Google Analytics can be an extremely powerful tool. It gives you insights into how visitors are finding and using your website but it is often misunderstood and underutilised, so let’s take a look at the system and what you can expect to find out from it.
Google Analytics tracks and reports on traffic to your website, and user behaviour on your website. It is widely used and when properly interpreted, it can help you make decisions regarding website content, marketing campaigns and more!
From an SEO perspective, the first thing you should look at is how visitors are finding your site. Analytics gives you a split between organic traffic which is through normal Google searchers, direct results when a visitor types your url into the address bar, and other channels such as paid and social traffic. You can see how many visitors have landed on your site in a specific time period, how many were new visitors and how many had visited your site before. If your traffic is mostly direct and paid, that’s a sign that you should do some work on your SEO to improve your organic positions.
You can also use the traffic data to compare months and years, to show if traffic is increasing or decreasing over time. By monitoring traffic you can see dips and peaks, which may repeat year on year if your business, has a seasonal angle. For example a coat company would expect a dip in traffic during the summer, then a spike in October. On the other hand, a Christmas tree company wouldn’t expect much traffic until the last quarter of the year.
Analytics will also tell you what sort of device visitors are using to view your site. If you find you have a lot of mobile visitors, it would be a good idea to ensure your site is responsive and loads quickly on a mobile device, or visitors can get frustrated and navigate away.
That brings us to an incredibly important insight, which is the bounce rate. This is where a visitor arrives on your site but does not interact with any other page before leaving. All sites are different so you must apply real-world logic when trying to interpret the bounce rate. Is it simply that a visitor finds all the information that they need on the first page they visit and don’t need to navigate to any other page? Or would you expect a user to click onto other pages if they were engaged, and a high bounce rate suggests that there’s something in the design and content of your site that you need to reconsider.
Analytics has a wealth of further information, allowing you to segment each data set to dive deeper and deeper into each category and find out how specific groups of your visitors behave. The more you use the tool, the more confident you will become in interpreting the results and making changes to your website. Set up is very straight forward and only takes a few minutes, so take a look today, you might be surprised what you find!
Want to get help with your Google Analytics? Contact us today on 0333 332 6396 to talk about our one off services.
Have you heard about the latest Google Algorithm change?
On March 12th, Google released a Core Algorithm Change, which was confirmed a day later by the Google team. But what does this mean and how can it impact your website and your business?
What is the Google Algorithm?
The first thing to understand is the way that Google ranks sites.
The Google algorithm is the way that the search engine weighs up a huge range of different factors and decides which web results are going to be displayed to the searcher, and in what order. The exact nature of the Google algorithm is not known, and it’s always changing as search changes and improves.
This is one of the reasons why you may see keywords move around, despite not making any changes to your site.
Why Do Algorithm Changes Matter?
Now you understand that the algorithm is used to rank web results, it follows that changes in the algorithm will lead to changes in the ranking.
Small changes happen all the time and are rarely confirmed. These are unlikely to make a meaningful impact on your site traffic, especially if you are doing SEO work to improve your positions. Big updates are different.
A big update, such as the core one that we have seen in March, can dramatically affect positions, and this will have a knock on effect to the traffic of your website. Reduced traffic means less customers for your business, which is especially relevant if organic search is one of your main sources of traffic.
When Was the Last Google Algorithm Change?
While small changes take place all the time, the last confirmed change took place in September 2018, and there was one the month before as well, in August. These core updates tend to affect all sorts of sites as they are broader and not focused on specific issues. This can also make them more difficult to engage with.
An example of a more specific update would be the ‘speed update’ in July 2018. This update used the speed at which a webpage loads on a mobile device as a ranking factor. Not only was this algorithm announced at the beginning of the year to allow the website to prepare, but there was also a straightforward way to fix any drops that it caused – improve your mobile load speed! We advised our SEO clients months in advance on how to prepare for this update and provided improvements to several sites.
While the March update is the first confirmed update of 2019, many resources indicate that other updates that have affected traffic have been taking place since the beginning of the year.
Have You Been Affected and What Should You Do?
If you’ve noticed a sudden and sustained change in your positions around the 12th or 13th of March, it’s likely that the core update has made a difference to your site.
With more specific updates, there are normally clear changes you can make to your website which will improve the rankings.
Broad updates like this one are difficult to respond to. Google themselves are often reluctant to discuss these changes because they do not advise making any changes to respond to them.
Our SEO team have been studying the change and keeping up with the latest analysis online. We would advise that the change appears to be in line with Google’s priority of high quality content and a positive customer experience. This should be the foundation of an SEO strategy, and as a result we have seen mostly positive movement for our clients following this update.
SEO is Constantly Changing and We Are Prepared
The nature of search is uncertain.
Updates can take place at any time which may impact your site’s positions.
But uncertainty does not equate to randomness.
Having been in the SEO business for over 18 years, we have seen huge changes in search. It’s important to understand that overall, search engines strive to provide good quality results. While some updates may call for specific action, following best practice and staying on top of your SEO work will always give good results.
Our years of experience have given us an excellent understanding of when to wait for positions to stabilise and when to make changes to boost them. We keep up with all the latest Google updates and recommendations so that we can get the best results for our clients.