Follow Mike Linkedin Twitter Facebook
Email Mike Email
Marketing & Sales
Aug 21, 2015

Tips To Mastering Google Analytics

Sponsored Content provided by Mike Duncan - CEO and Creative Director, Sage Island

Google Analytics is a free web analytics service that tracks and reports website traffic. In other words, it’s been bringing business owners incredible insights since its launch in 2005. Google Analytics is the most widely used web analytics tool on the Internet, and for good reason. Although the service provides endless data on just about everything you want to know about who’s coming and going, the details and options can get overwhelming. By studying the right metrics, you can learn a lot of about your audience in order to form realistic conclusions.
Look Beyond a Week's Worth of Statistics
When reviewing any type of metrics, Google Analytics automatically defaults to showing the past 30 days. This is good for analyzing results of recently published content such as landing pages and blog posts. Looking at short-term results is fine, especially if your website is new. But if it’s several months or years old, you can pick up on larger trends by extending the date range. By spanning your metrics from three to six months, you’ll be able to determine which pages are receiving the most traffic, as well as the number of views and visitors per day. Take it a step further and look at a year’s worth of data if you can. Long-term growth patterns are important to see how new users have visited over time.
Understand Visitor Activity
Because Google Analytics gets quite specific about website visitors, you have to think realistically about their reasons for visiting and why they choose to stay or leave after landing on a page. Google provides information relating to the number of visits, page views, pages viewed per session, average time spent and a bounce rate for a website as a whole and for each individual page. These details are wonderful for getting an overview of how your website and pages are doing, as well as what has or hasn’t changed in recent months. This is also where some analyzers tend to get too caught up in the numbers and forget about the real behavior of visitors.
Many Google Analytics users, whether business owners or staff, have a mentality that the numbers must always be high or performance is poor. This is especially true for factors such as time on site, pages viewed per session and bounce rate. According to HubSpot, 55 percent of visitors spend fewer than 15 seconds on a website. Users aren’t reading content they way we think they are. They’re quickly scanning for the best answers to their questions then moving on. If they don’t have any other questions, they’ll simply leave. Does that mean that a particular page with a 0:25 second time on site and one page view per session is performing poorly? Not necessarily. It could mean that page is successfully providing the information a visitor needs and they want nothing more.
Stop Taking Bounce Rate Percentages Literally
High bounce rates, especially 60 percent and higher, are looked at with a stink eye. Anything that high cannot be good, right? Well, bounce rates shouldn’t be taken so literally. If users find what they are looking for and immediately leave, your page fulfilled its purpose. The only problem is the way visits are tracked. Google gives a 100 percent bounce rate to users that land on a page and leave without clicking anything else. But if they found what they’re looking for, wouldn’t that be a success? Because Google cannot tell if the page helped answer a question, bounce rates will never be correct. Instead of taking that percentage at face value, start thinking about the purpose of your pages instead.
Pay Attention to Your Referrals
Organic and direct traffic may be the largest channels to your website, but there’s a good chance referrals are next in line. Referrals are any sources that link back to your website. This includes top search engines Google, Bing and Yahoo, but also other websites (sometimes relevant to your businesses, sometimes not) such as news sites, blogs, social media and other businesses. Are you posting links back to your website through Facebook? You’re making referrals! Not only is this a way to see how overall referral traffic is building for your website, it also helps you see if there are any unwanted referrals that should not be building links to your site. In those cases, referral exclusions can be created.
View Your High Ranking Keywords
Do you often wonder what people are searching for that leads them to your website? Google Analytics lets you see the top searched keywords that your landing pages come up for. This is a great tool for making sure you’re coming up in search results for the right search queries. Are there specific keywords you want to rank well for, but see little to no results? It may be time to revisit some of your pages and update their on-page optimization.   
Don’t Forget to Look at Mobile Visitors
It’s more than just desktops now. Mobile users now account for 60 percent of Internet traffic. Google Analytics shows your audience by device, and you might find that mobile devices and tablets are actually the bulk of your traffic. Mobile traffic will only continue to increase, so if you want to keep your traffic growing, I suggest checking if your website is built for responsive design.
Google Analytics has so much offer that you could write a book on its many features! One thing’s for sure, this tool can give you a great deal of insight into your website. If you need help navigating this analytical world, Sage Island can help. Our marketing specialists can help you analyze your results so you can make conclusions and ongoing adjustments to your business strategy.
Mike Duncan co-founded Sage Island in 1997, and since then has evolved the agency’s scope to include marketing strategy, creative design, technical development and a wide range of digital marketing services. With an integrated approach that leverages the power and measurability of the internet, the savvy Sage Island team develops strategies, builds brands, writes killer copy and delivers to clients all over the world. And they have an awesome time doing it. Sage’s collaborative working environment keeps creativity and innovation at the heart of the concept. With a 17-year history in Wilmington and beyond, Sage Island shows no signs of slowing down. To learn how Sage Island can grow your business, check us out at To stay updated on the latest in digital marketing, follow Sage Island on Facebook at, and on Twitter at

Other Posts from Mike Duncan

Sage island social ad 5916105915
Ico insights


Aarp suzanneheadshot 300x300

Season’s Cheatings: Avoid These Holiday Scams

Tonyharrington wrar300x300

Democracy Is Not A Spectator Sport

Tony Harrington - Cape Fear REALTORS®

401(k) Ins And Outs: How To Manage Your Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plan

Alyce Phillips - Old North State Trust LLC

Trending News

Wilmington Firm, New To The Coop, To Launch Kickstarter

Christina Haley O'Neal - Nov 20, 2020

2020: A Year Of Health Care Heroes

Staff Reports - Nov 20, 2020

Distant Holidays

Scott Nunn - Nov 20, 2020

Making The Area Sweeter

Staff Reports - Nov 20, 2020

Survey: Visitors Come Back For More

Laura Moore - Nov 20, 2020

In The Current Issue

The VR Way To Train

Jenson8, a human resources technology company establishing its U.S. base at the UNCW's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, provides...

Making The Area Sweeter

Carolina Candy Co. is family-owned and operated maker of gourmet toffees and chocolate confections....

Survey: Visitors Come Back For More

Ninety-five percent of surveyed visitors to Wilmington and area beaches reported being satisfied with their experience. Feedback provided in...

Book On Business

The 2020 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!



2020 Leadership Accelerator: Virtual Workshops for Real Leaders
2019 Health Care Heroes
August 26, 2019 Power Breakfast: A Healthy Sale?
2019 WilmingtonBiz Expo Keynote Lunch - CEO, nCino, Pierre Naude`