Every Online Marketing professional can list you some ‘must have’ tools for your campaign, and I can guarantee that all of them will place Google Analytics at the top of that list. It is the most important tool you will ever use for your website. How else are you going to see how it is doing? How will you know which are your best performing landing pages? How else are you going to see how many transactions you have made via that email campaign you sent out last week?
The wonderful thing about Google Analytics is that it can ask many questions and give out quick answers, but you will need to understand all the data in front of you to find out the answers and this is where it gets a bit tricky.
If you have only just started using Google Analytics then all this huge amount of data does look scary and a bit intimidating but with some understanding you can dig through this data and come up with incredible solutions.
One of my favourite quick finds is working out what your top performing pages are from Organic Sources, and working out if users are using the page or if they are quickly leaving the pages. How to do this is quite simple, firstly we will need to segment all traffic so that all the traffic data coming through is the data from organic sources (i.e. search engines). To do this, select the segment and scroll down to Organic Traffic like so:
Then click ‘Apply’. After doing this all your data will now be segmented showing all traffic coming from organic sources rather than direct, paid or referral traffic.
Now this is where the whole understanding your data comes in, and picking apart data to show which pages are performing well and also the pages which could do with a bit of improvement. We will need to venture to the Landing Pages report which you can visit via the sidebar as shown below:
When you have navigated to that landing page menu we can now see that there is a lot of data to go through. This can be a bit overwhelming for beginners – but for advanced users, they will know that this page is probably one of the most important pages for checking your organic performance within Google Analytics.
Now we are going to start to study the metrics: we will primarily be looking at Sessions, Bounce Rate and Avg. Session Duration. These three metrics are important for user engagement, and demonstrate how a user is interacting with a page.
When we look at Organic Sessions, these will be the amount of people who have actively engaged with your site, this represents users coming onto the site from organic sources. So obviously the more sessions you are getting to your site the more traffic you are gaining from organic sources. Analytics automatically sorts the data and will show you the pages which have the highest amount of sessions.
The bounce rate is the percentage of users who only visit a single page of the website without engaging. Obviously you want as low a bounce rate as possible as this demonstrates a site which encourages engagement.
This is where we need to have a bit of a dig, there have been studies which show that a page ranking in the top 3 has a bounce rate of 35%, so we have ourselves a nice benchmark for which to aim. The figures below have a quite varied number of bounce rates…
We can see that the top page, which is the homepage, is close to that 35% bounce rate benchmark but all others are also quite high. This shows that a lot of users coming to the homepage are actually engaging with the site. Whilst people are engaging with the homepage, we can see people are not engaging with the page they are entering via the search engine. This will show that there could be poor content on the site which might need to be rewritten in an effort to help the user engage with the site.
Avg. Session Duration
This is self-explanatory really, seeing if a user has stayed on a page for a quite a while shows that they have engaged with the site. Recent studies show that it the top 3 ranking pages in search show that the average time spent on a page is 121 seconds. That is usually enough time to read through the content in place on the page and also to possibly click through to another part of the site.
As we can see from this, the average page load time is good for the homepage, but there are other pages which are having poor session duration time. Obviously if someone is only spending a few seconds on the site it’s not what they were looking for and they will leave, leading to higher bounce rates.
When we put the bounce rate and Average Session duration together we can really see similarities within the metrics. We can see that there is a high bounce rate and also low session duration which does point to low quality content on the site or something that users can’t find when coming to these pages from search engines. Using this data can help show you where you might need to improve the content on the site.
With one of the main key ranking factors being user signals, it has never been more important to try and get those metric numbers as close to perfect as possible. Using this method is a great way of finding which pages on your site might need a bit of improvement, and which pages you should keep an eye out for.
For more help with Google Analytics or any aspect of SEO, the dedicated team at Banc Media are available to lend a helping hand. Visit our homepage, or call us on 0345 459 0558, to find out how we can help your site today.