Website Analytics

Having worked in SEO and Online Marketing for almost two years now, I’m very familiar with how to track and use website analytics. Google Analytics is definitely the most prominent and well-developed tool for doing so. Social media sites for businesses also offer analytics to their specific platform, which are helpful and can be linked to Google Analytics to get an overall picture.

Although there are other tools and software for this, most of them require you to sync them with your site’s Google Analytics so they can pull the data. Otherwise, they won’t work. One example of this is SEOmoz. This software is designed to aid in SEO efforts. One big reason we used it is because it shows your site’s rank for certain keywords, which Google Analytics does not. It also helps you prospect new opportunities to optimize your site and provides access to an online community with lots of great learning resources and the ability to ask questions. However, if you don’t link your Google Analytics account, the tool has basically nothing to work off of.

Having worked in this industry for a while, I have seen development changes and improvements in Google Analytics, like the addition of social metrics, which require you to sync your social sites with your Google Analytics.

One big thing that a lot of people don’t realize is that it’s imperative to set up Google Webmaster tools with your site. This enables Analytics to pull a lot more specific data, such as keyword-tracking data form your site. It also offers a different set of insights as Analytics.

Google analytics also gives you the option to set up conversion metrics on your site to evaluate if your visitors are doing what you want them to, basically. For example, you could set it up based on quote requests, contact form submissions, purchases, anything. This is particularly valuable for e-commerce sites, but may bot be applicable for all sites.

Other tools I found useful:

  • Visitor flow charts – Graphically represents the traffic flow on your site. Shows what pages visitors enter your site on, and the sequence they visit the other pages in your site. (Note: this is based on total traffic flow, not specific users.)
  • Keyword breakout – When you are looking at traffic based on keywords, you can type specific keywords into the search bar to get the info for them. This was helpful for reporting progress to clients.
  • Reporting – The reporting for this tool is pretty easy to use. You can export any configuration of data you’re viewing into either a PDF or excel sheet. You can also run very specific reports, and automate these reports to run regularly, if needed. This saves time and is very easy to do.

Questions:

1) How much access do you give clients to their Google Analytics?

2) If you give them full access, do any of them use it? (Most of mine never even looked at it on their own.)

3) Have you used Google Analytics in your career? Did you find it easy to use?

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4 thoughts on “Website Analytics

  1. I have not used Google Analytics in my career but now that I am learning more about it, I do not find it difficult at all. I am impress with your experience and you are right when you wrote: “One big thing that a lot of people don’t realize is that it’s imperative to set up Google Webmaster tools with your site.” I was one of these people but now I am going to start working with this tool in my website.

  2. That is so interesting to me that most of your clients never looked at their Google Analytics on their own! I’m glad you brought up the visitor flow charts. That is a tool I use a lot. When you go over the Google Analytics with your clients, what questions do they usually ask and what is their primary concern? Have you ever told a client to make a huge changed based off a report? Maybe we’ll hear about this later and I’m jumping the gun 🙂

  3. You really seem to know your Google Analytics! Do you have any specific training in web/mobile analytics or did you just learn-by-doing while working? It is definitely a needed skill in this industry.

    As for me, and to answer Q3, I have access to my company’s Google Analytics account, but I have not found it easy or intuitive at all. When I log in, I’m just overwhelmed with all of the options and I’m not sure where I’m supposed to start. If you have any suggestions on what I should do first or a beginner’s tutorial on GA, it would be most helpful.

  4. I don’t have much experience working with clients’ Google Analytics, but in the limited experience I experience I do have, most people don’t want to look at it. I think they get overwhelmed by the data.

    I use Google Analytics for my company, and I think it’s pretty easy to process the information. There’s certainly a learning curve when you first look at it, but once you learn what each section measures, it starts to make sense. My favorite part — and I I know this isn’t exclusive to Google — is the being able to make PDFs of the reports. It’s so great for presentations, especially when you are showing it to people who aren’t familiar with the interface.

    Would you recommend SEOmoz?

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