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    Google Analytics Best Practices

    Google Analytics is a powerful tool for tracking website traffic and user behavior.

    It provides valuable insights that can help businesses make informed decisions about their online presence.

    However, in order to make the most of Google Analytics, it’s important to follow best practices.

    Initial Setup of Your Google Analytics Account

    Setting up a goal is relatively easy. All you have to do is find the Admin section for your target site, click on “Goals,” and then “Create a Goal.” Google Analytics offers a step-by-step process that allows you to set up any goal you’d like.

    For most users, you’ll be setting up a template goal. Some of the common goals you can choose from include “destination” goals, which are completed when a user reaches a specific page, or “event” goals, which are completed when a user takes a specific action, like playing a video. Once you’ve selected a type, you’ll be able to customize your goals and fill in the necessary information—like the URL for your destination goal.

    Once you’ve got your initial goals set up, make sure to run a handful of tests to make sure they are functioning properly.

    Designating a Value

    You’ll also have the opportunity to designate a value to the completion of each of your goals. Take advantage of this; it’s going to provide you with a major opportunity to objectively analyze your online marketing results later on.

    For some goals, coming up with this value is easy. For example, if you’re selling an ebook for $5 and you set up a goal for the completion of a single order, the value of the goal would be $5. However, if you’re selling multiple items in varying groups, you’ll have to come up with the average value of a customer order and use that as the assigned value of a goal. The process is further complicated by non-monetary goals, such as those assigned to the completion of a contact form. Here, you’ll have to determine the ratio of inquiries to sales, and then the average sale to determine the average goal completion value.

    This may take a few extra steps, but coming up with an accurate value is essential to determining the objective results of your campaign later down the road.

    Determining Which Goals to Set Up

    The “Goals” section of Analytics is one of the most useful tools you’ll find. If set up properly, you’ll be able to track conversions throughout your site, and run an analysis to determine the overall value of your campaign, giving you a perfect gateway to uncover the ROI of your inbound efforts.

    One of the most important aspects of Google Analytics is setting up goals and conversions. Goals are specific actions that you want visitors to take on your website, such as filling out a contact form or making a purchase. Conversions are when visitors actually complete those actions. By setting up goals and conversions, you can track how well your website is performing and identify areas for improvement.

    If a specific action on your website corresponds to revenue or the strong possibility for revenue, you should set it up as a goal. Only then can you be able to concisely and accurately project how much revenue your inbound marketing strategies are earning. Goals don’t take much time to set up, and once they’re set up correctly, you can run with them for as long as you need. Nobody has ever complained about having too much data available.

    Still, if you have multiple transaction points and multiple points of contact, it may be overwhelming to try and set up a goal for each one of them. Start out with the goals that are the most critical for your business goals, and once those are complete, gradually flesh out the others.

    Custom Dimensions and Metrics

    Google Analytics offers a variety of dimensions and metrics that you can use to analyze the most accurate data for your website. However, you can also create custom dimensions and metrics to track specific information that’s important to your business. For example, you might create a custom dimension to track which products visitors are interested in or a custom metric to track how much revenue each page generates.

    Data Segmentation

    Segmenting your data (typically using both live and raw data view) allows you to analyze specific subsets of your website traffic. For example, you might segment your data to analyze how mobile users interact with your website compared to desktop users. This can help you identify areas where your website might need to be optimized for specific devices or user groups.

    For instance, you may want to block internal traffic coming from your own IP address (or even those of your remote workers), so as not to obscure the data points.

    Use Annotations

    Annotations allow you to add notes to your Google Analytics data, which can help you remember important events or changes that might affect your website traffic.

    For example, you might add an annotation for a website redesign or a marketing campaign launch.

    Annotations can also help you see how specific events or changes impact your website traffic over time.

    Monitor Your Bounce Rate

    Your website’s bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave your website after only viewing one page. A high bounce rate can indicate that visitors are not finding what they’re looking for on your website. By monitoring your bounce rate, you can identify areas where your website might need to be improved to keep visitors engaged.

    Setting Up Alerts

    Google Analytics allows you to set up alerts to notify you when certain events occur, such as a sudden drop in website traffic or an increase in bounce rate.

    When you create custom reports and set up alerts, you can quickly identify and respond to issues that might affect your website’s performance.

    The Funnel

    Setting up a marketing funnel is an optional part of the goal and overall Google Analytics setup process, but I’ve found it extremely valuable for determining where your customers are coming from and why. With the funnel option, you’ll be able to outline the typical process your visitor goes through before completing a goal; for example, a customer may arrive at your homepage, travel to the blog section, and eventually land on the contact page, where they complete your “contact” goal.

    Setting up a funnel is advantageous because once you have some data flowing, you can easily visualize your customer’s path. Analytics will map out the ideal customer flow you outlined, and give you data for each step of the process. You’ll be able to see what percentage of your customers move on to each step, which will allow you to pinpoint any holdups to your ultimate goal of increasing time on site.

    Measuring Your Data & ROI

    The most important function of goals is getting the opportunity to objectively measure your return on investment (ROI). Will goals in place for all your major transaction and conversion points, you can estimate exactly how much revenue your site has brought in over a given period of time. Determining how much you spent to get that level of traffic is usually the tricky part, since you’ll have incoming traffic from searches, referrals, direct entries, and social media. Still, if you can estimate how much you spend on marketing and compare it to how much you’re making through your goals, you’ll be able to determine the effectiveness of your current strategy.

    It’s important to regularly review and analyze your Google Analytics data. This can help you identify trends and patterns that can inform your website optimization efforts. By regularly analyzing your data, you can stay on top of changes in website traffic and user behavior, and make informed decisions about how to improve your website’s performance.

    Conclusion

    In conclusion, Google Analytics is a powerful tool. It is best used for tracking website traffic and user behavior. By following some of these best practices (like setting up goals and conversions, using custom dimensions and metrics, segmenting your data, and regularly reviewing and analyzing your data) you can make the most of this powerful tool and improve your website’s performance. Looking for help with your current or new Google Analytics account? We can help. Contact us today!

     

     

    Chief Marketing Officer at SEO Company
    In his 9+ years as a digital marketer, Sam has worked with countless small businesses and enterprise Fortune 500 companies and organizations including NASDAQ OMX, eBay, Duncan Hines, Drew Barrymore, Washington, DC based law firm Price Benowitz LLP and human rights organization Amnesty International. As a technical SEO strategist, Sam leads all paid and organic operations teams for client SEO services, link building services and white label SEO partnerships. He is a recurring speaker at the Search Marketing Expo conference series and a TEDx Talker. Today he works directly with high-end clients across all verticals to maximize on and off-site SEO ROI through content marketing and link building. Connect with Sam on Linkedin.
    Samuel Edwards