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March 21, 2010

3 Important Questions to Ask Google Analytics

With dozens of free web analytics tools available in the market, Google Analytics stands out because it provides data like no other tool does. Just add a few lines of JavaScript code to your website’s footer and you have access to a vast amount of metrics you can slice and dice.

This data is useful to develop and implement fresh website marketing strategies and understanding the behavior online of your web visitors.

But before diving into Google Analytics, prepare a list of the most important questions you want answered from this tool.

3 Important Questions to Ask Google Analytics:

1. What do you want visitors to do on your website?

Every website has a purpose. It may be to provide information, build a brand or sell products online. Set your goals for the website and build it accordingly.

The Goals category of Google Analytics helps you to understand the number of goals achieved in a day, week or month. All you need to do is set your goal URL in the analytics settings and watch the data pour in. The funnel visualization sub category provides this type data:

  • How many visitors completed my goals?
  • How many visitors abandoned the goals to move onto other URL?
  • Which internal pages did visitors came from to the goal webpage?

2. What is the Visitor doing on the Website?

Analysis of this data enables you to track the visitor’s action on the website. You can find out whether the visitor completed the goal you set. Accordingly you can make the changes which will reinforce goal completion. The content category in the left sidebar of Google Analytics provides important data:

  1. Top Content. It contains a list of the content viewed by the visitor, arranged in descending order. This lets you know the most popular pages of the website and how to leverage them.
  2. Top Landing Pages. These are the pages visitors land on, before going ahead and browsing the website. You can view the browsing path for each webpage and find a pattern.
  3. Top Exit Pages. It contains a list of web pages which failed to generate interest among the visitors and lead them to exit the website. Revamp the exit pages with these details and aim to convert them into your top content pages.
  4. Site Overlay. The Site Overlay opens a new web page which contains a small progress bar over every link. This bar shows the percentage of the number of clicks on that link. As the number of clicks on a link increase, the percentage of the progress bar increases.

3. Where is the Visitor coming from?

This is one of the most important data elements you can work on to get insights into the visitor. The ‘Traffic Sources’ category displays the websites and keywords which send traffic to your website. This category can be segregated into:

  1. Direct Traffic. This contains the number of visitors who came to the website by entering its URL into their web browser. Direct traffic is also used to determine the popularity of the website.
  2. Referring Sites. Referring websites are the ones which link back to a website using some content and a link. The visitors get referenced from the source website and land on the target website using the link provided. Referring websites can be used to judge the success of social media marketing techniques.
  3. Search Engines. It contains a list of the search engines which send traffic to the website. Google Analytics also lists keywords which were clicked upon by the visitors. A high percentage of visits from search engines indicate a successful search engine optimization strategy.

The answers to the above questions coupled with custom reports and segmentation provide rewarding insights. These metrics can be used to model the website around the desired goal and achieve higher conversions.

Debbie A. Everson is the CEO of, experienced SEO Consultants and Search Engine Optimization Agency to over 2,000 small businesses. Learn about search engine marketing, paid search advertising, social media, and email marketing. Read my SEO Blog for hints and tips. Follow me on Twitter @searchmar. Call 1.866.885.6263 to speak to one of our SEO Consultants and receive your free consultation.

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