Have you ever tried driving with your eyes closed? Well, I wouldn’t recommend it. You most likely will end up in a place that you don’t want to go, such as into a ditch or another car. But the funny thing is, that is how most website owners drive their website… with their eyes closed.

Of course, as website owners, we can’t look over every visitor’s shoulder to watch what they are doing on the computer screen. But we do have tools at our disposal to help us see our direction, speed, and some other vital information to make your website really work for your business.

Today, we’re going to look at 3 Top Google Analytics reports that will help you see where you are going and allow you to make the right course corrections to reach your targets.

If you are unfamiliar with Google Analytics, you might want to check out our article entitled “A Quick Primer In Google Analytics – Understanding Your Data.”

1. Acquisition -> Traffic: How Are Visitors Finding You?

Your “Traffic” report tells you how many visitors you are getting to your website each day from each source, such as through a search engine like Google, a social media site, or another website.

What To Look For

Visits: How many people are visiting your website?

Is this number growing each month? You want to keep growing the number of visits each month, so keep track of this number.

How to Improve

This is a pretty broad topic. But at a very high level, you want to look your content strategy as well as off-site SEO strategy. Do you have content that people are interested in? Are there subjects in your industry that you can write about that would be of interest to your target audience?

Pages / Visit & Bounce Rate: How many only look at one page and leave?

Are the pages per visit going up and is the bounce rate going down each month? There isn’t an industry standard number here. A lot of it depends on the type of content you have, etc. If you have a really high bounce rate in the 70%+ range (e.g. more than 70% of your visitors look and one page and then leave your site), that could signal a problem, which warrants further investigation. But you want this number to be decreasing over time.

How to Improve
  • What keywords are people using to get to the specific pages? Is the content applicable to those keywords?
  • Be sure that you are linking to other pages from within your content where appropriate.
  • Also, review your call(s)-to-action on the page. Are you showing your visitors what the next step is?

Goals Completion: Are you visitors doing what you want them to do?

If you have goals set up for follow through action for your visitors to take, Google Analytics will be able to tell you the percentage of visitors that take those follow through actions. “Goals” can be a number of things such as filling out a form and going to the Thank You page, signing up for a newsletter, or purchasing from your online store.

How To Improve
  • Review your call-to-action. Be sure that it is clear what next steps your visitors should take.
  • If you are asking your visitor for something, like their contact info or money, provide assurances of the safety of their information. Show a disclaimer as to what you will do with their information, or display a security certification to show that you are using proper security procedures.

2. Acquisition -> Keywords Report: What Are Visitors Searching To Find You?

This report tells you what keywords visitors are using in the search engines to find your site. It is divided into Paid and Organic. (Note: the organic keywords are often not provided for every visitor and so you'll likely have a lot of search traffic where you don't have the keyword data. So you have to work with the data provided.) For each of your important keyword phrases, you’ll want to look at the same types of data as the Traffic report: Visits, Pages/Visit, Bounce Rate, and Goals Completion.

How To Improve

  • Are there important keywords that aren’t showing up? If you already have pages for those keywords, then review those pages and look at tweaking the content, modifying the page title, and headings.
  • Are visitors bouncing heavily for particular keywords? Make sure those pages have appropriate content for those keywords.

3. Behavior -> Site Content: What Are Visitors Most Interested In?

This report tells you what the most popular pages are on your site. It will tell you:

  • Pageviews: how many times each page was viewed
  • Unique Pageviews: how many people viewed the pages one or more times
  • Bounce Rate: See above
  • Average time spent on each page: only tracks when they visit more than one page
  • Entrances: the number of times visitors entered the sit through that page
  • % Exit: how many people left the site from that page

How To Improve

Are there pages you want to highlight that aren’t getting a lot of traffic?

  • Look at the content, page title and headings and tweak for the keywords.
  • Build links from other pages in your website to link to that page.

Do specific pages have high bounce rates or % exit rates?

  • Same as above. Look at your calls-to-action and links to other pages.
  • You might also look at the design of the page. Is it too busy or have too many distractions so that your message or call-to-action is getting lost? If so, clean it up and bring clarity to the page.

Conclusion

Google Analytics has many, many more reports available and so we’ve just touched the surface of what you can do and ways you can improve on your site performance. But the important thing is to remember not to drive blindly. Track how your website is performing on a regular basis and work on improving it a little bit each month.

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