Taking Your Website's Google Analytics to Heart Is a Worthwhile Resolution
Use your stats to plan for the upcoming year
After the year we just had, it’s obvious that business websites are more important than ever. Also important are your website’s analytics for improving marketing efforts as well as customer experience. How comfortable are you at deciphering your Google Analytics?
If you don’t dive into the stats regularly, understanding what the metrics mean can be frustrating – and keep you from ever wanting to look again – which is no help to your business. Also, GA4 was launched just this past October and updates always mean changes. So it’s probably a good time to brush up on what Google is reporting and what to do with that information.
First off, Google measures visitors to your website, who are called Users. The report will tell you if a User is at your site for the first time or if they have been to your site before. While you want folks to like what they found on your site so much that they come back, getting a constant influx of new visitors is also a good goal to pursue.
Keep in mind that the User report is a little fluid since one person can visit your site from both their computer and their phone which reports them as two separate Users. Cookie clearing and computer sharing will also affect the accuracy of the User report.
Another Google measurement is called Sessions. To report on what Users do while on your website, Google groups stats from the point when they arrive until the point when they leave. The accuracy of this measurement is also a little fluid. For example, Google “times out” a session after 30 minutes of inactivity, so if someone takes a 31-minute lunch break and then comes back to click around some more, it will be logged as a second Session.
But during a User’s Session, Google measures how much time they are spending, how many and which pages they looked at, and even the path along which they moved through your website.
Pageviews tells you the total number of webpages Users clicked on. Whether they actually read every word is another story, but you can get an idea of how much a page interested them by looking at the Time on Site report which tells you how much time they devoted to browsing your content.
Pages/Session lets you know how much of your website a User explored from the time they arrived until the time they left. Studies have been done showing that the longer a telemarketer keeps you on the phone, the more likely you will accept their pitch and the same goes for websites. A good goal to work on is how to lead visitors from one page to another on your website, wooing them to act on your ultimate goal, which could be buying something, making a phone call, or providing an email address.
If a User doesn’t click around, but leaves your website from the same page they arrived on, Google calls that a Bounce and provides you with a Bounce Rate report. Bounces occur for a number of reasons and if yours is high, it’s important to dig deeper to find out why.
For instance, if a prospective client wants to make an appointment and your phone number is right there on the page, they might make the call and leave your website. That’s a Bounce, but it did result in a completed goal. On the other hand, a visitor might arrive at your website, not see what they were searching for and leave immediately. A Bounce like that says that your SEO probably needs work.
Google Analytics can tell you so much – more than most small businesses have time to use – but these basic stats can be truly useful when planning website content and online marketing strategy. If you could use help understanding your Analytics and updating your website to improve your stats, give us a call so we can talk it over.