If you’re working in SEO, you know it’s no simple task. Researching SEO is the kind of business where you can’t avoid the “too many cooks in the kitchen” problem. Everyone has their opinions and the best way to find what works for you and your company is to measure your success.
SEO is ever-changing (it can’t stop and I’m sorry to say, it won’t stop) which is why all of this research floating around the blogosphere is cluttering the space. Invest your time in Google Analytics, read the numbers, see what works. Patience and trial and error is your best friend right now.
Since Google Analytics is so important and there’s so much to learn about it, I’m breaking this section in two parts so you can learn EVERYTHING! All of this information is useful and cannot be sliced’n’diced. Let’s take a look at a very simple introduction to why Google Analytics is so important:
Why Should I Use Google Analytics?
First of all, IT’S FREE PEOPLE. You can’t argue with a free tool available to helping track your web traffic; especially considering web traffic accounts for about 90% of your business. Second, it’s the most reliable tool for this area of business because well, it’s made by Google….the platform we’re trying to gain the love from.
Google Analytics can help you gain a better understanding of where your business success is going. To set up your analytics tool, visit: http://www.google.com/analytics/.
If you don’t already have one, set up a Google account so you can login and get yoself analyzed!
“How do I use Google Analytics?”
If you walk away with anything I tell you today, remember this: most data is useless. Which is why it’s vital you understand where you need to spend your time analyzing and what you shouldn’t waste your company time on. What you need to take away from your Google Analytics are the trends happening over time.
Click on the date field in Google Analytics and enter two time ranges, compare the two (last month’s analytics compared to the month prior). Look far back on the charts to see where there are peaks and dips. Do certain parts of the year peak or dip? Was there more engagement when you updated your site more often? During Christmas? Summertime? Take notes on these peaks and dips in your traffic so you can start to formulate a plan and begin to build a structure of what works and which content you need to pitch and purge.
Also note, many businesses, regardless of the business, will dip and peak in certain seasons. This may not be something you can fix virtually. Rather it is the simple nature of your business. Don’t rip your hair out over this “stuff.”
Acquisition: Your New BFF
The main sidebar on the left has a tab called “Acquisition.” Click on this and look under “All Traffic.” Here, you will be able to see where your web traffic is coming from, which gives you a better idea of what is working and what people want from your site. The “Channels” tab gives you an even deeper insight on where your traffic is driving from whether it be from social visitors, email visitors or search engine visitors. From here you can begin to take a look at what departments deserve more attention, what you can back off from and what needs to be rebuilt.
Start with this. Warm yourself up to the trends and functions of Google Analytics, but don’t get lost in all of the useless data.
Next week in Part 2 of Google Analytics, we’re going to talk about: Organic Search, Segments and Common Web Analytic Terms (explained). Every week, we’re building our way closer to a better business through SEO. But don’t stop there! Think of Google as a growing child. It’s always changing, always growing and full of surprises.
Here is one more screenshot if you want the Acquisition View for a single month: