1. Collect insights with Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a powerful tool and can help your online business monitor incoming traffic, view incoming visitors compared to the last period, as well as a host of other insights. It’s no wonder 40,000,000 other businesses use the free service.
You’ll need a Google account to set up Google Analytics, then you can move forward to set up the Analytics tracking code to your HTML <head> or page-builder websites like Wix, Squarespace, or WordPress.
Here’s an easy to follow video that easily explains how to do just that:
Setting up your Property to take advantage of Google’s features
Once you’ve signed in or created your Google account, it’s time to set up your property.
Your property will be your website or app that you set up in your Google Analytics account.
In this case, you’ll be setting up a property for your online business, aka “my-website.com.”
Go to the Admin section in the bottom left corner of Google Analytics to set up your property.
Then, click the blue “Create Property” button in the middle on top and select your correct time zone and currency afterward to create your property.
Changing the time zone will affect data only moving forward.
You may see a flat zone or spike in your data, caused by the time shift if you adjust time zones in an existing property for a short period of time until the Analytics servers have processed the change.
Next, click Show Advanced Options (below the setup Property fields).
Turn on the switch for Create a Universal Analytics Property.
Next, enter your property’s URL and choose https or https www.myproperty.com.
You’ve now got a property set up within Google analytics. You can create up to 50 total properties if you’d like!
You may be greeted with one of the prompts above after setting up your new property for your online business. Just leave Create a Universal Analytics property only selected.
Otherwise, hopefully you watched the video or added your tracking code beforehand and you’re good to go!
Make Your data More Accurate
Analytics will automatically create an unfiltered reporting view for every property in your Analytics account. You can add multiple reporting views to each property as well to collect and view different filtered data sets.
You can add up to 25 views to each property, and Google suggests you don’t add any filters to the original reporting view, as filters are destructive.
Once inside your property, add a view by clicking the blue Create View button on the top right.
After logging in, navigate to the property in which you want to add the view. Then select the time zone for the reporting view and give it a name.
You won’t see a time zone preference if you’re Analytics is already linked to your Google ads preferences. Be descriptive with the name, as you may wish to add several new views down the road.
Filtering out your internal office traffic for one reporting view or a view for North American Traffic or sales Goals may be a good idea depending on your particular online business, for example.
2. Increase sales by tracking your audience’s behavior
Without data to draw from, you’re in the dark, blind to possible negative variables or even positive trends you can take advantage of.
With data, you’re your own veritable SEO specialist with key insights to draw from.
Monitoring your visitor’s behavior on your site will cue you in to how they’re engaging with your content.
When you’re monitoring your online business’s traffic, you can have a more narrow targeted ad campaign as well as tailoring media on social sites to your specific audience or demographic.
Above we can see that the majority of our property’s visitors are female and under the age of 34.
With this data available to us, we should tailor an ad campaign or landing page toward this specific user group.
Knowing your audience and taking the step above will lead to increased click-through rates(CTR) and higher conversions.
If you’re advertising to people not interested in what you’re offering, they might gain interest. But offering to people already interested? Boom. Higher CTR.
Data-driven marketing leaders are 6x more likely to gain competitive advantages and profitability
A study by Forbes on online businesses collecting user demographics found that growth and data-driven marketing are on the rise, while most organizations are stepping up their efforts.
3. Use your data to help troubleshoot issues
Without data, you may notice dips in sales or slowed foot traffic to your brick and mortar location, even after an ad campaign. (What gives?)
But, now you’ve got a fancy new tracking code hooked up to your website.
With your Analytics account you can understand not only who your customers are and where they’re coming from, but if there are any problem areas with your website.
Those drops in foot traffic or sales may be due to issues with particular landing pages or site speed.
Get an overview of your page data
Head back to the Analytics home page and you’ll see a Behavior section.
Several options will drop down that you can check out. Site Content and Site Speed should be two of your first stops if you’re having any questions on traffic
Next, hit the Site content dropdown and go for the All Pages area.
Here you’ll be greeted with a wealth of data about your pages and how your visitors interacted with them.
Here’s a list of all of your pages with data like Pageviews, bounce rates, and exit rates. Check out your landing pages as well if you’re driving people there for sales.
If bounce rates and exit rates are high, there may be something to fix on the back end as people are leaving for a reason.
If you notice issues like site speed, check out our write up on Image Optimization to increase load times and site speed.
4. Sign-up for Google Search Console
Search Console lets you monitor and sometimes resolve server issues, site load issues, and some security issues.
Signing up is a piece of cake.
- As with all things, sign in to Google.
2. Go to Webmaster tools.
3. Click “Add a Property”.
4. Choose “Website” from the dropdown and enter your URL from the dropdown(Make sure to use the exact URL as it appears in the address bar).
5. Click continue.
6. Next, choose how you’d like to verify you’re the site owner. Via HTML file upload, domain name provider, HTML tag, Google Analytics tracking code.
Google Search Console Verification Methods:
1. HTML file Upload: Upload your verification HTML file to a specific location of your website.
2. Domain Name Provider: Sign in to your domain registrar (like Google or goDaddy) and verify your site straight from Search Console.
3. HTML tag: add a <meta> tag to the <HEAD> section of your code.
4. Google Analytics tracking code: Copy the GA code that you use on your site.
Google won’t wait until it’s verified to start tracking data for your online business, so go ahead and add your site!
5. Monitor your site’s presence with Google Search Console
While Analytics are indispensable and provide you with valuable insights to work with, the Search Console will allow you to monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site’s presence in Google’s search results.
Google will keep an eye on your site and automatically notify you of any hacks or problems with crawling or indexing your property. They’ll do the same if they detect if you violate any of their search quality guidelines.
Do you need a Sitemap?
Sitemaps are….. Well, maps of your website that Google will use to more quickly index your site and figure out where your pages are located. They’re only really necessary for larger or newer websites. Do you have your sitemap file? Once logged in to GSC you can upload one to the Console here: Upload your Google sitemap.
Otherwise here’s a short video from Neil Patel on how to easily add your sitemap file from your WordPress site via the Yoast plug-in.
Once your sitemap is submitted, it should be updated and re-indexed by Google every time there is a change on your website. Check-in with the Search Console periodically after content additions to make sure there aren’t any issues, and that the number of indexed pages has risen.
Google has a host of free tools that you’d be crazy not to connect to your online business. Keying into your Analytic’s insights can guide you into better ad targeting, as well as catching page errors before it’s too late and you miss out on sales.
Search console can let you know how you’re doing in the actual Search Engine Results Page(SERP), and will automatically notify you of errors with hacks and indexing. Knowing how you’re doing can dramatically step up your digital marketing efforts. It’s also good for your health, wouldn’t you agree?
Are your keeping track of your online business’ marketing efforts??