Gain Actionable Insight With These 5 Google Analytics Tips

If your small business doesn't use Google Analytics, there's a chance you could be missing out on some vital marketing information

Gain Actionable Insight With These 5 Google Analytics Tips

It’s estimated that 54.6% of websites use Google Analytics. Odds are if you’re reading this, your site has Analytics too. But are you making the most out of all the data you’re being shown? Google Analytics is capable of revealing business critical insights that can help drive your marketing and business investment goals.

Here are five tips you can use to gain valuable and actionable insight from Google Analytics to make your website work harder for you.

1. Learn from your site search

If you have a search bar on your website, you have the potential to learn exactly what your site users are searching for. This can be valuable in a number of ways:

How many people are using the site search?

Unless search is a key feature of your site (e.g. you actually ARE a search engine), the number of people who use your search bar can give you valuable insight. For example, if a large percentage of users are using site search, then there’s a good chance that your site’s navigation or structure needs to improve. Users can’t naturally find what they are looking for and opt to just use the search bar instead.

Are people searching for one of your products/services heavily?

Maybe you should feature these products or services more heavily on your homepage. This improves user experience and encourages conversion because you’ve made it easy for users to find what they want.

Maybe you should consider offering all-new products and services

Let’s say you sell handbags online, but Analytics shows your users are frequently searching for purses in your site search. Perhaps it’s time to start stocking purses?

How To Set Up Site Search Tracking

Site search tracking is really easy to set up. From your Analytics account admin panel, select Property Settings.

Step 1

Scroll down to Site Search Settings and switch it on.

Step 2


From there, all you need to do is enter your query parameter, which can be found in the page URL after you’ve done a search on your website.

Step 3

Once set up, your captured search data will appear in the Behaviour section of your Reporting tab.

2. Find out if your site is really mobile friendly

Smartphones account for almost 60% of all searches. That’s a significant amount of your search traffic. And two-third of those will leave a site forever if it’s mobile unfriendly. Websites built for mobile are not a fad anymore, they’re the norm, so it’s more vital than ever to make sure your site works on a smartphone.

There are plenty of good tools designed to tell you if your website is mobile friendly, like Google’s. But the only way to be sure your site is nice to use on mobile is to see how real people use it. Many small businesses lack the budget and resource to perform extensive user-testing, but Google Analytics offers the next best thing. Analytics allows you to segment all data by mobile users allowing easy comparison to desktop users.

If you go to Audience > Mobile > Overview in Analytics, you’ll find plenty of useful data that can help you determine how mobile friendly your site is.

Time on Site shows you how long a user is spending on your site. This is shows how engaging your web content or services are on mobile. Conversion/purchases show you how many people bought your products or engaged with your services. One of the most essential metrics on this screen for mobile friendliness, however, is Bounce Rate. Bounce rate represents the percentage of visitors to your site who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page. This is a clear indicator that either the landing page or the site itself is unfriendly to the user.

Analytics can also show you your page load time and site search usage, which can give you complimentary indicators of mobile friendliness. You want your website to load quickly on mobile devices. Smartphones have less processing power and people worry about data usage when using them.

3. Find out which channels to invest in

To find out which channels are worth investing in, you need to be tracking sales conversions and desirable actions on-site. Setting up event tracking is a key part of Analytics. Once your event tracking is set up, you can easily see an overview of which channels are performing best via Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels. If a particular channel has a high conversion rate, you can start to get a solid idea where to invest your marketing efforts.

4. Get an idea of who’s sending you visitors

Your site might have a constant stream of visitors reaching it from a friendly neighbourhood website and never know it. Take a look in your referral traffic in Google Analytics and you could find some hidden gems. If another website is a constant source of valuable traffic it’s worth finding out why and doing more of the same.

For example, let’s say your business is an accountancy firm and you have content architecture designed around industry knowledge. A contributor of an online business magazine has referenced your content with a link and your site is getting traffic from that referral. This tells you two things: Firstly, that your industry knowledge might be worth expanding, as people are using you as a hub of information. Secondly, it shows that other audience values your content. Why not pitch them a guest blog of your own? Or invest in advertising there?

5. Track traditional marketing efforts

If you’re doing any marketing that involves a printed web address you could be tracking visitors from this to your website. Looking at visitor numbers and conversions you can find out if this material is doing its job.

The way to set it up is by creating a user-friendly URL e.g. and then redirect it to your desired landing page via a URL built in Google’s URL builder. This allows you to track traffic from your offline marketing.

Top Tip! Use URL builder for email marketing too, otherwise it appears as direct traffic and you won’t be able to track the success of your email campaign.

These are just five easily actionable ways you can use Google Analytics to make your site work harder for you. They say knowledge is power and this is never more true than with website data. But the difference between data and knowledge is knowing how to interpret it accurately. Hopefully this list has given you a few takeaways to get you started.

Adam Blackford-Mills is head of digital at MRS Digital.


  1. I enjoyed reading this. Quite insightful. There’s something I don’t understand – why isn’t Google including a heat map tool (like the one Yandex offers) which can help better analyze visitor’s behavior? In case of commercial websites, such tool can help webmasters monitor the effectiveness of their call-to-action areas, which can lead to sales increase. Merchants really need this.

  2. […] this actually causes the engines to tag your site as spam and keep it low. Try to aim for using in no more than 7% of the content on your […]

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