33 Google Analytics Tips To Help You Maximize Your SEO Campaigns

Oct 24, 2018

Anyone who has ever dealt with marketing knows that Google analytics is a wealth of data and knowledge. But navigating that complex platform and putting that data into actionable use can be challenging. There are hundreds of reports you can access and many more that require customization, but you need to understand what chips are best implemented in order to access that actionable data in the most appropriate fashion. Below are the top tips you should follow:

  1. Set goals and goal values.


Goals are one of the most important features and Google Analytics. Many websites set incorrect goals or insufficient goals. You need goals to see your conversion reports. These reports include an absolute number of conversions as well as conversion rate per goal, and your goal value if applicable. These reports contain a structure of acquisition, behavior, and conversions. You need to have micro and macro goals in order to view them both.


  1. Use Google analytics annotations.


Annotations are there to help you address questions you might have such as, “were there issues with the technical performance of our website? I ask because our conversions dropped below 50% of our 12-month average this last weekend.”  You want to learn more about the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ not just the ‘what’ involved in data analysis.


  1. Take advantage of intelligence events.


Intelligence events are located on the recording interface and they can be very useful if you want to connect the dots between known unknowns and unknown unknowns inside of your data set.


  1. Use custom segments to better enhance your Insight.


Averages do not lie so it is important to look at your averages such as your average conversion rate or your average affiliate marketing rate. Google Analytics has a feature which is called segments and you can use the default segments of which there are 22 or you can customize segments so that you can better design your online marketing strategy to improve areas that aren’t doing as well as you want.


  1. Regular expressions.

Regular expressions

Regular expressions are effectively used when you set up your report filters, your goals, to find your funnel steps, set up any segments you have, and then subsequently filter and analyze your data. It helps you to build those segments and analyze each subset much faster.


  1. Automate your campaign tracking.

campaign tracking

If you haven’t used campaign tracking correctly your data won’t mean anything to you. Google analytics recognizes three channels by default which are none, referral, and organic. None means direct traffic from bookmarks or typing in a URL. Referral is an incoming link from another domain that is untagged. Organic is organic traffic brought to you by the search engine. You might want to set up a 4th which could be Google AdWords. You might also want to automate tracking for affiliate campaigns, paid banner ads on other domains, or email campaign. The more granular you get the better you can examine each facet of your marketing efforts.


  1. Connect AdWords with analytics.

AdWords with analytics.

If you use AdWords for your PPC platform, connect it to your Google analytics dashboard. With this, you can see which Search terms increased sales and create better product pages to supplement that strategy integrating the organic Search keywords.


  1. Analyze your site speed.

website speed

Some of the top websites in every industry, according to Google, are just too slow. The Benchmark is 3 seconds for a page to load and yet even the most popular websites can take up to nine seconds. Your speed will directly impact your bounce rate. Every small increase in time increases your probability significantly. Under your behavior section you can find the page timings report and with that, you can continually check the speed of your site.


  1. Run attribution reports.

attribution reports.

Most of the time businesses credit the conversions to the website or a direct sales email but that’s simply the Last Touch bias which basically means you assigned the last platform of user converted on as the reason for the conversion but in reality, a lot of channels played a role in your sales process.  Reviewing attribution reports will solve this bias by showing what channel played a role in the conversion even if they were not the channels given credit for the sale. You can use a model comparison tool to run multiple types of attribution reports as an experiment.


  1. Generate multi-channel funnel reporting.

multi-channel funnel report

Your attribution reports might not explain why a conversion was made. You can use the multi-Channel finals under the top conversion paths section to answer that question. You can visualize your attribution data in a sequence so that you see how users discovered your brand, what considerations they made, and when they completed their purchase. This is perfect for identifying whether it was social or organic and how you can improve your sales as a result.


  1. Use assisted conversion reports.


If you run the assisted conversion reports you will be better able to see what channel’s increase the chance of selling to a potential customer. This is also located under the multi-channel funnels tab. This section will look at the assisted conversions, the last click or direct conversions, and any assisted last click or direct conversions.


