A Comprehensive Guide: How to Optimize Your Google Analytics and Get Results

Are you looking to take your website up a notch? You can use Google Analytics to boost your website’s SEO and improve results from your digital marketing efforts. There are tons of different goals you can measure for and many data patterns to interpret. Getting started can be intimidating, but it’s well worth it. After all, you need to spend money to make money, and you need to invest time and hard work into your business in order to reap the rewards of success.

These reports hold so much valuable information that should rightly inform your website’s marketing strategies, yet can sometimes be confusing to interpret. However, you should not be intimidated by creating or managing your Google Analytics account. After going through this guide, you will understand how to track and measure your digital marketing efficiently and the benefits of working with Google Analytics consulting services. No more guessing your ROIs or lead generations!

What Is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a helpful (and free) online tool designed to help website owners understand how visitors interact with their websites. It gives an overview of your site’s performance by collecting data through the use of cookies. It then generates simplified reports of this data to provide insights about your visitors. 

What Kinds of Data Does it Collect?

Google Analytics tracks information that aids in digital marketing efforts by gathering data about your visitors and their behavior on your site. When you set up your Google Analytics account, you receive a code that you add to every website page. This code will then drop a cookie into your visitors’ browsers. Every time a visitor enters or interacts with your website, the cookie sends a hit to your Google Analytics dashboard. The most common types of data that analytics collects are:

  • The number of visitors your pages receive
  • The specific pages your visitor clicked
  • How visitors found your website (what links or search engines did they use to enter)
  • How visitors interacted with your site (i.e., did they press call-to-action buttons)
  • The length of a single visit 
  • Where a visitor left your site 

You can even track more specific information on your visitors, like what language they speak and if they entered your site through their mobile device or desktop. 

Why Do Business Owners Need to Take Advantage of This Free Tool?

There are many benefits to using Google Analytics. For starters, you can see if your digital marketing efforts are seeing positive results. What good is putting out marketing campaigns if you have no way to measure the results? Google Analytics is a window to see how your audience interacts with your business’s website. Analytics reports simplify your site’s data to see patterns and insights of website users’ behavior. 

Especially if you are a new business owner creating a marketing strategy, having insight into your audience allows you to test and measure your SEO efforts to improve weak areas or expand on strong ones. However, a lot of critical thinking and time goes into utilizing Google Analytics and understanding reports. Investing in Google Analytics consulting services is an excellent way to ensure that your website receives the best results.

How Do You Set Up a Google Analytics Account?

Setting up a Google Analytics account is relatively simple to do on your own. With a few simple steps, your account will soon be up and running. This is a huge relief to busy business owners who are short on time! Still not sure how to get started? We can help! Read through the steps below:

Step 1: Create Your Account

Google Analytics is a free service and once you get started, you should find it a breeze to set up. First, either create a Google account or sign in to your existing one. You do not need to create different Google accounts for multiple websites. One Google account can host multiple websites. Just follow the instructions to set up your account fully.

Step 2: Add the Tracking ID to Your Website’s Pages

Once you set up your account, you can receive a tracking ID to tag all your web pages. The tracking ID is how Google Analytics monitors your website and creates reports. If you don’t tag this code onto all of your web pages, analytics will not be able to generate accurate reports. So, while it may seem tedious, don’t forget this important step in the setup process. If you use a content management system like WordPress, an easy-to-use Google Analytics plug-in is simple to activate.

Step 3: Set Your Goals

When you set specific goals, analytics will report on critical business metrics like conversions and sales. Figuring out which goals to set up can be confusing. In this step, you must think hard about the actions you want your visitors to take the most. Keep your business’s specific objectives in mind when setting your goals. 

When a visitor performs one of your goals, Google Analytics records this as a conversion. Conversions can happen from four different actions: destination (visiting a specific page), duration, pages per session, and event (interacting with an element of the website).

Try to set up goals that most closely align with your overall business goals, so you understand how to interpret your reports. When you accurately understand your reports, you will be able to create steps to grow your business. If you’re having trouble with this part of planning your marketing strategy, start asking yourself questions. How can I increase sales? What specific action is most important for visitors to take when visiting my website?

Once you set up your goals, you can start analyzing your reports. Just make sure your goals are measurable and relevant to your business’s growth.

What Kinds of Reports Can You Review?

Though setting up Google Analytics is easy enough, using the reports to benefit your business is a bit more tricky. You must understand and review all the various reports to determine how your website performs. With so much data, it is not always easy to know how the information helps your business. Outsourcing this part of your marketing to Google Analytics consulting services ensures that you are utilizing your reports correctly. 

Real-Time Report

Once you’ve given some time for your website to receive traffic, take a good look at your data. 

