14 Killer Metrics for Google Analytics – To help you understand your Small Business Website Customers

by | May 21, 2018 | Small Business Websites, Web Design Tools, Website Design

So you’ve just built your Small Business Website, now what do you do? Well hopefully your website has already been SEO optimised (to maximise your google ranking potential) and you have a plan to promote it over the coming months.

Before we start on the metrics, one thing to remember about your website, is for it to be successful it needs constant attention. Your new website should be like an athlete, ready to compete. In the same way that a finely-tuned athlete needs food to maintain top performance, so does your website. It is possible to turn your website into a lead generating machine but it will have to adapt to the needs of your customers and keep Google happy. To achieve that the website will need ongoing tweaks to its design and also to be fed with high quality content that attracts and engages your website visitors.

The next thing you need to consider is your website traffic (potential customers). If you don’t understand the numbers behind your website traffic, then you don’t understand your business.

Thankfully there is a free tool available to help you track, analyse and evaluate your website traffic so that you can understand who is visiting your site, whether they are engaged with it or not and whether they are taking the actions you want them to do.

This free tool is called Google Analytics and is provided by Google. All you need to use it is a Gmail account and then you can set it up. During the set up, you will receive a Google Analytics Tracking Code which you can insert into a plugin on your website and then you are good to go! Google Analytics gathers a large amount of data about your website visitors.

The importance of metrics from Google Analytics is that they can help you understand what is working and what is not within your website and then allow you to take corrective action to gain improvements.

Many of the important statistics can be found on the main Google Analytics Dashboard, which can be found by following the menu options: Audience -> Overview.

So here are my Top 14 Killer Google Analytics Metrics for Your Small Business:-

1. Traffic Trend

This can be found on the main Google Analytics Dashboard. (See the chart opposite item 4)

See the graph at the top of the page. You can set this for your required time period (say weekly or monthly) to evaluate whether your traffic is growing, steady or declining.

2. Users

This can be found on the main Google Analytics Dashboard.

Users is defined as the number of New and Returning visitors to your site during a specific time period.

This is the Daddy of your Google Analytics numbers. The number of Users per calendar month and should be tracked every month. This metric is also known as Unique Visitors or Uniques.

3. Average Session Duration

This can be found on the main Google Analytics Dashboard.

A session is defined as a group of user interactions with your website that takes place within a given timeframe. There are 2 methods by which a session can end:- A time based expiration or a campaign change. The time based expiration is either after 30 minutes of inactivity or at midnight. A campaign change is where the user arrives via one campaign (say organic Keyword), leaves and comes back via another campaign. (say paid Keyword)

This will give you an average of how long each visitor spends on your website. An average duration of less than a minute indicates that the visitors are not engaged with your site. This can have a negative effect on your Search Engine Rankings as Google wish to provide their customers with the best browsing experience possible.

4. Pages/ Session

This can be found on the main Google Analytics Dashboard.

This is the average number of pages viewed during a visitor’s session. Is your visitor only viewing 1 or 2 pages and then exiting or is there a greater interest in the content contained in the rest of your website? The higher the number, the greater the chance that visitors are engaged although this should be evaluated with other metrics like Average Session Duration and Bounce Rate.

5. Bounce Rate

This can be found on the main Google Analytics Dashboard.

Bounce rate is the percentage showing the number of sessions in which the User visited your website and then left immediately without performing any actions.

A high bounce rate, say over 80% indicates that people are visiting your site and leaving because they can’t find what they are looking for. This could indicate that there are potential improvements that can be made to your website design and content.

6. New versus Returning Visitors

This can be found on the menu option: Audience -> Behaviour -> New vs Returning

A new visitor is one that hasn’t been cookied before on that device and conversely a returning visitor is one that has been cookied before. This number can be distorted if Users have deleted cookies from their device in which case they’d be classed as a new user.

This gives you an indication of how each type of user reacts. You tend to find that there is a better engagement from returning customers as they return with an intention as they have already had a good experience on your site. Also the statistics for Bounce Rates, Pages/ Session and E-Commerce conversion rates (if applicable) are better for Returning Visitors.

7. What Countries are your traffic coming from?

This can be found on the main Google Analytics Dashboard under Demographics, then click “Country”.

