SEO: Understanding Using Google Analytics by Guest Blogger Shannon Steffens

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This is part 2 of Shannon Steffen’s series on SEO.  Part 1 is here.

I am excited to be back on Jodi’s blog this week. We are again tackling the nebulous topic of SEO and what we can do to improve our website rankings. Today I am going to talk about Google Analytics. This is a free tool that will give you more information then you ever thought about your web site visitors. You can learn what browser they use, what type of connection they use and how they found your web site (web search, direct url or referral from another site). All this information can be used to determine what key words to use on your metadata, what marketing ideas are working or didn’t work, and finally how many visitors you have to your web site.

Today I am going to cover what information you can get from setting up Google Analytics – next week I will show you how to use sitemaps to increase the information you can get from Google Analytics.

This is the basic screen – it shows you all the url’s that you have set up with Google Analytics. I have both my blog and my website set up, so I can track visits to both places.

ga1

Today’s topic started out to be a quick and easy discussion about Google Anaylitcs, but I quickly realized that there is so much more to Analytics and how we can make the most of this FANTASTIC tool. I learned so much about my visitors, I can now tell you what browser they use, if they came to the site via a Google search or a direct link, the type of monitor they have, well the list goes on an on. I will use information going forward to improve my web rankings along with designing my site. To be honest I found myself getting lost in all the information I have available to me.

ga2

Today I am just going to keep the discussion to the basics, explaining a few of the terms that are listed along with showing you some of the information you can get from Google Analytics.

Visitors/Visits: It is good to watch this number, but you will get more detail on the visitor tab. It is the data located there that really gives you a better idea of how your site is doing. It will even tell you what search terms are used for clients coming to your site via web searches, which in turn can help you determine what key words to use for your metadata.

See the images below for some of the information found under the Vistors tab. We are going to be using this again in the coming weeks.

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ga4


Bounce Rate: This is a big thing, in short this is the number of people who come to your website and leave right away. This number is hard to get under 25% and a great bounce rate is considered anything under 50%. If the bounce rate is high you need to look at your home page and make sure that your both your site and landing page get the point across to your clients. As you can clearly see I need to work on this issue. Monday did not have a sitemap listed with Google. I have an all flash site with only two pages that I can index with Google Anaylitcs. Using a sitemap (more on this next time) I am hoping to improve this number.

Pages/Visit: This number is another way you can tell if your site is pulling in potential clients. This number will be only “1” if you have an all flash website. If you have a Flash site with a landing page, like a splash page this will be “2”.


Avg. Time on Site: This tells you, like the bounce rate if people are spending time on your website. This number is rather low, but I am not sure if it is because I did not have my entire site mapped. I am hoping to see different numbers when I get my blog stats going.


% New Visits: This is the number of people visiting your website that have not been there before.


Now that I have told you why you what Google Analytics can do for you the next step is for you to add it to your web site.
Start here and follow their directions: http://code.google.com/intl/en_US/apis/analytics/
Google has great directions and wonderful help tools, but if you get stuck just post here and I will respond.

To add it to your blog use the following application. It was very easy to install and use:

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/google-analyticator/faq/

Jodi Friedman, MCP Actions

Jodi Friedman is the founder of MCP Actions. She designs popular Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets that make editing faster, easier and more fun.

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Comments

  1. 1

    says

    Hey Jodi,

    Great information! Thank you so much.

    When I received your email about the color workshop it also mentioned that Jasmine Star was going to be on your blog. Is that right? That’s so cool, I just blogged about how much I LOVE her blog a few nights ago. I can’t wait…

    Hugs,
    Jonni

  2. 2

    says

    Shannon, Thanks so much for all of the great information! I have a question for you…I went to google analytics and began to follow their directions, however, when I got to the point of needing to embed the “tracking text” into my website in the “body” I got lost. My website is hosted and was designed by photobiz so I have no idea where to embed that text. Any ideas or should I contact photobiz and have them walk me through where I can track? Thanks!!! Christine

  3. 3

    says

    Christine,
    I am not familiar with Photobiz’s sites. You want to put the code in your splash page if possible, as that is the first page they come to on your site. Typically that would be your index.html page. If you have access to the actual site files find your index.html page and open it by right clicking on notepad. Then you can add the code just before the tag. Photobiz should be able to tell you how to do this with their site.

  4. 4

    says

    Google Analytics is a great tool to really understand how your website is doing and in what ways it can be improved upon. It takes a while to get the hang of, but is very useful for any online business.

  5. 5

    says

    I also had a problem implementing the code on my site. But once I’ve properly placed the code within the body, I was able to track the traffic to my site, it is quite amusing at first. I also use alexa’s traffic report, but it seems a little different with Google analytics.

  6. 7

    says

    Great program! I just added Google Analytics to my blog. One suggestion I do have is also to use FeedBurner which is free through Google too. I may say this wrong but I believe FeedBurner helps to track those “subcribers” and people who are reading your blog through a reader such as Google Reader. I believe that Google Analytics doesn’t pick up a “visit” if the person is just reading your blog posts through a reader. I think I’m saying this right. It’s a cool program too! Thanks for all of your insight into Photoshop and now analytics!

  7. 9

    says

    Google Analytics is a cool free tool which can definitely help in analyzing traffic, understand the potential and weaknesses of a website which will be essential for search engine optimization too. Having said that, it has some flaws too including the fact the data is not real time for example.

  8. 11

    says

    Hello. Thank you very much for the very useful information. I also use Google Analytics for my blog and it is really helpful on tracking my blog’s stats.

  9. 13

    says

    I use photobiz its brilliant. You just go into settings and you will see “visit counter”. You pop the code in there and update. Voila! Good luck.

  10. 15

    says

    I love the idea of Google analytic. Very detailed and one of the best tools there is. I am grateful that I read this because I needed more info on it.

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