6 Google Analytics Insights for Improving Website Performance

Your website probably has Google Analytics tracking code installed.  But are you using the data available to improve the performance of your site?

Begin by critically questioning what information you need to help drive your business strategy.  Google Analytics contains some fantastic data to help you understand the experience of visitors on your site, their motivations and behaviour.  And by monitoring the trends in this data you will be equipped with the knowledge to expand your audience reach and drive growth.

Here are 6 insights Google Analytics can yield about your site:

1. Buying Behaviour

It’s great to know that your total visits are increasing over time, but what does this really say about your website?  Let’s assume you have an Ecommerce site.  A more valuable insight into the performance of your site is gleaned from analysing those keywords that are motivating your customers’ decision to buy.  Taking this even further, we can look at the different buying patterns exhibited by new and returning visitors.

Google Analytics Navigation (New):  Traffic Sources > Sources > All Traffic

  • Viewing: Keyword
  • Report Tab: Ecommerce
  • Report View: Pivot Table
  • Pivot by: Visitor Type
  • Pivot Metrics: Transactions | Revenue

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Armed with this data you are now able to consider the following:

  • What keywords are generating the most revenue for your business?  Can you redesign your homepage to focus on those keywords that are enticing your visitors to make a purchase?
  • Are new visitors to your site behaving differently to returning visitors?  Are your SEO efforts successfully driving traffic to your site?  Is your site effectively converting this traffic into sales?

2. Website Engagement

How engaging is the content on your site?  How can you use Google Analytics to measure the experience of your online audience?  Online engagement is difficult to measure using numbers alone.  It is a much broader, more subjective and more emotive concept which quantitative data often struggles to translate effectively.  There are many businesses out there with websites that exist for purposes other than Ecommerce.  And for these businesses, Google Analytics offers some interesting insights into the extent to which their content is captivating visitors and engendering loyalty.

Here are two key questions about the behaviour of visitors on your site and how Google Analytics can provide some enlightenment:

A – How often do people visit my site and how long has it been since their last visit?

A high number of multiple visits and the frequency with which they return to your site is a good indicator that your online community has established a strong connection with your brand.  You may want to measure whether visit frequency is going up over time to get an understanding of how successful your site is at nurturing this customer relationship.

Google Analytics Navigation (New):  Visitors > Behaviour > Frequency & Recency

  • Report Tab: Count of Visits

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Google Analytics Navigation (New):  Visitors > Behaviour > Frequency & Recency

  • Report Tab: Days Since Last Visit

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B – How long are people spending on your site and how many pages are they viewing?

Taking the time to understand this information will give you a good measure of visit quality and may even stimulate a conversation around improving the user experience on your site so as to drive more meaningful interactions with your audience over time.

Google Analytics Navigation (New):  Visitors > Behaviour >Engagement

  • Report Tab: Visit Duration

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Google Analytics Navigation (New):  Visitors > Behaviour >Engagement

  • Report Tab: Page Depth

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3. Market Penetration

The more you know about your customers, the better equipped you are to respond to changing market conditions. Enter the Google Analytics Map Overlay Report.  Knowing the geographical location of visitors to your site can provide invaluable insights for your business as well as inform your SEO campaigns.

Let’s say you are targeting specific geographic regions in your online marketing efforts.  The Map Overlay Report allows you to identify the number of visitors from that region and compare the trend over time.  Ideally there should be a strong correlation between the locations you are targeting in your SEO keywords and the actual geographic positioning of your visitors.

Google Analytics Navigation (New):  Visitors >Demographics>Location

  • Country/Territory: Australia
  • Viewing: City
  • Report View: Percentage

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Further, understanding which regions are the most profitable in terms of revenue or conversions presents you with opportunities to:

  • focus your SEO efforts on these regions and withdraw from other less profitable ones;
  • fine-tune the content on your website to resonate with these markets; and
  • maximise the chances of fostering viable prospects

4. The Paid Search Click

Paid search is an area where Google Analytics can greatly improve the success rate of your advertising campaigns.  When you’re paying for the click you want to ensure that this traffic is converting and generating revenue.

Analysing the following metrics gives you a good understanding of what keywords are delivering strong results in the campaign:

  • Pages/Visit and Avg. Time on Site – Is your paid traffic behaving as you’d expect?  If you’re paying for the click that directs visitors to your site, you would expect that these visitors find what they are looking for and invest significant time digesting the content on your site
  • % New Visits – Are you attracting the same old visitors?  Your marketing dollar should be working hard to chase new prospects, with the lion’s share of paid search traffic coming from new visitors
  • Bounce Rate – If your paid keywords have high bounce rates this is a red flag that your landing page may not be resonating with users who are clicking the ad.  Consider improving the relevancy of the content on your landing page, strengthen your call to action and sharpen your ad targeting; all of which could immediately increase the ROI of your advertising dollar

Google Analytics Navigation (New):  Traffic Sources >Sources>Search > Paid

  • Viewing: Matched Search Query

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5. User Interactivity

As business owners, we’d love to get into the minds of our customers.  With In-Page Analytics, Google Analytics has attempted to do just that.  This unique feature allows you to see a visual representation of how your visitors click and navigate their way through your site.  The mind explodes with the benefits this promises for onsite optimisation improvements and web design changes.

Google Analytics Navigation (New):  Content>In-Page Analytics

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Here are some questions to get you thinking about your site:

  • Can your page layout be improved?
  • Do your calls to action ‘pop’?  Are they exciting enough to convince customers to act?
  • Did my visitors find what they were looking for?
  • Can you hold the interest of your visitors for a longer period?  Can the % Clicks Below metric be improved by being creative with placement on your page?
  • Does browsing behaviour differ significantly throughout my customer mix? (TIP: Utilise Advanced Segments to analyse click patterns of new or returning customers, paid or non-paid search traffic)

6. Going Mobile

Smartphone sales are gathering pace fast.  Mobile traffic is also on the increase.  What does this mean for your website and its performance? Google Analytics can provide you with some real data on how your current mobile traffic is performing and how well your site is handling these visitors.

Google Analytics Navigation (New):  Visitors>Mobile>Overview

  • Advanced Segments: All Visits |Visits with Transactions

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This report highlights key metrics for mobile visitors (‘Yes’) and non-mobile visitors (‘No’). Going further and segmenting this data by ‘Visits with Transactions’ you’re able to get a really good feel for the number of mobile users transacting on your site and the potential for revenue growth in this area.  This data should stimulate conversations around:

  • Are mobile visitors having issues viewing your site?  Are they bouncing at a much higher rate than your desktop traffic?  If this is the case, then perhaps your current site doesn’t translate well on mobile devices?
  • What is the purpose of your site?  Is it to drive sales, generate leads or increase memberships?  How can you improve your web design to help mobile visitors take the action you want?
  • Is there enough traffic from mobile visitors to justify having a mobile site?  Is mobile activity on your site trending upwards over time?

Thinking about these questions in light of the data you’ve accessed in Google Analytics will help you to develop a sound strategy for tightening your site content for mobile visitors and driving further business growth through this new and exciting medium.

Are you ready to start thinking critically about your website and its performance?  It’s your turn now to explore these reports within Google Analytics.  You might be surprised at how insightful and constructive the data is to the success of your business.

Ange Jones

Ange Jones