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Google Analytics. Powerful Market Research — Gratis!

What if you had access to powerful marketing research about your company, it cost you absolutely nothing, and you didn’t take advantage of it?

If you think that’s not you … then think again. If you are like many, many website owners you are not taking advantage of the free Google Analytics tool available to you.

Google Analytics is a powerful web page tracking tool that will give you enormous amounts of information regarding who is visiting your site.

You can literally load tracking code today and be looking at a report tomorrow morning.

The way it works is you or your webmaster loads a piece of code on each page of your website, usually this can be done once in a meta tag.

Once loaded, the tool begins tracking each and every visitor to your website.

The reports will tell you …

•    How many visits you had.
•    How many were new visitors.
•    How many were returning visitors.
•    How many were absolute unique visitors.
•    Which pages were the most popular.
•    The average length of time on a page.
•    How many folks bounced off a page. (Visitor stayed only a few seconds.)
•    The average number of pages people visited.
•    Where your visitors came from. (country, state, city)
•    How people found your website. (direct / search engine / referring site)
•    What kind of browsers they used.
•    Their connection speed.
•    Which keywords they used in search boxes.
•    Which pages they entered your site on. (It’s not always the home page.)
•    Which page they went to next.
•    Which pages they exited on.
•    Which days of the week you received the most traffic.
•    If you’re getting significant traffic on days you ran other promotions?
•    Plus a lot more cool data.

When you review your analytics regularly, you can make more informed decisions about your web marketing.

For example, if a popular entrance page has a high “bounce rate” you will probably want to revise it. On the other hand, if your bounce rate on the page is low and folks are moving on to another desired page, you know you can leave that page alone and work on an area more problematic.

Other items to watch for are which keywords are driving people to your site. Are they the keywords you’ve been targeting or are they keywords you never thought of. If they are keywords you’ve been targeting, you know you’re doing a good job with your search engine optimization (SEO). If they are not keywords you’ve been targeting, then you might want to see if you can expand on them. Or you may wish to develop their corresponding page even further.

If you have an e-commerce site, you will want to check to see if people are leaving mid-sale, the “abandon rate” of a shopping cart. If so, you may need to revise your checkout process.

In the past companies paid tens of thousands of dollars for market research like this. It’s amazing that you can now get it for free.

To get started simply type in Google Analytics in your search bar and get going. When signing up, you can add as many other users to your account as you like so long as they have a Google account. This means that other key people can access your data as well.

Once you have the code loaded, try to review your statistics at least once a week. At first, it will be a little overwhelming. But you will soon get the hang of it.

Of course, there are other analytical services. You may have one that came with your particular website. By all means, look at that data as well. You may find some differences in certain categories as different companies have different methodologies. But overall, they should be pretty close.

Remember, looking at your Google analytics is like tracking how many people phone your office or visit your store. You want to know who they are, why they came, and what they did while interacting with your company.


Katherine Andes, our SEO consultant, is a web specialist who focuses on copywriting for SEO (search engine optimization) for websites. She is the co-author with Matt Pinto of the best selling Catholic apologetic flash cards, Friendly Defenders. Ramp up your company's online impact with her weekly Easy Web Tips.


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  • noelfitz

    This is a great free advertisement for Google.

    Some time ago, when it was starting, CL was a bit disappointed with Google. Has this problem been resolved?

    • Mary Kochan

      No, Noel, we were dealt a real blow by Google when we got swept up in their campaign to stop Google ads from appearing on fake websites. The decision to ban us from the Google ads was made by a computer and there is no human being to whom we can appeal. However, of course it is this great computing power and algorithims that Google uses that make their analytics so helpful to website owners. We use it here, in fact. But it is one thing to measure traffic and quite another to recognize the purpose of a site.

      This info is presented for the purpose of helping small business people with their websites. Kathy Andes is an expert at that.

  • noelfitz

    Mary,
    you are very magnanimous in having here an article favorable to Google,when it was unfair to you.

    I do hope the problem can be resolved eventually.