Website Metrics with Google Analytics and Search Console
If you have a business website you have likely heard of Google Analytics, and you more than likely already have it installed on your website and collecting data. Setting up Analytics is a great first step, but many businesses never reach the second step of figuring out how to get useful or actionable insights from the data they collect. Here at Blue Skies Marketing we specialize in helping our clients utilize the data they are collecting to regularly understand how their website is performing, and what impact it is having on their business.
Right out of the box Google Analytics can give you a lot of details on how often your website is visited, the types of users who are visiting, where they came from, and what they did while on the site. If you take the time to also set up goal tracking or ecommerce tracking, you can also gather invaluable information about the users who convert into leads or sales. Unfortunately, the Google Analytics interface can be complex and is usually intimidating to use and understand for new users.
To help simplify metrics and highlight important details for our clients we utilize a monthly KPI-on-the-Fly ™ metrics report that pulls relevant data from Google Analytics into an easy to review report that is customized for each client. The metrics we include in this report are a good starting point if you aren’t sure what to focus on in Google Analytics. The report typically contains:
- The total number of new users and user sessions (visits)
- The total pageviews from all users as well as the average session duration, and the average number of pages viewed per session
- Conversion metrics: goal completions (lead form submissions, phone calls, etc.) or transactions/revenue for an ecommerce website
- Top traffic sources (search engines, referring websites, etc.) & conversions segmented by traffic source
- Number of sessions by geographic region (where are the users located?)
- Number of sessions by device category (are users on a desktop, tablet, or mobile device?)
- Number of sessions and conversion metrics on paid traffic (for clients running digital ad campaigns)
- The top landing pages for organic search visitors
- The top pages by pageview (from all sources)
Reviewing these metrics in an overview report on a monthly basis can help you keep a finger on the pulse of how your website is performing and your website’s contribution to your overall business success.
In our monthly review we also like to include some data from a tool called Google Search Console that isn’t available directly in Google Analytics (unless you’ve set up an integration). Google Search Console helps answer a few burning SEO questions – how often is your website displayed in Google search results, and what search queries are resulting in user’s clicking through to your website from Google search? Google Search Console provides metrics on the number of impressions and clicks your website received in Google search segmented by search query, as well as your average position for each particular query. This data can help you understand how well your website is performing in search for specific keywords, and what your rankings are for various keywords. Reviewing keywords in Search Console may also give you new content ideas or help you prioritize particular keyword topics in your SEO efforts.
Google Analytics version 4
Recently Google has started to promote the use of a completely new version of Google Analytics: version 4. While the new version of the Analytics tool is still being rolled out and improved, you can install it alongside the “Universal” Analytics snippet and collect data in two properties simultaneously. Among other things, the new version promises to provide AI-powered insights and automated alerts that may further help you understand performance on your website. At this point in time we recommend that GAv4 is installed alongside the traditional Universal Analytics, giving you a chance to explore the new reports and features, while also maintaining reporting in Universal Analytics.
Website metrics can be an incredibly powerful and impactful tool in your business, and if you aren’t already we want to encourage you to dive in and take a look at how your website is performing on a regular basis.