Google Analytics Overview
This section shows how your website traffic is performing over time. It is useful as an indicator of which channels are driving traffic to your site. The other important information to draw from this report is how people are behaving once they arrive your site e.g. are a lot of them bouncing? If so, then you should investigate what is causing them to bounce. Does your site provide the information they are looking for? If you notice you have more mobile visitors than desktop, this would indicate you should ensure your site has the best mobile user experience possible and also leads to opportunities to focus advertising on mobile devices. When reviewing website metrics by channel, you can review the performance of social channel traffic vs organic search traffic. If you see you are getting good social channel traffic with a lower bounce rate than organic, this would be a good sign to boost your social efforts because these users appear to be more engaged than organic users or vice versa.
The Digital Analytics section is a key asset to understanding your online presence and how digital traffic impacts your bottom line. Knowing that our marketplace is transforming to a digital first mindset, it is important you understand where your business exists in the digital landscape.
Definition - The number of individual visits or sessions to a site. For example, if a user goes to a website, looks at 5 pages today and goes back the next week and looks at 7 pages – this would represent 2 sessions.
Why it’s important - This metric helps you understand how many times your site has been ‘used’ in a specific time frame (i.e. in one month). It is important to compare total sessions month over month to understand your average sessions per month, and identify spikes and drops in traffic.
What to look for - It is important to compare total sessions month of over month (rather than isolating one month at time) to understand your average sessions per month, and identify spikes and drops in traffic. From there, you can isolate a specific time period where traffic has changed. Maybe you ran a successful email or ad campaign which resulted in a spike in sessions.
What it means in terms of traffic - You want to keep a steady number of sessions per month, and consistently see this number increase over time. If your sessions are remaining steady or declining, it may indicate a need for new refreshed content.
Definition - These are the total number of pages viewed. For example, if a user goes to a site, looks at 5 pages today and then goes back the next week and look at 7 pages – this would represent 12 pageviews.
Why it’s important – The total number of pageviews helps you understand how deep a session goes. If pageviews are three times your sessions, it’s safe to say on average a user views 3 pages per session.
What to look for - Total pageviews should increase/decrease with sessions. If you see a spike in sessions, you will want to see an equal spike in pageviews, and vice versa.
What it means in terms of traffic - This metric helps you understand how deep a user goes into your website in one session. Depending on the goal of your website, you will want to set an expectation for what you would like to see in terms of how many pages a user views.
Definition - The percentage of single-page visits (i.e. visits in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page). It’s a good practice to monitor the bounce rate and investigate pages with particularity high bounce rates. Why it’s important - Bounce rate helps you understand engagement with your website; if your bounce rate is high, it means a large percentage of users are only viewing one page of your website. Based on the goals of our website this may be positive or negative.
What to look for - A high bounce rate could be a good thing if the visitor found the information they were looking for on the single page. Or it might mean that the information they arrived on didn’t match what they were looking for. For example, a high bounce rate on your business details page is a good thing, as our goal is to deliver fast business information. If a user enters a business details page via organic search, and finds exactly what they’re looking for, a high bounce rate can mean a satisfied user. On the contrary, a high bounce rate on the home page can mean the opposite. What it means in terms of traffic - This metric helps you understand the quality of your content on your website, and a user’s engagement with that content.
Definition - Number of Sessions (visits), % of Traffic, Pageviews, and Bounce Rate that are coming from a mobile device. You will begin to see these numbers increase as more individuals are using their mobile devices than desktop computers overall.
Why it’s important - This metric helps you understand of users accessing your website, what percentage is coming from mobile devices (smartphones or tablets.)
What to look for - If you notice you have significant mobile traffic, this would be an indicator that you should ensure your site has the best mobile user experience possible. It could also identify an opportunity to focus advertising on mobile devices. The most efficient way of achieving a positive mobile experience is by design a mobile responsive website.
Top Referring Cities
Definition - These are the top cities referring traffic to your site. The data you can see here allows you to determine where your marketing efforts are working the best and other cities getting traction.
