According to MetricMail, half of the top one million Alexa-ranked websites use Google Analytics (GA). These include popular sites like Dailymotion, Twitter, Answers.com and Myspace. Google Analytics allows a webmaster to measure site visitors, time spent on pages, bounce rates, and much more. But how exactly do the top websites in the world interpret this data? Let’s start by looking at a typical GA dashboard:
Notice that GA shows you lots of data but it does not tell you what to do with this information or how to use it. It’s just stats. What you do with this data is up to you. Here are some ways to use your Google Analytics data to help you increase website traffic and conversions.
1. Adjust and Test Your Site Structure
As the famous quote goes, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” So, if something about your website isn’t really working for you, use your Google Analytics data to make a positive change. For example, let’s say you have a website that sells seasonal items like Halloween costumes. Your Google Analytics data shows a very short Average Time on Site stat for your Group Halloween Costumes landing page, but a longer average time being spent on your regular Halloween Costumes landing page. You may conclude your site visitors are not interested in group Halloween costumes. Or, it could be the landing page itself isn’t optimized for higher engagement. With this in my mind, you can begin testing elements of your page to see if it can drive more visitor time spent on the page:
Layout – Compare the two landing pages. Does your Group Halloween Costumes page organize the graphic elements and content differently? How about the colours used? Use Google Website Optimizer to run A/B tests of your landing page to see which combination of elements drives the desired outcome.
Add a Prominent Feedback Vehicle – Is the quantitative data still not giving you enough to work with? Add a Comments field to collect qualitative insight from your visitors about what they like or don’t like about your website and/or offerings.
Improve Navigation and Linking – Use the data to identify the most popular pages on your site, then ensure your main navigation, home page and inside pages link visitors quickly to those pages. Map the customer journey through your website and identify holes where visitors can fall out of the journey without buying or giving your their contact information.
2. Adjust and Test Your Content
In the Visitors section on the left side of the dashboard, you can review Visits, Pageviews and Average Pageviews. If there is one page that has far more visits than any other page on your website, try these tactics:
Expand the Page – Turn your most popular page into a larger section of your website. The content of that page can be used to leverage more pageviews throughout the site by adding more related but deeper seeded pages, and links to other parts of the website.
Improve Poorly Performing Pages – From your GA data, you may determine that some pages should just be killed, while others you believe should perform much better than they are. This is a great opportunity to review the content of your page to ensure it is using SEO best practices. Are you incorporating the right keywords that will help online users to find you? Are you using the data from your Adwords PPC campaign to guide you on what phrases are converting well to use in your SEO? Improving your on-page SEO can have a dramatic impact on performance.
Consider Multimedia – Pages with multimedia content like videos, infographics or interactive content can drive higher visitor engagement. They can also be used as assets to obtain customer contact information you can use for lead nurturing. For example, site vistors to your Halloween Costumes landing page are greeted with a teaser video that shows them how to make a Superman costume with household materials. From there, you offer site visitors the opportunity to sign up and receive instructional videos on how to make ten other superhero costumes.
3. Track Conversion Through Goals
To increase your site conversions, use Google Analytics’ Goals feature. A Goal is basically a very important Pageview you wish to measure that marks the end of a conversion. For example, a “Thank You” page visitors see after making an online purchase. Or, the “Confirmation” page they see after submitting their contact information through your online form. To create a Goal is simple. Under the Goals section, click Add Goal. Then, simply paste the goal URL (pageview to measure) into the field – i.e. myholidaywebsite.com/thankyou.html. Once completed, GA will then start tracking the number of site visitors that reach that page or complete a Goal. You can also track the steps (or path) that the visitor took to get to the Goal. This can help you identify a successful customer journey to replicate for other Goals you add.
Guest Author – Mitch O’Conner is an online marketer who specializes in site planning and content creation. When he’s not busy building new websites, he enjoys spending time with his family, working out and watching movies.