For a local business, you’d expect all of your traffic to be from Australia however if your business sells to different countries, this metric tells you whether your target market are visiting your website and you can assess if these visitors are likely to spend money with you. You can then focus your marketing activities to improve targeting to specific international markets.

Also note that under the Demographics section, you can find out information about the age ranges and gender of your visitors which will help you further understand what type of customers are engaged with your website.

8. Traffic Sources – Channels

This can be found on the menu option: Acquisition -> All Traffic -> Channels

This is a fantastic metric and tells you where your visitors are coming to your site from. Make sure you monitor the percentages for each. It is good to see a diversity here and high numbers for Organic are great.

Organic means that your site is being found in web searches mainly in either Google, Yahoo or Bing.

Other options include: Direct, Social and Referral.

Direct is where people are typing your website address directly or clicked from an email or advertising link.

Social is where the visitor has arrived on your site from one of your Social Media pages.

Referral is where the visitor has clicked on a link from another site to find your site.

9. Popular Pages

This can be found on the menu option: Audience -> Behaviour -> Overview

Here you can see a Chart with a list of the popular pages, ranked by Pageviews. Make a note of the top 5 most popular pages and the percentages of page views over time. Then observe if there are any unusual changes in the trend of popularity over time.

For each page note the bounce rate and time on page as this will give you an indication as to whether visitors are engaged with the pages. Lack of engagement may give you an opportunity to improve those pages.

10.What Devices are people using to access the site?

This can be found on the menu option: Audience -> Mobile -> Overview

Here you can see a chart showing which devices are being used to access your website, for example desktop, tablet or mobile phone. You can observe the bounce rates and average session duration to determine engagement on each device.

If your website has e-commerce, you can see which devices convert better for Sales in the far right column.

11.Keywords

This can be found on the menu option: Acquisition -> Campaigns -> Organic Keywords

Find out the keywords that are attracting visitors to your website for searches through Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines. Hopefully there will be a good diversity of keywords and you can cross reference that to your original keyword research when you built the website. This exercise may lead you to evaluate how well your website is keyword optimised and make the necessary changes.

12 Social Media

This can be found on the menu option: Acquisition -> Overview -> Social

Here you view a chart showing a list of all of your Social Media platforms that are introducing visitors to your website. The chart shows metrics for each one such as Bounce Rate, Pages/ Session and Average Session Duration which will help you assess how visitors are finding your site and what areas to put further marketing resources into.

13 Interests

This can be found on the menu option: Audience -> Interests

This area tells you what interests your visitors have who are interested in your products. It may give you some ideas of new products you can sell to them.

14 Users Flow

This can be found on the menu option: Audience -> Users Flow

This area is very important as it helps you understand people’s behaviour. You can see which pages have a high drop-off rate when people land on them but also the next page they go to and so on. Most people think their website is great but a high drop-off rate on a particular page indicates that you may have to improve it.

 

3 Bonus Tips for making it this far:-

Google Analytics goes far beyond the metrics above so for getting this far I will give you 3 slightly more advanced Google Analytics Tips to whet your appetite for this amazing tool:-

 

Tip 1 – Create Custom Google Analytics Dashboards

This can be found on the menu option: Customization -> Dashboards -> Create

This is a fantastic time saving feature as it allows you to customise your own Dashboards with all of your preferred metrics on it.

That means that you no longer have to hunt around the menus trying to find the metric in question. This will mean a one-off set and forget task and you can then quickly check every metric on one page with minimal effort.

Tip 2 – You can create your own Goals to get more insight into your data

This is an advanced feature that allows you to monitor whether you are achieving your goals. There may be many reasons that you have a website. It may be for lead generation, making sales, getting visitors to subscribe for your newsletter or book an appointment. Google Analytics allows you to define and measure these goals. This tip is for your awareness only. I will not cover Goal Setting in this article.

Tip 3 – Create Filters

You can create a filter to exclude your internal IP addresses from the Google Analytics data so that the data only includes traffic from potential customers and not your employees.

 

Summary

For someone who is new to Google Analytics, these metrics are a great starting point to be able to assess your potential online customers and the effectiveness of your website in order to improve your marketing strategies.

When you learn more about this tool, you will base your online marketing campaigns on the data provided by it.

Best of luck with Google Analytics. It is a truly awesome tool for helping you understand your online business. If you have any questions or need help with it, please contact David on [email protected] or 0449 649 957.

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