If you went to ten SEO experts and asked them which programs you should have in your toolbar, at least nine of them would tell you that Google Analytics should be one of them. This incredible tool is used but countless people. Ignoring the fact that they’re probably spying on us, it’s an awesome method for tracking and measuring your site’s performance.
Of course, it’s not perfect. Thankfully, some creative souls have gone out and found out how to make the program better. Today we’re looking at five hacks for getting the most out of your Google Analytics.
5 Epic Ways to Improve and Enhance Google Analytics
Everyone needs analytics on their site. Whether you’re offering a step-by-step infographic on your site, or you have an entire blog driving sales for your business, you need to know how it’s performing.
The basic tools of Google Analytics are great, but we can do better. Let’s take a look at five hacks to improve your experience.
#1. Ranking Tracking
The ultimate goal of SEO is to get your website at the top of Google’s rankings. It’s amazing, then, that Google Analytics doesn’t show you this by default. Thankfully, a guest post on the Yoast blog is more than happy to walk us through the process of making that happen.
The concept involves custom filters that will pull the referring page from Google. This lets you know which page your ranking on in the search results. It’s not the exact position, but it’s better than we’re used to. That being said, you should also do this on a duplicate profile for your site.
The reason being that if you do something wrong, you don’t lose out of data that didn’t get filtered correctly.
#2. Page Analytics
With a simple tool on your Chrome browser from Google themselves, you can enhance your experience with Google Analytics. This tool allows you to see how customers are interacting with your pages and gives you insight into their user experience.
Metrics like pageviews, bounce rate, active visitors in real time, and more can all be seen overlaid on the page. This is great for when you’re trying to target specific pages. You simply need to make sure GA has access to these pages, and that’s it.
#3. Customized Charts
While the normal process is to use screenshots of GA charts to create reports, some charts can be too large, or not organized properly to be useful. Within Google Analytics itself, you can create widgets from any dimension and metric to apply custom filters. These will pull the exact data you want.
A perfect example are landing pages. Say you want to rank them based on conversions based on a specific source of traffic. While that’s not normally possible, you can create a widget that pulls landing pages sorted by conversions and then apply your filter for the traffic source.
Just like that, you’ve got a custom chart that’s much more fitted to your reports.
#4. Measure Social Engagement
GA also has the ability to integrate with social plugins which will allow you to incorporate social shares into your reports. This gives you more options for detail than basic event tracking. Developers can do this for you, or you can use the SocialTracker plugin to add social tracking to Facebook and Twitter buttons.
You’ll need to adapt your code to track either the entire library that SocialTracker is a part of, or you’ll need it to track just the individual plugin. Plugins like this are why WordPress is also one of the most used platforms for websites and optimization. You can find the social engagement report under
Acquisition > Social > Plugins
You can also use the “social entity” dimension to see shares based on URL.
The annotation tool in Google Analytics allows you to make notes about your websites, you metrics, or anything else you need to keep track of in the program. You can use the tool throughout GA and it’s very easy to use.
When you’re looking at GA reports and graphs, there’s an arrow beneath them. To create an annotation, click the arrow to expand the graph and then click “create new annotation.” From there, simply add the notes you need for things you want to recall later.
This is a simple, but crucial tool when you’re dealing with something as vast and wide as Google Analytics. It will help you keep your thoughts organized and your notes all in one place.
Google Analytics is one of the most useful tools in an SEOs arsenal, but these extra hacks will help you use it better than you ever have. What hacks do you know about in GA? Let us know in the comments!
Lisa Schwartz is an SEO consultant and blogger with seven years of experience in the industry. She loves helping businesses increase their revenue through sound SEO strategies.
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