3 Google Analytics Tips for E-Commerce

There’s a lot more to Google Analytics than looking at basic traffic metrics. These tips will help you make improvements to drive more e-commerce sales from your different marketing channels. 

Many businesses using Google Analytics are only scratching the surface of what Google Analytics can do. By not taking advantage of the platform’s more powerful features, they lose out on getting a lot of valuable insights about their marketing and how to make the most of their budgets.

Covering every aspect of Google Analytics would require an e-book. So in this article, I’ll walk through three steps to get you started and more familiar with Google Analytics.

1. Base Your Website Objectives on Specific Business Needs

You can use Google Analytics to measure how well your website performs in helping you hit your company’s target KPIs. Do not rely on the defaults set up in Google Analytics. Those are meant to cover a broad range of companies, and some of them are not applicable to your business needs.

Instead, take the time to define the important KPIs that your website should be hitting. For example, in addition to online sales, is your goal to generate quote requests for larger/bulk orders? Is another goal to collect email addresses by offering a free report? Where do visitors need to go on your website if they are interested in your products or services?

As you think through these goals, you’ll start to identify conversions that you need to set up in the Google Analytics admin area. This is a critical step that will allow you to monitor the performance of all of your different marketing channels. For example, if your goal is to generate quote requests, then you’ll need to set up a conversion to measure quote requests. Once that’s done, you’ll be able to run reports to see how many quote requests were generated from SEO vs. Google Ads vs. Facebook, or any other marketing channel you’re using.

We also recommend using the audience reporting views to see if your website visitors are actually your ideal customers. You can create customized segments for tracking important demographic points, like age, gender, and location.

Reviewing the information on your visitors may give your more perspective. Maybe your company needs to change its marketing strategy or website layout to resonate more with your target market.

2. Use E-Commerce Tracking

Google Analytics offers a feature called Enhanced E-Commerce. You should see it when setting up your Google Analytics account. Here are a few ways you can use the feature to get a better understanding of the customer journey through your website and shopping portal.

  1. You can track the shopping and checkout behavior of each visitor to your site. That includes product page-views, shopping cart additions and removals, abandoned items, and completed transactions.
  2. You can view metrics, like revenue generated, average transaction quantity, conversion rates for specific products, and how quickly products get added to a shopping cart. You can see what point a customer loses interest in the shopping experience. That lets you focus on tactics that keep them engaged and encourage them to complete a purchase.
  3. You can measure the success of various internal and external marketing efforts meant to encourage shopping and checkouts by visitors. For example, you can see whether the new product banner put up increased conversion rates.

The various reports give you a clear view of the path customers take as they shop on your website.

3. Sync Google Analytics With Your E-Commerce Platform

Many e-commerce platforms, like Shopify, have the ability to quickly sync with Google Analytics. This can save you and your team a lot of time and frustration trying to set everything up manually.

For example, the e-commerce analytics reporting mentioned above requires knowledge of Javascript, if you want to set it up yourself. Always check with the support team for your e-commerce platform to see if they have already synced up with Google Analytics. If they have, then you could be set up in a matter of minutes.

Look Beyond Surface Data

There’s a lot more to Google Analytics than looking at basic traffic metrics. These tips should allow you to gain a better understanding of where you can make improvements to drive more e-commerce sales from your different marketing channels.

  • First, identify your business goals and set up conversions in the Google Analytics admin area.
  • Second, set up enhanced e-commerce analytics either manually or by syncing your e-commerce platform with Google Analytics.
  • And third, review all the e-commerce reports to see which marketing channels can be improved to increase your sales.

Want more tips on how to use Google Analytics? Click here to grab a copy of our “Ultimate Google Analytics Checklist.”

 

How to Use Google Analytics to Improve Google Ads Performance

Google Analytics can be a treasure trove of information to help improve the performance of your Google Ads campaigns. However, trying to figure out all of the the various metrics within Google Analytics can be a big stumbling block for advertisers.

Google Analytics can be a treasure trove of information to help improve the performance of your Google Ads campaigns. However, trying to figure out all of the the various metrics within Google Analytics can be a big stumbling block for advertisers.

The sheer volume of numbers and data available can quickly get overwhelming.

The Key to Finding Value in Google Ads Metrics

Both Google Analytics and Google Ads metrics and reports should be looked at in the context of your business. Are you using the platform effectively enough in ways that benefit your business? What is it you value most, when it comes to your company?

