How to use Google Analytics - An Introduction

How to use Google Analytics - An Introduction

As a Digital Marketing Executive I use a number of programmes in order to analyse and improve the traffic and keyword rankings of our clients’ websites.

A typical week in SEO involves ensuring the clients’ websites are full of useful, valuable content optimised with relevant keywords in order to achieve the best results for their on-going SEO campaigns.

But SEO is not just about producing fresh content and optimising for keywords hoping that this will result in more visitors and customers for your clients. A vital aspect of a successful SEO campaign is an on-going analysis of how the website is performing, and how it can be improved.

And this is where Google Analytics comes in handy!


google analytics dashboard

For those who are not familiar with Google Analytics I have started with providing a few definitions of key terms:

What is organic traffic?

Organic traffic is visitors who visit your website from search engines i.e. Google, Bing, Yahoo. Also known as search traffic or natural traffic.

What is referral traffic?

Referral traffic shows which external websites are linking visitors to your website.

google analytics traffic

What is a landing page?

The landing page is the page that the visitor entered your website.

What is an exit page?

Exit percentage indicates how often visitors exit your website from a specific page.

What is bounce rate?

Bounce rate is the percentage of people who only visited the single entrance page instead of going on to browse more pages of the website.

What are events and goals?

Events and goals are essential for measuring conversions on your website. These can track various aspects of your website including downloading a brochure, registering for a newsletter or watching a video.

Google analytics events and goals

That should be enough to get you started. But now for the big question – since the days of ‘not provided’ on keyword data how can you use Google Analytics to improve the performance of your website?

1) Analyse the best performing landing pages

Firstly, look at what pages are being used as landing pages from organic, referral and direct traffic. Do these pages have a low average session duration and a high exit percentage? If so these need to optimised so the visitor goes on to find out more about what your website is offering.  Optimising your landing pages is crucial as this is the visitors’ first impression of your website.  

2) Analyse the pages with the highest bounce rate

Look at the pages on your website with a high bounce rate and compare these to the more successful pages with a lower bounce rate. What is the difference between these pages? Are some of them full of useful content in an easy to follow layout linking to other relevant pages on your website, whilst others have thin, out-of-date content?

3) Look at the behaviour flow to track visitor journey

Google Analytics allows you to analyse how visitors behave on your website by looking at the behaviour flow to see the drop-off points and through traffic for each webpage. Knowing how visitors behave on your website provides you with a deeper understanding of user intention and engagement which you can use to identify new opportunities for updating your website content.

4) Compare with historical data to assess improvements 

Google Analytics allows you to compare data from any sized time frame with a previous time frame. Using this feature you can assess whether your SEO activity for individual pages is having a positive impact on the visitors – has the average visit duration increased on certain pages that have been optimised? Has the bounce rate decreased? Are visitors going on to view more pages on your website per session?

5) Track your success with events and goals

Setting events and goals means you can track whether visitors are positively engaging with your website. Increasing traffic to your website is one thing but measuring whether these visitors did anything valuable whilst on your website is crucial for analysing website performance.

If you think your website could benefit from SEO please contact our digital agency for a free SEO audit. Alternatively contact us on 01483 863 338 to speak to a digital marketing expert about our SEO services or email us at

By Kath Goward 21 May 2014

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