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:
Audience
Acquistion
Behaviour
….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.

Conclusion

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.

What are SEO Citations and how can they help you?

You may have asked yourself: what are SEO Citations? If your enterprise is mentioned on the web, this is called a Citation. It comprises any combination of the following information: the name of your enterprise, telephone number, business address, postcode, website address. Citations are particularly important when it comes to improving local SEO search results.

If you haven’t focused on local SEO there are many reasons why you should do so, regardless of your business type and size. As smartphones become our ‘2nd brain’ we use them to search for all sorts of things – wherever we happen to be. Understanding Google Search is a crucial marketing skill (it is a big subject, isn’t it?)

Interestingly, a Citation doesn’t need to link back to your website. The value in a Citation is in the mention. The more mentions, the better, as this will boost your local rankings although relevancy is an important factor. Links are still helpful and Citations that include hyperlinks are better than Citations that have no links.

Local Citations include the following combinations: company name and phone number; company name, phone number and address; company name, phone number, address and website; company name and website.

Additional Citation information includes: business categories; hours of operation; driving directions; business description; images; videos; payment forms accepted; geo-coordinates; reviews; owner responses; social media links; email addresses; alternative phone numbers.

A complete local Citation would include your company name, address, and phone number. This is referred to as a NAP. In order to help with your local SEO page rankings, the NAP should match the information on your website exactly. In computer terminology, this is referred to as a ‘character string’. Once you have decided on a format, stick to it. For example Tel: 01628 773128 versus… Phone: +44(0)1628 773128 or some other variant of phone number formatting.

Include your NAP on your Homepage, About page and Contact page.

Here are some places to get Citations: directories, forums, blogs, social media, press mentions, image and video descriptions and profile pages.

You can ask us about SEO within The Marketing Compass website where we have an SEO Group.

12 SEO tips

s-e-oHere are 12 SEO tips:

SEO tip 1: Create an alphabetical list of keywords & phrases. Add all of the obvious words and terms.

SEO tip 2: Create separate Title tags for each of your website pages.

SEO tip 3: Include keyword focused anchor text links.

SEO tip 4: In order to change your own website, you need a CMS (Content Management System).

SEO tip 5: Google loves regularly updated sites with plenty of content.

SEO tip 6: Google reads headlines on web pages (wrapped in H1 or H2 tags)

SEO tip 7: Description tags appear in search results pages. They are ‘webpage ads’.

SEO tip 8: A website Site Map is the search engine’s friend. Create it using XHTML.

SEO tip 9: Comment within relevant blogs and include a link back to your website.

SEO tip 10: Use Google Analytics to measure your website results.

SEO tip 11: Use a quality hosting company within the country you do business in.

SEO tip 12: Keywords should be in the URL, title tag and headline.

See:  Google page 1

Google and responsive websites

Here is a Google page which shows you whether your website is mobile friendly:

https://www.google.co.uk/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly

Google logoGoogle is making significant changes on April 21st 2015 (‘mobilegeddon’). There may be adverse effects on your rankings if your site does not work well within mobiles / smartphones. The answer is to have a ‘responsive’ website which automatically adjusts to the device it is being viewed with. This is usually achieved, within a modern site, via the CSS code – which is one of the many reasons why I like WordPress (see my recent WordPress review). Later on today, I am changing my WordPress theme to one which has responsiveness built into it. So much to do, such little time!

Google commented: “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.” Read the full Google announcement about mobile search and responsiveness here.

As well as being responsive, your site should be lightning quick to load. A key factor here is the hosting service you are using (unless of course you still have a server in the cupboard under the stairs which acts as your web server).

For many years, I have been telling my marketing seminar audiences that “Google loves a blogger.” With the advent of Google’s latest version of its algorithm*, called Hummingbird, blogging and content creation is more relevant to digital marketing than it has ever been.

The more frequently that you update your site and add fresh content (i.e. via your blog), the more that you will catch the attention of the search engines.

If you want to get onto page 1 of Google, Yahoo and Bing, I offer SEO consultancy and training services.

