By Lucy Bradley
Google Analytics is a very well known and powerful tool when it comes to monitoring your website’s performance and gaining a greater insight into the traffic that’s coming onto your site. Around this time last year, we put together a post all about Understanding Google Analytics – to show you what you should be looking for and what it all means. But now we’re here to tell you how you can solve some of the problems your Google Analytics are flagging up. After all, what’s the point in spending your time checking and monitoring your site if you’re not going to act on what the analytics are telling you? We’re here to help you use this insightful tool to its full potential.
As you may be aware, bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors that drop off your website after only visiting one page, and not interacting with the page during this time. Therefore having a high bounce rate is definitely something you’re going to want to put some work into improving to try and get your visitors to stay on your site for longer, and visiting more of your pages.
Google Analytics tells you an overall bounce rate for your site – but really you’re going to want to focus on the bounce rate of individual pages so that you can analyse these pages in greater detail and outline the factors that are contributing to a high bounce rate. Doing so will enable you to improve the overall bounce rate of your site.
So, you’ve seen you’ve got a high bounce rate for the site, and you’ve outlined which pages have a high bounce rate. Now it’s time to work out what it is that’s causing the problems. Think from the user’s point of view – is there a slow loading speed for the site? 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load – so if your site is a bit sluggish, your visitors aren’t going to hang around. Check out how you can fix this here.
What about the content on your site? Is it engaging and designed around the user to provide them with the answers they’re looking for? If the answer to either of those questions is no, then putting some work into making content more valuable for your user is what you need to focus on. When people use the internet they are in search of answers, and if your site fails to meet those needs – then users are going to bounce.
Session duration (as the name suggests) refers to the length of time users spend on your site, therefore if this figure is low this indicates a problem. It can suggest users are not finding much value in your site, and aren’t engaging with the content – therefore are less likely to navigate to other pages on your site, which in turn contributes to a higher bounce rate. As previously discussed, you should look to break down the session duration by page, so that you can identify which pages have lower session durations. You would expect some pages, with less content, or a lack of opportunities to engage to have lower session duration. But if your service page is has a lower session duration, this indicates an issue, and highlights the opportunity for some optimisation work to be taken out.
So how can you solve low session duration time? Much like with a high bounce rate, put yourself into the user’s shoes, does the page contain information you find value in and can be easily digested? It’s really important this is a key priority for you, as this has a direct impact on user’s behaviour on your site. Put some time into thinking about what the user wants from your site, rather than thinking from a SEO perspective, and whether you have all the right keywords and if Google is going to like it. It’s no good putting time into content user’s find no value in.
Another factor to think about is what is your internal linking structure like? By that, we mean does your content link to subsequent pages on the site. This is useful to the user as it can help you to find more valuable information, and it is beneficial to you as it means users navigate to more pages on your site, and thus lengthens their session duration. Internal linking is an easy way to encourage users to navigate to pages on your site they may not have done so otherwise.
Similarly, what is your navigation bar structure like? Does it contain the key pages you want visitors to navigate to on your site, as well as the pages users will find the most value in? If not, perhaps you need to put some thought into which are the key pages you want in your navigation bar, and which ones can go in the footer for example.
Furthermore, something you can track using Google Analytics is your conversions (and if you’re not tracking these then you should be). Doing this can provide some great insight into how well your website is performing, and can be an indicator as to whether or not your site is meeting its website goals (read all about setting your website goals here).
If you’re not getting as many conversion as you might have hoped from your website, it’s worth looking into what you can do to improve on this. What’s the user journey like on the site? How does the user go from your homepage to making an enquiry (or whatever it is that counts as a conversion for you) and can this process be improved on? Perhaps you might want to look at where contact forms appear on your page, how easy they are to fill in – are there unnecessary forms? Look at where you can optimise opportunities for this. You might also want to look at where CTAs are implemented throughout the site, and whether these can be optimised further in order to encourage a desired action of the user (in order to encourage a conversion).
As discussed above, creating valuable content is still an important factor in this – as without this users are more likely to leave your site, therefore resulting in a higher bounce rate and also lack of conversion. Many of ways that can help improve your bounce rate and session duration can have a knock on effect on improving your conversion rate overall.
Sessions on your site are split between new sessions (which are from first time visitors on your site) and from users that have visited your site previously. Whilst all traffic coming onto your site is positive, and you’re looking for increased traffic from month to month. It is important to be receiving a high amount of new users coming onto your site – as this indicates you are being found by new users in the search engines, rather than receiving traffic from the same users month on month.
If the percentage of new visitors isn’t as high as you might like, it could indicate you should be putting more work into your SEO efforts – and how you are being displayed in the SERPs. Check out some of our top tips for non techies here to see what you might want to work on. It’s important to look at where your traffic is coming from, so that you can gain a greater insight into who is visiting your site.
In part 2 of solving your Google Analytics issues, we’ll be breaking down how to get more users visiting your site from different channels of traffic as well as taking a greater look into how to increase page views.. Check it out next week!