SEO Series Part 2: Google Analytics
We started the SEO series last Monday by taking a brief look at Search Engine Rankings and what Search Engine Optimization really means. Today, we’ll talk about Google Analytics, a handy free tool that helps people track users and statistics on their site.
As we discussed before, SEO is way to optimize your site, improving your search rankings and thereby helping users find you more easily on search engines. After implementing SEO techniques on your site, it’s important to track how beneficial your efforts were and what might help you do better.
Why should you track users
Tracking and analyzing your SEO implementation is important. If you don’t track who is on your site, you can’t know if what you’re doing is working, or what you can do to improve. Google Analytics gives you TONS of valuable information, and it’s free. With this information you can improve your search engine rankings and the quality of people visiting your site, which should help drive business and interest in your company or service in the end.
How to sign up
Signing up is easy, all you need is a free Google account and you’re on your way. Head over to google.com/analytics and click the button that says Access Analytics to sign up. You’ll need to sign into your Google account, enter in your site information, add the tracking code to your site, and you’re all set! Information will start to appear in about 24 hours, because it shows you information from the day before, not the current day. Checking your statistics is an on-going process and should be done regularly in order to stay on top of site traffic and changes in visitor patterns.
What can you track
There are a lot of powerful tools at your disposal within Google Analytics. You can see who has visited your site and who they are. Within the visitors tab, you can see how many people have visited your site in the last month and lots of information about those people. It tells you how many are repeat vs. unique visitors, as well as how much time they spent on your site. You can also view information about these people like where they are located in the world, what language they speak, and what browser they are on.
The traffic sources tab shows you how your visitors got to your site. You can see if they came from incoming links, a search engine, or directly. You can also view keywords they searched for on Google, and any Adwords campaigns you’re running.
The Content tab reviews how many pages they view while on your site, giving you valuable insight into which pages are most popular. If you’ve added new content to a page you can view firsthand how effective that was by seeing how that pages’ popularity increased according to the date.
What do you do with this information
Tracking the information is only the first step. You need to do something with it in order to make it valuable. Visiting the Google Analytics site often is good, and you can also get a report sent to you weekly or monthly to review progress. After reviewing the information, you can decide what pages are valuable on the site, and which ones might need more work. Possibly you find that a certain page was popular but you don’t think the content on the page is that great. This gives you a great opportunity to spruce up that content, in order to make it more valuable for your visitors. You may also need to change some of the content on your site to target the people that are coming. Based upon keyword searches, geographic location, and incoming links you can start to get an idea of what these people are like and what they may want from your website.
Google Analytics Product Tour
Wikipedia definition of Google Analytics
Google Analytics blog
Guide to Google Analytics from Smashing Magazine
Join the conversation! Are you currently using Google Analytics? What’s your favorite part about this valuable tool? Let me know if you have any questions, I’d be happy to help with any beginners looking to implement Google Analytics. Happy tracking!
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