Using Google Analytics to Determine What Visitors Do On Your Website

In my last post I outlined some of the metrics you can use to measure and improve the reach and visibility of your website. Once your get people to find you in the search results and click through to visit your website, it is helpful to know what visitors actually do once they get there. That is where our next set of metrics come in.

Action or engagement metrics help us measure and understand:

  • What visitors actually do on your website
  • The actions or behaviors that are most helpful in meeting your business goals
  • What changes to the website actually prompt more of those desirable actions (and which changes were detrimental to meeting those goals)

In other words, action metrics help you determine which of your reach strategies are working (delivering the right kind of traffic) best and which need to be adjusted (or dropped). Here are some common metrics you can use to measure, evaluate, and improve engagement on your site:

Returning vs. New Visitors – This metric is sometimes referred to as Visitor Loyalty. We all want to attract new visitors to our websites, but returning visitors often return because they are interested in the information we provide about our products, services, and the business problems that we solve.

Page Views per Visit – can give you an indication of how well your website is engaging visitors. Do they stick around and explore the information on your site? Or do they quickly leave after viewing the first page they land on? Look at this metric combined with time on site and bounce rate to identify patterns in how visitors behave once they reach your site.

Time on Site – tells you the average amount of time a visitor spends on your site. Use this metric in combination with others to spot trends in how visitors use your website. For example, so certain keywords attract traffic with higher time on site metrics than others? Do those who spend more time on your site tend to visit specific pages on your site?

Bounce Rate – a “bounce” is defined as someone who visits a page on your website, and then leaves your website without visiting any of the other pages on your site. Bounce rate, along with pages per visit and time on site, can be an indication of how well your content matches visitors search intent.

Comments and Interactions – as blogging and social media play a bigger part in our total online presence, comments and interactions can be a good indication of how well we are engaging our community and providing content that they are interest in.

Site Search – tells you exactly what visitors are looking for once they reach your website. Don’t overlook this goldmine of information that will help you convert more visitors into leads by providing the information they need to feel comfortable in order to move to the next step in their buying process.

There are other important actions that visitors can take on your website such as filling out forms, downloading resources, or contacting you via your contact form. We’ll discuss those in the next post about goals and conversions.