Google Analytics can be intimidating if you haven’t found your way around it yet, and consequently many business owners forego using it altogether. This is a pretty big mistake. Taking the leap and becoming fast friends with this incredible tool is the first step in understanding how and why your website performs the way it does, and gives you tremendous insight as to how to adjust things moving forward to improve your results.

Let’s face it – everyone has to start somewhere, so in an effort to keep things simple, I’ve whittled it down to 5 basic reports within analytics you’ll want to watch. Even for beginners, this should be workable, and will give you a glimpse into just how powerful this tool can be for you and your business.

5 Analytics reports to keep your eye on

  1. Search queries – Analytics used to show more keyword data than it does now, but a very useful way to get some of this intelligence is by viewing the search queries report. You should have your Google Webmaster account linked to your Analytics for this to work properly. After you do that, you can see very valuable data such as the keywords you are currently ranking for, the amount of impressions they get, and the click-through rate on that page.
  2. Mobile usage – Knowing how well your pages are doing with mobile devices is important data to know when nearly 50% of your total traffic is typical from these sources.
  3. Referral data – This report shows you which sites are sending you referral traffic. This is good to know, and if that traffic slows in the future you may want to look into why it is happening.
  4. Session data – This has to do with the amount of time a visitor spends on your site. This is important data to be aware of, as the length of time a visitor is actively engaged on your site has a big impact on your page performance in the search rankings.
  5. Raw page views and exits – This is how many times your pages are viewed. Closely related is the pages where visitors exit the site from: you want to know this and investigate why so that you can test and optimize these pages to get greater engagement.

Fixing your attention on these analytics basics can help keep you informed as to how well your pages are doing (or not doing), and go a long way toward helping you better optimize your business.

Stay tuned for more in-depth Google Analytics articles to help you better understand your online marketing!