywords being used to find you (point 2).

1. We can see that spiralmedia.co.uk received 474 visitors in the last 30 days from a total of 157 different keywords.

2.The next thing we will look for is how ‘relevant’ the keywords are to what we offer.  We can see that there is a good balance between SEO, Web Design and now eCommerce related keywords.  We can also see that we are receiving traffic from Manchester, Nottingham, Sheffield and London based search terms.

To us, this shows that the Keywords we have been focusing our SEO efforts on (amongst others) are working.   If you have a Search Engine Optimisation company working with you (or doing it yourself) then this is a great way to see if it is working.

b) Traffic Source

Going back to the Dashboard, you will  be able to quickly identify the online source your traffic comes from (Search Engine, Social Media, Referral Websites etc).  From the image below you will see that we have traffic coming from Twitter and Facebook, as well as the volume already covered above from Google.

Content Overview

Back to the Dashboard, and you will see a section labelled ‘Content Overview’.  This section will tell you the number of visitors per page.  There’s a few things you can learn from this.  The first: According to the structure of your website, are your visitors viewing the key pages that you believe represents your business and what you do?  The second:

Based on the page views, what services are customers more interested in at the moment?  The third;  If you have an ecommerce website then what products/categories are visitors viewing?  This can be used very useful and trigger a change of ‘Featured Products’ on your front page.  Another question you want to ask yourself:  Based on the traffic that is coming into my site, am I getting the calls to reflect this?  If the answer is ‘no’ then you need to look at the quality of your content or even your design and how you site represents your business.

When you have an SEO campaign running, this is also a great way to see if your inner pages are being found within the Search Engines.  The way to identify this;  The inner page more have more views that your Home Page (index.html).

Summary

Hopefully you have learned something from the above article.  We’d like to state that there is so much more you can do with Analytics and so many different massages that can be learned.

We advise that you set your self an account up and start using it – everybody will take different things from it dependent on website structure, website functionality and also what your business is using your website for.