The first thing you should do when you set up your website is to have someone install Google Analytics on it. Google Analytics provides you with vast amounts of information about what’s going on on your site. If you haven’t already set this up, then you need to follow these setup instructions from Google.
Some people love to see that they had 1000 page views in a single day, and while that’s all very nice, they should be more concerned about what happened when these people looked at their pages and what they did. After all, their visitors may have left the site without doing anything!
When we look at Google Analytics for a website the questions we like to answer questions along the lines of:
- How many people visited your page?
- Did they go on to view other pages, or just leave your site without doing anything else?
- If they didn’t go on to look at other pages, did they read the entire page before they left your site? The number of people leaving a site without performing any action is called “Bounce rate” by Google.
- Did they perform an action that you would consider being a “goal” because they visited? These actions include things like making a purchase, joining a newsletter or filling in a contact form. You can set up various types of goals in Google Analytics.
Poor performance in these areas is damaging for two reasons:
- It’s bad for your search engine visibility. Pages with a lot of traffic and a high bounce rate are looked at carefully by Google. High traffic numbers with no action often indicate a problem with the quality of the content as far as Google is concerned. Google only wants to show quality results to people using its search tool.
- It’s pretty bad for your business. These pages are performing badly and leading potential customers away from your site and into the hands of your competitors.
Let‘s have a look at how we can identify pages causing these types of problem.
Quickly Finding problem pages on your site with Google Analytics
Here’s a very fast way to see where you should concentrate your efforts to fix the content of your site:
1. Choose a date range in Analytics; the last 30 days should do.
2. Go to “Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages”
3. Then Sort by “Bounce Rate” and Choose Sort Type “Weighted”
You’ll now see an ordered list of the pages you should look at carefully to identify problems, as these are the pages with the most visits and highest numbers of people leaving the site without any further interaction.
Not everything in the list may be a huge problem. Where you have high bounce rates and a high average time on a page, it’s fair to conclude that people are reading what’s written on the page.
Things like blog posts can have very high bounce rates and a reasonable average time on page because people have searched for something specific and found your blog post, got the information they wanted and moved on—but wouldn’t it be better if you could use some call to action to tempt those “read and leave” visitors into looking at other similarly related pieces of content on your site? This is the sort of thing you need to consider.
Pages, where one of your goals get completed, can have high bounce rates, too. For example, someone completing a contact form with a question about your products or a request for more information is quite likely to move away from your website. The same goes for completed order pages. Can you stop them leaving immediately afterwards by tempting them with something else to keep them on your site, offering discounts if they sign up for your email newsletter?
The technique above is just one example of how you can make your website perform better using Google Analytics, rather than just sitting back admiring the number of visitors you’re getting on a daily basis, potentially visitors who may not be doing anything on your site before leaving!