A Deep Dive into Google Analytics and Search Console


A Deep Dive into Google Analytics and Search Console

by Riana Chandarana

Analytics tools provide data on your site. This data is key to improving your site and meeting business objectives through actionable insights. What is tracked? In simple terms, ‘metrics‘ – numerical data such as number of visitors, and ‘dimensions’ – user data such as their geographic location or gender. Combining insights from metrics and dimensions is invaluable to your marketing strategy. A key tip to remember is, to measure is to be able to improve. So below we will map out how to turn data into positive business actions.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics can be used as the foundation of any online marketing activity as it can track everything from display advertising, organic activity, social and everything in-between. It can even track entire customer journeys. From how they found you, what they do on your site, how long they were on it, whether they leave your site and return later to reach conversion goals.

When faced with the task of tracking website performance you will be wondering; is my site growing? How many people are visiting my site? Where are they coming from? What pages do they look at? Is it converting? And this is exactly what Google Analytics offers! Google Analytics splits into the following sections:

1. Real Time

Provides current data on who is on your site, what they are doing right now, where they are located, how many people are on your site right now, what pages are they looking at and if they are converting.

2. Audience

The audience report is crucial to your marketing strategy. Audience > Overview gives you access to users and new users – this refers to visitors to your site and new visitors to your site. This is extremely informative as if your site isn’t attracting users or new users you can review your online marketing tactics.

You can also track ‘sessions’, this varies to users as a session is an interaction by one person on your site within a 30 minute time period, if someone goes back onto your site after this time it would count as another session.

Your bounce rate and average session duration can also be found here. Your site’s bounce rate is the number of users who enter your site then leave after viewing just one page, ultimately representing your engagement. If your bounce rate is high it means people aren’t finding what they want on your site. If so, this is an opportunity to review your site content and make it more engaging. Average session duration tells you how long users are staying on your site and is calculated by total duration/ total sessions. The less time means the less engaging they find it. This correlates with your bounce rate and once again shows you an opportunity to review. 

Audience insights such as demographics, interests, geo and what device they are accessing your site on can also be found in this section. Getting to understand your digital audience is incredibly useful to your online marketing strategy, to create a target audiences for online campaigns and content strategies for example.

3. Acquisition

Refers to where your audience are coming from. In Acquisition > Overview you can keep an eye on your sources of website traffic such as, organic search, direct search, referrals, paid search or social media. This is crucial to help build your website strategy as ultimately you want all of your marketing tools to work together to generate conversions. So if you see that organic search is low for example you know that there are opportunities to review your SEO strategy. 

4. Behaviour

Shows what actions are taken when your audience are on your site. The key here is to see which pages are performing best. This is a great tool for content marketers to see which content is performing well or not and take action on this basis!

5. Conversions

A completion of an activity based on your sites goals. Ultimately your conversions is simply whether the user converted to a customer. For example, did they sign up to your email database? Did they purchase? You need to set up goals and e-commerce tracking first and then you can look at multi channel funnels to see which of your channels achieved these conversion and also track your conversion rate – number of conversions/ number of visitors.

If you’re interested in learning more about Google Analytics, you can take the official Google Analytics Academy course that’s tailored for beginners.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is great tool to help you see how Google views your site and online presence. Ranging from mobile site performance, fixing issues domains, traffic queries and pages. Below highlights a few;

Performance tab

Shows you what pages and keywords your website ranks for in Google including; clicks, impressions, average click through rate or average position. This information is extremely powerful to your SEO strategy, especially when paired with Google Analytics. For example, you can search key terms performing well or notice a search term not performing well. Use this to review content and ensure it is relevant and then check the impact on website traffic in Google Analytics.

Index coverage tab

This shows you whether your pages are in the Google index. Are there errors preventing it being in the index? If it isn’t in the index it won’t appear on search results – a useful one to check.

Enhancement tab

Allows you to check your site speed and loading times, as slow sites are less likely to be ranked highly by Google, it is important to check this.

Mobile usability tab

This tracks how friendly your site is for mobile. This is particularly important as ‘users on the go’ are becoming a large trend. If your site is not mobile friendly this is an opportunity to optimise your site for mobile users.