Four Key Metrics in Google Analytics to Know About
If you run a website, you should know about and be using the free Google Analytics tool. With Analytics, you can measure a number of key metrics to really understand how your web visitors are interacting with and finding your website.
Google Analytics is a very robust program that you could spend hours learning about. In fact, there is an entire Analytics Academy where you can get all the in depth training you want. But it doesn’t have to be complicated if you are just starting out. There are a few key metrics that you can use to begin tracking to understand the health and progress of your website. Here are four of them:
1. Bounce Rate
This doesn’t have anything to do with trampolines, but it does help you understand how many users ‘bounce’ from your site without stopping. Google Analytics defines a bounce as ‘a single-page session on your site.’ Your website’s Bounce Rate is represented as a percentage of people who visit one page on your site and then leave rather than visiting a second page. You can see the rate for your entire site, and by page, so you can really understand what pages are less sticky for your audience.
A high bounce rate isn’t always a bad thing. For example, if the visitor was looking for specific information and found exactly what he needed on that one page. However, if people too often find your site and then leave immediately, you may have an issue.
If you think your bounce rate is too high, it’s important to have a clear path or ‘next step’ for users to take from your key pages. Does it make sense for them to make a purchase immediately, visit another page for more information, or contact you? That call to action, or CTA needs to stand out on your page. And your content has to be valuable enough for them to stick around long enough to take the next step. We’ve got some tips to help you reduce your bounce rate if that is your goal.
It goes without saying that you want your web visitor count to increase over time. But have you stopped to consider where the traffic is coming from? Use the options under Acquisition to help you do just that.
Start with the “Overview’ report to show you what channels are driving the most traffic to your site and how it has changed over time. Are the changes a result of actions you are taking with SEO, social promotion, or internal linking? Be sure to drill into each acquisition channel for more information, and pay close attention to ‘Referrals’ which shows you other companies or blogs that are driving traffic to your web content.
3. Conversion Rate
Let’s face it, you have a site for a reason. If there’s an online action that you would consider a success, be it sign up for an email newsletter, fill out a contact form, or make a purchase – that’s a conversion. The Conversion Rate metric in Google Analytics helps you keep track of and measure how often and how much these goals are reached.
To fully utilize the Conversion Rate feature of Analytics you have to do a bit of set-up. You will need to configure your goals in Google Analytics. There are several types of goals that you can identify around specific pages your users visit and the events they trigger. Goals can also have a monetary value assigned to them, so you can see how much each action is worth to the business. It’s important to take the time to set up the goals and start tracking how your site is converting, so you can take the actions need to convert more site visitors.
4. Most Popular Pages
Keep an eye on the pages of your site that get the most traffic. This is a great way to assess the value of your content, and the interests of your visitors. The list will likely begin with your home page and maybe some of your other top level pages, but look out for surprises as well.
Maybe what you consider to be among your most valuable pages is not getting the views you expect? Can you diagnose the reason for this, and correct it? Or there may be a recent blog that shows up near the top of the list. This poses a real opportunity for you. You can try to repeat the success by publishing similar content. And if you can identify where the traffic is coming from, try to capitalize on that to drive even more traffic.
You most visited web pages should also be optimized for conversions or sales. Be sure and keep an eye on this report for changes in trends. If you see traffic to a certain page drops unexpectedly, there could be a problem for you to address.
Don’t let your Google Reporting knowledge stop with these 4 reports. Check out the other reports and features for priceless data about the visitors to your website, and what they are doing on your site. Analyzing this data can help you improve the web content you create, generate more traffic to and higher conversions for your site.
Editor’s note: This blog was originally published on Sept 11, 2013, it has been updated for relevancy and accuracy.