This Google Analytics Quick Start Guide will show you the key indicators and vital info you need to glean great info from Google Analytics in a flash.  Watch the video or see the notes below . . .

Key Indicators

Here are three indicators which you need to keep an eye on as you look through Analytics.  All three indicate the level of engagement the viewer has with the content.

  1. Pages/Visit – The higher the better!
  2. Average Visit Duration – This used to be called Average Time on Site.  Google loves it when they can use one less word, obviously.  Generally, a visit of 2 minutes or more is great.  That all depends on the type of site you are running, but it’s a good number to use to start with.
  3. Bounce Rate – A bounce is when someone looks at one page, then leaves.  That is generally not a good thing, unless you are an eCommerce site and the visitor just spent money!  In most cases you want to see a Bounce Rate below 50%.  Other factors can influence Bounce Rate as we’ll discuss below.

Don’t forget you can SORT your data using any of these three indicators from any of the views we discuss below.

Our 5 Favorite Views

These are our 5 Favorite Views from within Google Analytics.  The order is by the order you would get to them from within Analytics, top to bottom, not order of importance.  We use screen shots of these views quite often in monthly reports to our clients.  Use your left menu in GA to find these views

  1. Visitor Location – Audience>Demographics>Location.  Keep an eye on your key indicators to see if the visits are quality or not.  You may notice “False Positives” from time to time.  We manage a site that started showing a high overall Bounce Rate.  When we looked at Visitor Location, we saw that there were a lot of visitors coming from another state and they were all bounces.  We did some searches and found that a new business had opened up with the same name as our client’s and that’s where the bounces were coming from.  People were searching for the business name and immediately realized they were in the wrong place.  There was no need to panic or make adjustments to the website, but we wouldn’t have known that without digging a little deeper into Analytics.
  2. Mobile Visits – Audience>Mobile>Overview.  This view shows you what percentage of your visitors are looking at the site on a mobile device.  If that number is high, you may want to make sure your site is mobile-responsive and that it looks great on a smartphone.  Also, see the Devices view right below the Overview to see specifically which devices are being used.  This percentage will depend largely on your demographic, but you can bank on the mobile device percentage moving up over the next few years.
  3. Sources Overview – Traffic Sources>Sources>All Traffic.  This is a great place to start looking at your Analytics.  You see your Top 10 sources and a good graph of your daily traffic rates.  Keep an eye on the days of the week and see if you notice patterns.
  4. Organic Keywords – Traffic Sources>Sources>All Traffic>Search>Organic.  There is gold in here.  Your default view is by number of visits.  You’ll probably see your business name at the top of the list.  Now sort by Average Visit Duration.  These are your Most Valuable Keywords (MVKs).  You may notice terms or phrases that you didn’t know people were using to search for you.  You may want to develop content on your site to get more of these searches.
  5. Most Viewed Pages – Content>Site Content>All Pages.  Notice which pages are at the top of the list.  If you have a service business, you’ll probably see your “About Us” pages near the top.  Make sure and update your Most Viewed Pages on a regular basis.

We hope that gets you off an running if you are just starting to use Google Analytics.  Post questions in the comments.  We’d love to help you find your way around.

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