While Google changed the way users find content, Google Analytics revolutionized the way webmasters manage their websites.
Years ago, before website analytics had evolved to its current state, webmasters and site owners had to rely on the infamously un-helpful hit counter or complicated server-side statistics to tell them what pages were preforming well on their site and what content was bringing in visitors.
Google Analytics introduced a series of innovative new metrics, a vast improvement over other website analytics tools in existence, that allowed individuals unprecedented access to information essential for shaping their websites.
1) Measuring conversions and goals – What good is traffic if your visitors aren’t doing what you want them to do? Whether you’re trying to build a mailing list or close a sale, seeing how successful or unsuccessful you are at that goal can help you identify growth opportunities. Google Analytics allows you to see how often you are able to drive a new visitor to your sign-up or purchase page, how often you can convince the shopper to look at a related item and any other goal you may have. If these numbers are underwhelming, it may be a sign that you’ve got broken code preventing users from completing a sign-up or poor design not leading potential clients to the right area.
2) Tracking return visitors – For many sites, return visitors are crucial for growth. By tracking return visitors, you can identify how well your site resonates and how passionate your audience is. This also allows you to tailor ad campaigns on your site. Sites with few return visitors and high volumes of new visitors may benefit from a more general bombardment, while sites with highly loyal visitors will be more attracted to ads tailored to their interests.
3) Seeing how “sticky” your site is – Another important use is tracking your site’s “sticky” factor, or the average number of pages a visitor views. Identifying what landing pages are a theoretical dead end for visitors is one great way to identify areas requiring better links to related content. If your website analytics show that most visitors only visit one page, you can evaluate your page structure and break long articles into multiple pages to improve ad exposure.
4) Recognizing and monetizing your most popular content – Knowing what pages are the most popular also means knowing which pages are the most potentially profitable. Ads on popular pages can fetch a premium, and may also be a sign of what content visitors to your site are craving.
5) Identifying keywords that drive traffic – Keywords are essential for truly understanding your visitors. If you don’t see traffic from keywords you want, website owners are able to create content and drive SEO efforts to increasing traffic concerning those keywords. You can also see what phrases are successfully bringing in visitors that complete sales or perform other goals.
As you can see, website analytics offer webmasters unprecedented insight into their visitors patterns and behaviors, and Google Analytics expertly delivers this data and provides a number of metrics used by site owners to increase traffic, close sales, and keep visitors on their site.