Google Analytics 101

I spent some time yesterday setting up Google Analytics for a client website. If you’re a business and you don’t have any kind of measurement tool for your business site beyond a simple hit counter… it’s long past time you took a stroll on over here into 2010 where Google gives you free ways to manage and measure all of your data.

Google Analytics lets you track a whole host of information related to how folks are using your site, including where and when and how users are finding individual pages of your website. How many are finding you through organic search with keywords? What keywords are they using they brought them there? What pages are the most popular? Is one blog post receiving more traffic than another? From where?

Like any kind of data, Google Analytics works best the more data you have, so don’t expect to get really excited for the first few weeks or so. Rest assured that by the time you have a full year’s worth of data for comparing and contrasting, you won’t know how you lived without it.

Knowing how people are finding your site shows you how well you’ve optimized your site for specific keywords. If you have an online shop that sells funny T-shirts and most people are finding your website by typing in words like, “dresses,” “pant suits,” and “really cool shoes,” you’re probably not optimized for the users you’re looking for (which means that, for site that only sells T-shirts, you’re probably talking way too much about pant suits and shoes).

Another great way to use analytics is to track responses to traditional media promotions. If you have a radio or television campaign running that directs folks to your website, you’ll be able to measure exactly how big a spike in traffic you receive during the days and times those ads ran. If you’re not seeing the traffic you expected, you’ll either need to change your creative or move your spots to a more target-friendly venue.

Companies will often create individual websites for big campaigns – separate from their main site  – just for running with promotions. That way they can create a short, media friendly domain name and track conversions easily by making a call to action on the website to collect email addresses, encourage one-time sales, or solicit other information from users. It’s a fast, cost-effective way to generate leads and/or move specific products in a way that easily measures the success of your marketing initiatives.

As a marketing agency, we love gathering data at P/O/N to measure the success of our campaigns. It’s a great way to find out what’s working and what’s not, and allows us to suggest changes to client campaigns quickly and effectively.

How are you using Google Analytics?

Penny Ohlmann Neimann

The Ohlmann Group has a rich history that began in Dayton, Ohio in 1949, where the agency was founded as Penny and Penny by Bob Penny and his wife Jean. In 1964, Walter Ohlmann joined the firm. Ralph Neiman came on in 1969 and the firm became Penny/Ohlmann/Neiman. In 2011, P/O/N was renamed The Ohlmann Group to better reflect the agency's ongoing evolution and collaborative nature.

3 Comments

  1. I’ve used GA to track conversions / KW research and just how effective sitemap submissions have impacted. I’m a stats guy though and play around with SEO on various KW’s found from GA.

  2. Mmmm juicy keywords. I love looking at the ways folks are currently finding a site organically. What I find with most sites when I take a first look, of course, is that folks are generally only getting there through the most obvious keywords (the brand name/company name), and not the ones that would come from a “cold” search for the more generic product or service.

    More people than I expect use location to narrow down searches, tho, which gives me a lot more confidence in optimizing for location/specialty instead of fighting for alt keywords to top terms.

  3. people are getting smarter with there search terms esp when it comes to location. I like to enrich business local w/ Google w/ KW’s which I have found really helps in SERP’s. As well as using cross platforms: YouTube – Flickr – Buzz – Twitter – Google Social…just to ensure proper rankings and linkage.

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