Understanding Google Analytics

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Setting SEO benchmarks

This week, I spoke with three different marketing managers about new projects and not one knew how their web site was performing, even though they have Google Analytics installed and collecting valuable data.

This is perplexing, considering that analytical tools are GOLD for assessing the performance of your website’s current position and setting benchmarks for making core decisions for your entire digital strategy.

Maybe it’s data overload? Are Google’s tools too confusing? Are marketers too scared to see if current strategies are actually working?

I love statistics, especially when they prove me wrong because then I can at least eliminate a poor strategy and get creative with new ideas to take a site to the next level.

On the flipside, I also had a fantastic meeting this week with a successful entrepreneur who had set very attainable goals for sales for the next quarter with a breakdown of how the team were going to achieve said goals across a range of online and offline channels. It made me realise how important it is to constantly set goals that extend but not frighten you.

When setting goals you need to know what is reasonably attainable. You need to know where you are now, so you can plan where you want to be – and when.

5 Key Performance Google Analytics Benchmarks

1. In Google Analytics, go to: Traffic Sources > Sources > Referrals

This is the first thing I investigate. How many and what quality are the sites that link to your site and what is a good benchmark for these numbers?

It depends on the keywords and competitiveness of these keywords. Start with 50, of which 50% should be quality industry related sites and/or sites of high PageRank.

Backlinks need to build constantly. Google sees each backlink as a ‘vote’ for your site – more votes = higher rank. It is not a good idea, however to add 100’s in one hit. This won’t look natural to Google and you may be penalised. Links should build gradually and go for quality over quantity. One good quality, industry related link is worth 100’s of general directory listings.

2. Traffic Sources > Search Engine Optimisation > Queries

This requires Google’s Webmaster Tools to be connected to your analytics account. (Go to your Google account and signup for Webmaster Tools. You will also have to insert a line of code into your site.) This allows you to establish what terms people used to find your site. It tells you whether your SEO is working and how focused your keywords are.

Your site will have 4-6 key terms that drive most of your traffic. These should be the main focus on your primary pages. You should also work on ‘long tail’ keyword phases that will attract a smaller number of searches but significantly widen your net. These terms might describe specific services you provide or associated niches that attract quality traffic.

3. Content > Site Content > Landing Pages & Content Drilldown

Use this section to compare the popularity of your content (as part of your content marketing strategy). Try to plan articles around trending topics, but make sure it’s relevant.

Bounce rate is critical. It’s pointless writing an article that attracts 1000’s of visitors with a killer title only to have them leave after two seconds when they realise your article wasn’t what they thought. Under 50% is a good target for bounce rate.

4. Audience > Behaviour > Visitor Flow

How effective are you market verticals? How do you want your customers and prospects to move through your site?  Using Google’s interactive visitor flow map will give you an excellent insight into all of this data. This is more for the serious stats lover, but it will tell you what’s working and what’s not on your site.

How many clicks does it take until your customers buy or enquire? How many drop off after 2? How engaging is your content? Do you lead the user to what they want?

5. Goals > Conversions

In many instances this is the core to setting performance benchmarks. It allows you to set and track interaction performance at many levels from eCommerce purchase performance to enquiries and back up the funnel to where the source of the conversion came from.


As you can see, the marketing professional or business owner has never had so much accurate, real-time data before. Once you learn what to look for, you will very quickly know what parts of your site and/or business are not working.

If you want to know more about increasing conversions and Google Analytics – book an analytics review now with one of KND’s digital professionals.

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