For a free tool, I’d say that Google Analytics does a great job for delivering stats of site visitors and their usage of your site. With this in mind, developers have created some great Firefox addons that will provide faster access to Google Analytics. Take a look at these for starters:
Check Current Day Google Analytics
Stats for the last 30 days is displayed as a matter of course in Google Analytics, but most webmasters are really interested in checking their stats on a daily basis to discover the amount of visitors they have attracted. Check out the Analytics Today Browser Bookmark for quick access to daily stats. As the bookmark will only work for one site at a time, try this Bookmark Generator in order to gain access to the stats of up to 10 sites at once.
This nifty plugin promises to deliver assistance to the webmaster by delivering more meaningful information for the set period of time requested. The tool not only enables export of data to a word document but will delivery Social Media metrics too. Delivery of social media mentions is available at the click of a button and will save you the time that would otherwise be spent visiting your social networking tools such as Social Mention. The icons are clickable so that you can go straight to the site and check out the mentions for yourself.
Use this tool to watch Google Analytics from your browser header. Just what every webmaster needs to keep a track on how well his or her site is performing.
Firefox has plenty of addons for many different purposes. Another one that you might consider using to aid with SEO is the NoDoFollow add on that will tell you whether a site has dofollow linking opportunities.
If your site is relatively new and is not ready to compete against the big boys in the SEO keyword stakes, then long-tail keywords could be just what you are looking for. They can bring you traffic by performing well in the search engine results as longer keywords.
Let’s look at how to use Google Analytics to discover which ones you could make more of on your site for increased traffic levels and improved search engine results.
1. Set your time-line in Google Analytics for your site to 3 months or so.
2. Click on the left hand navigation on Content and then Top Content. You will then be shown the pages of your site in order of how many times they have been viewed.
3. Select the page that you want to analyse. Then select ‘Entrance Keyword’ either on the page that you are shown next or on the drop down menu. You will be shown all the keywords that were used to find that page on Google. You can test these keywords by entering them into Google yourself to see the results.
4. To select the best keywords, think about these points:
- Select keywords that are relevant to your site and are likely to be used again
- Use ‘page views’ to assist your choice, as that refers to how many times the page was viewed with that keyword as the entrance keyword
- The average time on page – the longer it is, the more engaging and appropriate your content was for the keyword used. Low bounce rates mean that the page was also what the visitor was expecting to find for that keyword.
- Time spent on the page can also be related to the length of the content, not just whether you were providing what the visitor was looking for.
Select the top 10-15 keywords, and reuse them in your content and your meta tags for improved results on your search engine results and increased traffic.
Google analytics is a powerful method of analysing of how well a website is performing. In addition to displaying data on where visitors are coming from and what they are doing on a site, it is possible to track goals.
Goals can be set for each website, so that your own measure of success can be recorded. It might be that on a website you believe that going to the sales page and making a purchase is the ultimate measure of success. Google Analytics will allow you to set this goal into the dashboard, so that you can track how successful your site is in this.
Other goals that you might want to use and record are:
- when a visitor completes an online contact form
- when a visitor requests to download your free ebook
- when a visitor spends more than 3 minutes on a site
- when a visitor displays a ‘thank you for your purchase’ page by having purchased an item
Most sites are set up in a unique way with different forms and information available. So for each site there will be a difference measurement of success.
Another way to set a goal is to use a ‘funnel’. This means that a user would have used a set route to get to the destination on your site. This enables you to measure the success of landing pages for example. Access to this type of information can improve your conversion to sales on your site and this is why SEO experts find it so valuable.
If a particular site has a lot of traffic but a conversion rate of only 0.01 to sales, then with the use of goals, it is possible to tweak and measure the success of changes by understanding where web visitors are going.
There can be great tactical and strategic advantage when using web analytics. The value is enormous, but web analytics is hard. Even when you have all the information, you cannot rely on it 100% as information from one tool may be in contrast with information from another tool. It’s difficult to know ‘the truth’ about visitor behaviour.
The best analytics have been found to be delivered from knowing clearly what you want your visitors to do before you start to analyse. You can then be clear about the purpose of it and put in steps to improve your results.
Here are the 3 elements that I have found to be must-haves to getting to the bottom of what the real story is:
Reports – reports can provide plenty of data to look through. In fact, they are essential for web analytics. They can provide you with information such as the top 10 pages, the top 10 keywords and most importantly whether your clients are doing what you want them to.
Analysis – analysis is essential for you to understand what is happening with your visitors. How long are they staying, where are they going, how did they arrive. Piecing information from these factors will give you some answers as to what to improve or change. Again, you can use your analysis to understand whether your visitors are veering off in another direction, away from what you want them to do.
Testing – without testing, your web analytics will not be helping you. Landing pages, ads, text, images, everything needs to be tested to see what is working best for your target market. No target market is the same and each one will react differently so you need to test which ‘style’ is most appropriate for them. Which style will lead them to do what you want them to.
So as long as you have a clear idea of what you want your visitors to do, you can improve your results over time.