Marketing is filled with so many buzzwords that it sometimes seems like an entirely different language. And even when you know what the terms mean, it is often hard to figure out what to do with the information. The definitions of terms and phrases you find in your Google Analytics dashboard will help you discuss your website like a pro. But it is not enough to know the words, you need to use the data to build action plans.
Is your marketing working? Are people responding to your social posts, email alerts, and advertising? The traffic metrics will help you figure that out.
Channels – These are the different sources of website traffic. They include: organic, direct, paid, social, referral and email. There is no perfect mix or right percentage. Instead, your objective should be to improve each over time.
Direct Traffic – This occurs when someone is familiar with your brand and comes to your website by typing your web address or URL into their browser. Companies with high brand awareness or a large customer base are likely to see a high percentage of direct traffic. Also, membership organizations or schools where community members are likely to return again and again will see high direct traffic.
increasing direct traffic will require you to build interest in your brand in the real world. Traditional advertising like radio, billboards or direct mail help familiarize prospective customers with your company. Go to networking events, hand out your business card or mail a brochure which includes a link to your website to drive people to look for you specifically when they hop on line
Email Traffic – This is not traffic which comes from a link in a personal email. That is actually counted as part of direct traffic. This is the traffic which comes from your email newsletter. If you want to grow this traffic you need to grow your email list. Create systems in your operations to always ask for an email address, and add information to your website to encourage people to sign up.
Organic search – This is traffic which comes to your website as a result of someone searching on Google, or less likely Yahoo or Bing for a product or a service. If a significant portion of your traffic is organic it is a good indication that your site is ranking well for relevant key words.
Organic traffic occurs when Google identifies content on your website as relevant for people looking for information. If you want more traffic, you need more content. The best content is not redundant but covers a wide range of related topics
Social referrals – This is a count of all the sessions which come from social networks. To increase social traffic you need to be active and interesting on each platform, sharing a mix of content including links to your site. And when you do share your links, don’t just say “New Post.” Tell the reader what they will learn if they click through.
Paid Traffic – This is traffic which comes as a result of a Google AdWords campaign. I always suggest working with all the other traffic sources first and then use the information to create effective ad campaigns.
Referral traffic – This is traffic which comes to your website from another website. While search engines don’t value links as highly as they once did in establishing your authority, a referral from another high-quality site still brings traffic.
More than just telling you how people find your website, your Google Analytics can help you understand what people are interested in and how they enjoyed their visit to your website.
Bounce – This is a visit to your site with only one page viewed. This number is often expressed as a percentage referred to as the Bounce Rate. While many people worry about a high bounce rate, it isn’t always a bad thing. When it comes to your Bounce Rate a closer look is required:
The bottom line, high bounce rate by itself is not a cause for concern.
Page views – A page view is recorded every time a page is viewed. When a visitor hits the back button, a page view is recorded. When a visitor refreshes their browser window, a page view is recorded. Every time a page is opened in the browser, regardless of whether it has been cached, a page view is recorded.
Your objective should be to increase the number of pages viewed per session. Do this by making it easy to move from page to page, with links to relevant content and a clear next step.
Entrances/Entry Page/Landing Page
These terms are often used interchangeably. They refer to the first stop on a visitor’s journey. Landing pages promoted on social media and in email marketing or on paid search will often be highly ranked. These pages are good indicators of what your customers are looking for. While Google no longer shares detailed information on what keywords people use to find your site, it is easy to guess the topics based on the popularity of particular pages.
When you see one page coming up on your most popular lists, again and again, it should always prompt you to consider adding more content on that topic.
Exit Point – This is the last page viewed by a website visitor. There are natural exit pages, such as “Contact Us.” But if people seem to be “getting off your train” at the same location regularly, look for ways to improve the page. Review the layout and the content. Add a clear next step such as a link to more information or a conversion form. If the page has less than 500 words, add more information with headlines and sub heads for easy scanning.
Conversion – When a visitor completes an action such as filling out a form, subscribing to a list, buying an item or perhaps watching a video this is considered a conversion. This is one of the primary purposes of your website so pay attention to conversion and add more opportunities for conversion.
If a blog post or page continues to attract visitors long after you have stopped promoting it there is a good chance it has been well ranked for a key term. Don’t let that traffic go to waste. Give visitors a clear next step with a conversion element on the page. Downloads, special offers, newsletter sign ups all encourage the visitor to stay longer or take the next step in their buying process.
In search engine optimization, the particular word or phrase that describes the contents of a web page is the keyword. Defining keywords to summarize the content of a page helps search engines match pages with searches. Choosing the right keywords and using them correctly is an entire blog topic all to itself. The simplest suggestion is to think like your customers and use their words to describe your products and services.
It is easy to get lost for hours studying your Google Analytics. Instead, select a few key metrics and look for shifts over time. Set specific goals and objectives, create action plans to achieve the goals and use Google Analytics to hold you accountable to those goals.