In my previous series we talked about Understanding SEO and how to successfully implement it on your blog. This month we’ll talk about Google Analytics and get to see our SEO and keywords in action. As a disclaimer I mention that some of the things are geared towards WordPress, since I don’t have a blogger account to screenshot from, but these things are fairly easy to integrate no matter what your blog is.
Let’s start with the basics.. what is Google Analytics? It’s a free tool (FREE!!!) to analyze your website/blog traffic, where the traffic is coming from (referrals), conversions (if you are selling) as well as other detailed statistics. Since my target audience is mostly in the non-selling category, I won’t go into much detail on that on this post. But feel free to email me if you’re curious on that). Setting up GA is easy, many of you already have installed it and have it up and running on your blog, but if you haven’t you can follow these steps.
1- Create an account if you have not already.
2.- Setup your google property (website address, user id)
3.- Get your tracking code. If you forgot where your code is, you can find it by logging in to www.google.com/analytics, select admin on the top menu bar. Under the second column (property) click on tracking info, then tracking code . It should look something like this.
You will want to copy everything inside the editable box starting from < script > and ending at < / script >.
You’re next and final step on installing GA is to place this script in the header of your blog. Some blog themes come with a specific box that allows you to place the script in it so you don’t have to tinker around with any PHP files. If yours in particular doesn’t have that you can do the following.
1. – Log in to your wordpress dashboard
2.- Select Appearance, then Editor
3. – Under Templates (right hand side) select header and wait for the page to refresh.
4. – Paste your code before the closing head tag < / head >
Screenshot for reference
You completed the install. Look at you all techified!
Now comes the good part. Looking up your stats.
Logging on to your dashboard you’ll come across the Audience Overview screen. It can be tailored to your specifics but in general it should look like this.
This is a general idea of what your visits constitute on a monthly basis. Sessions, Users and Page/Views on this particular page do not count as an individual hit or ip. Meaning that if Becky landed on my site 3 times in the past month, these numbers are registering Becky 3 times instead of just once (unique). If I wanted to take a detailed look at my unique visitors and page views, head on over to Behavior – Overview and you’ll get something like this
As you can see a total of 3,047 unique users took a look at 3,436 pages on my site, along with the top 10 pages.
There’s just so much you can go with GA that if I went on a detailed adventure this post would probably take ages to finish, so we’ll head on over to what bloggers are most interested at. Keywords and Referrals.
The easiest way to look at Referrals is by clicking on All Traffic or Referrals, but I like to get a little bit more detailed information like where (link) is my referral coming from and to where on my site is it pointed to. To get this, Under the Behavior tab, click on Site Content and then Landing page. In this instance, landing page means exactly that.. the page where the user is landing on. Now to get the referral link, under secondary dimension, select full referral.
Now you’re page should look like this
As you can see a lot of my referral for the past month was thanks to Heather. (Hay gurl thanks)
Another detailed overview of your referral activities can be found under Social (again under acquisition).
Network referrals lists all the social networks where links to your website have been broadcasted. By adding shared URL on the secondary dimension you can see in detail the link shared and the Social Network.
Trackbacks are also a good thing to look at, but this one is a little bit self explanatory and probably the cleanest (less amount of data) way to look at where certain landing pages (unique urls of your blogposts) are being linked from.
For keywords, you can go about it two different ways. Under Acquisitions, you can choose keywords and organic (unless you are paying for adwords) and view all of the keywords that people are searching to land on your site. But of course, I like to get a little bit more analytical and I prefer to use the new SEO option under Acquisition. Under Search Engine Optimization (which is an integration of webmasters tools) I can get information like impression, clicks, and average position for keyword.
In less geek talk what this means that for the first keyword (Love Lola).. it appeared in the search results 200 times and out of these 200 times 5 people clicked on it to get to my website.
One of the most important things to look at on GA is Technology & Mobile (both under Acquisitions). It’s important to see what platform users are using to view your blog and what browser as well. Sometimes themes aren’t tested throughout all browsers and you could potentially lose a lot of users because the browser they happen to use gives them an error or the styling is off. If a lot of users are coming to your site via mobile and tablet, it’s a good idea to have a mobile version of your website activated. These days, almost all blog themes have a responsive design integrated, but there are also a few good plugins that allow you to design a simple mobile/tablet design if your blog theme doesn’t have one.
Again, there is so much more that you can do with Google Analytics, like reporting and setting up goals (my fav) but this is just the basics and hopefully an insightful way to view traffic and keywords and understand where people that land on your blog are coming from.