As a small business owner, you probably know that you need to use Google Analytics to figure out if your website is succeeding at attracting and engaging visitors. You’ve heard about Google Analytics at conferences, networking meetings, and marketing workshops for businesses like yours.
You probably signed up for Google Analytics and embedded its code into your website. For most business owners, it’s difficult to know what to look for in all of that data. So, you’re then left with the question: Now what?
That’s why, I’ve compiled a list of what Google Analytics reports you need to look at, how to access them, and what to do with the information once you review them.
Traffic Acquisition Report
Ideally, the traffic to your website will grow over time. You can track this by using the default Google Analytics graph when you log in to see how many visitors your website received today, this week, or last month.
As important as this is, it’s more important to know where your traffic comes from so you can optimize that traffic. If a traffic source is underperforming, you can spend time fixing it. If most of your traffic comes from one place, is there a way to generate even more traffic from this source? How can you diversify?
You can find out where your website traffic comes from by going to Acquisition > Overview. For a more detailed look into what external sites bring traffic to your site, go to Acquisition > Overview > All Traffic > Referrals.
If you’re investing your marketing dollars by paying for advertisements or SEO services, then you want to know what’s working. This way, you can stop paying for services that don’t work and spend more on those that do.
The Source/Medium report will give you the information you need to determine what’s working for your business, and what needs to be adjusted. This report details the “source” of your traffic (think search engines or Facebook or a Referring website) and what medium, or type of traffic, such as organic search, paid search, or referral from another website. To find this report, go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium.
Use this report to determine which sources of traffic are generating leads and sales so you can make an informed decision about how to best adjust your marketing budget.
Mobile Performance Report
In August of 2016 Google reported that over 60% of searches were conducted on mobile. Google processes roughly 3.5 billion searches per day, that’s a lot of mobile searching and it means that you need to make sure that your mobile website is optimized for users.
Go to Audience > Mobile > Overview to see how much traffic you’re getting from mobile devices, how long that traffic is staying on the site, how many pages that traffic is visiting, and how that traffic is converting into leads and sales.
The Search Engine Optimization reports give you information about how people are reaching your site through Google’s search results. There are three types of SEO reports- Queries Reports, Landing Pages Reports, and Geographical Summaries reports.
- Queries reports show which Google searches resulted in the most impressions for your website. You can also see how many of those impressions resulted in clicks, which will tell you your organic search click-through rate.
- Landing Pages reports show which pages of your site are showing up in Google’s search results. This helps you to identify which webpages are ranked well and which pages need a little more work.
- Geographical Summaries reports provide general SEO metrics from different countries. This is helpful to see if your SEO traffic is coming from relevant locations.
Keep in mind that these reports only include information about SEO so they won’t tell you anything about your paid advertising campaigns, social media, or information from other search engines like Yahoo and Bing. To generate your SEO traffic reports, go to Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization > Queries and select an appropriate date range. It’s important to note that these reports can only pull data from the past 90 days. Then click the Landing pages report or the Geographical report links.
Google AdWords Traffic Reports
If you’re not advertising in Google AdWords, then you don’t need this report.
For everyone else, I recommend checking your Google AdWords Traffic reports in addition to the reports provided within AdWords. That’s because the reports in Analytics have extra information that provide insight into your visitors’ behavior on your website after clicking on your ads.
The default setting in Google Analytics for your AdWords report shows both your ad clicks and your bounce rate (how often people leave your site after viewing just one page). This information can be used to evaluate different ad copy to see which ads are driving more engaged visitors.
To generate an AdWords Traffic report, go to Acquisition > AdWords > Campaigns and select the appropriate date range.
Social Media Reports
Social Media offers a great opportunity to generate traffic to your website and therefore leads for your business. However, keeping up a strong social media campaign can be very time consuming. Thankfully, Google Analytics provides several reports that can help you track and optimize your social media marketing efforts.
You can see how visitors from all social channels interact with your website, or you can focus on trends and statistics from specific channels such as Facebook or Twitter. These reports will also show you conversions from social media.
To generate the Network Referrals social media report, go to Acquisition > Social > Network Referrals. This report will quickly show you which social networks are bringing people to your site. You can also see which of your pages are being shared most often on social media sites.
Setting up Google Analytics for your business’s website is an important step forward. However, it’s only half the battle. By running the reports listed above, you’ll get valuable insight into what’s working on your website and what needs improvement.
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Main Street ROI is a digital marketing agency based in New York City.
Our mission is to help small businesses thrive. With our services and training, we help small businesses succeed with marketing regardless of their budgets.
Since 2010, we’ve helped thousands of small businesses create profitable digital marketing campaigns.
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