What is it that you want from your website? Are you looking for leads, are you selling a product, and want visitors to read your content? It would help if you had a clear idea of the purpose of your website before we proceed.
Once you’ve determined why you want traffic, you need to look at your current traffic sources. There are three primary sources of “free” traffic.
This is the traffic that comes to you because of the search engines.
This traffic comes to you from your social media posts.
This traffic comes from instances where your URL is typed directly into the address line of the browser but can also come from direct links in other content on the web or visitors bookmarking your URL.
Your objective should be to be improving traffic from each of these sources month over month. The most accessible place to see this information in Google Analytics is under Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels. You will also want to look at your data over 30 days compared to the previous 30-day period so you can track your progress.
In addition to your traffic sources, you will also want to look at your overall traffic sessions. View this under Audience > Overview, and again you should compare the current 30 days to the previous 30 days.
Your organic sessions should be in a direct relationship to your impressions and click-through rate. These KPIs need to be accessed from your Search Console, so let’s head over there for a bit. Search Console looks at Search Traffic > Search Analytics and select Clicks, Impressions, CTR, and Position. Select Queries and under Dates select to compare the last 28 days. The objective here is to improve each of these metrics month over month. You will also want to review your queries and look for the relevant queries bringing you the best CTR. These are terms for which you should be optimizing pages.
Okay, back to Analytics > Audience > Overview, let’s look at some more important KPIs.
When visitors come to your site, the objective is to keep them there long enough to complete your site’s purpose, which we addressed earlier. That is to give you their contact info, buy something, or read your content. Usually, that requires the visitor to visit multiple pages, and if they visit one page and leave, that will be recorded as a Bounce. Your website’s job is to lead visitors from the landing page to the conversion page.
Avg Session Duration
How long a visitor stays on your website is a key indicator of how effective your website is at performing its stated purpose, and it’s essential for this number to be getting longer over time until it reaches the time required to convert. If you’re not reaching your conversion goals, this metric needs improvement.
For Bounce Rate to improve, visitors need to visit more than one page. If your site is a Blog, this number is more brutal to improve because visitors will come to read your current article and head on to the next. In those instances, it’s vital to encourage visitors to read more of your content. If you’re using WordPress, several plugins list related and most-read articles that encourage the visitor to read on. There is also a Bounce Rate plugin that will trigger an event after a specified amount of time that many believe will give you a more accurate measure of Bounce Rate.
New vs. Returning
When the website’s objective is to build a following, this metric becomes most important. You will want to be attracting new visitors, but you will also want to see improvements in visitors who like your site enough to return again and again.
By tracking the metrics listed, you will gain a clear insight into how your website is performing and if it’s meeting its purpose. Improving these metrics is another discussion that I hope to get to in the future.
In the meantime, here are some other great articles that should improve your knowledge and implementation of Google Analytics.
Need more local marketing tips? Check out our entire Guide to Local Marketing for Real Estate Professionals