Dennis Zink and Fred Dunayer welcome back Scott Gonnello, a search engine optimization (SEO) expert. They discuss the use of Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools to identify opportunities to drive customers to your website and keep them there!
Published: Monday, April 13, 2015.
SEVERAL MONTHS AGO, I interviewed Scott Gonnello, who is an expert on search engineoptimization. Scott has been a repeat guest on my nationally syndicated podcast series, Been There, Done That! with Dennis Zink, available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, score.org, Manasota.score.org and other distribution channels. I interviewed Scott on website performance analytics / Google analytics.
Q. How do you analyze website performance?
A. There are many ways to analyze a website. No. 1, if sales are going through the roof, if phone calls are coming in, if there are a lot of email requests, those are all ways to verify that a site is working. To get more technical, drill down into Google Analytics. There’s a wealth of data Google tracks that provides pertinent information on how a website is performing.
Q. What is Google Analytics?
A. It’s tracking software. Incoming website traffic provides data regarding visitor site duration, number of users, the bounce rate and pages viewed per session. This information can be used to play detective, so to speak, to see what’s working and what’s not working on the site.
Q. What is a bounce rate?
A. A bounce occurs when a visitor hits the site, sees one page and leaves. Now, that bounce rate ties in with the time on the site and number of sessions per user. A high bounce rate and a low session time on the site means something’s not right. Visitors come and go quickly. This could occur for several reasons, such as: spam sites hitting; it’s not the page visitors were looking for; it’s not the company they were looking for; or they’re not impressed with that one page and they leave.
Q. Is having Google Analytics the same as SEO?
A. The answer is absolutely yes and no. Having a library card in your wallet doesn’t make you smarter unless you actually read books. Companies may think they’re doing SEO by having analytics but the reality is, unless someone is looking at those numbers and doing something with them, it’s not SEO.
Q. How are analytics used to help SEO?
A.. View incoming traffic and the number of users per month. Is that number going up or down? These metrics delineate traffic patterns and trends, what’s working and what’s not. For example, a site may have a high bounce rate. This may indicate people don’t like the site, unless of course the phone is ringing off the hook from that bounce rate. You have to understand how to interpret the numbers and trends.
Q. How can the phone ring off the hook with a high bounce rate?
A. If there are online sales, visitors may search for a page online, find one page, make the call or place the order. In this case, that’s not a bad bounce rate.
Q.. What should the average website owner view in Google Analytics?
A. When I talk to clients around the world, they don’t really understand the analytics. They may say, “We have Google Analytics in our site for new customers,” and they don’t really know what to look for or how to use the data.
Starting with the basics, there’s two sides: one is the audience side, indicating who’s looking, from where and when; and the other side is acquisitions, how visitors are finding the site.
On the audience side, the overview tells many things, such as how many people came to the site, how long they stayed, how many pages they viewed and the bounce rate. This provides information that can help discern trends and patterns.
The acquisition side tells you where visitors are coming from, how they’re finding the site through the search engines, referrals, and other websites.
Q.. Is one of the keys, as in any business metric, to understand what you’ve been doing and try to improve regardless of what that number is?
A.. Sure. Tracking these numbers is a good way to focus on parts of a website that aren’t performing well. If there’s a page that has a very high bounce rate, look at that page and make it better. Consider a call to action for visitors to do something once they get there.
Q. What’s the difference between users and sessions?
A.. Users track the people that visit. If 10 people visit, that’s 10 users. Let’s say each person goes back twice in a 30-day interval. So you’ve got users of 10, but you have sessions of 20. Generally, what you find is users indicates one number and sessions are slightly larger because visitors came back and looked again. Google tracks IP addresses, so Google knows when visitors come to the site for the first time or if they’re returning. It’s that returning viewer that creates a higher session rate.
Q. What is a landing page?
A. A landing page should function like a table of contents, indicating what’s in the site. It can list products and services with bullet points and links to pages. It’s a place to learn more “about us” and who’s part of our team. A landing page provides a call to action, a menu, where visitors can look, find, click and go.
Q. What general advice would you give somebody who wants to know about analytics?
A. Add Google Analytics into your website so Google can start tracking. There’s a free code that Google will provide. The second most important thing is to observe the trends and use them to help make decisions to market your company better.