Online Marketing
Published June 22nd, 2016 by

16 Actionable Intelligence Takeaways from Google Analytics

Google analytics

Google Analytics is a seemingly bottomless well of data. Once you install it on your website, there are hundreds of different reports you can run, with thousands of different metrics and data points at your fingertips. But what do you do with this data? How do you turn Google Analytics reports into strategic actions that will improve the profitability of your website? In this article, we will review 16 actionable insights you can glean from Google Analytics. While these will not all apply to every website, you should be able to find at least a few of these which are applicable to your situation.

Prioritize landing page upgrades

If you have a few hours of time to invest into upgrading or improving pages on your website, which pages should you start with? Which pages should be first priority? One way to answer this question is to identify which pages are driving the highest number of conversions. If you’re able to improve a page’s performance by 10 percent, you’ll see a much bigger return if you implement this improvement to a page that drives 100 conversions per month, rather than one that drives 10 conversions per month. To get this data from Google analytics, go to Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages > Conversions: All Goals > sort by Goal Completions.

Determine which languages your website should be in

Your website should be translated into the languages most frequently used by your website visitors. Not sure which languages your website visitors prefer? That’s easy to find out in Google analytics – navigate to Audience > Geo > Language.

Identify underperforming pages on your website

An exit page is the last page a user viewed on your website before leaving your site. Now, and exit isn’t always a bad thing – a user may leave because they found everything they were looking for (that’s a success!) Or, they may leave because they were discouraged, frustrated, unconvinced, or unsatisfied (that’s a failure!). Review your site’s top exit pages to see if they can be improved to retain visitors longer on your website. View this data in Google analytics at Behavior > Site Content > Exit Pages.

Find SEO keywords you can quickly boost

As we all know, the first few results on Google get most of the clicks. If your website is ranked on page two, or even on the bottom of page one, you’ll get very few clicks. But these situations can be an opportunity – in many cases, it doesn’t take much work to move your website up just a few places in the rankings. You can use Google analytics to identify organic keywords that are sending traffic to your website even though you’re not ranked in the first few positions. To get this data, you’ll need to link Google Analytics with Google Search Console. Here’s where to find the data in Google analytics: Acquisition > Search Console > Queries > advanced (next to search bar). Set the filter to include Average Top Position greater than four, then sort ascending by Average Top Position. You’ll have a list of keywords that are sending you traffic but are ranked at the bottom of page one – analyze these rankings to find ways to push these to the top of page one and you’ll notice a significant traffic increase.

Find top priority keywords to build SEO rankings for

If you’re looking for new keywords to add to your SEO campaign, Google Analytics is the best place to start. If you have paid search campaigns, you can use Google Analytics to identify the top converting keywords from your paid search campaigns, and add these keywords to your SEO efforts. This allows you to target keywords which are proven to drive sales for your business. Go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium > Medium > cpc > Secondary Dimension: Keyword > Conversions: All Goals > sort by Goal Completions.

Identify top locales for targeted marketing efforts

If you are planning to launch a geographically targeted advertising campaign, whether online or offline, Google Analytics can provide you the data you need to choose the best locations for this campaign. I recommend reviewing locations based on conversion data – look for locations with a high number of conversions or a high conversion rate. You can review data at the country, state, metro, and city levels. Start your journey through this data by going to Audience > Geo > Location. Set Conversions: All Goals and look at the Goal Completions column.

Measure browser usage for cross browser testing

Every web team should use cross browser testing to ensure their website loads and functions ideally on the browsers used by the site’s visitors. A good rule of thumb is to test your website for every browser used by more than 2% of website visitors. To get this data, go to Audience > Technology > Browser & OS.

Measure device usage for cross device testing
In addition to cross browser testing, cross device testing should be used to ensure website compatibility across the mobile devices and tablets being used by site visitors. Get this data from Google Analytics by going to Audience > Mobile > Devices.

Find effective joint venture partner opportunities

Joint ventures can be a highly effective way to increase web traffic and sales at very low cost. The key is to find a relevant website that has the ability and interest to send significant traffic to your website. The fastest way to do this is to find websites that are already linking to you and driving traffic and sales, then find ways to expand your relationship with these websites. To find these opportunities in Google Analytics, go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals. Pay special attention to the Sessions and Goal Completions columns.

Identify underperforming landing pages for improvement

If a landing page is getting high traffic volumes but is not converting those visitors into leads or sales, perhaps the landing page needs to be improved. Identifying and enhancing such landing pages will help you generate more conversions from your existing website traffic. To identify these opportunities go to Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages > sort by Goal Conversion Rate, ascending. Look for landing pages with high traffic numbers, but a low conversion rate.

Find opportunities to optimize traffic sources

All traffic sources are not created equal. Traffic from one search engine may drive lots of leads, while another search engine hardly drives any. One banner ad network may have a high conversion rate, while another network may have a very low conversion rate. To effectively optimize the results you get from your marketing budget, it’s essential to frequently review the results your various marketing campaigns are driving. Adjust the campaigns or reallocate marketing budget towards the better performing campaigns. You can view all the data you need in Google Analytics by going to Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium. Dig around in these reports to analyze all of your campaigns and marketing efforts.

Gain insight to improve page load speed

With page load speed being a factor in SEO, user satisfaction, and conversion rates, it’s an important factor for webmasters to review and optimize. Google Analytics provides page level data which can be used to identify which pages have the greatest opportunity for page speed improvements. Google also offers a page speed insights tool which provides additional recommendations for front-end code optimization. Don’t forget the role that web hosting and backend optimization play in page load speed also.

Improve site usability by reviewing site search data

Google Analytics provides the ability to track and review what users search for using your internal site search functionality. These search queries can be used in a variety of ways to improve user experience on your website. Here are three suggestions to get you started:
● Review the top search queries and ensure your website returns good results for each query. If not, adjust the site search functionality.
● Identify misspelled words users are searching for, and adjust your site search functionality to return relevant results.
● Review top searched queries and consider adding relevant links to your site-wide navigation so users don’t have to search for these items.

To find site search data, go to Behavior > Site Search > Overview.

Get ideas for blog posts that will be popular on social media

Google Analytics is a great tool for identifying which posts on your blog are driving the most traffic from social media. You can then analyze these posts help you create ideas for new posts that will be likely to succeed socially. To find this data, go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels > Social > Primary Dimension: Landing Page.

Run split tests to increase the conversion rate of key landing pages

Google Analytics includes an A/B split testing tool called content experiments. Split testing is the most effective way to accurately measure how changes to a page impacts conversions and identify which changes will most effectively increase the conversion rate. To access this tool, go to Behavior > Experiments.

Get ideas for improving webpages based on where users click

Google Analytics provides a lot of data that web designers can use when designing a new page or updating an existing webpage. By identifying which elements on the page users click on the most, designers can prioritize which element should be most prominent in their design, and know which elements users are looking for. Google Analytics offers a handy tool for visualizing this data, called In-Page Analytics. To access this tool, go to Behavior > In-Page Analytics. Google also offers a chrome extension which can make viewing this data even easier.

Where are your favorite places to look for actionable insights in Google Analytics?

Holly Rollins

President at 10x digital
Rollins is the President of 10x digital, a digital marketing, content and SEO firm. She is also Senior Editor for Carpe Daily, and is named one of the top content marketers globally by the Content Marketing Institute: 2014, 2015 and 2016.

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