Analytics - User Behaviour

The data within Google Analytics can be used to measure the success of your website.  Many people will take a superficial look at their analytics data and assume that if their traffic is increasing on a monthly basis, everything is fine.  Ultimately, traffic is just a means to an end and although more traffic generally gives more sales, it is important to know what your visitors think of your website and how well you are succeeding in converting visitors into customers.

Analysing user behaviour can help you answer these questions.  Although, analytics allows you to scrutinise the tiniest details such as typical paths and exit pages for every keyword, a lot can be deduced from just looking at page views and bounce rate.

Page views per user can vary a lot depending on the type of site you own and whether traffic is coming from natural or paid listings.  With regards to an E-commerce site promoted through a PPC campaign, the landing page is typically a product page.  This means that a visitor will have to visit a minimum of three pages (product page, checkout page, thank you page) to make a purchase.  If your page views per user is significantly lower than this, then it is an indication that you are not converting effectively.  Perhaps visitors are put off by high prices, expensive shipping costs or out of stock items.  Looking more closely at exit pages will help you identify the cause of the problem.

A high bounce rate is generally caused by one of two major problems.  Either your site looks unprofessional or is undesirable for some reason (e.g. it plays music), or your content does not accurately reflect the ad that the visitor found your site though.  It is normally fairly easy to determine which of these is the cause because a poor site will give  a high bounce rate for all keywords whereas poor ad to content relevancy will only affect specific terms.

In order to accurately measure the success of a website, it is advisable to set up key performance indicators (KPIs) based on long term goals and make good use of conversion tracking and goal tracking.  However, a quick look at the general statistics relating to user behaviour can reveal a lot.  Remember, success is not simply measured by volume of traffic, but what you do with this traffic.

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