Tag Archives: Analytics

  • 29 October 2013
5 Google Analytics Metrics You Should Track

5 Google Analytics Metrics You Should Track

As an old Management adage goes, ‘if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. Quantifiable evidence gives us valuable insights about what is working well, and what could be improved. Granted, there are some things we can’t measure (like a satisfied customer’s smile), but nonetheless, the numbers behind the purchasing process of the satisfied customer could give us valuable insights.

Lessons from the Google Analytics Summit

It is this power of data that was the backbone of October 1st's Google Analytics Summit 2013 held in Mountain View, California but live streamed on YouTube for audience everywhere. The recorded version of the livestream is still available on Youtube.

The theme of the summit was Access, Empower, Act. Collect the right data, pass it on to the right  people, empower them with the right tools to analyze the data and act on the insights. Simple, right? However, as simple as that sounds, data can be so overwhelming that we might not know what is most important for us and what is not. This is why we have this simple guide that focuses on key metrics in Google Analytics.

A Simple Guide to Analyzing Key Metrics In Google Analytics

This guide assumes you've already set up Google Analytics for your website. If you haven't, don't fret; the process is very simple and straightforward. Google Analytics' Help center outlines the process in easy-to-follow steps here. The format of this guide is in a Q & A style. The answers to the questions are the metrics you should be running.

Q. How do visitors find you and from where do they access your page?

A. Traffic Sources

It is important to know how your visitors find your site so that you can determine which platform is the most effective one to reach out to your audience. Our blog receives most of its traffic from the following sources:

Google Analytics Traffic Sources        

Based on the numbers above, we can discern that of the 348 people that visited our site over the last month, 74.71% of them found our blog by searching for certain keywords that directed them to our blog. According to the Vital Design Blog, a good traffic search rating should be above 50%. Here is a breakdown of what each traffic source means:

   

Organic Search Traffic: Found your website using certain keywords. This metric shows the effectiveness of your keyword usage and Search Engine Optimization.

 

Direct Traffic: Typed your site's URL into the browser.

 

Referral Traffic: Clicked on a link on another website that linked back to you.

 

Social: Found your website from social media platforms on which you have a presence.

 

In addition, the Traffic Sources metric shows the location of the visitors, the browser used and even the mobile devices used to access your website. Again, it all comes down to what metrics are important for your decision making.

 

Q. Which is the first page they visit? 

A.  Landing page    

Knowing which pages are first visited can help you convert leads into followers. By analyzing which of your pages are the top landing pages, you can optimize them to include calls to action that will encourage your visitors to interact more with your site. For example, one of our top landing pages is 5 Steps to Improve Your Website's User Experience (UX) and our top keyword searched is user experience. By knowing this information, we know that our visitors are interested in improving user experience and hence we try to put out more user experience related content.

Google Analytics Landing Page    

Another metric to note is the Bounce Rate from the Landing Pages. A high bounce rate could mean that the visitor just views that one page and does not interact with the site any further before leaving your site altogether. The aim therefore, should be to reduce the landing page bounce rate by having prominent calls to action that will push the visitors to visit other pages in your site.

 

Q. How much time do they spend on your site?

  A.  Average time spent

Knowing this data will help to understand how much time your visitors are spending while engaging with your site. Longer times spent are good for sites such as blogs. This means that the visitors like your content, are reading it and also reading other content linked to a specific post. On the other hand, shorter times are preferable for online banking because it ensures a higher level of security when visitors can access the site and complete their tasks quickly.

Q. What do they do when on your site?

A. Popular Content

Google Analytics makes it very easy to analyze which type of content works best for you. A higher number of page views indicates that the content is popular. The aim should be to have a high number of page views and low bounce rate. This kind of data shows that your most popular content is encouraging your visitors to explore other pages in the site.

  Content

Q.Which is the last page they visit before leaving your site?

A.  Exit Pages, Exit Rate, Bounce Rate

Exit Page is the last page that a visitor views on your website before completely leaving your website. The visitor could have already visited multiple pages or could have just viewed that one page.

