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January 7, 2015

Google Analytics Tricks Every Webmaster Should Know

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Photo Credit: meneame comunicacions, sl via flickr

Not everyone who has a Google Analytics account knows how to make use of its entire potential. In fact, most users are only interested in the number of visitors their website gets and completely ignore all other tools that can elevate their knowledge about those visitors. Getting better insight into the behavior of your visitors will help you improve their experience and increase the number of visits.

The first thing you should do is update your Google Analytics account to the latest version. Then, you can start using these tricks:

Create Goals

Although this is a simple process, most Google Analytics users decide to ignore it. Once you install the tracking code on your website, this is the step you need to take to ensure effective analytics.

The goals you set for your account should mirror your business goals. If you are not sure of the goals you need to set, think about your website’s purpose. Do you want to make revenue from ads on a blog, or do you run an eCommerce site that sells tangible goods? The core purpose of your website will define the goals. Here are some examples that can serve as your practical goals:

  • Engage visitors so they spend more than one minute at the website;
  • Enable eCommerce tracking and check the conversion rates for the products you sell;
  • Get insights about buyers;
  • Use event tracking to measure the well-performing ads;
  • Check the behavior of subscribers.

Remember, each website is unique, so you can use the above-listed examples to form your own goals.

Connect Google Analytics with your account at Google Webmaster Tools

Not many website owners know they can connect their Google Webmaster Tools accounts with their Google Analytics. Why is this step important? It will provide you with access to new reports of search engine optimization.

Once you connect these two accounts three new reports will appear in your Google Analytics: Landing Pages, Queries and Geographical Summary. All contain useful data that will help you identify keywords that have low click-through rate, but decent average position. This insight will allow you to write more effective meta titles and descriptions for your pages and improve the click-through rate. Lastly, you will also learn your target market and what countries your organic visitors come from.

Set Up and Configure the Site Search Feature

It is a well-known fact that the visitors who use the search feature on your website are more likely to convert compared to those who don’t become engaged by your products or content. The information you get through searches on your website will help you optimize the pages according to the keywords most commonly used by your visitors. In addition, you can also consider adding products, services or content they search for.

Enable the Site Speed Feature

The time it takes to load a page on your website is very important for the satisfaction of your visitors. This feature will help you determine the pages with load time needs that need to be improved. In addition to making your visitors happy, that action will get you a better ranking on Google as well.

Benefit from Real-Time Reporting

With the help of Real-Time Reporting, you will receive instant information about the visitors currently spending time on your site. You will be made aware of the number of visitors present on your website at a certain times, their location and the referrals and keywords that led them to your website.

Campaign Tracking

Were you aware of the fact that Google Analytics can help you track online marketing campaigns and get past the overwhelming numbers of direct visits you get from URL shorteners? Moreover, this feature will enable you to track precise links that promote your website.

Use the Event Tracking feature

This powerful aspect of Google Analytics will help you get the following data:

  • Errors your visitors encounter during checkouts;
  • Signup forms with better conversion (about page, below the post, sidebar);
  • Who clicks on your ads and which ads perform better;
  • Who stops, fast forwards or pauses a video;
  • The number of visitors that download an eBook from your website, and more.

The best part is that you will be able to turn these events into goals thanks to the latest version of Google Analytics. Although the event tracking process may seem complex, it gets easier with practice.

Set a Custom Dashboard

With the new version of Google Analytics, you are able to customize up to 20 dashboards according to your needs. You can get pointers with the Starter Dashboard feature, but you can also start from a blank canvas if you already have experience. Don’t forget to use slick widgets to create timelines, tables, pie charts, and metrics.

Use Plot Rows

When you start categorizing instant data segments in tabular reports, you will get valuable information as the chart changes. With the help of this feature, you will be able to compare the main keywords, pages or referrals with each other, as well as with the site’s overall metrics.

The main thing to keep in mind is that you are not supposed to select items that don’t have drastic differences between their metrics.

Flow Visualization

This is possibly the most important feature of Google Analytics. You get two types of “flows” in your account: Goal Flow under the Conversion section and Visitors Flow under the Audience section.

The Goal Flow report is an essential feature that’s similar to the Funnel Visualization report, the main difference being that it shows loopbacks and does not backfill steps. Unlike Funnel Visualization report, the Goal Flow report shows historical information for a particular funnel.

The Visitors Flow, on the other hand, shows the path the site visitors take as they make their way through the different pages. Based on the dimension you select (keyword or country source), you will see the exact path and the destinations where your visitors stopped to read content.

Time to take action!

Now that you are aware of the essential features of Google Analytics, it’s time to put them to use and boost the effectiveness of your website.


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Kelsey Green is a freelance writer and a blogger. She’s one of the webmasters at Essaywolves.com. She uses Google Analytics as one of her main tools to analyze and improve the site. Kelsey knows how important and beneficial it is to know all the opportunities of such a powerful tool. She likes traveling and hiking in her free time.

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