Top 5 Google Analytics Questions & Misconceptions

Dig Deeper Into Website Traffic Data for a Better Impression of SEO & Site Performance

Google Analytics is one of the most powerful and versatile digital marketing tools you can get your hands on. The best part? The Small Business version (which is more than enough for 96% of all companies) is FREE. However, a lot of folks don’t bother logging in or even setting up their account. They simply rely on anecdotal evidence to give them accurate performance metrics, i.e. “we get about two leads from the website a month, so I’d say it’s workin’ pretty well!”

Some of those that do routinely log into Google Analytics barely scratch the software’s surface. While the immensely granular reporting system allows you to trace conversion paths, track behavior patterns and compare acquisition channel performances, many people don’t click past the default “Audience” screen. We are here to help you dig deeper into your analytics and dispel any of the misconceptions you may have.

1) We Need More Web Traffic!

This is the most common cry for help we hear. Many folks think that having a lot of people coming to their site means success, but what does “more traffic” mean? Suppose you’re getting 2,500 unique visitors a month. Does 4,000 mean you’re movin’ on up? Our normal response to this request is that we can send a million users to your site, but if they don’t convert, what’s the point?

The mission of a true search engine optimization campaign is to garner more qualified leads and/or website conversions through the Organic Search acquisition channel. It’s not about getting someone to #1 on Google. It’s not about boosting website traffic. It’s all about inbound conversions.

2) All This New Traffic is Great! Right?

Not exactly. You should see an influx of new traffic within the first month or two of kicking off your SEO campaign. However, these new visitors are not always quality. If you’ve recently installed any SEO plugins, such as Yoast for WordPress, you’ll find a great deal of referral spam. Referral spam isn’t harmful to your site or rankings, but it does skew your Google Analytics numbers. Think about it: a bot crawls your site 30 times last month. It spends about .01 seconds on the home page and bounces. That’s going to be a major outlier when you trudge through the analytics at the end of the month.

Set Up a Spam Free Filter for Your Site’s Analytics

  1. Log into Google Analytics
  2. Click Add Segment
  3. Click +New Segment (red button)
  4. Name your new segment (Spam Free, Filtered View, etc.)
  5. Click Conditions
  6. Click the Include tab & select Exclude
  7. Click Ad Content & select Time on Page
  8. Click Per Session
  9. Click “<” & type in 1 (second)
  10. Click Save
  11. Click Add Segment again
  12. Click Custom & select your Spam Free Filter

3) My Bounce Rate is Too High!

Is it really? Bounce rate is rather subjective and unique to your industry and audience. If you’re a healthcare news organization or fashion blog and your bounce rate is sitting around 75%, that’s not always a bad thing. The majority of your users are getting to your website, taking in the content and leaving. Mission accomplished!

For standard marketing websites, we have noticed a healthy bounce rate range is between 30% and 70%. For eCommerce websites, we like to see it between 30% and 60%. Red flags are raised if you’re sitting on the outside of these thresholds.

Main Causes of High Bounce Rate

  • Google Analytics set up incorrectly
  • Immensely slow page load speeds – you’ve got three seconds or less!
  • Referral spam traffic (See section #2 above)
  • Autoplay videos/audio and problematic pop-up ads
  • A really bad Adwords campaign
  • Unprofessional and untrustworthy website design

4) People Aren’t Spending Enough Time on Each Page!

This myth is particularly devastating to the ego. If you’re expecting someone to read each word of your blog, you’re in for some disappointment. In fact, many readers are probably skimming over this paragraph to get to the next. The point is, people on the Internet are looking for quick answers. They want lists. They want big ‘ole bold letters that spell it out for them in a simple manner. Having a large amount of content on your pages is great for SEO and driving people to the page, but once they get there, visitors find want they came for and go.

It’s also important to note that this is an average, not a median. Average time spent on a Contact page can be as low as 10 seconds while still getting the point across and gaining a conversion. A “thank you” conversion tracking page? Even less. While your core marketing pages are getting 3 minutes per view, these low-content pages are skewing your average. Referral spam, as mentioned above, could also be negatively influencing your averages. No need to worry if your times are between 30 seconds and 5 minutes! Anything out of that range and you may warrant some further investigation.

5) My Average “Pages Per Visit” Isn’t High Enough!

Sure, it’d be great if users read websites cover-to-cover, but it’s just not practical. In fact, it really doesn’t matter how many pages someone is looking at as long as they’re converting (unless you’re a clickbait-driven news website that lives and dies on click monetization). For a lot of standard marketing websites, we aim to see between 2-4 average pages per visit. This is a strong indicator that someone is finding their way to the site, navigating to the page that’s most applicable to their needs and then either bouncing or heading to the contact page for additional information. We can confirm this pattern by exploring the “Behavioral Flow” section – a more advanced analytics technique.

For any additional questions regarding your Google Analytics, contact us today and we’ll help you sort through the stats!

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