The 5 Most Important (Out of the Box) Metrics in Google Analytics

Louise Armstrong
by Louise Armstrong on June 1, 2012 in Analytics
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In Internet marketing, much is made of measuring results—and for good reason.  Tracking and analyzing your site’s activity is critical to optimizing its performance.

The data you gather from analytics helps you make informed decisions about where to spend your resources.  It tells you what’s working, and what’s not. 

When it comes time to check in on how well their sites are doing, millions of web entrepreneurs turn to Google Analytics.  This powerful (and free!) tool offers insight into a number of important metrics.

So which of these metrics are most important? While Google Analytics measures a lot of data, the following are key to your success:

1.   Keywords
Which keywords and phrases are driving traffic to your site?  Are they the right ones?  If people are finding your site with keywords that don’t match the ones on your list, then you may have a hard time converting these people to paying customers. Your analytics tell you if you’re hitting—or missing—your target market.

2.  Daily Traffic
Tracking your traffic on a daily basis can reveal which actions are prompting a higher volume of visits.  If you’re running a promotion and it’s increasing your number of visitors, you can continue to put resources into that.  If results are disappointing, scale back and try something else.  If certain blog posts correspond to a spike in traffic, consider re-posting that topic at intervals.

3.  Time Spent on Each Page
Google Analytics tracks how much time each visitor spends on each page.  Generally, the longer a visitor spends the better.  It could mean that your content is “sticky”, i.e. interesting and useful.  The fact that they aren’t immediately leaving indicates that they may have found the right site for what they need.

4.  Exit Pages
This tells you where people are leaving your site.  If you get a lot of exits at your product description pages, for example, you might need to look at the content or layout.  Is it confusing?  Does the content only describe features without highlighting benefits?  If people are leaving your site at the home page or landing pages, your calls to action may need some help.

5.  Bounce Rate
Bounce measures the number of visitors who leave your site after looking at the first page.  They aren’t digging deeper, and they aren’t taking any kind of desired action.  If your bounce rate is high, you need to gather your other data to determine where the problems are and fix them so that people stay and explore.

Google Analytics can deliver a lot of other measurable data, like conversion information, to give you the information you need to improve your site’s performance.  The key is to put it all together to get the bigger picture.  These core metrics offer a handy way to ensure that your site always works hard for you, so don’t neglect them!  Spend some time each week looking at your data, make the necessary adjustments, and watch as your optimized site starts living up to its potential.

Louise Armstrong

Louise Armstrong

Louise is a Senior Digital Strategist at Bonafide. A pop-culture addict with a passion for all things digital. She's Scottish by birth, but don't ask if she likes haggis...