If you're a small business taking a DIY approach to your digital presence, Google Analytics is your best friend. Not only is using Google Analytics straightforward, but it offers basic metrics and insights that give shape to your digital success.
For resource-limited organizations, the biggest advantage is its cost. For basic users, Google Analytics is completely free. As your company grows, however, consider investing in Google Analytics Premium, which provides more advanced reporting features. Still, there are ways small businesses can take advantage of the standard version to make better use of this information and increase the value of this free solution. Here are three ways to make your marketing even better by making the most of Google Analytics.
1. Cut the Spam From Your Reports
The traffic reports offered by Google Analytics can be insightful. First, though, you should set up filters that account for various unwanted influences. As Search Engine Land pointed out, spam referrals can inflate your traffic significantly, creating the illusion that you have a lot of traffic coming from many locations.
To find out if that's true, create a filtered view that removes this spam traffic, providing a more accurate report on your activity. You can still access the raw data view, however, note that it will include spam and other unwanted traffic. You can compare the filtered and raw views to see how much spam is being removed.
2. Focus on the Metrics That Matter Most
As you familiarize yourself with Google Analytics, examine your metrics to get a better sense of which ones reflect success. Overall web traffic is great, for example, but if your conversions are stagnant, you need your website to ramp up its selling efforts. Meanwhile, page views can reflect consumer engagement with your website, but visit duration shows how long your brand is being considered.
Take time studying and analyzing these metrics to identify the most important ones, then work on strategies to strengthen those numbers.
3. Exclude Your Internal Activity
It makes perfect sense that your employees will be visiting the site throughout the work day, confirming that new changes have been made, new content has been posted or to reference resources found online.
The problem is this activity can distort the numbers for your site, inflating page activity and site hits while worsening conversion rates and other critical metrics. For an enterprise company with a massive online reach, this impact may be negligible; for small businesses, internal traffic can result in massive distortions. The solution is simple: Use IP filtering to exclude your data from Google's reports.
When using Google Analytics, you can add a filter that removes the activity from individual IP addresses. Since many business locations are given the same IP, you likely only have to do this once, unless you operate multiple locations. Once the filter is activated, none of your internal activity will be included in the reports.
Google Analytics is a wonderful, free tool for small businesses, but there's no reason you shouldn't take every step possible to get the most out of the platform.