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19 Things That Make Google Analytics an Awesome Tool

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By now, most everyone has heard of Google and just in case you haven't - Google began as a search engine company and now has the largest search engine market share in the world. However, Google is much more than a search engine company and in fact, has countless Internet based applications, programs, and tools.

Analytics is one of Google's most powerful tools and is designed to assist web developers and online business owners alike to improve their search rankings across the various pages of their site. Below is a list of 19 things that make Google Analytics an awesome tool:

Benefits of Using the Google Analytics Tool

  1. Automatic Alerts

    Running a business takes a lot of time and energy. The fleet of foot succeed because they remain one step ahead of their competition. Google analytics stores tons of historical data, which can be compared to current conditions. It has a default alert value that can notify you when strategic, extraordinary or special events occur. This helps Web developers respond rapidly to changing conditions by gaining valuable insights into the behavior of their visitors. Developers can even customize these alerts with their own variables to ensure that they are not the last to know.

  2. Benchmarking

    Google's unique position allows it to accumulate valuable information concerning how different online businesses are faring against one another. By "opting-in" to the Benchmarking system, you can compare your site's performance against the market, industry and competition. The Benchmarking system aggregates performance metrics so you will know if your site is outperforming or underperforming industry standards.

  3. Bounce Rate

    The percentage of visitors who view one single page and immediately exit a site is referred to as the "bounce rate." You can follow this path in Analytics to find the bounce rate:

    "Visitors>Visitor Trending>Bounce Rate"

    When a visitor "bounces" it means that your marketing was successful in attracting the visitor to a landing page, but your content failed to encourage the visitor to continue deeper into your site. By measuring the bounce rate, you can improve your site so it maintains the attention of visitors.

  4. Browser Capabilities

    Every little detail can help your business succeed. By understanding the six characteristics listed under the Browser Capabilities Report - Browsers, Operating Systems, Screen Colors, Screen Resolution, Flash Version and Java Support - you can maximize the experience for your customers. Certain fonts, graphics and applications work better with different systems. This report helps you identify potential glitches that are browser-specific.

  5. Dashboard Customization

    The Dashboard not only gives you a great overview of your site, but it also can be customized to your own specifications. Select up to 12 graphical overviews. While the Dashboard is set up with standard default reports, it is easy to add your own reports by simply using the drag-and-drop tool. Find the best mixture for your market sector.

  6. Data Comparisons

    In order to discover Web surfing trends, it is necessary to view data for different time periods. Analytics allows users to compare their site performance for different date ranges. Just set the "Date Range" and "Compare to past" fields for a specified data set. Google keeps up to 25 months of historical site data. Identify seasonal or monthly sales patterns with this helpful feature.

  7. Ecommerce Tracking

    Businesses selling products and services online can use Ecommerce Tracking features for measuring advertising RPC, ROI and margins. The detailed analysis can be broken down into clicks, visits and impressions. Help your marketing staff identify the best selling products, best revenue sources and loyalty metrics. Fine tune future marketing campaigns using the knowledge gained from this tracking feature.

  8. Exclude Designated IP Traffic

    Sometimes site traffic statistics are skewed due to visits from your own staff, employees or affiliate members. Perhaps, these folks are simply viewing or updating some information for company records. Analytics permits you to use data filters to "Exclude all traffic from an IP address." This makes your site traffic data more accurate.

  9. Funnel Visualization

    Funnel Visualization permits Web developers to better understand how visitors proceeded through their site (from page to page). When you focus on a specific goal - such as registration - this Funnel Visualization assists you in finding how many visitors started and completed the User Registration process. This data helps you identify trouble spots.

  10. Geographical Metrics

    Google knows how to make great maps too. View Geographical Metrics by city, region or country. These heat maps show areas of greatest success. It is easy to click on a region to zoom down to the city level. With geographical statistics for pageviews per visit, average time on site and conversion rates, it is easy to calculate traffic volume, quality and value.

  11. Goal-Setting

    Business success begins with a plan. Analytics helps companies with Goal-Setting. Simply identify your goal (i.e. clicks, views or sales), then identify the "funnel" (up to ten pages of your site where the data will be measured). Then determine the "value of the goal" - this is usually based on the percentage of your total sales that this portion represents. It is easier to track overall performance when you have a short-term goal set in Analytics.

  12. Local Conversion

    Analytics assists in identifying whether AdWords marketing campaigns have been successful. Data is broken down into "organic" (unpaid and natural referrals) versus "paid" campaigns (Adwords and paid keyword searches). It is easy to determine what AdWords should be purchased to target specific customer niches with Analytics data comparisons.

  13. Navigation Summary

    The Navigation Summary includes information on "Entrances" and "Exits" of visitors. This can identify which landing pages were the most appealing for initial visits. It can also help designate pages that lost the visitor's attention or interest. Understanding these browsing behaviors will assist you in making your entire site more appealing to your customers.

  14. Reports

    There are so many reports that can be generated in Analytics that it is amazing. Furthermore, Google makes it easy to share reports with others. Reports can be customized and scheduled to occur at different time periods. Choose the metrics to track and choose between different supported formats - PDF, XML, CSV or TSV. These reports can be e-mailed directly to interested parties.

  15. Search Engine Traffic

    It is easy to identify the search engines that are sending the most traffic to your site. This can assist you in measuring conversion rates for SEO.

  16. Service Provider

    Even the Service Provider (or Network Location) that deliver visitors to your site can be identified by Analytics. This can be found in the section for "Visitor Segmentation".

  17. Task Delegation

    No man can accomplish everything himself. Employees can be delegated tasks within Analytics with "read-only permissions" that prevent data modification but permit logging in and report running tasks to be performed. More trusted co-workers can even be given Administrator privileges.

  18. Top Content

    Web developers want to know what content is most successful at grabbing the attention of visitors. Analytics runs statistics measuring how many times a page was viewed and the average stay of the visitor. With these statistics, it is easy to justify removing unpopular pages from the site.

  19. Visitor Type Contribution

    With the Visitor Type Contribution pie chart, developers can measure repeat versus new visits. There are many helpful statistics including pageviews, time on site and bounces. Digging deeper into this metric, developers can understand the loyalty, recency, length and depth. Analytics provides a more profound glimpse into the mind and behavior patterns of your site visitors.

Mike Quayle

Posted on 8th February, 2011 by Mike Quayle

About Mike Quayle

Mike Quayle is a SEO, content writer, and marketer from Seattle, Washington.

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