Make Google Analytics Your Next Best Friend

Mention the words “google analytics” to people and you’ll frequently see their eyes will glazing over. Look closer and you’ll see their muscles stiffen. There’s just something about analytics – I think it’s because it brings back unpleasant memories of high school maths or introductory calculus!

But what I’d like to cover today is how to make Google Analytics (GA) your next best friend. (And doesn’t “GA” sound a bit more approachable now we’ve got rid of the “analytics” term.)  Okay, that might be a stretch, but here are three ways GA can really help you almost immediately.

  1. Set up goals
    A goal is simply a page that you designate as a “conversion”. It can be a thank you page, or even the receipt after a purchase. You will need to put an extra piece of code on that page so GA can track the number of conversions. But once in place, you’re going to love the information it gives you.Recently Google overhauled the steps involved in setting goals. It’s much more user friendly, and now you can add up to twenty goals instead of just the four you could do before.
  2. Use Funnels to see your traffic flows
    Now that your goal is set up, it’s great to see the flow of traffic to the conversion page. When you set up a goal, note that you can go one step further and set up a goal funnel. The funnel lets you specify the pages a user visits on their way to the goal. Suppose the user lands on a certain landing page, then goes through one or two other pages before reaching the goal “conversion” page. Well funnels show you how many users went through each step in the funnel and more importantly, just where they dropped out of the funnel. Take that information and use it to improve your web pages to get more people converting!
  3. Watch your landing page bounce rate
    I often get questions on what exactly is the bounce rate, so here goes. The bounce rate is simply the percentage of visitors who came into a page then went right back out of your site. For example, suppose you ran a PPC ad driving users to a landing page. One of your most important stats would be the bounce rate for that page because if it’s a high bounce rate then you know your site is not meeting searchers’ expectations.That leads to the next question “What is a good bounce rate?” There is no straight answer to this since everyone’s business is different. I’ve seen profitable PPC campaigns with bounce rates all the way from over 75% down to 15%.

    Now if you are at the upper end, you’re in danger of Google penalizing your account. After all, they don’t want 75% of visitors being dissatisfied with a search!  So instead of asking what’s a good rate,just continue to work on reducing your bounce rate.


So there you have it.  Three simple steps to turning Google Analytics into a really useful too to help you run your online business.  Maybe not quite the “friend” status, but a pretty good ally nonetheless!

Frank Coyle About the author
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