These are a couple of questions you might want to focus on as you comb through your Google Analytics metrics. Understanding what you want to accomplish with your ad campaign can help you narrow down metrics that matter to your bottom line.

  1. What audience demographics do you wish to attract?
  2. Are visitors able to find the thing they are looking for after clicking your ad?
  3. Is your landing page delivering the type of conversions you are after?
  4. From which channels would you like to direct most of your traffic?

Let’s look at how certain Google Analytics metrics and reports can help with Google Ads.

Give Visitors a Great Experience

Do you know what visitors hate the most about clicking on an ad? Not finding what they need. This can ultimately hurt your brand, if your Google Ads campaigns are frustrating prospective customers.

Sure, your Google Ads conversion rate can help give you this insight, but it doesn’t give you the full story. If your ads are not converting as well as you’d like, then you need to dive into Google Analytics to see what’s going on.

First, take a look at your your landing page bounce rate. That’s the number of visitors who see your landing page and then leave without clicking to a second page. A high bounce rate means your landing pages are not living up to the promises you’re making in your ads.

Gain Insight Into Your Website Design

What good does it do to drive prospective customers  to your website, if they have a difficult time with the navigation?

If you are having difficulty getting your conversion rate up to where you would like, it could be an issue with website design. Part of the problem might be that your website design makes completing the path to a conversion overly tedious.

You can review this using the Google Analytics Users Flow report. The Users Flow report will show you how people are navigating through your website, starting with your landing page. You may see that prospective customers are getting distracted and clicking to pages that are not in your sales funnel. Use this information to redesign your landing pages and subsequent pages in the sales funnel to reduce drop off and increase the overall conversion rate of your Google Ads campaign.

Find Your Top Performing Audience Demographics & Interests

The Google Analytics demographics and interest reports can you give you great insight into your top performing audiences. Review these reports to see which audiences are performing best.

Then use the audience data to improve your Google Ads campaigns. Modify your demographic targeting, adjust bids, and even launch new campaigns to target the audiences you know perform best based on the Google Analytics data.

Summary

To be successful with Google Ads often requires using data that’s not available within the Google Ads reports. But one of the best sources of advertising performance-enhancing data is Google Analytics.

Review your landing page bounce rates to see how well you’re matching your landing page message to your ad copy. Use your Users Flow reports to see if your prospective customers are getting distracted on your website. And use your demographics and interests reports to improve the targeting in your Google Ads campaigns.

Want more tips to improve your Google Ads performance? Click here to grab a copy of our “Ultimate Google Ads” checklist.

 

 

4 Steps to Improve Conversion Using an Analytical Approach

Improving on-site conversions and increasing sales has been and always will be a top priority for smart businesses. However, WordStream found from first-hand analysis that the average conversion rate for a business website is a measly 2.35%. Obviously, having more sales is the key to long-term success, but finding effective ways to optimize the factors that impact the conversion rate is often very tricky, for several reasons.

Improving on-site conversions and increasing sales has been and always will be a top priority for smart businesses. However, WordStream found from first-hand analysis that the average conversion rate for a business website is a measly 2.35%. Obviously, having more sales is the key to long-term success, but finding effective ways to optimize the factors that impact the conversion rate is often very tricky, for several reasons.

First of all, there are many factors that influence conversions and purchase decisions. One little bump in the road can bring the buyer’s journey to a screeching halt. Secondly, it is difficult to determine which factors exactly are hurting or helping, making conversion rate optimization (CRO) a seemingly impossible task for many businesses.

This is why an analytical approach is necessary for true conversion rate optimization. Data is a crucial and necessary ingredient for any smart business decision. And thankfully, accurate data is more accessible now than ever with evolving technology and tools.

Here’s how to improve conversions with an analytical approach that consists of four simple steps…

1. Identify the Gaps

You cannot fix what you do not know is broken. On the other hand, it is extremely wasteful and counterproductive to start from scratch when some elements of your website are actually working just fine. Therefore, you need to find the weakest links and address them first.

Google Analytics is actually a great tool in this regard. There are plenty of insights that it offers, which can shed light on the details of your website that are affecting conversion rates. For example, you may want to start off with the obvious comparisons, like desktop vs. mobile conversions.

