How to Navigate Google Analytics Like a Pro (Way Beyond the Basics)

Rhett Lloyd
Apr 18, 2022
8 mins

Are you new to the field of digital marketing for your business? Perhaps, you’re looking for the most effective ideas that you can practice to get the most out of your business website? If this is the case, then Google Analytics is arguably one of the most powerful and useful tools that you can use for this purpose. If you’ve done your research on web development, you might already be aware of what Google Analytics is and how it can benefit you. However, even though Google Analytics has been popularly used by web developers over the years, there are still chances you might not know what this tool is and how it works. 

By fully comprehending the extent of Google Analytics, you can benefit from it in numerous different ways, especially with greater traffic being drawn towards your website. If you’ve never heard about Google Analytics in the past, then don’t worry because, in this article, we’ll provide you with a complete insight into how this tool works and benefits businesses. 

Why should you understand Google Analytics? It would allow you to develop more effective and productive marketing campaigns for your business. With the aid of this tool, you can expect a significant improvement in the workability of your business website and consequently, grow your business over time. 

With that said, let’s not waste any more time and get straight into the guide. 

The Basics of Google Analytics

Before we dive headfirst into the complex working of Google Analytics, it’s essential for you to acknowledge the basics associated with using Google Analytics. Here is a list of instructions that you must follow to get the most out of Google Analytics. 

Get The Right Content for Your Website

If you’ve been in the digital marketing sector for a while, you must be aware of the significance of good and relevant content for your business. The right content shapes your digital marketing campaign and defines how successful it would prove to be in the long run. For this reason, it’s essential for you to understand what type of content is the most current and popular for your website. 

So how can you analyze the effectiveness of the content that you have on your website? Simply log in to your Google Analytics account, go to Behavior, Site Content, and All Pages. Next, sort the listed pages based on the defined criteria that fulfill your needs and requirements. This allows you to analyze the effectiveness of different types of content that you publish on your website. Consequently, you can choose the right marketing strategy with the best content that delivers the most optimum results. 

Understanding The Various Types of Google Analytics Reports

So how does Google help you analyze your website and allow you to choose the right digital marketing strategy for your business? It does that with the help of a variety of different analytics reports, each representing different types of data to aid you. 

The five main types of Google Analytics reports are listed below:

  • Real-Time: It shows the activity on your website in real-time. 
  • Audience: Details about the visitors that your website receives. 
  • Acquisition: States how your visitors discovered your website. 
  • Behavior: Defines what your visitors are doing on your website. 
  • Conversions: Shows data of viewers converting to customers. 

Fully comprehending these different types of Google Analytics reports would help you achieve the optimum results from this tool. 

Ensure That Google is Crawling Your Site

Lastly, you need to ensure that Google is crawling your site before you begin to use Google Analytics. Doing so might seem insignificant; however, you don’t want to forget this as it will determine the effectiveness of Google Analytics for your website. Follow the steps below to understand how you can enable Google crawling on your site:

  1. Go to Google Search Console (GSC) and select the website that you want Google to crawl. 
  2. Under the “Crawl” section, select “Fetch as Google”.
  3. Inside the text box, copy and paste the path to the page that you want to crawl. 
  4. Separately select both desktop and mobile versions of your website for testing. 
  5. Once the testing is complete, request for indexing. 
  6. Lastly, request Google to index all direct links as well. 

How To Use Google Analytics?

Now that you’re aware of the basic concepts associated with Google Analytics, let’s move on to the more complicated part of how you can use Google Analytics. To make this process much easier for you, we’ve distributed the functionality of this tool in multiple steps for you to follow along with us and not feel lost at any point.

Step 1:  Set Up Suitable Google Analytics Goals

As a website owner, you are likely to want viewers to perform certain tasks while visiting your website. These are referred to as Google Analytics goals. Some of the most common Google Analytics goals include purchasing from your website, filling out a contact form, or any other activity that benefits your business. You are required to set up these goals with Google Analytics so that you can keep a record of how well your goals are being achieved. 

To do so, simply go to the admin tab of Google Analytics and select “Goals”. Next, hit “New Goal” and choose from the given templates. If none of the templates define your intended goal, then scroll to the bottom and select “Custom”. Now you’ll be able to properly define your goal and what you hope to achieve with it. 

You are suggested to set 4 main types of Google Analytics goals, which are listed below. 

  • Destination Goals: These will help you track visits to your website that are likely to benefit your business in some way. 
  • Visit Duration Goals: These will help you track the amount of time that visitors spend on your site. 
  • Pages Visited Per Session Goals: Such goals track the number of pages that each visitor encounters during one session. 
  • Event Goals: These goals are completed when visitors perform certain tasks on your website. 

Step 2: Understand Real-Time Reports by Google Analytics

Real-time reports are one of the most beneficial types of reports that Google Analytics provides. These reports help you monitor activities occurring on your website as soon as they occur.  To further understand the importance of real-time reports, you must be aware of the kind of data that these reports provide. 

  • Overview: This report displays a summary of activities on your website, including pages being visited, location, traffic source, and more. 
  • Location: This allows you to view the geographical location of a visitor. 
  • Traffic Sources: You can view the various websites and pages where your audience is coming from. 
  • Content: This shows which pages your visitors are currently spending their time on. 
  • Events: Tracks the completion of your event goals in real-time. 
  • Conversions: Gives you the total number and percentage of current users that have completed a Google Analytics goal. 

Step 3: Pay Attention to Acquisition Reports

Acquisition reports also hold immense importance since they help you acknowledge sources of your website’s traffic. These reports provide data regarding channels by which web traffic reaches your website, engagement metrics for these channels, and conversion rates for each channel. 

So how can you use the data collected by acquisition reports? It’s essential for website owners to know where their audience is coming from. This would allow you to develop more effective digital marketing campaigns that can directly benefit your business in the long run. 

Step 4: Learn to Enable Google Analytics Demographics and Interests Report

Demographics and interests report is another great feature of Google Analytics that allows you to obtain a clearer image of your website visitors. This allows you to know your audience better, including their gender, location, and other essential factors. 

To enable this feature, go to your Google Analytics dashboard and select your website. Select “Audience”, “Demographics”, and then “Overview”. Lastly, hit “Enable” to use the demographic and interests report feature of Google Analytics. 

Step 5: Utilize Google Tag Manager (GTM)

Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a feature offered by Google Analytics that allows users to set up and manage marketing tags to gain a better understanding of the effectiveness of your digital marketing campaign. 

The feature is quite easy-to-use and can benefit your website as well as your business in numerous ways. You can experiment with various different marketing tags and discover the right tags that attract the most traffic to your website. 

Step 6: Understand Custom Reports 

Google Analytics also allows users to set up and obtain custom reports according to the needs and requirements of your business. With the help of custom reports, you can understand your site’s content performance, acquisition patterns, SEO reports, and more. 

To create a custom report, go to Google Analytics and select the “Reports” tab. Select “Customization” and hit “Custom Reports”. Define the custom report type and give it a suitable name. For the type of custom report, you can choose from Explorer, Flat Table, Map Overlay, or Funnel.  

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