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.
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?