SEO 101: Understanding Google Analytics
June 27, 2017
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a growing focus for businesses in every industry. No longer is SEO and its common practices reserved for tech savvy ad agencies or large multi-national corporations. Today SEO is being used by businesses both large and small to understand market trends and get the most out of advertising budgets. At the forefront of all things SEO is Google. Google provides leading analytics tools that revolutionized how businesses manage their website traffic and changed how we all approach SEO today.
Google Analytics is a platform based tool that allows you to collect qualitative and quantitative data from people who visit your website, use your mobile application, or make a transaction through your point-of-sale system. Everything from basic demographic data such as user location, to valuable behavior statistics such as duration of time on each webpage can be tracked, filtered, and analyzed using different tools in Google Analytics.
Google Analytics works by using an online based dashboard organized into three levels. Accounts, properties, and views. Accounts refer to the number of websites you would like to manage for your business. Say you have a large manufacturing company with several different brands. Each brand has their own unique website related to your parent company. With Google Analytics, you can set up tracking for each website using one dashboard with multiple accounts. This allows you to stay organized and gather all the valuable data you need in one centralized location. An example of what a typical dashboard looks like is below.
Properties commonly refer to pages of your website related to products or services. For companies that sell products directly to consumers using an e-commerce website, Google Analytics can track traffic to specific products. Data like how long a customer visited a page related to your product or service can be stored in your dashboard along with the path the customer took. Did they come from a search engine, or did they search for your website specifically? Did they go directly to your products and services or did they visit your blog first? Your Analytics account can retrieve this data and provide you with reports to better understand it.
Views are where you can get creative with your data and organize it to meet the unique needs of your business. Google divides Views into Test, Master, and Unfiltered categories. Your Master view is the main view you will be using. This view holds the primary data you collected from your website, application, or P.O.S. system. This is where you will be doing a bulk of your analytics.
The Test view allows you to experiment with different filters and see what information you can extract from your data. You can choose to apply filters to your properties to include, exclude, or modify the data your Google Analytics account collects. The unfiltered view is one of the most important. Once your data has been processed through a filter, it cannot be restored back to its original format. The unfiltered view allows you to have an original copy of your data to reference in the future.
Reporting is one of the most valuable features Google Analytics provides to its users. After collecting data related to your properties and individual views, Google generates reports based on your user’s activity. The most popular reports include the Engagement Report. This report shows what users are doing when visiting your website. The Acquisitions Report shows where users came from and how they reached your website, Organic vs. Referral visitors. The E-Commerce report shows specific product performance and gives you metrics such as sales volume and what products are most frequently searched for.
Google Analytics continues to be a leading source for managing and collecting valuable data about businesses’ websites, applications, and P.O.S. systems. As SEO and the digital environment continue to change, Google is leading the way with innovative solutions designed just for your business. It can be a great resource but also a maze if you aren’t sure what you’re looking for!
To find out more about what Google has to offer and how Google Analytics can help your business, contact us today!