How to Use Google Analytics to Increase Traffic
Nowadays, almost everything happens online – buying, selling, communicating, socializing, all can be done through web platforms and apps. In this vast online landscape, attracting and retaining customers for your brand may seem daunting, but it’s not impossible.
Boosting website traffic is crucial, and Google Analytics is the answer. It provides valuable insights into website performance and optimization. However, navigating its extensive features can be overwhelming.
In this article, we’ll highlight key GA metrics for tracking website traffic and offer actionable tips to increase it.
Best Metrics to Follow on Google Analytics
Currently, Google Analytics follows numerous metrics, but not all are important. Actually, they all are, but depending on your goal, you may want to follow specific metrics. Thus, let’s see what you should pay attention to when it comes to traffic on your website.
Traffic and Traffic Sources
Traffic is the primary metric that almost all brands want to keep an eye on. Generally, the traffic metrics appear first in the Google Analytics dashboard and measure the number of users who access your website.
- Direct Traffic = the total number of internet users directly accessing your website by typing the URL. It can tell you more about your brand awareness and whether you should focus on it. Usually, direct traffic cannot generate new traffic, but it can maintain old visitors;
- Organic Traffic = the users who find your website through SERPs. This might be the type of traffic you can focus on more. Organic traffic can tell you how your SEO campaigns perform;
- Referral Traffic = the number of users who reach your website by clicking external links. Referral traffic is most important for those focusing on guest posting and linkbuilding activities;
- Social Traffic = users who reach your website through social media posts. If you include social media in your marketing strategy, you should follow this. On Google Analytics, you can also see social traffic by platform;
- Paid Traffic = the users who reach your website through PPC campaigns;
- Email Traffic – the number of users who reach your website through newsletter emails.
The bounce rate is calculated by dividing the number of non-engaged sessions by the total number of sessions on a page. You contribute to the bounce rate if you enter a page and don’t do anything. Basically, the bounce rate can indicate how many visitors leave the website after viewing only one page.
A high bounce rate can be concerning, as it may indicate that your content is not well-optimized or does not meet a user’s needs. Some of the most popular factors that can influence the bounce rate negatively include poor optimization for mobile devices, slow loading speed, or a low-quality design.
In GA4, a session is initiated whenever a user accesses a page on your website or opens the app with no other session being initiated before. A session is a period during which the user interacts with your website.
A session ends after 30 minutes of inactivity on the specific website or app or when the time used to configure GA shows midnight. Furthermore, an engaged session is considered any session that lasts longer than 10 seconds, has any conversion event, or includes at least 2 pages viewed.
Impressions, Position, and Clicks
Impressions may be one of the most essential metrics for paid ads. Impressions tell you how often users see a link to your website on Google. With position and clicks, impressions can tell you how well your ads perform. The average position is an approximate ranking of the position you end up in on SERPs, and the clicks show you the total number of clicks your ad has.
Furthermore, impressions and clicks help you measure another important metric: the CTR.
The CTR is calculated by dividing the total number of clicks by the number of impressions. The CTR tells you how often users click on your ads. This metric can show you how well your keywords and ads are performing. Each campaign and keyword has its CTRs available on Google Analytics.
You will always want to focus on having a high CTR. This can assure you that users engage with your ads. Currently, a good CTR should surpass 3.17% for search ads and 0.46% for display campaigns.
Tips to Increase Traffic Using Google Analytics
1. Optimize your content
Along with your products or services, your content keeps users close. If your content is not relevant and valuable, users might consider other websites, too. And nobody wants this unless we’re talking about your competitors. So, optimize the content you share on your website or app. Always have SEO in mind.
Consider linking Google Search Console to Google Analytics. After syncing them, go to Acquisition > Search Console > Landing Pages and find what pages perform well. This will give you a better view of what you should improve.
There are some main reasons why your content might not work out the way you want it to:
- The keywords are not good enough. If they have too little volume or too high difficulty (or both), it is time to look for some alternatives;
- Your content is too light and lacks detail. Content that does not cover the topic enough is not relevant and will not stay up too long;
- Your heading structure is not well organized. This can be a concern when Google tries to understand what your article is about to serve it to the right users based on their searches.
What can you do to optimize your content for SEO?