It is important to note that the global average conversion rate for desktop devices is nearly 4%, while that for mobile is just under 2%. So there will be some divergence between these two rates. However if, for example, your mobile conversion rates are significantly lower, it could be a sign that the UX is not optimized properly or even interfering with the customer experience.

conversion rate
Credit: Smartinsights.com

2. Start Simple and Work Your Way Up

Boosting your micro, mini and macro conversions doesn’t require a complex strategy or an overwhelming overhaul of your existing marketing campaigns. Instead, look for the simplest changes that will have an impact on lead qualification, sales complexity, or purchase timelines.

At its core, your conversion rate depends greatly on the customer experience. Providing a remarkable CX starts early on in the targeting process. With the right brand messaging and martech implementation, you can improve CX and influence your conversion rates.

For example, your promotions and advertising should be contextual and timely. This, in turn, depends on how well you’ve carried out keyword research and whether your content matches trends in your niche.

Ask your marketing team key questions about the basics of your strategies. For example, how long has it been since you defined your core audience and analyzed data to determine the demographics of your customers? Things change quickly over time and you need to adapt to changes in consumer behavior on a regular basis to ensure effective targeting of each segment.

conversion rate optimization
Credit: Datapine.com

Many a time, instituting online conversions as an organizational process or operational function needs a top-down approach. In order to know and meet industry standards and benchmarks, and find meaningful correlations in your business, you may want to restructure your C-suite to handle Big Data and its implications on marketing and customer service. Many modern companies are now hiring CDOs (chief data officers) and CCOs (chief customer experience officers) to gather insights from analytics and deliver better customer service. Bringing on experts in these fields can do wonders for your CRO strategy.

3. Optimize Hot Points

In order to truly optimize your conversion rates, you need to understand how customers are interacting with your website. Using heat maps is a great way to understand the general path that visitors follow on your website. Website heat maps track mouse movements, click rates, and scrolling speeds, and use color-coded overlays to identify the parts or elements where the most action is occurring on your web pages.

CRO
Credit: Hotjar.com

Using insights from heat maps, you can influence the user’s course of action by better positioning key elements (and tweaking their copy) that help boost conversions.

By placing CTA buttons in the areas where their eyes are naturally drawn, you can increase on-page engagement. You can also use this information to guide product displays, optimize content placement, and just create a more appealing layout that is designed to move customers through the sales funnel.

Healthcare publishing media site Nurse.com used heat map testing to optimize the content placement on its website to increase the number of signups for its online courses. They found that their existing layout unfortunately had very low engagement and the placement of their CTAs was less than ideal. After testing new designs and altering the layout with important CTA buttons along the natural reading flow, they were able to increase their conversions by nearly 16%.

4. Monitor, Adjust, and Improve

An analytical approach to CRO doesn’t just stop with identifying weaknesses and providing solutions. As you make changes, it is imperative that you continue to measure the impact that these changes are having on your conversion rates for an extended period of time and continue to test out alternative tactics. This is the only way make strategic changes that deliver long-lasting results.

When it comes to testing various strategies, the traditional approach has been to use A/B testing for layouts and copy. While this system has certainly been a staple for marketing teams in the past, it definitely has its faults. However, machine-learning and AI-enabled technology now allow businesses to conduct multivariate testing and also implement the results with utmost accuracy.

For example, money transfer startup Monito used AI-based testing to optimize conversions on a landing page that showed the best currency conversion rates. First, they used machine learning analysis to test out the efficacy of hypothetical designs of their lead box and estimate sign-up behavior through predictive heat maps. They then ran 12 design variants simultaneously, while AI measured and rated visitor interactions. The best design ultimately led to a 50% rise in signups.

CRO image
Credit: Eyequant.com

You need to continually test and monitor your changes to be sure that your site is truly optimized at all times. Your target audiences and their preferences both are constantly changing; so what may have worked well a few months ago may no longer be the best option.

In Conclusion

Using an analytical approach to CRO is truthfully the only way to guarantee continued success. By making the most of modern tools to collect behavioral data, make changes to your website’s design, and constantly monitor the outcomes, you can expect to see significant increases in conversions on an ongoing basis. Good luck!

What Do Customers Really Want? Google Analytics Can Help You Find the Answers

Do you truly know your online customers? If you answered “yes” but don’t use Google Analytics, then you might easily be mistaken. Your website might bring in quantifiable numbers of customers — and it could be responsive on mobile devices while satisfying the basic criteria of good SEO — but what about the performance metrics you can’t see?