  1. Automate Google analytics reports as well.

Google Analytics

You need reports on how the main KPI’s are doing for your business, but you shouldn’t end up reading a 500-page report that leaves your eyes bleeding.  Automating the reports will save you a lot of time. You need to switch to a 20/80 method for your reporting versus your analysis. You can automatically export your reports using the Google analytics spreadsheets add-on.


  1. Create powerful custom reports.

The custom reports shortcut is very useful if you need to combine information from multiple reports or different types of reports in order to gain a clearer picture of what’s Happening. Within Google Analytics, there are over 80 standard reports available and that list keeps growing but it is probably better for your business to use custom reports so that you can see the most important dimensions and metrics for your business in a single location.


  1. Get emailed versions of your customized reports.

report charts

It takes a lot of time to extract data and you can sit for hours trying to find something in the data you have that might help you increase your conversion rate or your sales. With this platform, however, you can customize your reports and rather than browsing analytics for hours at a time have your top reports emailed to you. With the different alert conditions, you can customize the scenarios for which you want to be alerted. If traffic declines heavily or your goal completions drop over the last few days you might want to alert yourself to this so that you can make sure everything is working properly. This will help you to spend less time simply checking reports and more time being alerted by what matters most.


  1. Look at Current traffic.

GA Direct Traffic

You get your traffic from many sources because most people use a handful of platforms to engage and share content online. Using the source/medium report you can sort your data based on the landing page as a secondary dimension.


  1. View Real Time Reports.

Real Time Reports

Real-time reporting is one of the most creative features in Google analytics because it helps you to Monitor and assess the user experience as it’s taking place on your website. You can find user experience bottlenecks that are currently ripping apart your conversions. Likewise, you can see what things are working effectively to increase conversions.


  1. Find real conversion rates.

conversion rates

If you look under acquisitions on the left-hand side of the screen the source/medium report will help you filter out users who simply show up on your website and leave quickly so that you can see what your real sales figures are. Part of the way you do this is to create a specific segment with custom parameters for the audience based on Behavior. Change the session duration element so that anyone who visits your website for less than 10 seconds is removed from this data. Save these settings and you will get a much clearer picture of what your honest conversion rates are.


  1. Compare new users to returning users.


It’s important to find a balance between your lifetime customers and customer acquisitions. The new versus returning report under your audience section will actually help you to do this. Here you can analyze the percentage of your traffic and visitors associated with returning customers or new customers. You can also see how both segments compare and perform.


  1. Reverse engineer sales.

Reverse engineer

With the reverse goal path report, you can reverse-engineer your sales to see how people went from Brand awareness to making a purchasing decision. Did they go from the about us page directly to the pricing page? Did they research your company with a blog post first? With this information, you can see where your conversions happened and on what landing page, and the previous steps they took on your site to get to that sale.


  1. Take advantage of on-site searches.

on-site searches

When people show up to your website they’re probably a bit overwhelmed by the amount of data there especially if they are trying to find one specific thing. To combat these many companies, use a search bar. you should use Google analytics to develop reports based on the most common searches conducted within that search bar on your website.  From this, you can extract the keywords which were used.


  1. Review Behavior Flow.

Behavior Flow

You need to be able to identify what causes people to purchase things or services on your site and why. Under the behavior section, you can check out the behavior flow which is a flowchart that will show you where people landed on your website and what pages they went to both before and after making a purchase. You can sort this data by new users only so that you can see where visitors went on your site and whether there were common sequences of page history you might be able to leverage to enhance user experience.


  1. Use Affinity categories.


If you really want to understand your customers, use the Affinity categories. You can analyze common Trends among your buyers to see what things they are focused on so that you can improve your value, change your selling strategy, or better alter your propositions to suit their lifestyles, needs, and wants.


  1. Use Path Lengths.

Path Lengths

If you want to see how many interactions people needed with your website before they decided to purchase, you can use the past lengths function. This data will show you how many licks it takes to get to that purchase at the center of the Tootsie Pop. You can leverage this data into your campaigns to increase your sales. Focus on those paths that take longer to convert, obviously any of those that are a single path touch are doing just fine.