- Structure Your Content Well;
- Focus on Visuals;
- Choose Quality over Quantity;
- Link the Keyword to the Topic;
- Look for Related Keywords;
- Pay Attention to Keyword Density;
- Update the Content Constantly.
2. Learn the Power of (Well-Used) Keywords
When building a SERP, search engines consider multiple factors, such as:
- Internal and external links;
- Keyword density.
All of these should rock to rank as high as possible. And while being original or optimizing for mobile might be more straightforward, finding the right keywords can be a bit more complicated. But everything can be more precise with the help of a keyword strategy.
But first, let’s see how you find keyword opportunities through Google Analytics. Most probably, you developed a search section on your website. If you did, you can track internal searches with GA4. All you must do is go to the “Search Term” reports. There, you can find what users are looking for on your website. Based on that information, you can start looking for related “profitable” keywords.
For example, let’s say you have a website presenting NFT collections. You go on Ahrefs’ keyword explorer to find suitable keywords. The search for “NFT” gives you metrics so high that it’s nearly impossible to rank for this keyword solely.
However, you look for related keywords and find a keyword about ADA NFT drops. The volume is still significantly significant in this case, but the keyword difficulty is surprisingly low. This keyword might be better for you.
3. Improve Loading Time
A significant loading time can drive many users away from your website. These days, no one wants to wait 10 seconds for a page to load. So, if this is the case for you, you should speed up your website.
Finding more about loading time through Google Analytics might be the most straightforward process. You just have to go to “Behavior” and access the “Site Speed Report”.
Multiple things can slow down your website. For instance, you may use too big images, your code might be too bulky, you’re not using a CDN, or you may have some caching issues. It also depends on how your website was built and how often you update it. You can also check your hosting.
If your website is developed in WordPress, you can also check the theme you’re using. Some themes can slow down websites due to their features. Try to keep it simple, as this will help you reduce the loading time and make the content more accessible.
4. Focus on the “Low-Hanging Fruits”
You can’t improve it all at once; you must take things step by step. And what’s easier than starting with the quick tasks? By “low-hanging fruits,” we refer to those pages that you can quickly improve to see some results.
Take it this way: you have 2 articles that are not performing that well; one has too big images, the other needs to be optimized for SEO, does not have too many visuals, is hard to read, and says too little about the topic. Which one is the low-hanging fruit in this situation?
Of course, it’s easier to start with the 1st article. It only needs some improvements regarding the images, but nothing more. You take the images, change their format, and the article is ready. On the other hand, the other article needs more improvements and can take more time to rank again.
You can find more low-hanging fruits through Google Analytics. Try to look at the organic traffic evolution for various pages, and your answers will be right there.
And this is not the only situation where we can focus on low-hanging fruits. Scroll to your articles and find those that can be updated. Bring them up to date and republish them. This will increase traffic significantly.
5. Improve Internal Linking
Internal links can do wonders. Any internal link can keep a user on your website for more time. And through this practice, you can also increase traffic on those pages that aren’t performing well.
Let’s take an example. You have an article about the best plants to reduce stress. In your article, you talk about lavender, jasmine, peppermint, chamomile, and aloe vera. The article is going well; noticing it, you create a cluster and write articles about each of those 5 plants. Sadly, they don’t perform well because users search more for “the best plants to reduce stress” than “does chamomile reduce stress”. They don’t know what plants reduce stress, so they cannot look for a specific one.
But once users reach your main article, you can add links to the other 5 articles, where users can learn more about how to use those plants to reduce stress. This way, you increase traffic on 5 more articles by adding the links to another one.
All you should do is find the pages where users first end up, called landing pages. On those pages, you can add links from the pages where users exit your website, also called exit pages.
There is a report in Google Analytics that you can use to find the pages that can receive more links. Go to the “Conversion” section and click “Reverse Goal Path”.
Traffic is the metric that can tell you so much about how well your website performs. If you follow it and know how to improve it, your business might significantly increase its success. To learn more about the traffic on your website, you can use Google Analytics, a tool that follows numerous metrics about your website’s performance.
Usually, it is highly recommended to follow multiple types of traffic, such as organic, direct, referral, or email. Besides, you may want to follow the bounce rate, impressions, clicks, average position, the CTR, or the sessions.
If you want to increase traffic through Google Analytics, you can optimize your content for SEO, find the right keywords, focus on low-hanging fruits, or improve internal linking and loading time.