Do you truly know your online customers? If you answered “yes” but don’t use Google Analytics, then you might easily be mistaken. Your website might bring in quantifiable numbers of customers — and it could be responsive on mobile devices while satisfying the basic criteria of good SEO — but what about the performance metrics you can’t see? What about dissatisfied visitors who bounce within seconds, or the folks who fail to convert after placing items in their online shopping carts?

And what about the willing, eager shoppers who you’re completely missing out on? What if your audience doesn’t care about half of your blog posts, PPC ads or Facebook updates? It’s easy to get excited about new leads and sales from online marketing. Too often, though, business owners and novice marketers leave money on the table by failing to look deeper into their websites and marketing efforts.

In short, they fail to ask: “Am I honestly reaching my customers?”

You can find answers to this question with Google Analytics, a free service that offers near endless amounts of data about how people interact with your website. Follow the data, and you’ll eventually learn what your customers really want. Then, and only then, will your business fully benefit from your website and marketing efforts. Here, we’ll dig deeper into how Google Analytics can help you learn more about your customers.

Why Do People Visit Your Website?

You’ve probably heard the terms “advertising funnel” or “conversion funnel” thrown around. In marketing, “funnel” is the term that describes a consumer’s journey toward becoming a customer.

It might begin with someone searching Google for cheap men’s running shoes, then clicking a sponsored result from Nike and ordering shoes online. That said, funnels can also be more complex. The same person might see a blog post on Facebook written by a local running store. He then follows the blog and reads new posts over the next few weeks. Eventually, he clicks through to the running store’s website from a link in the blog post, and he ends up buying a new set of trainers.

Measuring Custom Campaigns With UTM Codes

Custom Campaigns give you the ability to add campaign parameters to the destination URLs of your blog posts, online marketing ads, social media content, etc. That way, you’re able to collect data about those campaigns and understand where the campaigns are performing the best.

Google Analytics logoWhat are Custom Campaigns?

Custom Campaigns give you the ability to add campaign parameters to the destination URLs of your blog posts, online marketing ads, social media content, etc. That way, you’re able to collect data about those campaigns and understand where the campaigns are performing the best.

In this post, I’ll walk through how to build URL parameters to measure the effectiveness of Custom Campaigns in Google Analytics.

Kia blog post main image

Best Practices for Building URLs

What are URL Parameters?

Parameters are snippets that you can add to the end of your URLs. There are five main parameters that must be paired with a value that you assign. Each parameter-value pair is what contains the information you want to track that’s related to your campaign.

The table below outlines the name and definition of each parameter you’ll find within common URL builder tools such as the Campaign URL Builder by Google.

Kia's blog post chart

How to Identify URL Parameters

For example, let’s take a recent blog post of mine, “Hacking the New Google Drive Features,” and add URL parameters to it. In order to measure the traffic to the post that comes from our branded Twitter account, we identify the following parameters:

  • utm_source: twitter
  • utm_medium: social
  • utm_campaign: branded
  • utm_term: n/a
  • utm_content: n/a

Our destination URL is now https://st-tech.blog/new-google-drive-features-2017/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=branded. You’ll notice we didn’t include utm_term or utm_content. That’s because we reserve utilizing those snippets for PPC campaigns.

Why Use URL Parameters?

These parameters will allow us to effectively measure the traffic received from the specified criteria. When a user clicks on a custom URL, the parameters are sent to Google Analytics, and the data made available in the Campaigns report under the Acquisition tab.

Kia's blog post example

This gives us tons of more freedom in terms of our analysis. We’ll be able to drill down in Google Analytics and pivot this data to tell our user’s journey to the post. This type of data is actionable and can have a significant impact on the bottom line: ROI.

When NOT to Tag URLs …

Remember, though, as tempting as it may be to try and measure everything about where your traffic comes from, remember to tag only what you need for effective analysis.

Why? Because the more parameters you add to URLs, the more complicated you can make it in the end. Google Analytics automatically tracks the majority of these parameters and spending time on tagging for the sake of tagging isn’t the point.

The goal of tagging destination URLs is to differentiate traffic with more specificity than Google Analytics already does.

Do you use Custom Campaigns in Google Analytics? How has tagging helped you measure your campaigns more effectively? If not, give the Campaign URL Builder a try and follow my tips for more detailed analysis of traffic sources to your site or blog.

