Google Analytics is an absolute powerhouse of unlocked potential. Though many people only use it for reporting, unbeknownst to them, they’re missing out on a plethora of actionable and compelling insights they could access from it.
Data from Google Analytics can give you unique insights that can help your website achieve many things, like getting better search rankings, bringing in more traffic and increasing your conversion rates!
Virtually any website can benefit from the insights given by Google Analytics, from websites of e-commerce shops to small local businesses. As long as your website generates a good amount of data, you can use Google Analytics to fine-tune it.
Let’s take a look at six ways Google Analytics can be used to optimise your website.
1) It can help you find time-on-page anomalies
Time-on-page is a ranking that shows you how long a visitor spent time on a certain page of your website.
Naturally, visitors will remain on your website longer when they find interesting content or find something in line with what they were looking for. Search engines show a long time-on-page as a positive indicator and reward your website with better rankings.
Because of this fact, time-on-page can be a helpful indicator to see if the content on your website is interesting enough to keep people on longer.
Now, not all pages in a website are designed to keep users interested for a long time. For example, you may have a page that only needs to encourage people to take an action, in other words, “middle-man” pages. Short-time-on-page rankings for these pages are fine since you don’t want people to stay on those pages long anyway.
An “anomaly” in this context would be a page that is designed to keep people on it for a long time but has a much lower time-on-page ranking than expected.
The goal is to find pages with low time-on-page rankings using Google Analytics and try to find out why they’re not keeping visitors interested.
Aside from poor content, there are other factors that might be causing visitors to leave:
- Poor content structure
- Pop-ups appear too often
- Slow loading times
- Outdated or repetitive information
To check time-on-page, navigate through Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages and then click on the metric “Average time-on-page”. Also, you should consider setting a big date range. Three months should be an ideal timeframe for most websites.
2) You can identify which topics visitors have searched for on your website
Interestingly, there is a way for website owners to set up Google Analytics to get data on internal search terms. All you need to do is navigate through Behaviour > Site Search > Search Terms and the data will be presented to you.
Many website owners are, unfortunately, not aware that this feature needs to be set up beforehand if they want to receive lucrative results. But there’s another way to get this data.
Most websites have string query parameters in the URLs they use for internal searches. By navigating through Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages, you can get a report that shows you the data for internal searches.
If you already have pages related to common internal search terms visitors use, you can try optimising these pages for relevant keywords.
For example, if you have a page titled “Best accessories for smartphones”, you may see that people have used search terms like “cellphone accessories”. You can then try to include terms like this or information relevant to the search term in the page copy to improve the SEO of that page.
3) You can improve your demographic targeting
By looking at the Audience section on Google Analytics, you can find a great amount of demographic data. If your website has a noticeably low conversion rate, this data may help you find out why.
If you’re a local business and you want to bring in visitors from a particular location, Geo Targeting can help. Set Google My Business with a local address, include your area of service, and then optimise your Google My Business page.
You can optimise your Google My Business page by:
- Adding your business’s name, but avoid keywords.
- Listing a local telephone number
- Writing an exciting description
- Including the proper hours of operation
Now you will get valuable insights into the typical profile of people who visit your website and you’ll be able to optimise your website to better attract your target audience.
4) You can get insights into your website’s speed
A recent study showed that 90% of website visitors will leave a website if pages take too long to load. No one likes waiting, so good website speed is vital for improving user experience.
To check for speed issues, look for the Behaviour section on Google Analytics and look at Site Speed.
Also, take a look at the Speed Suggestion section. This will let you identify the slowest loading pages and provide links to Google Pagespeed insights for each page that can help you find where the problems are occurring.
Some common causes of low website speed are:
- Large images and long videos
- Having too many animations
- Too many HTTP requests
Ideally, a web page should be able to load in less than three seconds, so if you can get your web pages to load at these speeds, you could potentially reduce losses in website traffic.
5) You can check the bounce rate and exit rate
With Google Analytics, you check out the exit and bounce rates for each of your web pages.
The exit rate shows the percentage of people who visited a certain page before leaving, given that this was the last page they visited. The bounce rate, on the other hand, shows the percentage of people who left after visiting just one page on your website.
Exit and bounce rates will never be zero, but you should try to keep them below 40%. Low bounce and exit rates are especially important for pages where you want a visitor to complete a certain action before leaving.
These rates may be lowered by:
- Including internal links in your content to bring visitors to pages with high bounce rates.
- Optimising your web pages to load faster.
- Adding clear CTAs where possible.
- Including enticing videos and images.
While these two rates sound negative, this isn’t always the case. A high bounce rate or exit rate is to be expected in some circumstances. For instance, if you have a web page whose purpose is to encourage visitors to click on a link to download an asset, a high bounce or exit rate may simply mean they did what the page wanted them to do and left.
6) You can discover which devices people are visiting your website on
Today, many people use mobile devices to browse websites since it’s one of the most convenient ways to access content on the go. However, if a website is difficult to read or navigate on mobile, most people are going to leave the said website immediately.
About 92.1% of internet users access the internet through mobile devices, so if your website isn’t optimised for mobile, you might see high bounce rates and start losing traffic.
To find out your website user’s device preferences, navigate Audience > Mobile > Overview in Google Analytics. Also, make sure to set a big date range.
The report will allow you to see the bounce rate by the devices visitors use. This metric is very important for seeing how you can reduce bounce rates by optimising your website for different devices.
Transform your website with Google Analytics today
Google Analytics is like a panacea for web developers. The number of valuable insights you can get from it is nearly endless and they can open up many avenues for you to explore in order to optimise your website.
You might not always see any major changes overnight, but if you use Google Analytics to its full potential, you’ll be able to bring your website to the next level!