In our Google Analytics 101 Guide, we introduced the tool and explained how to set it up for your veterinary website. Google Analytics (GA) is one of the most powerful tools available for monitoring the performance of your website. It offers an exhaustive amount of information that can be used to fine-tune each page on your site.
Now that you have Google Analytics set up on your website, let's assume you only have 60 minutes each week to check GA and measure successes and opportunities on your site:
- Where do you start?
- What goals should you set?
- What metrics should you measure?
Use this cheat sheet to ensure you’re using Google Analytics correctly and improving your website’s overall performance.
Establish and Monitor your Google Analytics Goals
Google Analytics Goals are benchmarks that you can set, so you can see how well your veterinary website is accomplishing an objective over time. In other words, a goal represents a completed action taken by your website visitors. This is also called a conversion — it's something that contributes to the success of your business.
Google Analytics Goals are customizable, and can be specifically named to relate closely to your business objectives. These goals are a way to tell Google what metrics are important for your business’ overall success. Goals are tracked in four ways:
- Destination: Tracks every time someone goes to a specified URL. This goal is ideal when you want to measure how often someone goes to conversion or lead capture pages.
- Duration: Tracks how many visitors stay on your site for a certain amount of time.
- Pages/Screens per Session: Tracks the number of pages (and which ones) each visitor sees before they leave the website.
- Event: Although these metrics vary, event goals track visitors who complete a specific action. For example, a visitor who clicks on a call to action button or lead generation form.
Remember, the closer you set the goals to actions that generate revenue, the more relevant your website measurement efforts will be.
Metrics to Measure in Google Analytics
How do you make sure that you’re reaching these established goals in Google Analytics? Here are the top 10 metrics to measure:
1. Bounce Rate
Bounce rate is calculated by the amount of times new visitors come to your website but then instantly “bounce” away from it. Keep in mind, blogs have higher bounce rates because visitors may only read a single post and then move on.
Tip: Blogs may inherently have higher bounce rates, but you should still always work to improve the content on your site and entice the visitor to learn more or take further action toward converting. Create content that your audience is actually searching for, and deliver with high-quality content that builds trust with your brand.
2. Page Views
Page views simply indicate the number of times a given page has been accessed by visitors. The more page views, the more popular that page is. Your home page might get a lot of page views since it’s often the first page people see. It’s arguably more important to track page views within your funnel (pages that direct viewers toward becoming a lead or customer).
Tip: To increase page views, keep your audience’s needs in mind. What questions do they have? What problems do they need to solve? By creating content around these ideas, you will generate more traffic to related pages. When a page gets a lot of views, it can be a sign of quality content and the ability to address your visitor’s question or problem.
3. Source of Incoming Traffic
Your website has traffic coming in from different places. Focus on the four main sources:
- Search visitors: These visitors arrive on your website after performing a query in a search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo!, etc.) and click on your result.
- Direct visitors: Visitors who arrive on your website by entering the exact URL into the browser bar.
- Referral visitors: Visitors who come to your website because it was cited or linked to from another website.
- Campaigns: Visitors who access your website from a Google Adwords campaign.
Tip: Improve your traffic metrics by measuring how much traffic comes from each source. It’s best to have an even ration of traffic from each source. For example, if 90% of your incoming traffic is coming from referrals, you may want to balance that with search and campaign traffic by utilizing organic and paid content. Additionally, ensure the content of your website is optimized for search, your website is easy to find, and is useful for users.
4. Average Session Duration
This metric shows the average time that a visitor spends on your website. The more relevant your content is to the visitor, the more time they will spend on the site.
Tip: When the interactions per visit is low and the duration of the average session is high, it could be a sign that a page has too much information or isn’t easy enough to digest. Avoid producing fluffy content that does not offer direct value to the visitor. Focus on quality content and valuable information that helps visitors make a buying decision.
5. Visitor Conversions
It’s important to understand that a returning visitor interacts with your website differently than a first-time visitor. New or unique visitor metrics separate the conversion rates from returning visitors or loyal customers. This allows you to view your site from an outsider perspective, and provides insight on how to improve first-time visits and overall user experience.
If a visitor returned to your website, as yourself these three questions:
- Why did this visitor return?
- Did they complete an action (or goal) during the first visit?
- What can you do to convert this visitor on their return visit?
You can track which path visitors took to convert by using conversion segments:
Don’t get discouraged if visitors don’t convert (i.e. schedule appointment or sign up for your e-newsletter) after the first website visit. If they return, that’s a sign that you left a good enough impression on them to come back. Using this information, take the conversion rate of return visitors and brainstorm on how you can work to increase those metrics.
Tip: Offer coupons or special deals to returning visitors; ask them to subscribe to an email newsletter or complete a quick survey. The mailing list will allow you to keep your brand in front of the potential customer and a survey will give them an opportunity to provide feedback about your vet clinic and/or website.
6. Value per Visit
Because your clinic may define “value” differently than others, it can sometimes be difficult to calculate value per visit. Value can be measured in a few ways. For example, you could view the total number of visits and divide by the total value (revenue, lead, engagement) that was obtained from that page.
This metrics allows you to see if you have a high cost per conversion. Simply put, if you have a high cost per conversion rate, you might be paying too much to gain a conversion.
Tip: If cost per conversion is too high, evaluate where these costs are occurring. For example, do you have to create a lot of content before your visitors convert? Are many resources required for you to schedule an appointment at your clinic? Identify areas where you can streamline the process from taking a visitor and converting them to a loyal client.
7. Exit Pages
To optimize your conversion rates and lower the cost per conversion, you’ll need to look at your exit pages. Use this metric to find out where your visitors are leaving the website.
Tip: Your website's call to action or conversion page should only be a few pages away from the content that the visitor was originally looking for. By optimizing this funnel, you can improve conversion rates and increase the effectiveness of your content.
Set Goals, Monitor, Optimize, Repeat
Using Google Analytics helps you monitor the effectiveness of your veterinary clinic website. By setting attainable goals and monitoring these metrics, you have invaluable insight on what is working well on your website, and perhaps more importantly, what isn’t.
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