Does Your Content Work? Advanced KPIs for Google Analytics

You spend tons of time making sure every word in your blog posts is perfect, but are you measuring the performance of these posts effectively?

Google Cabinet MCheck out even more about personalization and artificial intelligence with FUSE Enterprise.

You spend tons of time making sure every word in your blog posts is perfect, but are you measuring the performance of these posts effectively?

Whether you’re a Google Analytics magician or a certified beginner, GA is integral when evaluating the performance of any website (including small blogs).

For many just starting out in Google Analytics, digging through your plethora of data to unearth actionable insights is no small feat. To save your soul (and your time!) this post will walk you through how to create my go-to advanced segment: Engagement/Post.

This GA segment is simple, quick and applicable to any type of blog or business with content-focused KPIs.

Without further ado, here’s how you can take advantage of the unique segment I created to measure user engagement on my blog.

Kia blog post GA segment

What Is Google Analytics Advanced Segmentation?

Google Analytics Advanced Segments isolate specific types of traffic within your reporting views for deeper analysis. Segments essentially allow you to view GA data that follows your specified criteria. There are five ways to customize segments; by:

  • Demographics
  • Technology
  • User Behavior
  • Date of First Visit
  • Traffic Source

In addition to this list, GA provides the ability to program your parameters with conditions and/or sequences under the “Advanced” tab within the segment editor. This gives you the added flexibility of setting multiple conditions (which we’ll explore later) for your segments.

Using Advanced and Custom Segments in Google Analytics

In any view, segments can be found at the top of the screen underneath the header that contains the report’s name, your selected date range and the options for sharing. To remove/edit/share segments, toggle its settings by clicking the arrow next to each box.

kia blog post GA view

GA offers pre-set segments, such as:

  • Converters
  • Non-converters
  • Direct Traffic
  • Mobile Traffic
  • Etc.

Take a look at these later on, if you’re interested in using Google’s system segments.

Creating the ‘Engagement/Post’ Segment

My go-to segment, Engagement/Post, is unique because it gives you a refined look at the performance of specific content rather than an overall peek at website traffic.

Kia blog post Engagement/Post segment
Here’s how I define Engagement when creating the Engagement/Post segment

Next, you’ll create a condition that excludes traffic from your categorical website pages (example: home page, about us, etc.). Because it’s super-important to analyze these separately. This is because user intent and behavior varies, depending on where they are on your site. Bundling all activity without distinguishing between the pages that matter most is a sure-fire way to fudge up a good GA analysis.

Of course, this can all be done in a variety of ways without using advanced segments (think: filters, views, content groupings, etc.). But segmentation in GA is a foolproof way of validating this type of traffic data without getting your hands too dirty.

Kia blog post Engagement segment detail
Your GA segment should look something like this now

This advanced segment will allow you to better understand which content drives the most engaged users on your site. Compare it against other segments for best results.

Explore the Solutions Gallery

Kia blog post GA gallery

The GA Solutions Gallery is for those interested in importing dashboards, custom reports and segments into their own GA accounts. Essentially, this platform serves as a forum for sharing user-generated GA solutions.

The Solutions Gallery is perfect for beginners, because there aren’t any major commitments or heavy setup involved with importing. For pros, check out the GA Solutions Gallery if you’re looking for specific, detailed segments that align with common KPIs.

Feeling lucky? Upload or create your own solution to share publicly for reuse in the gallery.

Recommended Dashboards for Content Marketers

  • The Content Analysis Dashboard provides you with insights that help evaluate the efficiency of your content. The dashboard widgets show the pages that are underperforming or overperforming so you can adjust your strategy accordingly.
  • The Engagement and Loyalty Dashboard helps you analyze traffic growth over time to improve loyalty and engagement with your content.

You can also create your own dashboard in Google Analytics under the “Customization” tab. The tab is great for everyday GA users who wish to make shortcuts, craft custom reports and receive alerts.

Marketers, what’s your opinion on my Engagement/Post segment? Did you implement it, or did you find another segment that matched your needs in the Solutions Gallery?

Learn even more about the convergence of technology and branded content at the FUSE Enterprise summit. Artificial intelligence and personalization will be featured among many other techniques and technologies.

How Google AMP Is Changing SEO: The Good and the Bad

News content is highly popular during presidential election years, especially following an election. And if you’ve browsed your smartphone for the latest scoop, then you’ve probably noticed the AMP carousel that appears atop Google’s search results. What exactly is AMP, and why should online marketers pay attention to it?

