Google Analytics 101

Google Analytics

Is my content driving traffic to my website? Is my audience spending enough time on my page? Is anybody out there?

These are all question Google Analytics can help you answer. If your website and the analytics reports aren’t looking the way would like them to, it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate.

For the past three weeks I attended an Internet Performance Academy course on understanding digital analytics fundamentals. During the three-week course we discussed the basics of Google Analytics and the main steps to take in order to effectively develop a strategy for your online presence. Let’s take a look at some of the key points to keep in mind:

1. Determine your website’s purpose.  Before setting goals, it is important to determine the purpose of your website. Are you looking to generate leads for your business or generate brand awareness?  Defining this purpose will help you to identify which strategies and tactics are most important to ensure that you’re getting exactly what you want out of your website. Not only does this help with setting up Google Analytics, it will help with writing content, developing your site map and more.

 2. Set measurable goals. Use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to set measurable goals that will help you to continuously gauge the success of your website.  If you are focused on generating brand awareness from your website, you might want to look at how much branded traffic is coming to your website, the number of new vs. existing visitors. If you are hoping to generate leads with your website, you might want to look at the number of conversions you can attribute to your website, such as a completed lead form.  

3. Assess your analytic reports. One of the many great features of Google Analytics is the depth of information the reporting features provide. These reports allow you to gain a better understanding of your audience – how they came to your website and how interested they are in your content. Looking at the keywords that grabbed your visitor’s attention will show you whether or not they were searching for you by name using branded keywords, e.g., Marketing Works, or using a general search phrase, e.g., Public Relations Columbus Ohio. You can gauge the level of interest that your visitors’ have in your content by the amount of time they spent on your page. Were they there long enough to read all of the content? If not, your visitors might have been attracted by a headline or keywords used on the page, but didn’t find the page content to offer what they were looking for.  

4. Continue to evaluate your strategy. After viewing your analytics report, take a step back every once in a while and ask yourself three questions:   

  • Is my website serving its purpose?
  • Am I meeting or exceeding my goals?
  • Do my analytic reports show improvement?

If after looking at your analytics report, you’re not entirely satisfied, it may be time to reevaluate your strategy. A frequent evaluation will help you to stay on top of your website activity and determine whether new approaches need to be added or removed.


Know of any other tips to using your Google Analytics for website success? Let us know in the comments!

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