Google Analytics Exit Pages

The Exit Rate measure the percentage of visitors who visited multiple pages in your website and exited your website through a specific page. For example, in the screenshot above, our top exit page is 'How to improve your website's user experience in 5 steps'. This page was viewed 156 times in the past month and had 74 exits meaning that visitors to our site exited through that page for a total of 74 times. Therefore, the Exit rate is 47.44% meaning that of the 156 page views, 47.44% were exits (Formula: 74/156 %).

This information helps us to know that the visitors found what they were looking for and left after being satisfied with the information they got. For a main website, the ideal exit page should be a Thank You Page that comes up after the visitor makes a donation or signs up for a newsletter, for example.

The Bounce Rate measures the percentage of visitors that landed on a single page and left the website without looking at any other pages. Thus, Bounce Rate is typically measured for Landing Pages.

Google Analytics Bounce Rate

The Bounce Rate of 4.11% for the 'Prezi: A new way to make presentations' shows that 4.11% of our visitors viewed the post and left our blog completely. This could mean that the visitors found our post through search sites, read it and after finding the information they needed, they left. While there is no correct or ideal Bounce Rate, a rate of over 50% could mean that your site is not converting leads and needs some tweaking.

Google Analytics has a number of other metrics that are important and need to be analyzed. Two things to keep in mind when analyzing metrics are:

1. No metric should be analyzed independently of others. For instance, just observing the exit rate and not paying attention to bounce rate would give inaccurate results. All the metrics should be put into context and analyzed accordingly for accurate results.

2. The metrics are not generic to all types of websites. For example, some websites may focus more on the Page Value (the value of a page in monetary figures) while others (like our blog) focus less on revenue and more on how many visitors we get and which types of content are popular. Therefore, only you can decide which metrics are most important to you and build goals around the same.

 

Do you use Google Analytics? If you do, which metrics have you found to be the most useful? If you currently don't use Google Analytics, we hope our post has convinced you to start using this powerful tool soon.

  ~Ramya  

  • 24 July 2013
Want Higher Search Rankings? Four Things to Consider

Want Higher Search Rankings? Four Things to Consider

Search rankings matter a lot!

I am not just saying that to join the chorus of the blogosphere. It truly is one of the most important things for a company or organization. The appearance of a keyword in Search Engine Results Pages (SERP’s) is at the top of every marketing managers’ to-do list. The ideas of search ranking are floated along in an endless parade of buzzwords like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Analytics, Metrics, Big Data, keyword targeting, and on, and on. The problem is, what does it all mean? Now is not the time to shrug this off as just another marketing scheme that will have its day in the sun and fizzle out. It’s not! Saying that would be as ridiculous as saying that the “internet is a flash in the pan.” If this is your thinking, then you will be left in the dust. For those that believe that Internet search is here to stay, come along on a journey with me through the land of optimization. The core elements that constitute Search Optimization are, putting it simply:
  1. Social – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
  2. Backlinks – Companies or other sites that are linked to your site as partners, or in content sharing.
  3. Onpage (Technical) or Coding – This is the behind the scenes work. Making sure that the titles of your pages, the URL, the titles, the Headings (H1, H2), and of course, the speed at which your site loads in a browser are all things that effect your rankings.
  4. Onpage (Content) – The voice of your brand is important, but it is also important to know that the layout, the targeting of keywords, and even the title of your content is involved in where your site ranks in SERP’s (even more so now).
Google has been tweaking its metrics and algorithms in the recent months. They do this to root out fakers and abusers of the system. In the distant past of eight years ago, it was possible to “keyword stack” or “keyword stuff.” This meant that you would embed a certain keyword that helped your site rank higher in search engines, in your code or in the header and footer. I have said all of this to emphasize that the algorithms for search rankings have been changed a lot in the last ten years, and it is for the better for legitimate websites. Searchmetrics has published a report on search ranking factors and it has a wealth of information that shows the new direction of SEO. In this figure Searchmetrics ranks the “correlation between Google's search results and the various influencing factors." Searchmetrics Search Rankings

Social

It is simple to see that Social has increased in importance, as you may already know, but this graph shows just how important. As you might have suspected, Google has weighted its social platform Google+ the most. Any marketer would expect that you’d want to promote your own product, why should Google be any different? Second on the list is Facebook Shares. Since Facebook is the preeminent social platform (especially in terms of data), it only seems fair that Google would weight the number of shares a link to your website attained. The social ecosystem flows through each one of these other topics. The way that your website displays on a Facebook post is directly influenced by the way it is coded and whether it has images included in it. The better a post looks, the more likely it is to be clicked, shared and liked. Also the links that are made through social media can directly influence who is involved in your content creation and in your link building strategy. A Twitter follow, can lead to an RT, that connects your business or organization to its next client, donor, or patron. Each building block is necessary for the next to be possible.