On your dashboard, you will be able to see real-time traffic and data, like how many people are currently on your website and more information about their visits. This report is not the most helpful, as it doesn’t reveal broader trends or patterns about your visitors. Still, it may be worth checking occasionally to see instant data of content that you have just put out on your blog or another area of your website. 

Audience Report

The audience report on your dashboard gives you an overall understanding of your site’s visitors. There are tabs where you can explore details about your audience, like demographics, geography, device type, interest, and behavior while on the site. 

The report also looks at site speed, which is how quickly a website loads for users. Site speed is vital in keeping leads on your website, as a slow website will likely create a high bounce rate. You can dive deeper into the specifics of your slow-loading pages so you can improve these pages’ speed.

The benefit of audience reports is that companies better understand their target audience. With this knowledge, a website owner can adjust content and improve the overall conversion process.

Acquisition Reports

The acquisition reports dive deep into the sources of your traffic. Sources include organic, social media, paid search, and email. You can expand on any of these source categories to learn more about the details of how visitors came to your site. 

This is a particularly useful report for businesses to know what sources are getting the most leads. With this kind of analytics report, you can improve other areas of your digital marketing efforts. Organizations can better create campaigns that work for them, such as paid search ads, social media advertising, and email marketing campaigns. 

Behavior Reports

Behavior reports are incredibly useful in identifying what content and pages are working well for your audience. The overview report shows you what pages are receiving the most traffic. 

Look at your blog posts, and find the ones with the most visitor interactions. You can use this information to determine what made them successful. Then in the future, you can direct new marketing content after the high performance to ensure that you continue to put out quality content.

This tool is especially beneficial when determining traffic growth patterns. Knowing what pages have been increasing or decreasing in traffic helps with understanding the customer journey. If you look at your landing pages, you can see how well you are converting leads, and you can also see exit page rates. Understanding where you are converting leads and losing visitors is important in sales growth.

Conversion Reports

Different types of businesses have different objectives for their visitors. Some hope to keep customers on their site to view or click on ads, some want customers to buy products online, some want customers to visit a brick-and-mortar store, and others simply want visitors to develop positive feelings towards their brand. As a website owner, you should have a list of the actions you want your visitors to take while using your site. Various activities like subscribing to a newsletter or buying a product/service are all goals that should be measured in order to optimize your marketing efforts. With this report, you measure and track all of your goals (i.e., conversions).  

Understanding your website’s converting process is complicated to follow. There are multiple channels a visitor might take that lead to a conversion. That’s why there is a multi-channel funnels section, which helps illustrate the conversion journey of visitors. Accurately understanding this journey is essential in perfecting the conversion funnel. 

Assisted conversions in Google Analytics are visitors’ interactions with your site that eventually lead to the main source of conversion. Tracking assisted conversions in Google Analytics illuminates a user’s path to get to the point of conversion. These reports measure the effectiveness of each step in the conversion process so that you can clearly see areas that need improvement. 

How Do You Achieve Success with Google Analytics?

You can use Google Analytics for many different purposes. You receive reports that aid your marketing efforts, site performance, and SEO strategies. All these moving parts of your marketing strategy are vital in achieving leads and conversions. After all, finding leads and making sales is ultimately the number one goal of most businesses’ marketing. 

However, achieving success by using Google Analytics is not straightforward. Though you receive a lot of real data from reports that can greatly improve your website and strategies, understanding the information is confusing if you aren’t an expert. Utilizing Google Analytics consulting services is more efficient than going through the process alone. In fact, we feel confident in saying that using these services is the best way to optimize Google Analytics for your business. 

Should You Start Using Google Analytics?

The big question for website owners looking to grow their SEO is: should you use Google Analytics for your website? With so many benefits, yes, you should absolutely use Google Analytics for your business if you care to grow traffic for your website or increase conversions. The reports are valuable in determining your website’s overall performance. 

However, you need to practically address these reports in order for them to have any impact on your website’s success. To successfully use these reports, you must have the time and skills to analyze the information accurately and implement appropriate changes. Once you successfully utilize Google Analytics services, your marketing decisions will no longer be blind guessing but rather backed by hard data and evidence. One of the main benefits of using Google Analytics is finding out your marketing content’s ROI, as you will be able to track your efforts over time. 

Working with Google Analytics consulting services makes it easy for busy businesses to see large data patterns, which assess the efforts of their marketing strategies. This knowledge has the potential to increase conversions if properly understood. Check out Thrive for more information and to see if outsourcing for Google Analytics services is right for you!

Written by Kristin Digioia
Original source – Thrive Marketing

Scott Davenport

Scott Davenport is the content writer and social media man of Thrive Business Marketing and Thrive HVAC in Portland Oregon. Writing about the current events of the SEO world, as well as tips and advice that fellow SEOs could use to improve their own SEO campaigns and shares it for the whole world to see!

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