Too many website owners today have no idea how many people are visiting their site, how visitors are finding their site, what keywords are bringing visitors to their site and a whole host of other important data points. Luckily Google knew this and created Google Analytics & Webmaster Tools to help small business owners out. Implementation and configuration of these tools is straight-forward and will help you see if marketing efforts are being effective.
There are a lot of solutions for website analytics out there but Google Analytics beats them all. Not only does it provide enterprise-class features and performance, it’s absolutely free! You can track every aspect of visitors to your site with advanced information and great reporting features. The reports are really easy to use and provide great information showing your day to day traffic. You can also create your own custom reporting. Some advanced features that really let you handle and track your marketing work with goals. You create campaigns and goals that you can then track against the site traffic.
My most used areas in Google Analytics is the main dashboard that provides me with the day-to-day graph of my traffic. It’s easy to see how I’m doing right on the first page. Another great area I like is the traffic by source, which shows me what percentage of my traffic comes from directly typing in my website name, traffic that comes from from referring sites, and traffic that comes from search engines. Clicking on the search engine traffic will show you what keywords people typed in to get to your site. That’s cool!
Advanced details of visitors show you the percent of new visits, number of pages per visit, average time on the site, and the bounce rate. For those of you that don’t know, bounce rate determines the percentage of visitors that leave your site after only being on the initial page (i.e. they didn’t click through to any other pages). All of these statistics are provided for multiple segments so you can slice and dice your data and really see what’s going on with your site.
Google Webmaster Tools
This is the tool that you need to get further data on your website and tell Google how to treat your website. The first part is site configuration where you let Google know if you prefer www or not, check to make sure there’s crawler access to your site so your pages get indexed, and information on switching your website address (if you need to).
You then have the “Your site on the web” section that shows the top search queries for your website, links to your site, keywords on your site, a list of internal links that Google will show in search results, and subscriber stats for your RSS feeds. This is a really useful section that helps you see where you’re positioned in Google’s eyes. The areas most used by my company is the links to your site and the top search queries. The search queries really excites me because it shows where your site ranks on Google for certain keywords.
Another great aspect of Google Webmaster Tools is the Diagnostics area. This is where you can tell if there’s something wrong with your site or your site links from Google’s perspective. They see if there are any crawl errors like links that aren’t found (broken links), links that are restricted by your robots.txt or links that are unreachable. This is invaluable information! They also have HTML suggestions if they see that something’s wrong with the HTML on your website.
Both of these tools are critical to to your website so you need to get them implemented as soon as possible. We live in the information age and if you don’t have the information to analyze, you’ll be left behind. Get a leg up on your competition by having more information on your website visitors.