Analyzing the Data
So you have smartly defined goals for your website. Good job! What’s your plan for tracking your progress? How do you know if your website is succeeding? The truth is that you won’t know without using some of the tools available for analyzing user behavior. You’ll need to know:
- how many people are visiting your site
- where they are coming from
- what pages they are visiting
- how long they are staying on each page
- what page were they on when they left your site
- what keywords they used to find you
- what devices they are using when they view your site
- and so much more
The bad news is that you probably don’t know which tools are available or how to use them. The good news is that we do.
Google analytics is the best tool out there for retrieving and analyzing user data… and it’s free. Once the tracking code is inserted into your website, Google begins tracking behavior. You will then be able to access this information by logging into your Google analytics account. But a word of caution. There is a ton of information and it takes some expertise to make sense of it all. Below is a screenshot of the overview report which shows how many users visited the site in the last thirty days.
That’s just one report. The screenshot below to the left shows you some of the other information available from Google analytics
This is the left sidebar of the overview page on analytics. Each of the top level categories can be clicked to display a wide variety of more detailed information. For example, clicking on the Real-Time link will open up a sub menu where you can see not only how many people are on your site right now but where they are in the world and what they are looking at. You can also see how they found you – whether they typed your url directly into their browser or whether they clicked on a link from another site. Click on the Audience link and you’ll have access to information about your users’ demographics, interests, behavior, technology and more. This is very important information and you’ll need to analyze it all to determine whether or not your site is meeting its goals. Pretty daunting right? Don’t worry. We know what it all means. We’ll help you analyze the data to determine what changes might need to be made to your site based on what we find.
Google Search Console
Formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, the search console provides invaluable information that comes directly from Google. Here’s a screenshot:
The information provided here is especially important because it comes from Google’s experience in trying to crawl your site. Here you will see if Google encountered any difficulty crawling and indexing your pages. If they find any issues they will tell you what they are and how to fix them. Some of the information available here is whether any spam or malicious code has been detected on your site, how many of your site pages have been crawled and added to Google’s index, whether or not any content is being blocked or can’t be crawled. Additionally, if you’ve made any changes to your site, you can ask Google to crawl your site and add the new pages to its index. The site will be crawled and re-indexed almost immediately.
Some other tools that we use to determine the overall SEO health are: