How to Use Google Analytics Reports to Track The Performance of Your Website, SEO & Marketing

Introduction

To improve your website performance, you first need to measure and analyze website data. Google Analytics reports gives you loads of valuable insights about your website traffic and site performance.

Once Google Analytics is set up on your site, you can use Google Analytics reports for information about which locations your website visitors are coming from; how much traffic you are getting, and which marketing strategies are effective in meeting business goals.

With this analytics data, you can make changes to improve your website performance and marketing strategies and increase leads, conversions and sales.

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool from Google that helps you collect and analyze your website traffic. You can use the insights from Google analytics data to improve your website performance and SEO rankings and to select the right marketing strategies for your business.

How to set up Google Analytics for your website

You will first need to set up a Google Analytics Account and add the Google analytics tracking code to your website.

Read our step-by-step guide on How to Set Up Google Analytics for Your Website

Once you have set up Google analytics for your website, and added the tracking code to all pages of your site, you can begin to use Google Analytics reports to measure and analyze website performance.

How to use the Google Analytics basic reports to track website & SEO performance

The 3 Basic Reports in Google Analytics are:
• Audience report
• Acquisition report
• Behavior report

Each of these main reports has several sub-reports that provides lots of additional information about your website and website visitors. You can use this information to improve your website; improve your marketing and content strategies; and target your visitors accurately with advertising campaigns.

An overview of each of the basic Google Analytics reports is provided below as a guide to using these reports.

1. Audience Report

The audience report is an important Google Analytics report which gives you information about the users of your website and their behavior. It also provides detailed information about user demographics like age and gender, geo location, language, interests, engagement and technology.

google analytics audience report

Audience overview report

Some of the important sub-reports to check under the Audience report are:

a. Overview

The overview report shown in the figure above lists the number of users, new users, sessions, pageviews, average session duration and the bounce rate for your website for the selected time period.

This information helps you understand how much traffic your website is getting. It also shows you whether users are staying long enough to engage with the website or are leaving immediately as measured by the bounce rate.

The bounce rate is the percentage of users who left after viewing a single page on your website.

A high bounce rate would mean that you need to improve user engagement by optimizing your website; improving landing pages or changing your advertising to target the right audience.

b. Demographics

The demographics report provides user information by age and gender for the timeframe selected. This helps you determine if you are attracting the right users to your website who match your buyer persona.

c. Geo

Provides the user breakdown by language and location. This is a key report to understand which countries and locations your users are coming from and what their languages are. You can then decide if there are other locations that you need to target with your advertising. The Location report is one of the most useful audience reports.

d. Behavior

The behavior report is an important report to determine if your website is getting repeat visitors. It provides you with insights about New vs Returning visitors including sessions, pages/session, session duration and bounce rate. It also gives you information about the frequency of visits and engagement time.

e. Technology

The technology report is important to determine the browser and operating system that your users are using when they visit your site. It also gives you information about the service provider networks being used by the majority of users. This helps you ensure that your website is performing well on the browsers that your visitors are using.

google analytics browser and OS report

Browser and OS report

f. Mobile

The majority of online users today are browsing the web on mobile devices. Because of this, in March 2021, Google switched their entire search index to mobile-first indexing. Mobile-first indexing will crawl and index the mobile version of a website as the primary version. This makes having a mobile-friendly website essential for a business.

The mobile report gives you an overview of the users by device category. It provides you with the number of users using mobile, desktop or laptop devices. Under devices, it gives you information about the type of mobile devices being used by your visitors. This includes Apple iPhones, Google Nexus, Samsung Galaxy, Apple iPads and more.

You can use this information to improve your website to make sure it provides a good user experience for mobile users.

g. Users Flow

The Users Flow report helps you track how users move through your website, from the starting pages through additional pages. You can see where they exit your site and improve those exit pages to improve user retention.

The Audience report also provides many more sub-reports that can be used to gain additional information about your website visitors.

2. Acquisition Report

The acquisition report is one of the most important Google Analytics reports that provides you with insights into which marketing channels are working to attract users to your site.

This report lists the marketing channels that are the sources of your website visitors including direct, organic search, paid search, referrals from other websites, social networks and other sources.

google analytics acquisition report

Acquisition report

Some of the important sub-reports to check under the Acquisition report are:

a. Overview

As shown in the figure, this report lists the number of users, new users, sessions, pageviews, average session duration, the bounce rate and conversions by marketing channel for a selected timeframe.

