Google’s Web: How to Untangle Your Website Analytics

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As we navigate through the mire of data available stemming from powerful tools such as Google Analytics, it’s easy to lose a sense of strategic direction when it comes to your website. Spinning the large quantities of information into a useful map of content is a bit trickier now, but not altogether impossible. By honing in on specific key metrics, you can deduce what adjustments need to be made in your approach to designing a successful website.

Conversion Rates
Does your website have a newsletter sign up, a registration page, downloadable content, or sell a product or service? You can find out if these call-to-actions are effective by extracting your goal conversion and your Ecommerce conversion rates. A goal conversion relates to specific actions you want a user to do on your website such as signing up for a newsletter or inputting customer information, while an Ecommerce conversion tracks an actual monetary purchase. You can monitor your online efficiency and sales performance, in the admin panel of your Google Analytics dashboard, just select an account, property, and a view. Then, click goals, and from there create a goal to measure how often users take or complete these specific actions.

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True New and Returning Visitors
Multiple platforms now exist in the range from tablets to desktops for users to visit and browse your website. As a result, it can get tricky to distinguish a brand new visitor to your website from a loyal returning visitor. It is important to know the difference between the two, especially the true new visitors so you can track how they found your site, what keywords they searched to get there, and what pages they frequented so you know what is working to attract (or not working) them. To solve this problem, create advanced segments in your settings to get true returning visitors and true new visitors.

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Bounce Rate
Another useful Google Analytics statistic is the bounce rate. You can evaluate the success of your website as a whole by gauging how many of them leave shortly after arriving. The lower that number is, the better. Moreover, these single page sessions can help you identify if your landing page design is off or your keywords are not correctly defining your page content.

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Long Term Statistics
Keeping the bigger picture in mind is also important when you are looking at so many details, ratios, percentages and statistics. When you take a step back and see the website trends of your page visits over an extended period of time, you can correlate the marketing initiatives taken on your end to the activity displayed as an outcome on the user end. Google, by default, features the results of the prior 30 days, but try extending this out to a three to six month period. Do you see random spikes and falls? How about a slow, but stable growth of visitors? Do any rises in page visits occur around the same time of a website update or a marketing tactic? Asking these questions will help you understand how your website is performing in the long run with your audience.

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