For complete beginners, using Google Analytics to increase website traffic may be an intimidating task. The busy charts and tables that you encounter when you start out can be confusing. However, spending a little time to understand the Google Analytics basics can really pay off.
Google Analytics is undeniably one of the most powerful tools to monitor your website traffic. It is used in large and small businesses alike. And it is so powerful because 92.5% of web users in the UK use Google as their primary search engine (source)
Google Analytics will reveal a lot about the behaviour of your customers and help you learn what to do to increase website traffic.
When you know which metrics to focus on, you will know what to post in order to increase website traffic. Ultimately, this will help you get more customers and sales for your business.
Note on Google Analytics 4 property: Google has released an updated version of Google Analytics. If you are setting up a new Google Analytics account, you will be on the new setup by default, unless you chose to stay on the old version. This blog was created based on the old version. Steps 2 and 3 will still apply to you if you are on the new version, but you should check the requirements of your website provider if you want to set up a new Google Analytics 4 property.
So, let us move on to my top tips for Google Analytics beginners that will help you increase your website traffic:
Tip 1: Set up Google Analytics even if you don’t know how to use it yet
As soon as you set it up, Google Analytics will start tracking the activity on your site. But it cannot do this retrospectively. This means that if you set up your site a year ago and set up Google Analytics today, you may have missed out on valuable information about your early adopters.
How to link Google Analytics (Universal Analytics property) to your website
Instructions for WordPress sites
Watch this quick video by WPBeginner, or read the official instructions from WordPress.com: Google Analytics
Instructions for Squarespace sites
Watch this short video or read the official instructions by Squarespace: Using Google Analytics with Squarespace
Instructions for Shopify sites
Watch this short video or read the official instructions by Shopify: Google Analytics – Shopify Help
Instructions for GoDaddy sites
Watch this video by GoDaddy or read the official instructions: Add Google Analytics to my site
My website is hosted on a different platform
Your provider may have published instructions on how to track your website using Google Analytics. Check their Help page or get in touch with them to get more information.
Tip 2: Focus on the right metrics to increase website traffic
Ask yourself: What are the business goals that you are trying to achieve by having a website in the first place?
You may want to sell products or services through your website. Perhaps your goal is to have more registered users, or to get more returning customers.
For every business goal there is a set of metrics on Google Analytics that will help you track your success.
Here is an example of a business goal, and how Google Analytics can help you increase your website traffic from search engines.
Business Goal Example:
I want my site to show up on more Google searches.
What you may want to look at:
In the Acquisition section, the ‘Organic’ channel will tell you if people are finding your website online and where most of your traffic is coming from. Is there a specific set of keywords that gets you more traffic? You may want to create a new page or blog that features those keywords, to improve your SEO and get more traffic to your website.
If you can’t see ‘Organic’ it means that your site is not showing up on Google Searches (yet!). You may want to focus on your website’s SEO by writing more blogs, or running an ad campaign on Google.
Key metrics you could look at:
- Audience > Geo > Location
This shows you where your users are located when they visit your website. If you have a local business, you want to see more users from the local area accessing your website.
- Audience > Mobile > Overview
This will tell you if your users are using their desktop or a mobile to visit your website. If 90% of your users use their mobile, you should make sure that your website is optimised for mobile use and that it loads fast for those users.
- Acquisition > All traffic > Channels, with Source/Medium as a secondary dimension.
Where do your website users come from? This section of Google Analytics will tell you if a user came from a Facebook post or a direct link in a newsletter. It will show you if you are showing up on organic searches, and with the added dimensions it could tell you exactly what people are searching before they land on your website.
- Acquisition > Social > Landing Pages
This is an interesting section if you use social media for your business. It shows you which pages people are visiting when they find you on their Facebook or Instagram newsfeed. This is where you can check if a social media campaign is paying off.
- Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages
This is a big place for you in Google Analytics. It shows you all the pages on your site and the number of users that have visited those pages. It also shows you how long they stayed and whether they moved on to a different page, or just left your site (you can see that under bounce rate)
I recommend capturing these key metrics every month. This will allow you to track your growth and see if things are going the way you expected.
Tip 3: Use the Google Analytics Academy
Google has created over 40 hours of free training to help you learn how to use Google Analytics.
I have to admit – the constantly smiling instructors are a little creepy. If you can ignore their robotic joy, you will learn a lot right from the first module.
You or a member of your small business team can use this free training to learn as much as you need to get started. After a while, using the reports will become more familiar, and you will find it easier to use Google Analytics to increase website traffic.
These are my top three tips for beginners who want to use Google Analytics to increase website traffic.
What do you think? Do you track website traffic in a different way?
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If you are ready to improve your website traffic but don’t know where to start, give me a nudge! I will support you to improve your SEO, run your first Google ads campaign, or simply give you some advice to increase your confidence on the matter.
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