Why it’s important - Helps you understand where a majority of your users are coming from. It could also help you identify cities to increase marketing and advertising in.
What to look for - Depending on the market area you serve, you will want to see consistency in traffic volumes in the top cities you serve.
Top Pages by Pageviews
Definition - The amount of pageviews each individual page of your website has generated.
Why it’s important - Helps you to understand which pages of your site see the most traffic, and tells you which pages of your site are the most important to a user.
What to look for - Identify which pages you want the most traffic on (IE a menu for a restaurant) and ensure that page is properly optimized. From there, traffic month over month should remain steady and/or increase.
What it means in terms of traffic - This can tell you which pages are the most optimized (which pages see the most organic traffic) and where users are spending the most time. Low traction on these pages could also identify a need for stronger content.
Definition - Analytics associated with Google Adwords (PPC) campaigns.
Why it’s important - You can quickly compare the performance and effectiveness of your paid Adwords campaigns vs. your organic search marketing efforts. Determine when and how much you should be spending on paid campaigns.
What to look for – Traffic and Conversions being generated via Adwords campaigns over time. Which are your top and bottom performing campaigns and how much are you spending on them? What returns are they producing?
Keyword Position Distribution
Definition - This section shows how many keywords are ranking in the top 50 positions of the keywords you have selected to track. This provides a breakdown of how many of those keywords are ranking in the 1-10 position, 11-30 and 31-50. We also show you how you're ranking across each engine you're tracking. This can sometimes be referred to as appearing on the first page, second or third, however, this is no longer a true indicator as being in the 10th position isn’t necessarily on the first page as there may be paid search or local results which tend to push the 10th position onto the second page of results.
Why it’s important - Of the keywords you are tracking, this section will tell you how you rank when a user types the specific term into a search engine. Higher keyword position is important to be found and selected in an organic search.What to look for - In order to be successful in organic site traffic, you
What to look for - In order to be successful in organic site traffic, you will want to be in group 1-10.
What it means in terms of traffic - This metric does not tell you what type of traffic each keyword is generating; this metric tells you if a user searched a tracked keyword where your site would land in the results. The higher your position, the more likely a user is to click on it and generate traffic to your site.
Top Keyword Positions
Definition - These are the top positions maintained by each of your chosen keywords for selected search engines along with the average monthly search volume associated with each.
Why it’s important – You can compare which keywords are your top and bottom performers in order to determine where to focus your optimization and content marketing efforts.
What to look for in each metric - While it looks good to have a keyword ranked in position 1, it sometimes does not drive much traffic to your site as there is relatively low search volume associated with the keyword. You’ll want the keywords driving the most potential traffic to your site to also be in the top keyword positions.
What it means in terms of traffic - When there are more highly relevant keywords ranking a bit lower, take this as an opportunity to focus on those keywords to boost their authority via technical and content optimization or promotions.
Definition - A link from a 3rd party website to your site. 3rd party sites can be a company’s LinkedIn profile with the listed URL linking back to the main site, local directory listings or any other external website. It is possible a single website can have multiple links back to your site from different pages within the site, which is why Total Backlinks can be higher than Unique Domains. A Unique Domain refers to a single website. Total Backlinks are all of the links coming to your site from the unique domains.
Why it’s important - It is important to build backlinks to your website as this helps increase the authority of your site, which in turn increases the rankings. The links coming to your site from other sites pass along link juice (power) which is why the authority increases. Without quality links and social signals to your site, you have less chance of being noticed online organically.
What to look for - It is ideal to keep the ratio of unique domains vs total backlinks to <10%. As a guide, you don't want to have too many backlinks coming from one source. It is the variety is backlinks sources (relevant & reputable) that will help boost your authority.
What it means in terms of traffic - The more backlinks you have the great volume of traffic your site will see.
Definition - this section provides an overview of all metrics coming from a social network. This includes Page Social Signals (socializing a page of content) and Network Signals (social signals on your company pages in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube). This also includes traffic that is coming from these social networks. As part of the Google ranking algorithms, social signals are important because they demonstrate to the search engine your site is relevant and meaningful to others. Having social signals along with links from other websites helps diversify your backlink profile. If you get links from only one type of source, it could look unnatural and trigger penalties.
Page Social Signals
Definition - Someone who “shares” or “likes” a piece of content directly from the original web page through Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc. i.e. Someone downloads a coupon from Soma’s site, and has the ability to share to their Facebook page and follows through.
Why it is important - Indicates the content on your website is engaging enough visitors are compelled to share it. By having content shared from your site, people are essentially saying you are a strong enough authority in the space that I’m willing to inform my social network – Google values this trust very much.
What to look for -
Increases: Have you changed the type of content on your site? Does it include stronger calls to actions for sharing content, have you possibly started a promotion encouraging “likes”? Is this correlating with any other marketing activates both on and offline? Look at the type of content that is getting the most signals and try and understand if any patterns exist.
Decreases: Does this correlate with the suspension or changing of other online/offline marketing activities? Have you changed your website and/or added new content and not included social sharing options? Are less people coming to your site?
What it means in terms of traffic - While tough to draw a direct correlation to page signals and traffic, anecdotally you could suggest that with increased page signals, you are getting more of the right people to your site. Further, having page signals means that your content is being shared with extended social networks, hence increasing the reach of your content which could help drive incremental traffic.
Network Social Signals
Definition - Number of “likes” or “shares” received within the social account. For example, number of Facebook likes on your Facebook page.
Why it’s important - Indicates what you are producing through your social networks is resonating with your target audiences. Once again, the more people validate your efforts through “likes”, “retweets” etc., the more influence and authority Google believes you have.
What to look for -
Increases: Look into trends against things you are posting, are you getting more likes on photos and videos vs longer text posts, have your followers increased during this time?
Decreases: Have you slowed down posting content through your channel? Have you stopped engaging with those who post on your page? Have you changed the strategy around what you post?
What it means in terms of traffic - While we can’t say that a “like” on a post will lead to more traffic on your website, it does increase the chances of your company being exposed to amplified networks of people. This certainly helps form an awareness perspective and would be worth watching your sites traffic to identify any trends that may exist. Again, several variables may be at play, but for example, if you’re seeing increased social signals and increased conversions, but less web traffic, this might not be a bad thing. If anything, it would suggest to continue to focus your brand efforts in the social space to bring in the most qualified people.
Definition - Off-site content is an external page that is talking about your business, but does not live on your website (IE: directory listing, blog post mentioning your business)
Why it’s important - Off-site content is just as important to your online presence as your website. With articles, directory listings, profiles etc., you have additional properties, which can get ranked in the search engines, as well as pass along link juice to your main website if there is a reference to your site.
What to look for - Ensure you have an understanding of where your business name, products or services are being mentioned.
What it means in terms of traffic - Off-site content helps build strong brand presence and referral traffic to your site. Depending on the content within the page, this could have a strong impact on referral traffic (i.e. users who visit the offsite content then visit your web domain).
Definition - This section displays your competitors’ backlinks and unique domains as well as keyword position distribution. Your top competitor is chosen based on the number of backlinks and how many ranking keywords they have in one search engine and across all other engines you're tracking.
Why it’s important - Understanding your competition for keywords is important because it provides you with insight on whether or not you have a chance to rank above them. If a competitor has a significant volume of backlinks, plus many other factors, it may be near impossible to rank against them pending the authority level of your site. In other situations, you will see your competitors are weak and should be easy to overcome in the search engines.
What to look for in each metric - Each month you will want to analyze your competitors’ results. From there, adjust your content to ensure you have a stronger presence than them.
What it means in terms of traffic - This section can give you a good idea as to where you are losing traffic and to who. If a site is ranking higher than you in organic search, a user may be clicking thru to their web property instead of yours.