This post is part of a series, Web Bliss 2015, where each month we will be highlighting a critical aspect of running your company's website.
Google Analytics is the place to start
Google Analytics (GA), or another web analytics tool, is a critical place to start to understand what visitors of your website are doing. The vast majority of sites use Google Analytics and it's the easiest place to start. There are a few critical points to keep in mind:
Make a raw view that collects EVERYTHING
It's really important to create a view in GA that has no filters, goals, or other crud in it. This is the pure raw view of everything that happens on your site. Don't ever touch it, just use it for reference in case you have some weird data in another view.
Make a filtered view for specific initiatives
Do you have an eCommerce site? Build a view that captures all potential customer traffic and excludes all your internal and testing traffic. Then, add goals and segments to this view so you can understand where people disengage with your site. Keep in mind that GA and goals will track future data, so the earlier you setup up views and goals, the more data you will be able to easily compare.
Encrypted search limits your data
If you've used GA for a while you might be disappointed to know that, in the organic search section, the most popular keyword is (not provided).
Bummer! Well, what does this mean? Any searches on Google.com by users that are logged in are encrypted and show up as "(not provided)" to protect the individual.
You will see another section under Acquisition, called Search Engine Optimization (SEO), that is empty unless you've connected Google Webmaster Tools...
Google Webmaster Tools is critical for SEO & website health
Google Webmaster tools gives you up to 90 days of SEO data and fills in the missing search query data in GA. If Google Webmaster tools is going to be your main place to collect this content, go ahead and make sure you send yourself a monthly report so you can have historical SEO data.
Webmaster tools will also help you optimize your site by detecting:
- broken links
- uncrawable pages
- other indexing issues
You can also submit your sitemap to Google and they will index a page for you.
StatCounter gives better B2B traffic visibility
At Six Feet Up we use both Google Analytics and a tool called StatCounter. StatCounter does a very nice job of showing you the number of times people are coming to your site from a specific company or internet service provider and where they are located. You can get this data from Google, but it's readily available to share with your team in StatCounter. This tool is definitely worth a look.
Connect StatCounter to Webmaster Tools
Just like Google Analytics, StatCounter can't see encrypted search queries. But it can be connected to your Webmaster Tools account to unlock this data. Make sure to do that!
Moz for serious SEO and inbound strategies
For anyone heavily focused on SEO and content marketing, Moz (Formerly SEO Moz) is a great tool. It enables you to systematically optimize your site's pages for search, scores those pages against your selected keywords, and tracks your search engine over time. You can even add competitors and see which pages on their site are ranking and track against them over time.
Followerwonk is great for social media
Want to know who your biggest followers are and follow them back? Want to know the most effective times and days for you to share content socially? Followerwonk is a great Moz tool that does all this and more for you.
The earlier you start collecting data, the better!
So what are you waiting for? Make sure you have all the right tools in place to track your website's traffic and your SEO performance today.