If you haven't heard of Google Analytics at some point it's likely you've been living under a rock! It's the incredibly comprehensive (and absolutely free) website analytics platform offered by Google to let you know how your site is performing. You're able to view how many visitors come to your website within a given period (i.e., day, week, month), what your most popular pages and blog posts are, pages from which users tend to exit most, and more.
With so much information in one place, it can be easy to become overwhelmed and unsure of what really matters. What are the most important metrics and statistics to pay attention to, and how do they affect your bottom line in your digital marketing strategy?
Navigate to your own website's Google Analytics, and let's take a look at the metrics that you should be tracking to determine how well your website is performing.
1. Page Views
Albeit one of the most basic metrics you can look at, it can also hold a lot of value. Your page views tell you how many pages on your website are viewed within any given period. You can also take a look at Users (the number of people who have landed on your site) or Sessions (the number of unique visits users have made to your website; this will likely be higher because some users will hopefully come to your site more than once).
These basic stats let you know how many people are viewing your site, how often, and how many pages they're navigating to. While this is the most general way to check site performance, it's still a good indicator of your online audience.
Checking your referral sources is a great way to see where your web traffic is coming from. There are four main categories: Organic, Social, Referral, and Direct. You may see others pop up like Email or Paid depending on how many other types of digital marketing you use.
Your Source Channels will let you know which categories are sending the most traffic your way, and if your social, email or paid search efforts are paying off.
3. Average Session Duration
Your Average Session Duration is the average amount of time that a user spends on your website during a given session. (Remember, sessions are each individual visit to your website.) The higher this number, the more valuable the information you have on your website because people are wanting to stay and browse around.
4. Average Time on Page
This number tells you the average amount of time people spend on a specific page on your website. This will help you determine your most popular pages and blog posts, and what people are spending the most time reading or looking through on your website. Understanding your popular website content can help you to create more pages and content that cater to what your audience wants.
5. Entrance Pages
This metric shows you which pages are the most popular initial landing pages when users make it to your website. Are they coming to your Home page most often? Blog posts? Your contact page or a sales page? This can help you determine what is grabbing people's attention and drawing them to your website.
6. Exit Pages
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you've got your Exit Pages. What pages are people leaving your site from most? Is it your sales page? Is there a reason for this? Perhaps your sales page isn't optimized to generate conversions. Are people leaving your contact page before they're submitting your contact form? Maybe there's an error on your page or contact form that's keeping people from giving you their information. Pay close attention to popular exit pages to see if there are any issues on those pages.
7. Bounce Rate
Your Bounce Rate is the percentage of people who exit your website after only landing on and viewing a single page. This means they didn't click around to any pages - they landed on a page and subsequently left it.
This can be a sign that your website isn't helpful or engaging, but this can also be a sign that there wasn't anything off of the one page that grabbed a user's attention. You can offset this by including internal links throughout your website to increase the chance that users will click to view other pages.
8. Behavior Flow
When you first see your website's behavior flow, you're going to want to exit out of it immediately. It certainly looks intimidating. But if you take the time to really dive in, you're going to love this! It shows you the exact behaviors of people who have landed on your website. You can see the page they entered your website on, as well as every single page they accessed, in order, before eventually leaving your website.
This can be extremely helpful information. If the behavior flows are steadily short, i.e., only one, two, or three pages, then you know that you likely need to create more pages or increase the amount of internal links on each page. If you have much longer behavior flows, you're probably doing something right. Take a look at the order of pages people are going to, make sure that you have enough links throughout your website that lead to your sales/contact page, and make any changes you need to increase the navigation between pages on your site.
9. Site Speed
This is one of the most important metrics to know about your website. If you have a slow site, people are much more likely to exit out before their initial landing page has even loaded. You can check your site speed with Google Analytics so you can see average site speed, as well as any issues you need to fix to improve your overall speed.
Understanding your website's metrics is essential to have a comprehensive idea of any potential issues you may need to fix. If you're looking through your Google Analytics and not liking what you're seeing, contact us. We'd be happy to conduct a website and online presence audit to let you know how we can help your business improve online.
Written By: David Carpenter