The first thing that comes to mind when I think of free analytics software is Google Analytics. It boasts of a huge user base that does not let any other software to come even remotely close to it. Webmasters usually only look at the basic graphs and stats offered by Google analytics but do not go deep. Here are a few advanced yet simple features, which you are yet to be explored by many site owners. To help you with this, here is a breakdown of these features that I suggest you use if you find them helpful.
1) Multiple goals
One thing where most website owners go wrong is laying the sole focus only on getting traffic. Even though efforts for increasing traffic are important, after a point, what actually matters is how many people you are able to rope in to buy your product. A marketer usually has access to many ways to improve conversion rates but most of them call for tracking of conversions to know if there is a significant gain.
In terms of Google Analytics, conversions are referred to as “goals” that is the visitor’s action which you may want to track.
Set up a basic goal:
Goals are usually limited as it is only possible to track a few particular options. These are mainly useful to track when a visitor loads a particular exclusive page.
How to create a goal?
- Go to “Conversions > Goals > Overview” tab placed at the very bottom of the left-hand menu.
- Then, select the pre-filled template you need to reduce the number of fields to fill out in the final steps.
- fter this, click “next step” and set a name for your goal. Try to go for a descriptive name as this shows in your analytics.
- Once this is done, add the page or metric you want to track.
- There is also the flexibility to add a value for the goal which will show later and can be used to calculate a quick estimate of your income.
- Click “Create Goal” and that’s it.
Set up multiple goals tracking to take conversions one-step further:
Do you want to track a particular goal for which the visitor has many ways to achieve it? For this, it is possible to create two separate goals by including both goals in the URL used, on either side of the vertical line (“|”). The brackets mark the different points – start and end.
2) Event tracking to measure effectiveness
GA has a few features to help you track actions of visitors on your website. A click is referred to as an event. To know the frequency of clicks of a particular link or element by visitors, you will have to conduct event tracking, usually done to track:
- file downloads
- link clicks
- embedded AJAX page elements interactions
- Flash movie (or element) plays
With this, you will know if visitors click a particular link or element you add to the page.
Basic form of event tracking code –
_trackEvent(category, action, opt_label, opt_value, opt_noninteraction)
- Category – Mandatory. Label signifying the type of event clicked
- action – Mandatory. Type of action describing the event
- opt_label – Optional. One more label to describe the event.
- opt_value – Optional. Worth of the action
- opt_noninteraction – Decide if completion of the event will affect page’s bounce rate. If yes, enter “False”, if not, enter “True.”
If you find technical stuff difficult or cannot remember how to format code accurately, ease your work by using the GA event tracking code generator.
3) In-page Analytics – Visual look of visitor’s actions
Do you want to see what your visitors exactly do on your page? Knowing this will help optimizing for better user experience bringing about higher conversions. You can use the GA’s in-page analytics.
Option 1 –
Use GA’s native in-page analytics: Navigate to “Behavior > In-Page Analytics”:
This shows your homepage with basic page metrics such as page views, time on page and bubbles (click-through rate for every destination URL) over all the links.
There is more to it. Try “show color” or browser size” at the top right of the window.
Color option – Shows all different links on the page by visually highlighting them. In this, Red signifies the ones with maximum clicked and blue highlights the ones with smallest number of clicks
The browser option highlights what a specific percentage of visitors can view. On navigating to “Behavior > Site Content > All Pages”, a list of pages are offered based on most to least visited. On clicking on a page, an in-page option appears at the top of the traffic graph, which will show the in-page analytics for that specific page.
Option 2 –
If you are a Google Chrome user, install the in-page analytics extension offered by Google.
4) Segmenting – Significant Aspect of Analytics
Google Analytics allows you to understand traffic and user stats by segmenting such as –
- Traffic source
- Landing page
- Returning Vs new visitors and so on.
GA lets you create advanced segments to help analyze a specific one. You can also compare numerous segments.
5) Advance to Custom Dashboard or Shortcuts from Segments and Metrics
Even though segments are useful, they do not save reports, having you re-add them each time you load GA, wasting time. Here are a few ways to save your custom reports.
How to create a dashboard –
- A dashboard can be configured letting you only data that is essential
- To start, find “Dashboards” icon and expand it to find “New Dashboard”.
You get various options –
- “Blank Canvas” to begin from scratch
- “Starter Dashboard” for some commonly used widgets
- “Import from Gallery” to import a pre-made most popularly published custom dashboards
After choosing any one option, you will see your initial dashboard where you can customize it by picking a custom layout according to your needs.
Next, for a widget, click “+Add Widget” and give it a descriptive title. You can opt for either a standard widget that looks at a pre-selected date range or a real-time widget that handles live metrics and data of people on your site right now.
Widget has six categories – Metric, Timeline, Geomap, Table, Pie and Bar.
- Click on “Add a metric” once you select the type of widget.
- A long drop down menu appears with numerous metrics. Choose one and add basic options you want on your widget.
- Click Save button in the bottom left to see the updated dashboard.
How to create shortcuts –
- Click on “Shortcut” at top of the report.
- Add a descriptive name, and press “Okay”.
Whenever you load GA, you can look under the shortcuts menu option to easily view the highly customized reports that you have worked on, saving time.
6) Explore options apart from Google Analytics Data
The perks of working with Google Analytics are that it lets you connect your Google Webmaster Tools account and get lots of information.
The WMT data is located under “Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization” in which the useful feature is the “Queries” tab. It is beneficial to connect your WMT account with your GA account.
After this is done, set up the query report. In this, you will see numerous top queries for your site, number of impressions and clicks for every query, average SERP position and click-through rate. This lets you know about the opportunities available to gain maximum traffic.
To easily identify queries, use the advanced filters. Click on the “advanced” link right beside the search bar in the middle of the page. You will get a few custom filter options –
- “Average Position” more than 3 – If you already rank on top 3, there is not much use of optimizing for a query, even though you can try for 2 or 1.
- “Average Position” less than 20 – Ensure to choose an upper limit to be able to get only those keywords that will rank you on top results with less efforts.
- “Impressions” greater than X – for a query with no impressions it is of no point ranking for. “X” differs based on niche’s competition, your experience, and your resources.
Another tab that consists of WMT data is “Landing Pages”. With this, you get reports in terms of pages giving you information about which ones have most impressions. You can know about the average position and click-through rate of each page in SERPs.
With this data, you can make use of new long-tail keywords in a few places in pages that already get many impressions. You can write a better title and Meta description and add structured data for a page that has its position on the first page but has a lower CTR.