Let’s say you want to assess the success of your site by determining how many people have purchased your products. Of the webpages that you’ve designed, you’ve made sure to create a “Thank You” page that visitors will see once they’ve successfully converted. While this can be a great way to monitor your sales, there are other statistics that are crucial for improving your site: knowing where your visitors come from, how many visitors don’t complete a sale, etc.
Setting and tracking goals with Google Analytics, a free website metrics tool that monitors conversion rates and return on investments (ROI), is an easy way to monitor goals and reveal areas for improvement on your site.
What Is a Goal?
A goal is a website page (or other factor such as newsletter subscriptions, content views, or downloads) that serves as proof of an actual conversion taking place on your site. For example, let’s say that your niche involves holiday items. If you want to track the purchases of Halloween decorations before Halloween, the “Confirmation” or “Thank You for Your Order” page that the buyer sees after completing an order will serve as your goal.
Keeping tabs on that goal – as well as any other goal that is crucial to your success – is key to improving your conversion rate and search engine optimization (SEO).
After you have identified which goals are most important to you, you will need to set up your goal by:
- Signing in to your Google Analytics account
- Going to your dashboard and clicking Edit under the Actions column
- Scrolling down to the Goals section
- Picking one of the four sets to create your goal
- Clicking Add Goal for each goal you want to create
- Turning the goal On
Now that you have set up your goal(s), you will need to determine goal types. Google Analytics has three types of goals:
- URL Destination – You can find out if a visitor reached a specific page with this selection. This goal is best used to track conversions, such as purchasing a product or submitting an e-mail address.
- Time on Site – This goal shows how long visitors stayed on your site and then let’s you analyze that data. For example, you could input “Greater Than 2 minutes” as a benchmark and then track how many visitors signed up for your newsletter after two minutes. You can also put in a “Less Than” value.
- Pages/Visit – You can see how many pages each visitor views on your site and then analyze this information by setting a benchmark to see how many average conversions you receive per pages viewed.
Using Goals to Improve SEO and Conversion
Now that Google Analytics has provided you with all of this data, what do you do with it? Perhaps your current goals are to learn how many people signed up for your newsletter subscription list on a weekly basis and learn how many pages that group viewed by the time they completed that initial goal.
Once you add both goals to your dashboard and then turn them on, Google Analytics’ tracking system will give you a keener eye in to how effective your site is. Going back to our last example, if after a week you decided to look at the data, you may find that 15 people subscribed to your site. Looking at the other goal of Pages/Visit could also reveal that for every subscriber who converted, they viewed at least three pages.
Why does this matter? It matters because further investigating reveals that potential customers cannot find your call to action until they’ve gotten to the third page of your site. Now that you have this information, you can make sure to put your call to action on not only the homepage of your site, but on every page of your site, which will likely improve your future conversion rate.
While using goals to track key metrics on your site may seem a bit overwhelming, understanding what data you are looking for and how this knowledge can optimize your conversions is key. Get comfortable with metric tools and stay abreast of new ways to optimize your site – your wallet will thank you.
About the Author
Mitch Oâ€™Conner is an online marketer and writer. When he’s not busy testing sites, generating traffic or writing content, he enjoys spending time with his wife and kids, watching TV, playing games or going camping.