How to Use Google Analytics to Improve Website Performance

June 1, 2023

Are you looking for a way to improve your company’s website performance but not sure where to start? Google Analytics can be an invaluable tool when it comes to gaining insights into how users interact with your pages. It gives you real-time feedback so that you can see exactly what areas are working and which ones need improvement. 

With the right measurements and tracking data, you can make strategic decisions that increase traffic and leads while making sure customers have a smooth online experience. Read on as we give you the basics of using Google Analytics to get the most out of your website.

 What is Google Analytics, and How Can it Help Your Business?

Google Analytics

In this article, we’ll discuss why you need to measure digital marketing performance, important terminology you should know, adding Google Analytics to your website, tracking metrics and dimensions, why conversions are the most important KPI, defining your goals, using data to make informed decisions, understanding reports, studying engagement rate, tracking behaviour flow and lead quality. 

Yes, that is a lot to take in, but I have written this article with as little digital marketing jargon as possible, so it makes sense to anyone new to Google Analytics. Most of the content below is a summary of the basics of setting up Google Analytics to track website performance effectively. 

Measuring your digital marketing performance is crucial for understanding your campaigns’ impact and identifying areas for improvement. Without this data, you’ll be flying blind, making decisions based on intuition rather than facts. 

Important Terminology You Need to Know

Before we dive into the terminology, it’s important to understand that in July 2023, Google will replace Google Analytics (Universal) with Google Analytics (G4). While G4 is currently in beta, and changes may have been made since this article was written, the fundamental metrics and dimensions are already in place. Any updates made will likely be small navigational changes.

Here are a few key terms you should know:

  • Users: The number of people that visit the website.
  • Sessions: The number of pages a user visits
  • Metrics: A number given to measure an action. For example, page visits or website users making a conversion.
  • Dimensions: Data recorded to a given feature like a location or a person’s age, a person’s interests, or on what device(s) website visitors are using when visiting the website.
  • Events: A user interaction on a website or app. For example, a page view or video view.
  • Conversion rate: Conversion rate is the percentage of sessions in which users completed a specific goal, such as filling out a form, clicking on a phone number link or making a purchase.

Adding Google Analytics to Your Website

To start using Google Analytics, you’ll need to create an account and add the tracking code to your website. The process is straightforward, and Google provides detailed instructions on how to set up an account and add the tracking code. Once you’ve added the code, it can take up to 24 hours for data to start appearing in your reports.

What is Google Tag Manager?

Tag Manager

Google Analytics provides some website tracking as default events tracking. The default tracking in G4 is:

  1. Language
  2. Page location
  3. Page referrer
  4. Page title
  5. Screen resolution

If you enable Enhanced Tracking G4 will automatically track the following events:

  1. Page views – when a website user visits a URL
  2. Page scroll – measures the depth of a website user’s webpage scrolling
  3. Outbound link clicks – when a website user clicks on a link to another site or file
  4. Site search – provides website search results
  5. Video Engagement – measure video view length
  6. File Download – measure PDF or other file downloads
  7. Form Tracking – measures the number of web form signups/submissions

To properly track conversions, it’s best to set customer conversion to track your website’s performance and ROI. Because you cannot set up custom conversion in Google Analytics, you need to use Google Tag Manager to track custom events. The most important custom events are conversions like:

  1. Make a Booking button click 
  2. Contact Us web form click
  3. Mobile phone number clicks
  4. Email link clicks (for example, an email address on your website)
  5. Another Webform submits button clicks.
  6. PDF downloads
  7. Video view data
  8. Page scroll data
  9. All text link clicks

The number of conversions you need to track will depend on the size and function of your website. Suppose you have a small service industry website. In that case, you may only need 1 or 2 custom conversions, but if you have a large eCommerce site, you will need to track transactions and many other custom conversions you need that lead to a final product purchase. 

Tracking Conversions on Social Media and Other Digital Channels

Google Analytics Universal is not the best tool for tracking non-web channels like social media or email marketing because it doesn’t accurately capture all the data from social channels. This tracking anomaly is due to the different tracking attribution models of each platform that Google Analytics Universal doesn’t fully recognise. To obtain accurate visitor data, it’s best to view data from each channel within its respective platform, as each platform uses unique tracking methods that may not be fully captured by Google Analytics Universal.

If you have moved to Google Analytics G4, you have the ability to separate paid and organic social traffic or your email marketing and conversions by using Google’s Campaign URL Builder. With GA4, you can easily identify whether your social traffic is organic or paid. This makes it easier to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns and adjust them accordingly.

With Universal Analytics, your social campaigns, both paid and organic, are recorded under one group. By implementing GA4, you can use tracking codes and get reports on specific digital marketing platforms, such as paid social ads, organic posting and email marketing and make the most of the marketing budget.

Tracking Metrics and Dimensions

Google Analytics provides a wide range of metrics and dimensions to track, including traffic, events, conversion rate, and more. Some of the most important metrics to track include:

  • Traffic: Track how many people are visiting your website and where they’re coming from.
  • User Engagement: Track what actions people have been engaging in on your website.
  • Time on site: Track how long people are spending on your website.
  • Conversions: Track how many people are taking a specific action, such as filling out a form or making a purchase.

