Anna Lewis

Turning Google Analytics into a Webmaster’s Tool Box (#brightonseo April 2013)

12th Apr 2013 Analytics 5 minutes to read

Google Analytics Webmaster ToolboxToday at BrightonSEO (the fastest growing SEO conference in the UK) I am giving a talk on turning Google Analytics in to a Webmaster’s Tool Box. This post is here to cover everything that I’m talking about to make sure no one misses a tip! I’ve also included all the links in the slides to give you quick and easy access to Google Analytics Dashboards and a CRO Whitepaper.

The purpose of this talk is to highlight the various ways in which Google Analytics can be used by Webmasters to review important data and make more informed decisions about their website in order to improve results. It’s not just limited to traffic and interaction, there’s a lot more to Google Analytics than meets the eye, although a 15 minute presentation isn’t enough to cover all of it by any means!

The main points covered in this presentation are:

  • Some of my favourite and the most valuable reports
  • Two free dashboards for site performance monitoring and improvement
  • Event tracking ideas for getting the interaction data that is most useful to you
  • Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) suggestions

Top Reports

I’ll be honest, I have a favourite report in Google Analytics. If I could just choose one report then this would be it (not that I’d ever want to only have just one report!!).

It’s the Ecommerce report broken down by traffic mediums.

As a digital marketer I’m interested in how people have got to my site and what the value of this traffic is. If I can show a good ROI from my work then I have been successful, so this is where I go to find the data.

The trouble with this is that it doesn’t tell the whole story so you often have to combine this data with external data for cost and profits; however, it’s a fantastic first stepping stone for measuring marketing channel performance.

The other report that I wanted to highlight was the keyword report and how you can use this to estimate what your (not provided) traffic was actually searching for. You will never get the actual keywords for the (not provided) data (Google do this to protects users’ privacy) but by reviewing the landing pages for this data you can start to see the breakdown of the types of keywords used.

To see the landing pages alongside (not provided) keywords navigate to Traffic Sources > Sources > Search > Organic. From here click the Secondary Dimension box just above the Keyword list and choose Landing Page (I always find it quicker to type the first few letters of what I’m looking for rather than scroll through).

This will then give you the landing pages for all keywords which shows the scale of (not provided) keywords relating to each page.

not provided landing pages

You can of course also do this the other way round and show keyword as a secondary dimension in the landing page report but I find myself in the Traffic Sources section more often so this is the one I use.

Testing Your Site

In order to test your site it is beneficial to keep an eye on a range of things, from what technology your users are using to how this performs speed-wise. I have provided two dashboards for you to take away and use on as many of your Google Analytics accounts as you see fit. To use them just log in to Google Analytics and then click the links below:


google analytics tech dashboard

Site Performance:

google analytics site performance dashboard

Event Tracking for Custom Data

In the presentation I cover ideas, basic code and best practice for planning and implementation. All of this is covered in a lot more detail in this post: The Complete Google Analytics Event Tracking Guide Plus 10 Amazing Examples.

And if you’re ever stuck for ideas check out this post: Brainstorming Event Tracking and Custom Variables

Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)

Did you know you can carry out Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) in Google Analytics? Well here’s how! And some handy suggestions too.

CRO is all about making your website work better to improve results, mainly through making things better and easier for users so that they are more likely to convert. There are many many different tests that you could do or variations that could be incorporated in order to see if you can get better results. We have outlined these in our CRO Whitepaper which I definitely recommend you read if you want to get started in CRO or get some new ideas.

asos checkout page cro ideas

My preferred process for CRO is:

  • Choose pages
  • Identify objectives
  • Review goals
  • Implement tests
  • Analyse results
  • Test more!

All the while bearing in mind the target audience, desired activity and KPIs.

To carry out CRO in Google Analytics navigate to the Content Reports section and click on Experiments. This will then walk you through setting up a split test for two variations of the same page, allowing you to identify which works best. To do this Google Analytics alternates which page is shown to visitors and through the use of Goals or Ecommerce tracking will then report to you which is most likely to convert better. You can then use this to decide which version to use or you can then start a new experiment comparing the winner from this with an even-more-optimised version to see if you can improve the conversion rates even further.

I also recommend collecting additional on page data to help you identify what is most used and decide from this whether improvements could be made to help users navigate the site better. For this I use Event Tracking as mentioned above and also the new and improved In Page Analytics. I say new and improved because there is a relatively new method to help you get the most from this report which is Enhanced Link Attribution. By adding some additional code and ticking a box in your property settings you can see which internal links on your site are clicked the most and Google Analytics can now differentiate between multiple links to the same page.


That covers the majority of my presentation, to summarise I follow this process with analytics projects of any kind:

  • Identify areas to test
  • Add tracking codes
  • Analyse results
  • Make decisions
  • Continue analysing
  • Get better results!
  • Repeat from the top

Hopefully all of these tips helps you get the most from your Webmasters’ Tool Box, AKA Google Analytics.

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