What Is Google Analytics And How Does It Work?

Google Analytics is a powerful measurement tool that can help to grow a local business online in 2016.

In 2012, there were only 10 million websites leveraging the Google Analytics tool. That equated to 54% of all existing websites and 60% of those were among the top ranking 100,000 websites. Since then, the number of websites leveraging the Google Analytics platform has quadrupled to an estimated 43 million sites worldwide in 2016.

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a free tool offered by Google to measure the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and the visitor traffic of a website. Local business owners in Toronto can leverage this service to measure a number of variables.

Here’s how a local business in Toronto can use Google Analytics for their Local SEO or Adwords Management.

  1. View website visitors and data in real time.

Google’s Analytics platform makes it possible to monitor user engagement in real time. More specifically, it displays how many visitors are currently navigating through the website and which pages they are landing on.

The Analytics tool can also provide insights that highlight geographical location, sources and navigation channels visitors used to land on the site (social, direct search, organic search, paid search, etc).

Another real time feature the platform offers is conversion tracking. It’s particularly useful to observe and audit the desired responses and actions from website users.

  1. Define the target audience.

Analytics can categorize the user base into sub-categories–demographics, interests, geographical location, behaviour, whether they are a new or returning user, and how long they stay engaged on in the site.

Furthermore, the analytics tool has the ability to identify browsers and devices users prefer when visiting the website. This can benefit the SEO or Adwords management efforts of a local business because in 2015, mobile data traffic grew 74%.

  1. Examine user acquisition channels.

The Analytics platform can track how the user discovered or navigated to the website. In 2014, social media drove 31.24% of overall traffic to websites.

  1. Audit site performance to improve user behaviour.

The Analytics interface can measure page performance by analyzing the user behaviour. For example, if the loading speed of a specific landing page is slow, it’s a problem because the result can be a negative user experience for visitors. Google Analytics will offer solutions to resolve the issue and improve the quality of the user experience.

If a website has a search bar, the tool can provide information about the keywords visitors are searching for within the site.

  1. Determine Conversion rates so you stretch your dollars further with Adwords Management.

Customize conversion objectives to track the frequency and quantity of visitors completing specific goals and targets. This feature can help small businesses stretch their advertising dollars further. If a website page is failing to convert high volumes of visitors, the report will identify “which stage” of the engagement funnel the consumer lost interest.

This feature offers a great benefit for Adwords Campaign optimization because this metric tool will also analyze the optimal dates and times when landing page performance can produce the most conversions. Evaluating the data will also help to quantify which elements on the site are driving conversions, and which elements are stalling the overall engagement goals.

Here are 3 key ways Google Analytics can help grow a local business online in 2016.

  1. Targeting.

Google Analytics helps to extract demographic information of visitors on a specific site. The data can be gathered to help create Adwords targeting and robust content strategies that will engage the users at all stages of the user engagement or purchase cycles. For example, Google says,

… you can use demographic targeting in combination with other targeting options like affinity audiences or in-market audiences to reach a more narrow customer base.

Targeting the demographics with the highest value can result in higher engagement, conversions and organic search ranking.

  1. Measurement.

Different businesses have different objectives. The analytics platform tracks the KPIs that are most relevant to specific verticals. These can include user engagement, website traffic and traffic sources, goal achievements, conversions, and many other variables. This data can be compiled to produce a snapshot of the overall performance of the digital property.

  1. Engagement.

Google Analytics measures bounce rate, page visits, and session duration to provide user engagement data. Checking the reports frequently will help to determine the content that customers are engaging with the most, as well as any content that is driving them away.

Analyze this data and revise any questionable content so that it is relevant and engaging to the target.

Read here to learn about how Local SEO can help grow your Toronto based small business.