You can ask questions about search via our SEO Group: http://www.marketingcompass.co.uk/groups/seo

By the way Navigator members of The Marketing Compass have just received our updated Google Guide.

* ‘Algorithm’ comes from the Latin translation of a book written by the Persian mathematician, Mohammed ibn-Musa al-Khwarizmi (circa 780 – 850 AD), a member of the royal court in Baghdad. His booked was entitled: Algoritmi de numero Indorum – in English, ‘Al-Khwarizmi on the Hindu Art of Reckoning’.

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.

How to get more website visitors

I am often asked how to get more website visitors or “how to get a website on Google”. There are two answers to this question:

1. Work within your website

2. Work outside of your website

Working within your website
You will find it much easier to work within your website if you have a CMS (Content Management System) such as WordPress. This will give you control over your site and make it easy for you to add new content. Your content should be helpful, engaging, factual, relevant and interesting (in other words, you can’t bore people into buying from you). Content can come in the form of written words, still images, video or audio.

Remember that ‘the more you write, the more you sell.’ Within your website pages and blog entries, aim to write at least 300 words * gasp *. Yes, I know that this is quite a bit of text (and it certainly adds up, if you have many pages). However, Google increasingly likes to read long pages, full of well written text.

Ensure that you have a blog within your site. Blogging can have a dramatic effect on the number of website visitors you receive. Every time you blog, you will be adding to the size of your site. (Think about the world’s best known sites, i.e. Amazon, eBay, bbc.co.uk, Wikipedia – they have a great deal of content and a considerable number of pages, don’t they?)  By the way – a word to the wise – don’t write about yourself / your enterprise the whole time. Instead, write for your customers and help them to learn and improve their lives. Here are some blogging tips which may help you.

Do you love to write? Here are some copywriting tips which you may find useful.

In order to get traffic to a website it is (still) important to understand meta data (which helps search engines to understand what a web page is about). This includes the all important Title Tag. You have 65 characters to play with. Make them count! (If you are interested in SEO, you are welcome to join thousands of business owners within The Marketing Compass and check out the SEO group there).

Working outside of your website
In general terms, this is all about getting more links pointing at your website. There are several answers to the question “how do you get backlinks?” One way of doing this is to list your website within directories, such as www.dmoz.org (which is the largest human edited directory on the web), however, you should be aware that the search engines are getting more sophisticated in the way in which they work. For example, Google now takes into account your social media footprint, i.e. the social media platforms which you belong to and are active within. Interestingly, this ties in with blogging. If you are a frequent blogger, you will find that more people share your blog and you will also receive more backlinks.

In conclusion, the primary answer to the question “how to increase website traffic” is to become a recognised expert in your field and to demonstrate this, within your website. This is easier than ever before, due easy to work with website software.

The Marketing Compass runs half day events on the following subjects, which are relevant to this blog:

Social media training (held in London and other locations)

SEO – How to make Google love your website

The secrets of professional copywriting

By the way, if you are looking for a WordPress specialist for website development or WordPress training click here.

Nigel Temple is an internet marketing consultant, author, speaker and trainer. He shows business owners, professionals and teams how to get better results from 21st century marketing – including online brand awareness, improved search engine rankings, social media effectiveness, website traffic and sales enquiries / sales.

Nigel has taught internet marketing since 2000. He served as a Faculty Member and Course Director at CIM (the Chartered Institute of Marketing) for 12 years. He led over 500 Business Link workshops, focusing on website effectiveness, SEO and social media. Today, he delivers internet marketing events for The Marketing Compass which provides impartial marketing advice for business owners.

To find out more about Nigel’s services email joanna@nigeltemple.com or call Joanna on +44 (0)1628 773128.

He welcomes media enquiries about 21st century marketing, social media and digital marketing. He has appeared within the national press and broadcast media.

Nigel is the founder of The Marketing Compass – join thousands of business owners, tell us about your business and ask some marketing questions!

Follow Nigel on Twitter: http://twitter.com/nigeltemple