Google Analytics is the most recommended web analytics software available, used by website owners and businesses worldwide.
It’s a powerful tool used to track and analyze website traffic patterns. And it’s an excellent resource for gathering information from each visit/visitor for Search Engine Optimization and marketing purposes.
Google Analytics software is owned by Google and is free to use, making it a widely preferred option by businesses and website owners alike. All that is required of you, is to own a Google account.
Google Analytics was initially a development of Urchin, a web statistics analysis program from Urchin Software Corporations. That was acquired by Google in April 2005. And the first version from Google was released in November of that same year.
Initially, Google Analytics was made available by invitation only. There was such a high demand for the software, that it was made fully available in August 2006.
Why use Google Analytics?
- It is free to use:
There are no monthly or hidden charges for using Google Analytics all tools and features are available for free.
- It is easy to set up/use:
Setting up Google Analytics on your website is as simple as copying and pasting the code provided to you. For a regular user, it does not require any coding skills. This is why everyone with their different tech knowledge levels can use it successfully.However, to enjoy all of its benefits, more knowledge will be needed. To get up and running fast with all the benefits, check out our Google Analytics training program here.
- Easily connects with other tools:
You can use Google Analytics alongside a handful of other software and application that need the analytic data it provides to make strategizing a lot more accurate.
- It provides real-time reports:
Google analytics allows you to see visitors as they open your website. You don’t have to wait until the end of the day or week out to get a report on website activity. This is essential when monitoring the results of campaigns.
- Custom dashboard options:
You can design your custom dashboard to include the dimensions and metrics that interest you. You can also choose how information in your reports are represented.
- Allows you to monitor activities on your website:
You can see how visitors find your website, what links they click on, pages they view, products they click on, and every other interaction made with your website.
- It provides customizable reports:
You can customize your reports to focus on the areas you need more or less analysis on. The drag and drop interface allows you to create your own reports easily.
- Simple export option:
You can easily export reports or data sheets to Excel for offline access.
- Easy integration with AdWords:
If you’re using AdWords to make your website more visible and gain more website traffic, Google Analytics can be used to track activities on your website, and the results of your AdWords campaign, after every click or impression.
Important Google Analytics Features Available
Apart from the widely known features and benefits offered by Google Analytics, there are essential features available that make all the difference in reporting, for businesses and website owners who implement them.
Here are a few of them:
Google analytics allows you to see what content is missing from your website by including reports on what people are searching for on your website. It gives insight on what your visitors come to your website hoping to see.
To do this, you will need to connect your Google Analytics account to your internal search bar. Once this is set up, it will automatically pull keywords that are entered into the search bar, and add them to your reports.
This feature will provide you with a list of keywords that can be used as a guide for website content creation, product description, and many other marketing areas.
Many of the features available can be switched to provide Ecommerce reports.
As stated earlier, Google Analytics tracks each visitor on their interactions with your website, including their entry point. E-commerce tracking shows the avenues through which buyers find your website, including your most profitable buyers, giving you insight to where your marketing efforts should target.
Flowcharts give a visual representation on how visitors navigate your website, what pages they visit and their drop off point. If you have a particular goal and want visitors to eventually end up on a particular page. Using the data from these flowcharts can be helpful in designing your website in such a way that visitors go in the direction you need them to.
Another insight it provides is the reason why visitors leave your website. What pages have the most drop off? If it’s your checkout page, for example, you might want to consider why visitors choose to leave at that point and find ways to fix that problem.
You can choose to tag one or more elements on your website as a goal. If the most important conversion needed on your website is signups on your newsletter, you can tag that as a goal so that Google Analytics can effectively monitor its progress.
Your goal could be anything ranging from visits to a particular page, the duration of the visits, number of clicks on an URL, to purchasing a product or service and more.
Filter for internal traffic
When setting up new features on your website and making changes to old ones, it’s important to visit the web pages being worked on to see if your changes were effected properly. However, this can affect your GA report. The report would include the visit pattern of you and your team and ruin the accuracy of the data being collected.
To avoid this, GA gives the option of hiding all traffic that comes from the internal source. You can set up a Test Profile that can be used by you or your team members when you need to navigate the pages of your website.
Google Webmaster Tools
You have the option of viewing your website’s performance from Google’s search ranking view. You can get SEO reports that include data on your keywords rankings, impressions, clickthrough rates and data on the performance of your landing pages.
To get access to these reports, you will be required to activate Google Webmaster tools on your website and connect it to your GA account.
Google Analytics provides access to as much data as you want and need regarding your website.
Most of its functionalities can be used by anyone. However, some of the more advanced ones will require the skills of someone with the technical know-how. However, Google Analytics is easy to learn. Click here for more information on our training programs.
Do you use Google Analytics? How frequently do you review your analytics?