By Lucy Bradley
We’re back with part 2 of how to solve your Google Analytics issues to really help you to delve deeper into what those analytics are telling you. Last week, we looked at how to solve bounce rate issues, low session durations, how to combat a lack of conversions and what to do when you’re not gaining as many new visitors to your site as you’d hope – if you missed this, check out the post here. This week we’re going to take a deeper look into areas of Google Analytics you might typically be tempted to scan over, which can provide some valuable insight into your website’s performance and traffic on there.
If you take a look under the Acquisition tab on your Google Analytics account, you’ll be able to see a breakdown of where your traffic comes from. Looking at the traffic in this way enables you can outline where your website is being found by visitors, and can also help to identify areas to work on going forward.
Organic traffic indicates those visitors that are coming through to your website as a result of finding you in the search engines (from an organic result not as a paid ad). Having a high percentage of traffic coming through from organic searches shows that users are finding you in the search results and is something we should all be striving for. On the other hand, if only a small percentage of your traffic is coming through as a result of organic search, it would indicate some work regarding your seo efforts should be done in order to improve your position in the SERPs. Why not check out our top tips seo tips for non-techies to give you a starting point?
If you are running a paid campaign using Google Adwords, or through Bing or Yahoo for example, it’s really important to be looking at what proportion of your traffic is coming as a result of paid search. This can help you measure the success of your campaign, and can be a useful metric to compare against other sources of traffic. You shouldn’t only be looking at the data Google Adwords is telling you. Ideally, whilst running a paid campaign, you should look to see a high proportion of your traffic coming from this source – and if this isn’t the case, it poses the opportunity for further optimisation work to be done on your campaign.
Direct traffic refers to users who have come (as the name suggests) directly onto your site as a result of typing your url directly, or from a document for example. Having a lack of direct traffic could indicate a lack of brand awareness for your site, therefore shows this campaign isn’t running as successfully as it could be. Depending on where your direct traffic is coming from will depend on what areas you’ll need to put more work into.
As you’d expect, traffic from social sources refers the percentage of users that were linked to your website from a social media platform, such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. The percentage of traffic you get from the source will differ from business to business, and of course how active you are on social media. If using social media isn’t a priority for you, this isn’t a source of traffic you will need to worry about so much. However, if it plays a larger part in your marketing plan, and allows you to attract potential customers – it is an area you should look to work on.
If you want to increase the amount of traffic you are getting from social sources, you could look to create a social media strategy (take a look at why you need one here) – which can provide you with greater direction when it comes to this.
Referral traffic comes as a result of users following a link from another website to yours. Referral traffic is great as it says to Google that your site contains valuable content, that others want to link to, thus aiding how trustworthy your site is perceived to be (which is great in terms of SEO).
If you’re wanting to increase the amount of traffic you’re receiving as a result of referral, you may want to look into your backlink profile. By that, we mean what other sites contain links that point back to your site. You may be struggling with referral traffic if you’re a fairly new domain – and this is natural, but highlights areas for you to focus on. We have a handy video on some simple ways you can start building backlinks right here!
Within your analytics, there is the option to take a look at the individual performance of each of your pages. By looking under the Behaviour tab, there is an option to look at Site Content, which provides a breakdown for each of the individual pages on your site. This is a very insightful tool, as it allows you to break down what the round up analytics for your site are actually telling you – so that you can better solve the problems that might be contributors.
From looking at this, you are able to see which pages are best performing in terms of page views, average time spent on those pages as well as how many users entered your site through that specific page, or exited after visiting the page. Looking at these insightful bits of data can help you to identify ‘problem pages’, in order to perform a greater analysis into what can be optimised on that page, be it user experience, content or the conversion process.
A really useful tool to find out which path users typically chose to navigate through your site is looking at User Flow, nested underneath the Audience tab on Analytics. You are able to see a ‘top path’ which is the most common path in which users navigate through the site, therefore you can see where a common visitor exits, and the pages they typically visit. In looking at this you can help to improve the user journey and maximise opportunities for conversion in the journey. There is also the option to add a ‘segment’ so that you can see the user flow from users from a specific type of traffic, such as mobile users – providing you with even greater insight.
There are subtle changes you can implement to help to change your user flow, for example taking a look at your internal linking structure. Are you making use of this to point users to subsequent pages that they can find use in? This could help to change the typical user flow, and increase their session duration. You should also make sure none of your pages are ‘dead ends’, by that we mean ensuring each page has a CTA, or has some way that can lead a user to converting.