Websites have become the central piece of many companies’ marketing communications. Other media (print ads, collateral sales materials, sales presentations and everything Internet) point to the website so the prospect can get more information and interact with the company on the way to becoming a customer.
However, if you were to look at most company websites, particularly B2B company websites, you would be hard pressed to find any indication the company understands the full potential of a 24/7 sales tool that collects as much information as it displays. The companies which understand how to create dynamic feedback loops (constantly supplying information about how prospects get to their websites, what they do when they get there, and how they can be encouraged to take the next step in the sales cycle) are the companies with sales-weaponized web sites. Those companies know how to leverage Google Analytics and other website performance reporting tools.
We are not going to get into the nitty-gritty of setting up your Google Analytics account and properties. Instead we want to discuss the basics of setting up your Google Analytics reporting to get the clearest, least “noisy” picture of your website data in a way that is instinctively actionable.
“Google analyze” your website: use more than one view
Typically, you want more than one view per property. How views are structured is based on changes you may make to your Google Analytics reporting, the rule is you can’t undo a change once it has been implemented. You can change it back, but the data cannot be retrieved for the period the data was changed or filtered. Google recommends you maintain three basic views of a given property’s data: the Main view contains an unfiltered view of your raw data. This is a failsafe in case you make a change on another view and lose important data for a reporting period. With this failsafe, you can often reconstruct data that you subsequently realized was important. Then there is the Site view, which is your “official” Google Analytics view of filtered and otherwise massaged website data. Lastly is the Test view, which is a sandbox to investigate new ways of looking at your data. If they work out, you can incorporate the new ideas into your Site view; otherwise, you can come up with and implement better ideas.
Job One: filter out noise
On your site view, it is important to assure you are looking at your site’s visitors, not traffic from your own staff, from your company’s domain, from an affiliated site, traffic from partners who use your site for business, or any other traffic not relevant to your business. You can write filters for these and more with just the IP address you want to filter out. With the relevant filters in place, you can be sure you are looking at traffic from visitors looking for your solution.
How can we segment website data?
Working with Google experts to optimize and analyze your website is a good idea for many reasons, but chief among them is because we are relentless about segmenting, segmenting, segmenting. Constantly slicing your web data for insight into how users find and use your site is critical to finding actionable data for marketing initiatives. One good example is paying close attention to New Visitors…a key component of SEO reporting. You always want to be adding prospects, and New Visitors will allow you to check on how different channels are growing or shrinking, if site optimization is working, and if marcom tactics like PPC, email blasts or display ads, etc., are performing to expectation. Is there an obvious difference between mobile users and desktop users in how they use your site? There is research that indicates mobile versus desktop users fundamentally differ in how they use the web.
It is also possible to glean information on the product life cycle of your offerings. Are some products not getting the attention they used to get? Are you getting the word out about new offerings (ex., click-throughs from email blasts)? These are just two areas that benefit from a focus on new visitors.
Google Analytics dashboards: key to SEO analytics reporting
One area that benefits from working with a Google SEO consulting agency is development of dashboards. Different stakeholders have different information needs. Senior management, with P&L responsibility, will want to see traffic metrics, traffic trends and sales monetization data. Marketing will want a more granular view of traffic data, down to specific marketing initiatives and what the conversion picture looks like for each, downloads of white papers and other collateral, performance of various mobile and desktop platforms, etc. We can work with you to find ten or so leading indicators each business unit needs to monitor regularly, what time periods make sense for each metric and how best to display each metric in your dashboard in a way that enhances the actionability of the data.