What to look for in Google Analytics

Here is a quick checklist of what to look for in Google Analytics. If you don’t use Google Analytics frequently, it can be confusing can’t it?

These are 3 key areas that I look at when I spend five minutes looking at Google Analytics for one of my websites or one of my clients. (Sometimes, I spend a lot longer).

Once you have logged in you will see a menu on the left hand side of the screen (if you are using a desktop / laptop). We are going to use:
….from this menu.

Audience / Overview – what are they doing when they visit?

Towards the top RHSide (Right Hand Side) of the screen, change the date range so that you are looking at three months. I have found that this is a reasonable time period, to measure changes.

If you have more than 5 minutes at your disposal, when you are working with Google Analytics, you can change the viewing period to see what difference it makes. However, for comparison purposes – it is important to stick to the same time period.

Within Audience / Overview you can see: Sessions. Users. Page views. Pages / Sessions. Bounce rate. Also, you can see a pie chart of new versus returning visitors. NB You can change the settings so that you can see different information.

Acquisition / Overview – where did the website visitors come from?

Within this view you can see:
Direct – i.e. visitors have typed your website address into a browser
Referral – they have found your website by clicking on a link in a website
Organic search – they found you via Google search
Social – they found you by clicking a link in Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc
Email – they clicked on a link from an email, i.e. your website address if you place this after your name, phone number etc

Behaviour / Overview

Shows a list of the most popular pages within your website.

If you see:   /

….at top, or near the top of the list, this means ‘home page’. You can click any of the pages and drill down for more information.


It is a good idea to login to Google Analytics and make a note of some of the key stats, i.e. the ones that I have listed above, in a spreadsheet. Then login a week later and make a note of the new numbers within a separate row within the spreadsheet.

I always include Google Analytics when I build a website and I am always keen to show the website owner how to use the software in order to improve their website.

We have an SEO Group within The Marketing Compass website.

Google Analytics and deciding what to blog about

Have you ever been stuck when it comes to deciding the next blog topic for your website? If you blog frequently, coming up with new topics can be a challenge.

Here is an idea for you. Log into https://analytics.google.com and click on Behaviour / All pages. [I am assuming that you have Google Analytics installed within your website; if you don’t, you may be using a different stats package that should reveal the information that we are looking for].

This will show you a list of the most popular pages on your website. The first result will probably show a forward slash / ….this is your homepage, so you can ignore this.

The first thing to do is to change the date range in the URHC (Upper Right Hand Corner) of the page, to at least a year’s worth of data. Experiment with this and see what happens to the list if you look more recently: is something new on your site attracting attention? You can also extend the date range: are some pages / blog entries of continual interest?

Once you have ascertained the most popular URLs within you site, think about the blogs that you could write. Could you reword a blog title and write about the subject from a different angle? Could you combine two topics into one? What has changed since the original blog or page was published?

You may well find that your most popular blog entries contain ‘long body copy’ (i.e. a lot of words). For example, this post on brand strategy is one of my most popular posts during the last decade:

Brand strategy

Here are some of my other blogs which may help:

How to generate ideas for content marketing / blogs …part 1

How to generate new ideas for content marketing / blogs part 2

Where do my website visitors come from?

A few days ago, a Navigator member of The Marketing Compass community asked me to show them around Google Analytics. So I am writing a guide on this subject. It contains a ‘cheat sheet’ of some of the best bits of Google Analytics. For example:

Where do my website visitors come from?
The Google Analytics Location report will tell you, in fine detail. Here is the menu sequence, starting with Audience in the LSS (Left Side of the Screen):  Audience / Geo / Location

You will see a world map. Scroll down to see a list of countries. Within the list, click on one of the countries. The map changes to show that country. If data is available, this will show regions. Just underneath the country map, click on ‘City’. It helps to have a big screen at this point, because if you have an active site with lots of visitors, you should see many circles within the country map. Hover your mouse over these circles (or circles within circles) and you can click through to a specific town / city. Once again, the numbers change within the report underneath the map.

Here is a screen shot (which relates to www.nigeltemple.com):
Google Analytics - were do my visitors come from

Interesting, isn’t it? (You can click on the image to enlarge it if you wish). Before I knew about this, I didn’t realise that so much of my website traffic came from London. On reflection, it makes sense as I live just outside of London, we run events there, I speak at events in the capital and I also have clients in London. In addition, London is of course a huge urban conurbation, so I should expect a reasonable amount of traffic from there. However, this insight, provided by Google Analytics.

Are you interested in website performance, getting more website traffic and SEO? I offer consultancy, training and talks on digital marketing. Email me or call +44(0)1628 773128 for a chat. Or click the following link to read about my internet marketing consultancy services.

Google Analytics website homepage heat map

Here is a ‘heat map’ image of my website homepage. This shows me the popularity of the various links on my homepage, including the navigation bar, list of services, blog entries, etc.Google Analytics report - nigeltemple.com 16-1-2014

This is a Google Chrome (web browser) ‘extension’. Extensions are small programs that add additional functionality to Chrome. I love heat maps, as I am a visual person. I prefer them to long lists of data. Visit: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/search-extensions/google%20analytics

Google Analytics answers the question: why is your website there?  Discover:

* Which of your digital marketing campaigns are actually working?
* Detailed website traffic information and trends.
* Where do your website visitors come from?
* What are your visitors interested in?
* How can you convert visitors into customers.
* Which keywords are working the best?
* Which adverts are working?
* How many visitors are on your site right now.
* Social media analytics.
* And a great deal more…

My services include website building for small businesses.