Google Analytics for Small Business 101
If you ask a typical already-overwhelmed small business owner if they’d like to begin using Google Analytics, the common response is one of wide-eyed fear, dreading taking on the mountains of data that Analytics can supply. Who’s got time to learn new things when there is work to get done? The fact is, Google Analytics can help make that work proceed far more efficiently and of course profitably, if you’re willing to jump in and start using it in a focused, specific manner. Begin with asking the right questions: what are my goals, and what do I need to know to achieve them, and which of these website metrics can help me make it happen.
Understanding which metrics you need
While each business will present somewhat different needs, the more useful common needs follow.
- Total visits – Knowing how many visitors you get is a basic measurement of success, assuming they are targeted visitors. Look at both “unique” (first time) visitors, and total visits, which includes returnees.
- Keyword phrases – Understanding which keyword phrases are driving traffic to your page is paramount. This data will help you know how to target your primary and secondary keywords.
- Popular pages – Which of your pages are getting the most notice, and which aren’t!
- Visitors geo-location – Which countries are creating the most traffic for you?
- Referring pages – Which pages are sending you the most traffic? This might be from any number of sources, including affiliates, video, images, social media and more.
- Search engine traffic – Which search engines are delivering the most visitors.
Use these advanced Google Analytics features to help sort the data
Three handy advanced features are extremely useful for processing and understanding this data.
Custom reports offers the cabability to create a version of Google Analytics just for you. You can choose the data that’s important to you, and organize it any way you like.
Advanced segmenting allows you to sort traffic into segments that highlight your data, such as segmenting out mobile or tablet traffic.
Intelligence events is similar to Google Alerts, and sends a you an email or text to your mobile device when anything out of the ordinary happens on your site, such as a spike in traffic, either up or down.
Yes, Google Analytics is a LOT of data. And yes, you can make it work for you, with just a little effort!