Backlinks

The concept of backlinks, also known as inbound links, seems simple, but alas it isn’t. Creating content that others want to link to is the core of this metric. The problem is that you only want “quality” backlinks. This is to say that you want backlinks from other companies or organizations that are looked upon highly by Google as well. Monitoring the “digital reputation” of your brand is an emerging marketing manager’s responsibility. Here are four ways to begin your link building strategy:
  1. Link Building has always involved a certain amount of “snooping” because it is integral to see where sites that are ranking better than your site are linked. Majestic SEO allows you to see the linkbacks of sites.
  2. It is also easy to look at the footers or headers of pages to see what types of “emblem” links they have positioned on  their site.
  3. Contacting the local chamber of commerce is usually an easy way to attach a reputable .gov link to your site, or to partner with a university or nonprofit in your area or field is also a nice way to coexist in the ecosystem of SEO.
  4. It is important to have current information and content with links to referenced pages, because very often a piece can be reblogged or, even better, a guest blog can connect your page to a page that is viewed to have reputable and trusted information.

Onpage (Technical)

This part may seem the most daunting to the novice SEO practitioner, but it really can be boiled down to a few easy steps.
  1. Make sure the Length of your URL’s is not too long
  2. Assure that the keyword that you are targeting to be searched is included in the title and ultimately in the URL
  3. h1 and h2 tags are increasingly important to Google. These are header tags; in reality it is the HTML code that makes titles and subsection titles bold and stand out. These show the search engine that your site is well laid out and that it is easy to read. If you are unsure if you are using h1 and h2 tags, check the “View Page Source” by right-clicking on the page you wish to check and find (control+f) the h1 or h2 tags. If you don’t see them on your blog, check the CMS or content delivery system for your site and play with the different settings (in Wordpress there is a drop down menu at the top of the text block, where you enter content, that allows you to set text as “Heading 1” or “Heading 2.”
  4. Last, by certainly not least important, make sure that your site loads quickly. If your site is bogged down it may take too long to open and you will lose traffic because of this. Convert images to .png files that take up less memory.
Searchmetrics shows the top 30 search ranked sites site speed in this figure: Site Speed How does your site load time compare? These are the top ranked sites in Google SERPs with load times of 1.14 to 1.29 seconds. If your site loads in under three to four seconds, you should be pleased, but use these times as a goal.

Onpage (Content)

These factors refer to the visible elements of a website; outward facing, if you will. This section may seem less frightful than the technical section, but it is no less intricate. Here are a few elements to focus your attention on:
  1. Word Count – this factor has climbed to the forefront of SEO checklists. While months ago Google ranked this as a non factor, it now has doubled its importance. This is to say that a website is ranked higher if it has more content, which is Google’s response to every business starting a blog. Simply, if you are not blogging on your website, start now.
  2. Image Count – Google also doubled the importance of images on a website. This metric is directly correlated to the technical side because these images should be named for what they are and should be keyword rich. Lots of images are good. Lots of images with keyword rich alt attributes are even better. Images are also “sticky,” to use a marketing buzzword; images grab attention and can make the difference between a person clicking and not clicking.
  3. Internal Links – These links refer to another blog post, or another page contained within your own domain. For example, when a blogger refers to a previous post in order to further explain a point, or when a website says “For more information” and this link leads them to the “Contact Us” page.
  4. External Links – This is important because it goes hand in hand with the link building framework. Within a blog post or on a content page of a website, a link can be inserted to the source material for the information or it can give credit to another site for lending ideas or inspiration to a post. These links can build a community and an ecosystem that is especially important in the nonprofit environment.
Tell us how your organization is ranking in SERPs; did these tips help? ~Josef