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Google Analytics is an incredibly detailed and effective online analytics tool, providing website owners with a vast scope of essential data. However, issues with how we interpret the data constantly arise among those of us who are less experienced. The data itself is presented in a black and white manner with little to no explanation of what each metric means.

In this article, we’ll outline and define five key metrics that should be considered and tracked in conjunction with your broader marketing strategy.

1. Traffic Source

Simply put, traffic source is a metric that tells you where your website traffic has come from, giving you an accurate summary of the effectiveness of your advertising spend and how visible your brand is in a search engine results page (SERP).

Traffic source categorises the source of the traffic to your website between direct traffic, referring traffic and search engine traffic.

  • Direct traffic: visitors who arrive directly and immediately to your website via (a) typing the URL into an address bar; (b) clicking a bookmark; (c) clicking a link attached to an email, SMS or other types of direct message.
  • Referring traffic: visitors who arrive on your website by clicking a link on another website.
  • Search engine traffic: visitors who click links in SERPs in any search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing etc.) Search engine traffic is further divided into organic and paid search traffic, which describes whether the visitor arrived by clicking a non-advertised or advertised link respectively.

2. Top Pages

Behaviour -> Site Content -> All Pages

Comparing the performance of the individual web pages on your website is simple when using Google Analytics. Navigate to the ‘All Pages’ tab for an in-depth look at the various metrics and data attached to each page.

Data such as:

  • Pageviews
  • Unique Pageviews
  • Avg. Time of Page
  • Bounce Rate
  • % Exit
  • Page Value

will be shown in a list of easy-to-read columns.

You might discover that further optimisation is required for a number of poorly performing pages, or if a specific page is doing well, you’ll gain a valuable insight – giving you a decent template to implement on the remainder of your pages.

3. Exit Pages

Exit Page tells you which of your pages causes traffic to end their sessions on your website. This could be any page; from the menu page, about us page, contact page or your products & services page – the Exit Page provides accurate data about which of these causes the most visitors to leave your website.

Needless to say, if visitors are exiting on a crucial section of your sales funnel, your website is facing underlying issues. Here’s what to do if you encounter this problem:

  • Ensure every page of your website is responsive by using a range of browsers, platforms and screen sizes. Make a note if one or several pages aren’t properly displayed.
  • Make sure you display accurate and relevant content links across your pages. This will encourage visitors to stay on your website for longer.
  • Regardless of your content quality, there’s nothing more off-putting than a stagnant web design. Keep your website fresh and current to pass the visitor eye test, where content quality is secondary, as an aesthetically pleasing design is much better at attracting attention.

4. Bounce Rate

Bounce rate refers to the percentage of single-page sessions, or in other words, users that leave your website after visiting only a single web page. This is where bounce rate and exit page differ, as the latter only refers to visitors who have spent time browsing several pages.

A high bounce rate is extremely detrimental to your ranking potential and should be a metric that is always under a careful watch. A high bounce rate indicates people are clicking a link to your website and immediately backing out after a short amount of time. This could be due to a number of reasons including bad content, a poor web design, or you have advertisement and targeting issues that are causing the wrong people to be attracted into your sales funnel.

5. Behaviour Flow

Behaviour flow visualises the path your website visitors take when they browse from page to page. The behaviour flow visualisation begins on the first page they start their browsing and ends at the page from where they exit your website. Every page visited in between these two actions accounts for the makeup of the flow chart.

The flow chart will help you to identify which content is the most interesting and engaging for your website visitors, it will also tell you which content is the most lacklustre or irrelevant.

Wrap Up

As a free analytic tool, Google Analytics is a service that should unquestionably be used as a cornerstone in your digital marketing strategy. Knowing how to correctly leverage the depth of information and valuable data that’s available on the platform will provide the user with a strong foundation and solid plan for improvement. Reading this article should give you a better understanding of some of the key metrics, but there’s still much more to learn about!

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