Kudos to the Google Analytics team for beefing up Google Analytics with new design, awesome features and reports. With the launch of Google’s enterprise analytics, it will be interesting to see how the web analytics solution provider landscape changes. Adobe Omniture and IBM Coremetrics have been the leaders in the enterprise analytics field but with Google’s entry, the game could change. Fortunately, it will be users like us who will benefit from the clash of the titans.
Let’s talk about some of GA’s most useful reports and features and how to get most out of it.
#1 Real Time Analytics – Google introduced real time reporting last week, and as I speak, the feature is not rolled out to every analytics account.
If you are early adopter like me, then you can get access to GA’s real time analytics by submitting this early access form.
I have been playing with real time analytics solutions for quite some time, and it is certainly not the most insightful feature of web analytics. Real time reporting definitely adds “coolness” to web analytics platform.
I agree there are some benefits to it like understanding the impact of a major social push campaign, spot checking web traffic at any instance, campaign tracking but nothing beyond this.
Google offers four different real time analytics reports as a part of this module – main overview tab with high level session metrics, geo location in real time, traffic sources and most popular pages.
We mainly use real time reporting for spot checking website to review sudden drop in online orders due to technical issues.
#2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) queries report - Google recently announced the integration of Google Web Master Tools (WMT) with Google Analytics. They have been testing this integration for the last four months. With this announcement, three new reports were rolled out under the Search Engine Optimization section – queries, landing page and Geographical summary.
This integration further solidifies the importance of SEO analytics and search engine optimization in general.
SEO queries report is not an extension of the old “Keywords” report but a new addition to the reporting suite. The old “Keywords” report still exists under the organic and paid report in the Search section.
As I see it, there are three key advantages of this integration –
1. SEO queries report simply allows you to use Google Analytics instead of login into Web Master Tools to view SEO performance.
2. Google Analytics time line comparison makes search query data much more insightful and actionable.
3. Possibilities of further data integration allowing advanced correlation and analytics.
The key reason why the keyword report and the new SEO query report don’t match is the difference in the data collection and metrics calculation. GA uses session based data calculation method while WMT data is based on the clicks on the Google SERP listings.
#3. SEO Landing page – Landing page report shows the top 1000 landing page data. Unfortunately, this report does not shows the keywords that brought traffic to the landing pages. However, this data is available in the web master tools under the “top pages report.”
I am convinced Google will soon integrate the data sets and enable advanced segmentation feature for this report.
#4. SEO Geo summary – This is a new report and is shows the geographic distribution of search queries on one tab and Google search properties on another. Google’s web master tools have these two options as filters instead of a report.
It is much easier to do comparative analysis on different types of Google’s search properties, i.e. web, image, mobile and real time search.
There could be instances where your mobile search traffic has increased month to month and web search has decreased or vice versa. Geo summary report can be useful in SEO campaign planning such as launching infographics campaign to boost image search or mobile apps development to boost mobile traffic.
#5. Site speed – Site speed report was launched back in May but an optimized version of the site speed report with a performance tab is the latest update. The primary goal of this report is to provide page load time information to the end user.
Google has stated that it uses page speed as one of the algorithmic components for organic search ranking as well as Adwords quality score.
Site speed report takes the “site performance” report of web master tools to a new height. WMT site performance report only shows the load time for ten URLs while the site speed report shows the load time for all the pages tagged by GA tag.
The key metrics used is “Avg. Page load time” and can be monitored on a daily, weekly, monthly basis to monitor performance improvements.
Avg. Page load time metric is not populated by default, and it requires an addition of page load time method to the existing GA code.
Performance tab distributes the page load time in multiple percentage buckets. This report can be used to identify the common patterns and target the more concerning segment.
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