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As the owner of a website, you need to know how your website is doing, but you also need to get a better understanding of your customers. Your customers are what make your website successful, so you need to invest in them, too.

So how can you do that on a virtual level? Since you can’t physically ask each customer how they are doing when they visit your website, you need a tool to do the talking for you.

This is where Google Analytics comes in. Google Analytics takes visitor information and analyzes it without even asking the visitor for information. Then, it organizes this information into a dashboard for you to review.

Pretty cool, huh?

So let’s look at how you can use Google Analytics to your advantage, and what you should avoid.

Setting Up Google Analytics

Knowing how to set up Google Analytics is the first step to understanding your audience, their behavior when viewing your site and what content they are most interested in. In order to use Google Analytics, you will need to create an account.

Once your account has been created, you will need to copy and paste the Google Analytics code into the areas of your website you want to analyze. You can place this code on every page within your website, or just a specific page. This tracking code runs in viewers’ browser when they visit your pages.

google analytics multi platforms

While you probably know the key performance indicators for your business, Google may not. Therefore you need to set goals on your Google Analytics dashboard. Some of the goals include; duration, destination, pages/screens per session and event.

You may also view the bounce rate, the percentage of visits in which a person leaves your website from the landing page without browsing any further. Tracking different aspects of your business like this can determine where you can gain more potential customers.

What Does Google Analytics Do?

Google Analytics is a free website analyzer tool that will examine your website traffic, impressions, and engagements. By tracking the number of website visitors The Google Analytics tracking code will need to be copied and pasted onto each page of your website or every social media site you want to analyze.

Google Analytics will begin to gather user data the instant they access your website. This is known as User Acquisition Data.

Why is this important?

Because of the Google Analytics report, you now know that the majority of your website visitors are men between 25 and 35 years old. This is valuable information because it allows you to do a couple of different things.

  1. You can cater to this audience and continue giving this audience content they are interested in. Or
  2. You can broaden your horizon to gain visitors outside of these parameters.
  3. You can cater to this audience and continue giving this audience content they are interested in. Or
  4. You can broaden your horizon to gain visitors outside of these parameters.

Not only does Google Analytics gather user information the minute they arrive at your website, but Google Analytics will gather user information as they visit your website. This is known as User Behavior Data.

User Behavior Data is equally as important as User Acquisition Data. User Behavior Data tells you what users are doing while they are on your website.

Are those 25 to 35 year-old men only interested in one area of your website, or do they have short sessions after they visit your website? This is important because it allows you to make adjustments to content areas that may be weak on your website.

analytics benefits

The User Behavior Data will also tell you if users leave your website once they arrive at a certain page. (And, listen, a user will eventually leave your website, so this information is valuable if you notice a trend among these users. Do they all leave your site within a few seconds of arriving at this page? If so, you may want to consider adjusting the page or taking it down completely, especially if it is doing more harm than good.)

Know How to Maximize Google Analytics

1. Place the Correct Code on Every Page You Want to Track

Google Analytics only works if the code is placed in the HTML of your website. Specifically, the code needs to come after the tag. Therefore, if you only have the Google Analytics code on one section of your website, you may be limiting yourself from receiving accurate user data. Copy and paste the Google Analytics code on every page of your website you want to track.

2. Don’t Put TOO Much Emphasis on Total Page Visits

Google Analytics will not report a page view or site visit if the user has left the website before the Google Analytics code had time to gather the user’s data. This can alter your accurate web views to give you a misrepresented number.

3. Use the Features in Google Analytics

analytics features

You can miss out on valuable data by not utilizing features within Google Analytics. For example, in the Conversions section of Google Analytics, there is an area for Goals. If you are running any type of advertisement or promotion, you need to use Goals to track the effectiveness of the campaign. Otherwise, what’s the point in running an advertisement if you don’t know how well it is performing?

4. Connect Your Google AdSense Account

You will also want to connect your Google AdSense to your Google Analytics. You will go to Acquisition > Google Ads to link the various advertising campaigns you are running. This section is key to determining how effective Google AdSense or Google AdWords is for your website.

google adsense

5. Exclude Crawlers from Tracking

Crawlers, like bots and spiders, are imperative when it comes to search engine optimization, but you don’t need their page visits to misrepresent the actual total. In Google Analytics, make sure you check the box, “Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders.” This will allow Google Analytics to prevent those hits from being added to the traffic total.

6. Exclude Referred Links

It is not uncommon to have more than one website, and it is not uncommon to backlink those websites. In Google Analytics, you have the choice of excluding referred links. This means that you own Website A and Website B. Website B is linked to Website A, but you don’t want to track the traffic that is derived from Website B. You can tell Google Analytics to exclude the traffic that comes from the URL of Website B.

The Bottom Line of Google Analytics

You should take advantage of this free service to optimize the performance of your website. Knowing your audience, maximizing your campaigns, and setting goals will allow you to make the most of your website in ways that you may not have been able to.

Knowing what to focus on and what to avoid will make Google Analytics your website’s best friend.

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