This is the third post in a FAQ series focused on the basics of Google Analytics. In my last post, I walked through the Visitors/Audience section of Google Analytics. Today I’m discussing the Traffic Sources section of Google Analytics.
Q: How do I use Google Analytics? – Traffic Sources
A: Traffic Sources
The traffic sources overview is one of the most important parts of your Analytics account. Where your traffic is coming from tells you a lot about the strength of your SEO, your incoming links and your advertising campaigns. It also shows you where your weaknesses are. Ideally, you want traffic coming from a variety of sources, so that your traffic isn’t tied too closely to a single source that’s beyond your control.
Some of the most important reports in your traffic sources are the keyword reports. These are vital to determining how your search traffic is finding your site. Because Analytics tracks not only the top keywords driving traffic to your site, but every keyword used, you can see all the long-tail search results driving traffic to your site. There’s a brief keyword report on your overview page, but more detailed reports can be found under the “Search” sub-report.
The search sub-report also tells you which page on which visitors are landing most often, and which search engine they’re coming from. You can view your paid traffic and organic traffic, or a mix of the two. You can also view traffic in terms of campaigns, including traffic from RSS feeds.
If you use AdWords, you can view detailed reports for traffic driven by your ads, including campaigns, keywords, day parts, destination URLs, placements, keyword positions and TV ads. These reports show you the number of visits generated, how many pages/visit, the average time spent on the site, the percentage of new visits, the bounce rate, your total goal completions and the revenue generated from each. The last two are the most important metrics to watch, as you want to make sure that the ads are generating enough revenue or conversions to make them worthwhile. You may have some ads that only drive a small percentage of traffic, but a large number of those visitors convert (or vice versa). Without knowing the goal completions or revenue, you might disregard those ads and throw away important revenue sources.
Next Up: Content
Want to learn more about how Checkerboard Strategic Web Development can utilize Google Analytics to monitor your website traffic? Call us at (612) 283-4846!