Before you start looking into paid tools for analyzing website metrics, it’s best to familiarize yourself with Google Analytics. Once you get started, you’ll find that there is SO much stuff to dig into. The next step is to pick a few metrics as a baseline so you don’t drive yourself insane with data overload.
Keywords and search queries are always an important metric, but as we all know, Google has been limiting that option and showing the dreaded “(not provided)” unless you have a paid search campaign. So, the question is, which Google Analytics metrics should you look at?
Depending on your type of site (blog, e-commerce, affiliate, informative, portal, etc.), these metrics will vary and some might not be so crucial in determining success. Here are a few you might want to keep in mind:
When you think of measuring the quality of a page, bounce rate is one of the first things that comes to mind. There’s a specific formula for calculating bounce rate: total number of visits viewing only one page/ total entries to page.
The higher the bounce rate of a webpage is, the more it means that the landing page isn’t relevant to visitors which is causing them to leave. Check out this infographic to learn more about average bounce rates for different industries.
Wondering if you should have a mobile page the redirects to the desktop version of your site or if all pages should be converted to fit a mobile screen? Viewing this report will help you decide and optimize for your mobile website so that it’s compatible with most popular devices whether it’s the iPhone, iPad or Galaxy SIII.
On the other hand, if you’re not getting that many visitors for mobile, it might be a good time to hold off or draw up a better plan for a mobile site in the future.
Where are visitors coming from? What search engines are they using? Is social media really an important part of traffic referrals?
You can find answers to all these questions and more under this option. If you thought Facebook or Pinterest isn’t that important, you might be surprised to discover untapped potential. Although many sites rely heavily on Google for search traffic, other sites might find that direct traffic is a big part of the pie. This means more of a focus on branding and getting visitors to remember your URL and type it in directly. The possibilities are really endless here and I think this is one of the most important metrics that Analytics has to offer.
Although your home page is important, it’s equally as important to recognize that some/most people won’t come to your site from there.
In organic search, you want to optimize specific terms to that exact page so that visitors land on what they expect to find, not just your home page which is broad and forces them to find what they’re looking for. Looking at top landing pages an analyzing based on the metrics above can help you better optimize your site and keep visitors on site for longer.
Learn more about Google Analytics and let us know what you like to keep track of.
Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.