News content is highly popular during presidential election years, especially following an election. And if you’ve browsed your smartphone for the latest scoop, then you’ve probably noticed the Google AMP carousel that appears atop search results.

What exactly is AMP, and why should online marketers pay attention to it?

The specific goal of Google AMP, or accelerated mobile pages, is to streamline content on mobile Web browsers, dramatically increasing page loads and driving user engagement. A webpage coded with the special AMP HTML displays with simplified formatting and basic images; meanwhile, complex page elements are loaded secondary in the background. In addition, Google caches AMP content on its servers around the world, which further enhances page speed. Some AMP pages load up to 10 times faster than standard Web pages.

But there’s a bigger picture here. This is yet another effort by Google to provide answers rather than just search results. Think of this like the Knowledge Graph system through which Google shows answers to basic questions in large, highly positioned info boxes. Above-the-fold real estate is even more valuable on mobile SERPs given the smaller screens and steep orientations of smartphone screens. Google’s efforts to preempt organic results with new widgets and placements should always be viewed skeptically.

That said, any marketer worth his salt should also think about opportunity. How can businesses take advantage of the Google AMP Project? Here, we’ll review how AMP HMTL might affect SEO for better and for worse.

Google AMP: The Good

A person who clicks an AMP link wants to be engaged by compelling content, so you’re halfway there already. The AMP further guarantees a positive connection by greatly improving page load speeds. In addition to racking up views and shares, here are reasons for marketers to embrace AMP:

1. AMP pages get premium SERP placements.
AMP pages show up on mobile web browsers without any need for vertical scrolling. Even better, they’re formatted to display in what’s clearly a horizontal swiping carousel, offering fantastic visibility for top-ranked AMP webpages. Any option for above-the-fold real estate on smartphone screens is worth pursuing.

2. More people will read content.
Thanks to AMP, Google is doing for publishers what Facebook did with its Instant Articles. People who click on AMP articles are less likely to bounce and more likely to get engaged. It’s great for publishers who want to use long-form content to build connections and relationships with Web users.

3. AMP isn’t completely static.
AMP pages can be designed with audio, video, social sharing buttons, dynamic content and more. Publishers can even display ads on their AMP pages, although ads resolve secondary to the primary content. Over time, the technology behind AMP will undoubtedly allow for more complex page elements.

4. AMP is supported by Google Analytics.
Just like with other kinds of webpages, you can track how users interact with AMP pages using a special tag that’s supported by Google Analytics. Use this to measure page views, social interactions and clicks on different parts of your landing pages.

Google AMP: The Bad

Of course, not everything about AMP is sunshine and rainbows for SEO. The whole point of AMP is to hasten load times by simplifying landing pages, which can limit the usefulness of webpages. Also, there’s the issue of AMP links on SERPs. Here are some reasons to be wary of AMP:

5 SEO Tools Every Business Must Use to Be Successful

Peter Drucker famously said, “What gets measured, gets improved.” That’s true with everything, especially search engine optimization. There’s simply no way to improve your SEO results unless you’re using the right measurement tools.

SearchEd Note: Don’t miss today’s webinar with Phil Frost: “5 Rules for Winning in the New World of Search” where he’ll explain what you need to do (and what you need to avoid!) to get your website ranking high in Google!

Peter Drucker famously said, “What gets measured, gets improved.”

That’s true with everything, especially search engine optimization (SEO). There’s simply no way to improve your SEO results unless you’re using the right measurement tools.

What exactly do you need to measure? Just rankings right? Wrong! Rankings are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to monitoring your SEO efforts. That’s why I put together this list of 5 tools that every business needs to be successful with SEO.

As you’ll see, each tool provides an answer to a critical SEO question. That’s the key takeaway. Regardless of the exact tools you use, you must be able to answer the five questions below …

1. Are Your SEO Traffic and Conversions Trending Up or Down?

You’ll notice the first question is not about your search engine rankings. More important than rankings is the amount of traffic and conversions (leads and sales) you’re generating from SEO.

To measure your traffic and conversions from SEO, you’ll need to install Google Analytics, a powerful and completely free website analytics tool.

Once Google Analytics is installed properly on your website, then you’ll easily be able to report on and see if your search engine traffic is trending up or down. Plus, when you set up conversion tracking (aka Goals), then you’ll see how many conversions were generated directly from your SEO traffic.

