This is yet another topic within this guide that could be a book all on its own. When marketing your site and attempting to improve your rankings you need to have an avenue to track what's working and where you should spend your time.
The easiest way to start tracking site activity is with Google Analytics.
Setting up an account is as simple as filling out a couple of forms and providing Google with the URL for your site. Once you complete the sign-up, Google provides you with a tracking code that goes into the header file on your website. If you're using Wordpress, you can install a plugin that inserts the code for you by just using your Analytics ID, which looks like:
So, on Wordpress you'd simply install the plugin, and then place that code within the settings area and click Save. The plugin does the rest.
If you aren't using Wordpress, you'll need to find the header code of the website, and insert the Analytics code before the closing </head> tag.
Analytics allows us to see key site metrics such as total number of visitors, page views, time on site, and where the traffic is coming from. As I said previously, Analytics could be a book (or several books) all on its own, so this overview is going to be pretty basic. That said, here are some of the key metrics you should be looking at:
Traffic sources: Allowing you to see where the traffic is coming from, how much time they're spending on your site, the bounce rate (when they see one page and leave) and repeat visits, the traffic sources data allows you to see if the places you are spending your time and marketing money are paying off.
Organic traffic: See what keywords you are ranking for. If you're already ranking for certain keywords, you can start editing the landing pages for the query. For example, if people are finding your site by searching "San Diego Sushi" and landing on a blog page, maybe you edit that page to show them sushi specials, coupons, and photos of your food. This goes back to the idea of giving your customer what they want.
Time on site: For a local business page, you don't want people spending a lot of time on your site or searching every page. These are valuable insights into the optimization of your page, and they show that you might not be making the information they need easily accessible. On the same note, an average time on site of 3 seconds means the user is seeing something they don't like and leaving immediately.
Additional steps: If you are particularly data driven, you should look into adding conversion tracking or funnels to your site. Adding these to your site allow you to see if your traffic is converting, meaning performing a desired action on your website (using the contact form, clicking a link to call you, etc.). That's quite a process, so I'll leave you to Google that on your own if it interests you.
Chris Warden is a seasoned entrepreneur and CEO. Starting his entrepreneurial career at age 19, he has performed in numerous capacities owning and managing both offline and online companies. Chris now serves as CEO of Spread Effect, a leading content marketing and publishing company. He is a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) and often writes on topics of content marketing, SEO, and business development. He’s passionate about building and mentoring world-class teams and loves to chat with like-minded individuals. You can connect with Chris via Linkedin, Twitter - @ChrisWarden_SE, or Google+.
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