The marketing channels are:

  • Direct – the user came directly to your website by typing your website URL into their browser.
  • Organic search- the user found your website on the search engines and clicked on a link to visit your website. This includes organic (free) search or SEO from the search engines.
  • Paid search – the user clicked on one of your paid search ads such as Google Ads and came to your site. This includes PPC (pay per click) marketing channels.
  • Referral – the user was directed to your site from another website that linked to it.
  • Social– the user came to your site from the social networks like twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or others.

b. All Traffic

This report gives you a breakdown of your website traffic by channels, tree-maps, source/medium and referrals.

Channels and source/medium lets you view the users, sessions, bounce rate and conversions by marketing channel. Referrals gives you a list of external website URLs that sent traffic to your site like twitter, Facebook or other sites that are linked to yours.

google analytics all traffic - source medium report

Source/medium report

c. Google Ads

If you are running a Google Ads paid search campaign, this report will provide you with detailed information about your Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing campaigns including keywords, search queries, time and final URLs. Your Google Analytics account must be linked to your Google Ads account to collect this information.

d. Search Console

You should link your Google Search Console account to Google Analytics. This section will provide details about landing pages, countries, devices and search queries from your Google Search Console account.

e. Social

This report provides you with information about your social media marketing campaigns. It lists the number of user sessions you are getting from social networks, along with the landing pages and number of conversions.

f. Campaigns

This is a list of all your marketing campaigns along with a list of the paid keywords and organic keywords that are sending user traffic to your site. This helps you determine which marketing campaigns are meeting your marketing goals and ROI and make changes or improvements to your marketing strategies.

3. Behavior Report

The behavior report is a key Google Analytics report which gives you information about how users interact with your website. It provides information about the top landing and exit pages; your website page speed and popular search terms used by visitors to search your website.

googl analytics behavior report

Behavior report

a. Overview

This report shown in the figure lists the total number of pageviews, average time on page, the bounce rate and the percentage exit for a selected timeframe. It also gives you a list of the top pages with the page views for each page.

A page view is created every time a user loads a page.

The average time on page and the bounce rate shows the user engagement with the website pages.

b. Behavior Flow

This report shows you the path used by visitors to navigate your site. For a chosen landing page or campaign, the report lists the starting page and three pages that users interacted with after the starting page. This helps you understand how traffic flows through your site.

c. Site Content

This is an important report that shows you the performance of the web pages with the most traffic.

  • All Pages Report- lists the top pages along with the pageviews, average time on page, bounce rate and exit rate. This report helps you evaluate the performance of your high performing pages.
  • Content drilldown- groups pages according to the directory structure. You can click on the directory to see how pages within the directory are performing. This is useful to understand how the content in that directory is performing.
  • Landing Pages- this lists the landing pages where users first arrived on your site. This is useful to determine if the landing page is engaging to visitors. A high bounce rate would indicate that the landing page needs to be improved and made more engaging.
  • Exit Pages- this lists the exit pages where users left your site. A high exit rate would indicate that the page is not engaging or relevant and needs to be improved.

d. Site Speed

The site speed report is important to track the average page load time of your website. It lists the average page load time by browser. You should regularly monitor your site speed and use this information to improve your website page speed.

Page speed is an important SEO ranking factor used by Google for search rankings. Google recommends an average page speed of 3 seconds or less.

Page speed is becoming more important with Google’s Page Experience update which is rolling out in June 2021. The Page experience update measures the user experience of a site based on Core Vitals metrics such as loading time, interactivity and visual stability.

google analytics site speed report

Site speed report

e. Site Search

The site search report lists the search terms that are used by visitors to look for information on your site. This is useful to see what products and services visitors are searching for so that you can make sure your site provides the information.

f. Events

The events report lists how users interacted with elements on your website. This includes link downloads, videos played or other events that required user interaction.

Conclusion

In summary, Google Analytics provides many reports that gives you powerful insights into the performance of your website, SEO and marketing channels.

By using the Audience, Acquisition and Behavior reports in Google Analytics, you get loads of information about where your visitors are coming from, which cities to target, which website content is performing well and how fast your website is loading. It also gives you insights into which marketing channels are sending you visitors.

This data helps you make improvements to your website performance, SEO rankings and marketing strategies to increase leads, conversions and sales. Start measuring your website performance today!

References

Need Help with Digital Marketing and Google Analytics?

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