2. Can Google Index Your Website Without Errors?

Before your website has a shot at ranking on the first page, Google must first crawl your website and store it in the search engine Index. During this process to index your website, Google could run into errors.

For example, Google may find broken links or pages that take too long to load. Some pages may be inadvertently telling Google to not index them by using what’s called a “noindex” tag. Lastly, it’s even possible for a website to completely block the Google bot from crawling the website, which means no pages would ever show up in the search results!

To identify errors like this, make sure you set up your Google Search Console account (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools). Once you set up your account, you’ll get alerts if Google finds errors on your website or if they issue your website a penalty that would hurt your rankings.

3. Are Your Rankings Improving?

First, it’s important to address a common misconception that all you need to do is check Google to find your rankings. I’ve talked to many business owners that check their rankings religiously by searching in Google.

Ever since Google started to personalize the search results, manually checking your rankings was no longer effective. In fact, it can be very misleading!

Better Together: Pair Google Analytics With Google AdWords for Stronger Campaigns

If you have not yet linked your AdWords campaign with Google Analytics, you are missing out on some much deeper tracking possibilities that can ultimately help you build a stronger campaign. Here are a few things you can do with Google Analytics.

If you have had a Google AdWords campaign up and running for a while, you are probably already familiar with the various AdWords tracking tools. With a simple bit of code, you can track every conversion that takes place on a particular “thank you” or receipt page. You can also import offline conversions, which are a bit more complicated to set up, but very much worth the effort. If you have not yet linked your AdWords campaign with Google Analytics, however, you are missing out on some much deeper tracking possibilities that can ultimately help you build a stronger campaign. Here are a few things you can do with Google Analytics.

User Behavior Tracking
Google AdWords lets you track conversions. However, it doesn’t give you much insight about the visitors who did not convert. Learning more about their behavior on your site can help you identify areas that you can improve, ultimately increasing your conversion rate.

For example, Google Analytics will tell you how many pages the prospect visited, the amount of time they spent on your website, and whether or not they immediately bounced away. In other words, you can track the user behavior of your AdWords traffic to see what those prospects are doing.

Think of AdWords conversion tracking like a light switch. It’s either on or off. You either have conversions or don’t. And when you don’t, then excuse the pun, but you’re in the dark about why the AdWords visitors are not converting. This is why Google Analytics is such a great tool to add as you analyze your advertising performance.

E-commerce and Funnel Tracking
Google Analytics allows you to go deeper than Google AdWords conversion tracking does. If you sell products online, you can use Google Analytics’ e-commerce tracking to monitor specific information about product revenues, transaction details, and length of time from initial interest through completed sale.

Multichannel funnels in Google Analytics allow you to see each incremental step that buyers go through on their way to a completed sale. For example, your AdWords campaign may be driving 100 sales per month, but your AdWords reports do not tell you if those customers interacted with any other marketing campaign. By using the Multichannel funnels reports, you’ll see if organic search, referrals, email marketing, or another channel is playing an important role in your AdWords conversions.

Prospect Segmentation and Retargeting
Retargeting, or displaying your ads to prospects who have recently visited your site, is an important part of a solid Google AdWords strategy. Google Analytics can streamline this process for you by automatically segmenting your visitors and creating lists of people who are likely to buy. If you prefer to create your own segmented lists manually, Google Analytics helps you drill down to find your prospects’ demographics, location and online interests.

Split Testing Landing Pages
Success with AdWords advertising is not just about correctly setting up and optimizing your campaigns within Google AdWords. You must also properly setup and optimize your landing pages to maximize your sales. That means split testing your landing pages to find the best copy and layout for your target market.

Luckily, Google Analytics provides a simple and free tool called “Experiments” to split test your landing pages. By using Experiments within Google Analytics you can test two different landing pages to see which one converts more visitors into sales.

Layer New Dimensions onto Reports
The power of the Google Analytics and Google AdWords pairing is even more evident when you run reports within Google Analytics. For example, you can review ad performance for per ad placement on the page, mobile user behavior per keyword, and many other reports to learn more about your ads performance.

Of course, these techniques are just the tip of the iceberg. Both Google AdWords and Google Analytics provide strong, dynamic tools for monitoring your website and ad campaigns. When paired together, they allow you to sift through the data in whole new ways. Think outside the box, play around with the tools, and find your own preferred tracking combinations.