One of the most useful free services that Google offers is website analytics, where you can analyze user activity on your website. Using website analytics to analyze your strengths and weaknesses will certainly lead to an improvement in your conversions and success. Here are some basic metrics offered by Google Analytics and how you can use them to your advantage.

Bounce Rates

Bounce rates (how many people exit your website immediately after entering) are arguably one of the most important metrics to analyze. When visitors enter your site, do they stay and read on, or do they scroll down for a second or two and then immediately leave the page?

If your bounce rates are high, your website needs some extreme soul-searching.

There are many things that you can and should do to decrease bounce rates. The trick is to capture your visitors’ attention upon their entering your webpage. You only have a few seconds to make a first impression, and remember, a tiny click is all it takes to leave your website for good.

Brush up your headlines and paragraph titles so that they catch your visitors’ attention and make them want to read more. Headlines are not enough though. Make sure to include an interesting and engaging image towards the top of the page, and make sure that your opening paragraph is perfect… or at least as close to perfect as possible.

Time Spent On Your Website

Your ultimate goal is to get visitors to follow a call-to-action, whether that will be purchasing a product, signing up for a service, opting in for a free content offer (like an ebook) or just subscribing to an email newsletter. Without your visitors’ trust, it will be harder to get them to follow up on your offers. Trust is gained when visitors see that you offer relevant and informative solutions to their problems and answers to their Google search queries. To that end, you want visitors to spend some time on your website, reading your articles and seeing what you have to offer.

Getting your visitors not to leave your webpage is only the first step in a basic analytics based optimization project. What comes next is getting them to continue spending time on your site. The same strategies mentioned above are in order. Catchy paragraph headers, interesting photos, and above all, simply offering an informative and valuable read, are what matters most. Another tactic would be to reference and link to previous articles on your website in a way that would pique your visitors’ interest, so that they’ll visit numerous pages on your website. This last method is also used by search engine algorithms to determine where your site should be ranked in the results for relevant search terms… so don’t be afraid to do a little more internal linking!

Where Your Traffic Is Coming From

One of the most important metrics that analytics can provide is where visitors are coming from. Are the bulk of your visitors coming from organic search or from paid PPC campaigns? Are your PPC campaigns producing any results? Do the results justify the amount you’re spending? Maybe you should be spending more on PPC campaigns. Maybe you should be spending less. Or maybe you should target different keywords.

Analytics will help you answer the question of, “Are your SEO tactics actually paying off?” If not, perhaps you should be spending more time on finding long tail keywords and on other SEO tactics. If you’re getting any traffic from social media, you can use that information to strategize for a possible social media advertising campaigns.

Site Search

What are people searching for on your website? If you find that a lot of your visitors are searching for a particular topic or service, then there is a pretty good chance that they aren’t finding that content nearly quick enough. Information like this should be easily accessible on your home and landing pages. Make the necessary website adjustments so that users don’t have to search hard to find what they are looking for. And remember, for everyone 1 user that actually took the time to search for the product, you may have lost 10 who didn’t want to expend the effort to find the product. Those are the visitors who bounce from your site and might be your competitors newest customer.

Location & Demographics

Where are the majority of your visitors coming from? Are you receiving a significant amount of visitors from a particular country? If so, think of ways you can target them specifically. Continue to test how they respond to your call-to-actions and tweak your strategies accordingly. The same holds true for other demographics, such as language, age, gender, and interests.

Analytics can be a bit overwhelming at first, but if you take the time to get them setup properly (or even just setup at all) the data you’ll be collecting will be well worth all of the effort!

NOTE: If you’re planning on redesigning your website anytime soon, make sure you get analytics setup ASAP so that you (or whichever agency you hire) has the data they need to make educated choices for the new design.

And if you need any help, remember that you can always leave a comment on this post and we’ll get you an answer or point you in the right direction as quickly as possible!