There are at least two important Google Analytics tutorials published here on SEO Chat which are worth reading before you read this tutorial.
Those two articles assume you have a basic working knowledge of Google Analytics as well as background in website conversion rates.
What will you need to get the most out of the information in this tutorial?
1. Make sure you have installed Google Analytics on your website.
2. Make you have set up “conversion goals” in your website Google Analytics account (refer to the tutorial “How to Track Conversion Rates in Google Analytics”)
3. Make sure you currently have data available under the conversion goals. If you haven’t yet had any conversions tracked by Google Analytics, then you cannot make maximum use of the information presented in this tutorial.
Before going into a more in-depth analysis of conversions, let’s review the basic stats under the “Goals” section in Google Analytics. Go through the following procedure.
Step 1. Log in to your Google Analytics account.
Step 2. Under “Website Profiles” click “View Report” for your analyzed website.
Step 3. On the sidebar (below the “Dashboard”) click “Goals.”
Step 4. What you will see are the following report sections for “Goals.”
a. Total Conversions
b. Conversion Rate
c. Reverse Goal Path
d. Goal value
e. Goal Abandoned Funnels
f. Funnel Visualization
If you are asked the following questions, the above report sections can provide the basic stats about your website conversion performance:
1. How many total conversions has the website received in a one-month period?
Answer: Look under “Total Conversions.” Select the goal to provide the data you need.
2. With the conversions made, how high is my “conversion rate”?
Answer: Go to “Conversion Rate.” You should see the conversion rate expressed as a percentage.
If you wish to identify which of your products or services sell best, you need to click “Goal Verification.” It should provide you with a bar graph of the best-selling products (with their URL path).
This is very useful information that can either help you spot strong products (which you can further improve to increase sales) or spot weak products for which you might need to do more marketing work.
The percentage aspect of the bar graph is also important. If it says that the best selling products/services contributed 54%, it says that 54% of all of the website’s conversions for that specific goal come from that specific product.
If the data for this section is unavailable in your Google Analytics or if you are confused, you should configure your goal URLs as follows:
Match Type: Head Match
Goal URL: /thisisyourproductfolder/
Note: You can read another tutorial here on SEO Chat for details on configuring goals.
Most product URLs are dynamic in nature and use product IDs. So if you are selling downloads and the following are your sample product download pages:
You can use Google Analytics’ “Goal verification” report to determine the best selling products. The stats reported might look like this (which is presented as a bar graph in Google analytics report):
/thisisyourproductfolder/?id=product_download_1 = 54%
/thisisyourproductfolder/?id=product_download_2 = 21%
/thisisyourproductfolder/?id=product_download_3 = 25%
Suppose you have a website hierarchy/structure as follows, emphasizing sample product_1:
If the goal is /thisisyourproductfolder/?id=product_download_1, then the following are the possible goal paths:
Possible path 1: / ? /thisisyourproductfolder/product_1 ? /thisisyourproductfolder/?id=product_download_1
Description: The visitor lands on the home page, then clicks the link to the product page and finally to the download page to purchase.
Possible path 2: /thisisyourproductfolder/product_1 ? /thisisyourproductfolder/?id=product_download_1
Description: The visitor lands directly on the product page, possibly coming from a search engine or a link from other websites, then proceeds to the product 1 download page.
Possible path 3: / ? /thisisyourproductfolder/?id=product_download_1
Description: The visitor lands on the home page and clicks directly to purchase or download product 1 (especially if the website uses a “Buy Now” button directly on the home page).
Possible path 4: / ? /search/?id=product1 ? /thisisyourproductfolder/?id=product_download_1
Description: The visitor lands on the home page and uses the search box, and then clicks from the results to the download page.
Of course, there is no way you can tell which one is the best conversion path that will provide the most conversions or sales. But you can use Google Analytics to provide realistic data to measure the conversion performance of those different conversion paths. You can view it under Goals -> Reverse Goal Path. The conversion path is measured in terms of the number of conversions and the percentage contribution.
1. If a certain path appears to be the best conversion path, you will know where you should most likely add more content to contribute to higher conversions.
2. If you expect a certain path to have a high conversion path, but in reality it does not, it is worth checking to see whether something is wrong with the path. Maybe the product descriptions are missing or it lacks essential features that will help conversion.
Determine where your customers are coming from
You can also use Google Analytics to find out these two important things about your customer:
1. The source of traffic. Where do they come from? Are these customers coming from a search engine? Or are they coming from another website?
2. Geographical location. From what country are they coming? If you are expecting mostly US customers, are most of your customers actually coming from the US, or from another country?
Suppose you have download tracking software (not Google Analytics) that will alert you if someone has purchased/downloaded your product today. Assume that the download page is tracked with Google Analytics (like the example shown earlier), and you would like to know where your customers are coming from.
To do this, go through the following procedure.
1. Log in to your Google Analytics account.
2. Under “Website Profiles” click the “View Report” link of your analyzed website.
3. In the Dashboard, change the date from one day earlier to the latest date. So if today is June 10, 2010, set it up for June 9, 2010 to June 10, 2010.
This will filter unnecessary data which you do not need to see. Example:
4. Click “Content.”
5. Under “Top Content” click “View Full Report.”
6. Click the header “Page” column to sort the URL path.
7. Look for your download URL path in the report. Using the earlier example, say you are looking for product 1:
Since your download tracking software alerts you to a product download for today, you should see it there. If not, try to check for another three to six hours in the Top content, and the download page will be reported.
If you can now see the download page under the Top content section, proceed to step 8 below.
8. In the “Top Content” table, just beside “Page” column, look for a drop down with a default name “None.” Check the screen shot below (inside red box):
9. You will see a lot of variables under it, such as “Source,” “Medium,” “Keyword,” etc.
To know the source of traffic for that specific conversion, click “Source.” If the visitor came from a search engine, then it might give “Google” or "Yahoo" as the source of traffic. If your customer came from some other website, it should show the domain name: “someotherwebsites.com”.
b. To know what country your customer came from, just click “Country.”
Note that this technique can show you a lot of information about your customer, not only their country and what source of traffic they came from. You can even find out what browser they are using, their operating system, connection page, landing page and the keywords they are using if they came from a search engine.