How to Analyze Your Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a gold mine of information that can help you better understand how visitors are interacting with your website. Not only does it provide an extensive amount data for analysis, but Google Analytics can also give you some important clues as to how you can optimize your web pages in order to increase conversions.
It’s not uncommon to feel a little intimidated or overwhelmed when you first log in to the Google Analytics interface, because there are tons of bells and whistles that can catch your attention; the important thing is to understand which data features are the most important in terms of what they can do to provide you with actionable information. Below are some key points to keep in mind to help you analyze your Google Analytics.
The Four Main Tabs in Google Analytics
The Google Analytics interface provides you with four primary sections to explore, each of which are displayed in a horizontal banner across the top of the page:
- Home – This is simply the section of Google Analytics that lists all of your web properties. Any sites you own that have Google Analytics installed will appear here.
- Reporting – The “Reporting” tab will be the main section of Google Analytics that you’ll interact with on a regular basis and where you’ll start all of your data analysis adventures.
- Customization – This area provides you with the ability to create and save custom reports.
- Admin – This mainly deals with the actual settings for Google Analytics, in terms of which sites you’re going to analyze, setting default views, etc.
Audience Analysis Reports
Some of the most important data in Google Analytics can found within the “Audience” section. The default Google Analytics interface will have this section listed in a sidebar menu on the left-hand side of your screen when you’re under the “Reporting” tab. Below are some of the key segments of the “Audience” section:
- Go to “Audience > Overview” to get a quick snapshot of important metrics such as total number of visits (now called “sessions”), pageview count, pages viewed per session, average session duration, number of new versus return visits, and bounce rate. You can use the “Demographics” section to see where your visitors are coming from based on country and city, and language demographics are included as well. The “System” section will show you which operating systems your visitors are using to access your site, and the “Mobile” section provides you with operating system and service provider information for your mobile visitors. You can use this data to develop a decent profile of your “typical” visitor, which can help in terms of site optimization. For example, if you discover that the majority of your visitors are using Internet Explorer to access your site, you will need to make sure that all of the scripts, plugins, etc., on your site are compatible with IE.
- Go to “Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels” to discover how your visitors are arriving on your site (e.g., direct type-in traffic, referral traffic, search traffic, etc.). The “Source/Medium” section under “Acquisition > All Traffic” is a vital area to include in your analysis as well; it will show you the top sites that are sending you the most traffic. This data will let you know whether your traffic is coming from one or two main sites, or if you’re receiving traffic from a variety of different sites. By clicking the “Keyword” link right above the table, you can find out what keywords people are typing into Google to find your site. This will give you important insight as to what types of keywords you should be optimizing your site for in terms of content creation and link building.
- Under “Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization,” you can integrate your Google Analytics account with Google Webmaster Tools in order to get an even more in-depth look into the various search queries people are using to find your site. This section will also provide you with valuable insight regarding the effectiveness of your landing pages; you can find out which landing pages are doing great in terms of visitor retention and conversions, as well as which ones are under-performing and may need to be tweaked.
- Go to “Acquisition > Social” to see how users on social networks are interacting with your content. You’ll be able to discover which social networks are yielding the most user interaction and activity, and you can gauge important metrics such as on-site user engagement, conversions via social channels, and user traffic patterns for your site in relation to social media.
Google Analytics is extraordinarily robust, and it’s fairly easy to get overwhelmed by all of the features and options that are available within its detailed interface. The data points listed above will provide you with some of the most important information you’ll need to make the proper changes and adjustments to your site, which will help you yield higher conversions and generate happy customers.