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I’m sure you’ve heard of Google Analytics. It’s a free web analytics tool that website owners can use to track and analyze their site’s traffic. It was released in November 2005 by Google, and is currently the most popular and widely used web analytics tool available on the internet.
It’s a smart move to use it to shape and strengthen your marketing strategy – in fact, some would say it’s essential.
Here’s how you can use Google Analytics to better understand and engage with your website’s visitors.
1. Crunch the numbers
Using Google Analytics, you can look at the precise number of visitors returning to your website as well as visiting it for the first time.
It goes without saying that if your site’s content is interesting enough (and has been optimized for SEO), visitors may come back for more after their first visit.
You can check under ‘Frequency and Recency’ in Google Analytics to see precisely which visitors visited your site repeatedly over a certain period. You can also determine which pages on your site are being visited the most and therefore determine what the average visitor prefers to look at on your site.
This allows you to give people more of the content they prefer and remodel other less visited content to suit your visitors’ perceived palate.
2. Check the engagement rate
Using this aspect of Google Analytics, you’ll be able to understand exactly how long visitors spend on your site and what specific content is engaging them and holding their attention.
Just keep in mind that Google only measures engagement if a visitor moves from one page to another.
Looking at your engagement levels is vital because it enables you to discover if your content is engaging enough or if it’ll be necessary to dedicate your energy towards developing better content.
3. Know your average pages per visitIt’s important to look at how many pages your visitors click on to before leaving your site. If the number is low, you can insert call-to-action buttons on your site, or embed links to other pages within a specific page’s content. Alternatively, you can provide recent or related posts at the bottom of a page to get visitors to visit other pages.
If the number of pages your average visitor clicks to significantly increases, this will imply that you’ve managed to increase the engagement value of your site.
You can also monitor the amount of time visitors spend on your site and each page. Pages with visitors lingering for longer periods of time are obviously doing better than pages with visitors who stay only seconds. Comparing successful posts to unsuccessful ones will help you determine what the common factor attracting visitors is.
4. Be aware of your bounce rate
Your bounce rate refers to how often a visitor lands on your site and literally bounces back out without even stopping to look around. This can be caused by a host of factors, including an unattractive homepage, a confusing lay-out, no recently updated posts, or poor website design. Any of these things and other factors can provide enough reason for a visitor not to linger on your site.
To reduce your site’s bounce rate, you should try designing your homepage to be more visually appealing or add more topical content with seductive titles.
Brendan Wilde, Marketing Manager at Umbrellar suggests that “a high bounce rate can also be avoided by using only a hosting service that prevents slow site loading speeds that might irritate a site’s visitors.”
5. Count the number of email conversionsGoogle Analytics lets you see how many of your visitors have subscribed to your website via email. And it’s not just about knowing how many guests subscribed with their email – you can also discover how many of your subscribers actually visit your site via email links.
Using this information, you will be able to ascertain if email marketing is an effective strategy for your site, and if you should sink more effort and resources into it.
You can also learn which browsers, internet service providers, and operating systems the majority of your visitors are using to access your website. You do this by clicking into the category ‘Technology Reports’. The category ‘Mobile Overview’ also tells you if your visitors are using computers or mobile devices to visit your site.
6. Flick through location and language
In the ‘Geo’ section of Google Analytics, data concerning the location and language of your site’s visitors is readily provided.
This category is especially useful if your site’s content was developed with the intention of targeting people in a specific location or country. If your target strategy has been successful, Google Analytics will tell you.
In the instance where you are not targeting any specific region with your content but Google Analytics’ data is indicating that your site is getting more visitors from specific regions, an opportunity arises for you to use this data to your advantage. For example, if your site is getting more visitors from Russia, you can simply start inserting bits of Russian news or research in between your content to make it more appealing to a group of visitors who already appreciate your work.
The ‘Language and Location’ category of Google Analytics both use standard charts to display behavior of your visitors and your site’s conversion rate. The ‘Location’ portion uses a map to display the location of your visitors. This information is useful for targeting social and search ads towards areas you are already popular in or towards areas you’d like to become more popular in. Either way, the map will inform you of your success or failure.
ConclusionThere are many wonderful ways in which Google Analytics can help you provide better content and more value to your target audience, and increase the all-round performance of your website.
Obviously, this list is not exhaustive, but hopefully it’s a good place for you to get started!
Guest Author: James is a business psychologist & serial entrepreneur with over a decade in finance, IT, marketing & recruitment. He has authored numerous books about management. He is the founder & CEO of Daily Posts.