Google Analytics is easily the most popular measurement tool for small-to-medium business websites. It’s super-powerful, industry-standard and, to top all that, it’s free!
But with great power brings… great confusion! Google Analytics can seem seriously daunting to the novice or infrequent user. Also, there’s so many data points in there, it’s often difficult to know what to look at first.
So, to help ease you in, here are our top 5 Google Analytics metrics to help you see if your website is succeeding. We’ve even included directions inside Google Analytics to help you find them (directions correct at time of writing).
Found at: Audience > Geo > Location
If you're a small-to-medium business, there’s a good chance that you serve a small geographical area. Even if you’re a global business, it’s a good idea to check if your website visitors are coming from the places you're trying to target or develop.
In this section you’ll see a world map of your visitors’ locations by country. You can also change to a city view or check a location’s performance over time, by changing the top tab from ‘Map Overlay’ to ‘Explorer’.
Found at: Acquisition > Overview
Your website is often the end point of a larger marketing journey or funnel. Perhaps you are putting effort into SEO, Social Media marketing or, more directly, with physical adverts or flyers at the moment and need to check if that effort is getting people to your website?
In this section there are four main routes for traffic to arrive:
- Organic Search – from search engines like Google
- Direct / None – see below*
- Referral – by links to your website from other websites
- Social – from Social Media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn
*Traffic marked as ‘Direct’ or ‘None’ can be from a variety of sources but is usually from typing the URL into their browser, clicking on a simple link in an email or other messenger application, or clicking from another app or document that’s not trackable.
By default, Google Analytics shows you activity in the last 30 days, but you can choose any time period using the selector in the top right of the Google Analytics web page.
Found at: Behaviour > Behaviour Flow
A business website typically has two main objectives: to make the business look attractive to potential customers and to encourage those potential customers to interact with the business.
The actual visitor interaction can vary from something simple like making a purchase (if it’s an eCommerce website) or to making contact by email or phone.
To track a visitor’s progress through a website we can use the Behaviour Flow diagram, which delivers great insight into a visitor’s journey through the website from entry point to exit!
When reviewing, keep in mind what you have shared in other marketing channels. If you’ve shared a direct link to a blog article on Social Media, that page might be their entry point rather than your home page. You can then look at what they did next and see if they keep moving towards your goal of a purchase or making contact.
Found at: Behaviour > Overview
The Bounce Rate of a page is the percentage of people who arrive at a page on a website, then leave without doing anything else. This means they didn’t click on a link on your menu, or a link to another page of your website or fill in a form. They probably typed something else in the URL bar of their browser or simply went away and did something else entirely.
There is no hard and fast figure to aim for here, but generally a lower number the better, especially for your home page. A high bounce rate on your home page (say 40% or more) means visitors did not feel your website was interesting to them. This might mean the page design isn’t effective or they were just looking for something different and found your website by mistake.
At Presto we have a simple rule: every page on a website should have clear ‘calls to action’ i.e. the visitor should have clear options of what to do next. If your webpage has a large bounce rate, then maybe the options aren’t clear or don't exist at all.
That said, there are some pages where a high bounce rate is less of a concern. If you publish a blog article with some advice (just like this one…) then the simple advice given in the article might answer their question and that’s the visitor’s task complete. In this case their leaving at that point is OK. Hopefully they’ll remember you being helpful next time they need more complex advice and they’ll return.
Found at: Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages
It's often the case that the content we think is important to our visitors actually isn’t what they want. Sometimes what visitors are looking for isn’t easy to find. When creating content for your website it’s important to remember that your website is for the benefit of its visitors first and its owners second, so we have to get the visitors to the content they want, or they’ll leave and may never return.
You can see popular pages in this section so it’s worth making sure that the pages that contain your key messages are listed high up in the popular page list found here. Also, this enables you to check if recent blog posts were popular in response to sharing and even dig into the performance of individual pages over time.
Now we know where to find these easy-to-use metrics we need to make use of them. This means taking notes, making changes and returning after a while to see if your improvements worked.
Remember, Google and other search engines like to see a website that develops over time and penalise websites that never change. So, even if the metrics are looking good right now, you need to keep adding and improving your website content to keep it fresh in everyone’s eyes.
Need more help? Don't be afraid to contact us to discuss anything further!