  1. Analyze your desktop versus Mobile sales.

desktop versus Mobile sales

Many people today spend more time optimizing sales for desktop conversions compared to mobile conversions. You should analyze the sales and the conversions between both mobile and desktop users by going to the audience section under your reports feature and checking out the mobile overview. With this information, you can compare the behavior and the conversions between mobile and desktop users to see if there are any discrepancies in the traffic. If there are low conversions but a lot of traffic for your mobile users you might determine that your mobile website is not really easy for users to make purchases. If that’s true you just found the solution immediately.


  1. Ignore any internal traffic.

internal traffic

You probably check your website a lot more often than customers do just to make sure that everything is working properly but these checks can impact your data. This increases the visits and the traffic to your site without any conversions which negatively impacts your conversion rate. You can use filters to exclude your IP address and that of any of your co-workers so that your data doesn’t get logged and subsequently sabotage your reports.


  1. Take advantage of pre-built dashboards to generate ideas.

pre-built dashboard

The Google analytics dashboards are great but if you need a higher level of flexibility you might need to work with other things in which case the Google analytics solution Gallery is where you can find custom reports and segments so that you can set up your dashboard the way that you want. Another alternative is dashboard Junkie. This is a resource that will help you to set up the dashboard you want in Google analytics so that generating ideas becomes a seamless process.


  1. Zoom in on the screen.

Viewing Data

If you want to avoid distractions zoom in on the screen. The default setting shows you the left sidebar, but this might be a distraction. Zooming in allows you to maximize your view of the table and the report therein. This is great if you are working with a large report and you want to make sure that you have adequate space for analyzing all the data or if you are presenting and you want to get rid of any distractions.


  1. Copy the report screen URL.

You should always copy the report screen URL and paste it into another tab or a notepad or another screen. The last thing you want is to be working in your report and suddenly hit the wrong button, making that report disappear. When you are conducting a deep analysis that uses regular expressions or advanced table filters this is even worse. You might want to perform two separate types of analyses for the same amount of data so that you can compare them in which case copying the reporting screen URL and pacing it somewhere else will give you the option of conducting multiple analyses on the same data without compromising the original report.


  1. Memorize basic keyboard shortcuts.

keyboard shortcuts

If you are trying to navigate your recording interface having basic memorization of your keyboard shortcuts makes everything much easier. If you are looking at the interface and you hit the question mark you’re going to get a pop-up screen with a list of keyboard shortcuts. The question mark is actually what opens your keyboard shortcut help center. From here you can look up how to set your date range. You will save yourself a great deal of time if you know how to automatically set the date range to yesterday, last month, or the last 30 days. It’s a lot easier to present data if you know the shortcut to toggle date comparisons for the previous period or even the previous year.


  1. Save your report shortcuts.

Kewbord typing

The Google analytics shortcuts function is a very powerful one and you can save your favorite reports with every setting. This is very useful for people who work with Google analytics regularly and is a requirement really for anyone who is consulting on multiple websites. It allows you to save your favorite reports and they were at settings therein for every client or every account you have.


  1. Use the module for “find reports and more”.

reports illustration

If you struggle to find the report you want from time to time, you know the name, but you forgot where it is, this function comes in handy. This feature applies to standard reports, custom reports, and shortcuts. All you have to do is type in the first few characters of the report and you should be able to find it immediately.


  1. Use motion charts to better visualize your data.


Motion charts are something that a lot of users don’t really understand. This feature is the best option for people presenting data visually. With this, you can visualize data with things like line charts or motion charts.


  1. Visualize the sales funnel.

sales funnel

Visualizing your final process can be difficult especially with online sales. But you need to visualize that funnel in order to better understand which pages on your website correlate to the different stages of the funnel so that you can figure out where you need Improvement. Under the conversion section, there is a function called The Funnel Visualization which you can use to do just that.

Overall there’s a wealth of data in Google analytics and at times it can be overwhelming. If you follow all of these actionable tips you can make more informed, data-driven choices that increase your sales.