Search Engines

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) related information

Measuring your Website Performance with Analytics

Search Engines

So, you just paid your Tucson web designer to build you a new sleek-looking website. It’s “optimized” for the search engines and is supposed to do better than your last site (which was just sitting there collecting virtual dust). A month goes by. Is your website doing well? Is it doing poorly? Did you get your money’s worth? How are you supposed to know? Google Analytics is a free tool that you can use to actually measure your site’s performance.

How Google Analytics works

Whether your website is a Tucson site aimed at getting in the local search results or a more ambitious online shop hoping to tap into larger markets, Google Analytics can help you actually get a specific measure of your site’s performance so you’re not left guessing. And the best part is, it’s free and easy to use. First, you (or your web designer) will register an account with Google and register your web address. Google will give you a block of code that you’ll plug into every page of your website that you want to track (if your website has a content management system or a header file, as it likely does, you’ll only need to put the code in once).

After the code is in place, Google is starts tracking. It tracks how many visitors you get every day. But it gets better. It also tells you where those visitors are coming from. It’ll tell you if you how much direct traffic you’re getting (when someone types your web address into their browser), how many referrals you’re getting from other sites (and which sites are sending you the traffic), and perhaps most importantly, it’ll tell you how many visits (and page views) you’re getting from the different search engines and what search engine terms were used in the search!

This is a plethora of really valuable information you can use to measure how well your site is doing with the search engines. It’ll allow you to see if you’re on target for the key search terms you were targeting, and let you know if you’re not getting as many hits as you thought you would. Oh, and it’s all organized into easy to read graphs and tables for you. Again, did I mention this is free?

Putting the Analytics to work

Once your website has been sending Google Analytics data for a while, you can start to make tweaks to your website. If you’re not getting any search engine hits, maybe it’s time to talk to your designer or an SEO expert to see what you can do to change that (or of course you can do it yourself, if you’ve got the time and know-how). Maybe you need to add quality content, fix coding errors, improve internal link text or add a sitemap. There’s always something you can change, even in the most high-performing sites. Rather than change everything at once, make a few specific changes and give it a couple weeks or a month to see how the changes affect your site’s performance.

Improving your site content and structure

Googly Analytics doesn’t stop at telling you how many website hits you’ve gotten. It tells you where people navigated on your site, when they left the site, and even how long they stayed there! This is really powerful information at your fingertips. Think about it, if you own a local shoe store, this would be like having someone watching the cameras all day long taking extensive notes about who came in the store, where they came from, what they looked out, how long the stayed there and if they made a purchase.

Assuming your website is designed with a purpose – to sell a product or get people to view your services and then contact you – this information can help you decide whether your website is doing a good job of achieving your goals (or not). And if the answer is that it’s not, then it’s much better to know that rather than be left in the dark, wondering what’s going on. You can start re-arranging your content, improving your site design and navigation and seeing how the improvements affect your web users’ behavior.

Set up Google Analytics

If your website is designed with a purpose in mind and you want it to help you achieve business goals, ensure that the web developer you’re working with plans on installing Google Analytics. Take the time to learn how the system works so that you can get the most out of the amazing information it has to offer. Even if you don’t plan on making any changes to your website yourself, you’ll have a good sense of how it’s performing and whether you need to invest in having the system updated to do a better job.

Share this

Leave a Comment