The Secret to Actionable Insights from Analytics (Beginner to Advanced)

google-analyticsGoogle Analytics? Yes, please!

Oh—save one teensy tiny problem.

Google Analytics data by itself is kind of “meh.”

The secret is you have to know what you’re looking for.

In other words, GOALS.

You have to have identified and established your website goals to know if what you’re seeing is measuring up (pun intended).

If you don’t have goals, you’re just looking at numbers and data that doesn’t mean very much by itself.

And of course, this depends on what level of website marketing you’re at – Uber Beginner or Intermediate/Advanced:

Google Analytics Insight for the Uber Beginner/Novice Web Marketer:

Let’s start with a few basics.

  • What is the goal of your site? Besides more traffic and more leads, get specific: Purchases to your online store? Signing up for your e-newsletter? Qualified prospects for your services? Speaking gigs? Become an authority in your niche? Moving people into your sales funnel?
  • After you’ve identified your website goals, is every single thing on your site pointing people towards doing the actions you want that will lead to achieving your goals?
  • Take a look at your Keywords and Queries report – are you seeing any “good” words come up that would actually help achieve these goals?
  • What pages are most popular? What are your top landing pages?
  • What are your overall website metrics? Bounce rate, number of pages visited, time on site?

If none of the data looks like it’s working to help you achieve your goals, then forget analytics at this point. Benchmark and capture your data. Then, I forbid you to look at analytics until you’ve: created a strategy, and executed upon said strategy.

Then, and only then can you come back to check out analytics 1-2 months after you’ve uploaded and published several pieces of optimized copy on your site and made some key changes that will help you reach your goals. Otherwise, if you keep looking at analytics without doing any purposeful strategy you’re going to get more of the same. And that can be downright depressing.

(Note that if you’ve lived in a bubble and don’t have any social media signals, quality backlinks, or have an outdated/bloated site with outdated copy, you’ll have to work these elements strategically into the plan as well. On-page optimization might only get you so far if you’re in a competitive industry.)

Google Analytics Insight for the Intermediate to Advanced Web Marketer:

Are you:

  • Seeing the keywords and queries you’ve targeted? (good optimization techniques)
  • Seeing lots of additional variations and synonyms (byproduct of solid SEO copywriting)
  • Getting clicks back to your site with these words? (ranking, conversions, title tags, meta descriptions)
  • Seeing your optimized pages showing up as top landing pages? (SEO strategy is working)
  • Understanding what “being greedy” means and understanding that you’re not limited to just core keywords? (expanding your initial strategy)
  • Mapping out different keywords targeted to the different “buying funnel” stages? (knowing your target market and their pain points and triggers)

Knowing this, and mapping your analytics data against it, will help you take your web marketing practices to the next level.

To sum up: without goals – without a clear, defined purpose of your site – analytics will do you no good. Ask yourself:

  • What do you want to be happening?
  • What does the data show is happening?
  • What are you gonna do about it?

Action items I often see and recommend include: targeting your keywords for better, niched, more attainable keywords; creating new pages and new content to target different words your market is searching for; internally linking in a more natural, aggressive, educated way; put a CTA (call to action) on every single page; create a kick-butt opt-in piece; write a few SEO keyword-driven posts; do more purposeful social media marketing to get signals, amplify, and generate awareness.

If I haven’t totally overwhelmed you yet, check out this page for more info on what to look for within analytics:

You’re Up:

What are your best tips for creating actionable insights with Google Analytics? Leave a comment below.

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Jenny Munn

Jenny is an independent Digital Marketer and SEO Consultant with more than 10 years of experience helping companies and content creators generate brand awareness, traffic, and conversions with SEO. She is a frequent speaker and is on the faculty for the AMA (American Marketing Association) and has taught SEO to thousands of marketers over the past 10 years.
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