Five ways to get more out of Google Analytics
I have used Google Analytics (GA) for years now to accurately analyse the performance of my SEO efforts. And for those that don't know - GA is a free tool that tracks information about the way visitors to your site interact with it.
It's free and easy to get started with GA, but there are also a lot of advanced features that can make it even more useful. I'm sometimes surprised by how many people only look at their dashboard page and never really drill down into some of the more interesting details and features, so I thought it might be time I share a few quick tips for getting more out of Google Analytics.
1. Customise your dashboard: You should take the time to customise your dashboard by first adding any frequently used reports to your dashboard using the 'Add to Dashboard' button on the top of any report. Each box under the dashboard section also has a very tiny 'x' on the top right corner that you can use to remove any unwanted information. Once you are happy with the information, you can drag the components around to put the ones you want to see first near the top of the page and the less frequently-used items further down the page.
2. Export: You can export some nicely formatted PDFs of your data that you can send to your manager or your clients - this is a great way to quickly give someone who isn't familiar with Google Analytics an overview of some specific event or a monthly analytics report. You can get the PDF exports by using the 'Export' drop-down menu located at the top of any report; you can even export your custom reports. Should you wish, you can also export your data in CSV or XML format.
3. Alerts: Alerts are situated in the 'Intelligence' section. If you want to keep on top of your sites and know when something out of the ordinary is happening, then setting up Alerts is a must! For example, I have it set to alert me when the number of visitors goes over a certain threshold on any given day. Alerts can be setup using most of the many different metrics available in the various reports. Alerts can be used on several different websites and can also be applied to multiple profiles as well.
4. Custom reports: Spend a few minutes thinking about what you want to know, and then create a custom report that you can view every time you log in. For example, I have a custom report that shows the unique visitors, new visits, average time on site and pageviews for specific categories of my website, and when I drill down into them I can see which keywords were used to arrive at a specific page from search engines. 'Custom Reports' are located on the bottom-left just under 'My Customizations' - click on 'Create new custom report' on the top-right corner and add in the metric or dimensions you require.
About Yoray Narainpersad
Yoray Narainpersad has eight years solid, hands-on experience in SEO and internet marketing and has successfully optimised and marketed in some very competitive industries and countries including the US, UK, and Germany. Yoray currently heads up the digital marketing for FNB Online. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.