Using Google analytics can be a daunting experience for the inexperienced, and as such many business owners forego it altogether. This is a mistake. Making friends with this magnificent tool is the beginning of understanding how and why your website is performing the way it is, and gives you remarkable insight as to how to correct things moving forward.
Everyone has to start somewhere, so in order to keep things simple, we've knocked it down to 5 reports within analytics you'll want to watch. This is doable, and will give you a glimpse into seeing just how powerful this tool can be for you.
5 Google Analytics reports you'll want to view
1 – Search queries
Google Analytics reports used to show more keyword data than it does now, but a very useful way to get some of this intelligence is by viewing the search queries report. You should have your Google Webmaster account linked to your Analytics for this to work properly.
After you do that, you can see valuable data such as the keywords you are currently ranking for, the amount of impressions they get, and the click-through rate on that Google Analytics report.
2 – Mobile device use
If your site is not optimized well for mobile, and Google has given us plenty of warning about an April 21st, 2015 algorithm change that will hurt sites that are not; this report shows you which pages are doing well with mobile.
3 – Referring sites
Knowing which sites are sending you traffic (and links) on an ongoing basis is something you'll want to check regularly. If that traffic begins to dip, you'll want to know why, and see if there is a fix, such as a bad link, dated content or other reasons.
4 – Session information
A report showing you data detailing how much time a visitor spends on your site, and on which pages and how long they are there. Since time on site and page is a significant element in the search algorithm, this is highly prized information. Know how a session is defined in Analytics here.
5 – Raw page views and exits
This is how many times your pages are viewed. Closely related is the pages where visitors exit the site from: you want to know this and investigate why.
Keeping a watchful eye on these basic Google Analytics reports will help you stay informed as to how well your pages are doing, and go a long way toward helping you better optimize your business.