Aviva Jorstad // Nov 20 2012
It’s no accident that Google Analytics is the most widely used analytics platform on the web. According to W3Techs, and cited by TechCrunch, GA has an overwhelming market share among web analytics platforms at 81.9%, and is used by more than 55% of the top 10,000 sites.
Beloved for its intuitive format and multi-dimensional reporting abilities, Google Analytics not only provides basic metrics like visits, time on site, bounce rates and conversions, it can also provide valuable insights for any web marketing manager looking to take their business’ online presence to the next level.
Below are three advanced tips that will help you unearth hidden optimization opportunities with Google Analytics.
You’re well-versed in the importance of content to organic search. You’ve done keyword research, tracked your rankings, and obsessed over getting more visits from your top non-branded terms. But that’s only part of the equation.
Once you’ve attracted visitors to your site, you need to ensure they’re getting the information they need. You can drive all the traffic you want, but the point is moot if visitors aren’t buying. To find the best conversion optimization opportunities from organic search, follow these seven simple steps:
Pro Tip: Don’t forget about Multi-Channel Funnels. My colleague, the Google Analytics superstar Michael Wiegand, has written a great post about the hidden opportunities that multi-channel funnel analysis can unearth.
Linkbuilding from GA? Absolutely.
This one is so stinking easy you’ll kick yourself for not having explored it already. Assuming you have a healthy history of analytics data, set your date range in GA back at least 6 months. Next, navigate into the Referral report under Traffic Sources. Check out your top 50 referring sites. Chances are you’ll recognize most of them – social networks, email, key partners, etc. But what we’re interested in are the referral sources that are not there.
Depending on your industry and business model, there are a handful of links you can seek out. Take a look at the list below. Do sites in these categories show up in your referring sources report? If not, get out there and claim what’s yours.
Start with your business contact list; vendors who know and love you will gladly put up a link to your site. Then move on to the “colder” leads by reaching out to webmasters. It’s a perfect excuse to establish new relationships for future promotions and collaborations.
Pro Tip: As you check out your referring sources, navigate to each and search the web for competing sites. For example, if you’re a fashion retailer, and you have links from a top blogger in your category, check out their blog roll. Do those blogs link to you? If not, reach out and establish a relationship. See how you can work together to your mutual benefit.
Site search is one of the most useful places to get new content ideas. Ostensibly, if visitors are using the search box to find information, you should have content to match those queries. Site search data can also tell you a thing or two about your site’s architecture, and whether you’ve got the best navigation links to help folks find what they’re looking for.
If you don’t already have it set up, here’s a great post from our CEO, Ian Lurie, on installing Google Analytics site search. Assuming you’ve got that squared away, and have a few months worth of data to examine, go check out your report. Here’s an example of what Portent’s site search report looks like:
Note the two items boxed in red. These searches have a high Time after Search (average amount of time spent on site after the search is performed), indicating a high level of interest, and presumably, good content on site related to those searches.
Perhaps we can make it even easier for users to find information on these topics. For example, we might check to see if these terms are included in the main navigation. In this case, the answer is yes for “PPC,” but no for “careers.” The latter is included as a link in the footer, though we can always consider making it more prominent.
Taking a look at some other metrics, such as % Search Exits, we can determine if we’re providing users with the right information. Searches on “affiliate,” for example, have a high exit rate. In our case, however, we’re not too concerned because affiliate marketing is not a core part of Portent’s offerings. If it were, we’d want to get our marketing team going on new pages outlining our expertise in this area.
Share your Google Analytics conversion optimization and linkbuilding tips in the comments.
Aviva leads the account strategy team, ensuring that clients receive expert-level guidance, from goal setting to execution, in PPC, SEO, social media and content creation. Read More