Why Conversions are the Most Important KPI

Google Analytics Conversions

Conversions are a key metric to track when evaluating a website’s performance. They measure the effectiveness of a website in achieving its primary goal, whether it is generating leads, making sales, or some other desired action. The conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to a website who take a specific action, such as making a purchase or filling out a contact form. A high conversion rate means that many visitors are taking the desired action, which strongly indicates that the website is effectively fulfilling its purpose.

Tracking conversion rates is essential for website optimisation, as it allows you to identify areas of the website that may be underperforming and make changes to improve their performance. For example, if your website’s conversion rate is low, you may need to improve the design and layout of the website, make it more user-friendly, or optimise the checkout process to make it more seamless and efficient. Additionally, you can use conversion rate data to evaluate the effectiveness of different marketing campaigns and identify which ones are driving the most conversions.

Google Ads Conversion Tracking

If you are using Google Ads, tracking conversions is the metric you need to focus on. Once you have a Google Ads campaign running, Google uses Machine Learning algorithms to find the searchers who are more likely to convert to a lead or purchase a product from your website. Below is a summary of what data you need to have in place to help Google find people searching for your products or services.

  1. The right keywords in the Google Ads campaign
  2. The right keywords in the Ad text
  3. The content on the landing page must have the right keywords.

Google uses the above 3 data points to match a person’s search query. Once a person converts to a lead or sale, the conversion is recorded in Google ads and Google Analytics. Your conversions need to be viewed as your revenue and your ROI.

Defining Your Goals as Events

Before you can track conversions, you’ll need to define your website goals. Google Analytics allows you to set event tracking for various actions, such as filling out a form or purchasing a product. Once you’ve set up your events on G4, you can track the conversion rate and see which tactics are most effective at converting visitors into leads or customers.

Using Data to Make Informed Decisions

Google Analytics provides a wealth of data, and it is important to use this data to make informed decisions about your website. By analysing your traffic, engagement rate, conversion rate, and other metrics, you can identify areas for improvement and adjust your strategy accordingly. For example, if your engagement rate is low, it may indicate that your website’s design or content is not meeting the needs of your visitors. Analysing your traffic sources can also identify which channels drive your website’s most valuable traffic.

Understanding Reports

Google Analytics provides a variety of reports, including Audience, Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversion reports. Each of these reports provides different insights into your website’s performance.

The Audience report provides information about the demographics of your visitors, such as age and location. The Acquisition report shows how people are finding your websites, such as through organic search or paid advertising. The Behavior report shows how people interact with your website, such as which pages are most popular. The Conversion report shows how well your website is converting visitors into leads or customers.

Studying Engagement Rate

Engagement rate is an important metric to track because it indicates how well your website is holding the attention of your visitors. You can track the engagement rates by looking at average engagement time, engaged sessions per user, and event count. By understanding how engaged your visitors are with your website, you can make adjustments to improve their experience.

Track Behaviour Flow

Behaviour flow reports in Google Analytics allow you to see visitors’ paths on your website. It helps you understand how visitors interact with your website, which pages they visit, and where they drop off. By understanding the behaviour flow, you can identify problem areas and make adjustments to improve the user experience.

Lead Quality

Lead quality is an important metric to track because it indicates the potential value of a lead. By understanding lead quality, you can focus on the most valuable leads and improve your conversion rate.

End-Of-Month Reporting

End of Month Reporting

Reporting on Google Analytics is essential for businesses to measure their return on investment (ROI) and revenue. By tracking website traffic, businesses can better understand how their website marketing campaigns are performing, such as which strategies are working best and whether they need to invest more in certain areas. 

Analysing data from Google Analytics allows business owners to evaluate a campaign’s success by measuring everything from page visits to user engagement and conversions. This data can provide insight into what content resonates with customers and what messages lead them to purchase. Furthermore, it can help identify areas where teams need to focus more energy or resources in order to generate more website traffic, leads, and sales. 

Additionally, reporting on Google Analytics allows businesses to track key performance indicators such as cost per conversion, average time spent on site, new users, and returning visitors, all of which provide valuable insights into user behaviour that can be used to refine marketing efforts for optimal results. 

Overall, measuring ROI through detailed reporting on Google Analytics is important for any business looking to maximise profits by targeting the right audience with effective strategies.

What’s the Takeaway?

Google Analytics is a powerful tool for measuring website performance and making data-driven decisions. By tracking metrics such as traffic, bounce rate, and conversion rate, you can understand how people interact with your website and identify areas for improvement. By defining your goals and understanding your reports, you can make informed decisions about your website’s design and content strategy. With the right approach, you can use Google Analytics to improve your website’s performance and drive more valuable traffic to your website.

If you have a website and need help setting up Google Analytics tracking, contact me for a conversation on how to get started:

Paul Murphy
Paul Murphy

Paul Murphy is the founder and business owner of Liberty Marketing since 2006. Liberty Marketing operates from Geelong, Victoria and works as a freelance digital marketing specialist and print management company in partnership with a wide range of web development and print suppliers throughout Australia. Together, we strive to deliver the latest technology solutions.