What Does Google Analytics Tell You About Your Site

by Guest Author on March 4, 2011

in Guest Posts, Search Engine Optimization

Google Analytics is a wonderful tool for any webmaster, but what many of us may be ignoring might just be the most important part of Analytics. Tracking site search can hold valuable information about your site and the searchers that use your site. Many of us overlook this data in favour of the easier to understand metrics like, Visits, page views and bounce rates.

The problem with this data is that it doesn’t really tell you very much and the bounce rate is the only one that can hold any value. It’s clear to see if you have a high bounce and if this is the case you will need to figure out why. Is there something wrong with your landing pages or the keywords being use to get to these landing pages? Your bounce rate tells you that you could have a problem but it doesn’t do any more than this, it’s then up to you to use this data to figure out where the issues lie.

If your sites bounce rate can provide you with this level of insight into how well your site is preforming, where problems lie. Then knowing about the data in your site search can offer you even more of an insight.

What it can tell you

The first thing that Analytics site search will tell you is the amount of your traffic that actually use your search function. Usually anywhere between 15 and 30% will use the search function. It doesn’t matter if you site is easy to navigate and the information they are looking for is right in front of them, there is still a good chance they will use your search.

Analytics will store the search terms and phrases that people used on your site, but did you have the content that they were looking for? If so; was it really the right content for them and if not can you add something that will help to answer these questions in the future?

Even if you think that you have the right content that you believe will answer their questions, looking at what pages they viewed after they searched will tell you for definite if that really is the case. There are usually 3 outcomes here, (1) they stayed on the page for a couple of minutes, (2) they bounced back to the search results page to try and find another more suitable search result or (3) the left your site straight after they viewed the suggested page.

Out of these 3 possible outcomes, only one is advantageous to your site and that is the first one where they stayed on this page, presumably to consume the content on this page.

Bouncing back to the search results page will usually mean that your site may not be displaying the most relevant results for a given search. Which will mean you will need to review what search results are being returned and if they can be improved.

If they leave your site completely it’s often the worst outcome possible and will usually mean that your content did a terrible job of answering their question and instead of giving your site another chance, they decided to look elsewhere for an answer.

As you can see, monitoring your sites bounce rate only really begins to scratch of the surface of how well your site is doing. If you want truly actionable metrics and data then it is time to start looking at what is stored in Google Analytics site search.

This is a guest post by Neil Jones who is head of marketing for eMobileScan, one of Europes largest online retailers of handheld computers and barcode scanners, including the Motorola MC70 and LS2208.

Comments & Leave a Comment

comments

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Aulia @CravingTech.com March 5, 2011 at 11:07

It’s always interesting to find out how people can get to your site/blog. You can also use it to monetize the contents that people visit the most 😉
Michael Aulia @CravingTech.com recently posted… February 2011 Traffic and Income Statistics

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Nancy Williams March 7, 2011 at 07:28

It’s always interesting to find out how people can get to your site/blog. You can also use it to monetize the contents that people visit the most

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Patrick Murphy March 8, 2011 at 11:01

I have been doing a lot of research for keywords to optimize my site. But i dint knwo how to check the ranking of my webpage. Thanks !

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Jedidja March 8, 2011 at 15:36

When I open my site search, there are no results. It says that zero searches have taken place – which is definitely not true.

Should I somehow activate this part in Google Analytics?

Thanks for the article btw!

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Paul Tech March 10, 2011 at 00:49

My bounce rate is rather high… maybe I should look more closely at the search traffic..
Paul Tech recently posted… New Technology- Capacitive Touch Textiles and Clothes

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Rob @ Atlanta Real Estate March 20, 2011 at 22:43

Paul,

I read somewhere that bounce rate is useless because GA really does not know when someone leaves the site.

Wish I could remember where I read that. If I do, I will come back and link to it here.
Rob @ Atlanta Real Estate recently posted… Realtors- Leases and Reality

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Juliemarg March 20, 2011 at 22:47

Great info – you pushed me to look around at several of the Google Analytics features I’ve ignored, or fogotten about. From the Intelligence tab to Outbound Destinations. There is a lot here to explore.

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Eduardo March 23, 2011 at 13:24

I prefer Google webmaster tools You will loose your time with Analytics. Unless you a re a big one and you try, but most of the time is better Google webmaster tool. As simple as it is.

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Anablog April 7, 2011 at 18:09

What happens if we take off Google Analytics of your web, google don´t know your stats, so maybe is better

Ana

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John April 11, 2011 at 16:02

Yes i agree what if we take off the code from your website? Maybe google will not know your bounce rate or how many visitors you have and how long they spend there as all of these factors are part of ranking now days so maybe if they dot know your SERP might be better. Anyone tried it?

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Jason Cecabin June 29, 2011 at 21:26

after reading this i will definitely be spending more time analyzing google analytics.
I always looked at the number of visitors that showed up on the site and thought that was the most important. Now i know that i have to go deeper and see what these people actually did while on my website. Thanks for the info…

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acharya November 19, 2011 at 11:11

Hi Neil,
Google Analytics(GA) is a very handy tool which provides information related to the performance on your niche keywords and its online presence in the world.
Now Google has launched a new feature by which BIG G will share real stats too.

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Relatiegeschenken November 23, 2011 at 16:24

Thats why outsourcen an Analytics dashboards isn’t always the best decision. It’s better to build an own CMS and work your way up from there with accurate information.

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Alex Braker June 19, 2012 at 13:20

For every website owner, it is crucial to know the details of the website that form which keywords their site is being visited and form which country and from which operating system and browser. Google analytics shows all kind of the data of the website and according to that data webmasters decide that on which keywords they should work.

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Mahesh verma July 21, 2012 at 07:13

No doubt google analyticv is a very powerful analyzing tool. but according to me Statcounter is more friendly and gives results accurately.
Mahesh verma recently posted… Thurgood [2011]

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