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Measuring Success : Google Analytics and how to win

It surprises me the number of new clients that come to me that don’t have any way of measuring the success of their website. A growing number of businesses seem to have a website built and then work on the assumption that simply being on the web is enough to bring people to their site. They don’t know how many visitors they get regularly, how many are returning, how long they spend on your site, where they’re visiting from and what device they’re accessing your phone from. These are all things that can be relatively quickly accessed through Google Analytics.

Now, I don’t claim to be an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) guru. I understand the fundamental aspects of it and from a technical point of view, every site I build is optimised for search engines (Google now ranks your site not only on content, but how efficient/fast it is, you can test your site here). However, I can at very least provide the basics for you to get started in getting your site ready for the next steps in the marketing process (let’s not forget, your website is one of your most powerful marketing tools).

One of those first steps is integrating Google Analytics into your site. This way you can check daily what sort of traffic your site is getting and first and foremost, this will tell you straight away whether your site is marketed well enough. From there, you can use the other finer tools to look at which pages are and aren’t working which then allows you to refine content. As you can guess, this will be an iterative process until you start to yield better results.

GA won’t specifically tell you why one blog post did better than another, but simply knowing there was a disparity in viewing figures between the two can allow you to go back and review your process to try and replicate what you did well, and improve on that.

The top 4 things you can do in order to improve your rankings:

Write good, interesting content

Now, when you have a site that has the generic About Us, Services, Contact pages, you want to really optimise that content and then not really change it all that often. So, how do you create regular content? A blog. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a blog on your website, regardless of your sector or industry. It gives you opportunity to regularly add to your site and a way to engage your customers. Some of the best blogs tend to bring multiple sectors together, which is great for SEO if there’s a wide variety of content. This then leads on to:

Keywords

Now, this has two parts to it. The first is doing your research. Think what you would search for on Google when trying to find your company? Look at that term, and then see what websites come up. Look at what these sites do and not only try to replicate their wins, but improve on them. NOTE: Never, ever copy content from another site. Not only are you plagiarising, you’re penalising yourself enormously, as Google’s bots will compare your site to the existing, successful site and realise that you’ve just ripped off the content.

Once you’ve looked into what keywords are use, it’s time to write content that regularly incorporates those words. This can be difficult, as you want to try and get the balance between efficient use of keywords and creating a well read piece of content. There’s nothing worse than:

“This web design Glasgow blog is by Jonathon Mills who is a web designer in Glasgow. Jonathon Mills creates responsive websites and designs in Glasgow that are bespoke.”

Although not necessarily bad for SEO, it just doesn’t read well and could possibly put off your reader. Use both Google Analytics to measure these successes, as well as Google AdWords tools to get an idea of keywords in your sector. Google Adwords can also be used for paid marketing, which is generally a very successful, albeit potentially costly way to promote your site.

Optimised Page Content

I appreciate this is a relatively vague term, but it basically means ensuring the absolute basics are implemented. In WordPress, I would strongly recommend using WordPress SEO by Yoast, which encourages you to add an SEO Title and Meta Description to each page, as well as including a key word checker and various other tools for ensuring that your page/post is at very least properly setup. Although a simple step, it really does make all the difference

Social Media

Another great way to promote yourself is through social media channels. Depending on your business, some may suit better than others (i.e. an artist or photographer should really utilise Pinterest and Instagram to promote their material, a car garage on the other hand may use twitter to look for people requiring services that they offer). Generally speaking, having a Facebook page is a must, as people are tending to use Facebook as a search engine, meaning that they could find your business through your Facebook page, as opposed to your website.

It’s important to keep your channels maintained though, as coming onto Twitter/Facebook etc and seeing the last post was over a year ago may give the impression you’re no longer in business.

Getting your site where you want it to be isn’t going to happen over night. It takes a lot of time, care and potentially even money to compete with the thousands of other local businesses that are looking to achieve the same as you. It’s important to understand that your site is only worth what you do with it and won’t promote itself. If you have any questions, please be sure to leave them in the comments below.