Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools Deep Dive

Every modern business needs a website. Content is king for websites that depend on advertising revenues. Similarly, a website is the beating heart of an e-tailer, and the vast majority of services businesses today derive at least some of their leads from their website.

Building a website that will attract visitors or customers or create leads does not happen by accident. It requires careful planning and amassing as much useful information about your customers or leads as possible. Moreover, most ebusiness consultants will tell you the best way to get the fine-grained data you need about your customers and their buying habits is Google Analytics.

Getting the Most Out of Google Analytics

Google Analytics has evolved into a multipurpose tool that allows you to track virtually everything about everybody that visits your website. From where visitors are coming from to what they do on your website or where they go when they leave, Google Analytics keeps you in the know.

One useful feature of Google Analytics is the ability to set custom goals. Goals can be the number of visitors or a “conversion” such as a sale or a customer signing up to a download a white paper.

Using Google Analytics you can also create up to 20 custom dashboards so you can instantly zoom in on the information you’re looking for. You can also set custom alerts (Admin/Custom Alerts) to send you an email or text message when various metrics surpass preset thresholds.

You can also check out the download speed of your site using Google Analytics (Behavior/Site Speed). Keep in mind that download speed in a factor is Google’s search engine ranking algorithm, so it’s important to stay on top of problems.

With Google Analytics it’s also possible to check for browser differences, view behavior flows, and exclude visits by company employees in the Analytics data.

That said, you can only go so far with Google Analytics by itself. When you add in the flexibility of Webmaster Tools, however, you have the ability to keep your thumb on the pulse of practically everything that’s happening on your website. Moreover, you can create a raft of fine-grained reports including inbound links, impression data and index issues, queries, landing pages and geographical summary.

Google Webmaster Tool Basics

If you really want to keep your thumb on the pulse of what’s going on in your website, you also need to sign up for Google Webmaster Tools. You just provide the url of your website and verify ownership, and then you have access to a variety of useful tools to assess the health and performance of your website.

Webmaster Tools enables you to learn more about the links pointing to your site, as well as detailed impression and even organic search keyword impression and click data.

You can analyze and improve the SEO of your website by combining your Webmaster Tools account with your Analytics account. This allows you to create additional SEO-focused reports such as Queries, Landing Pages and Geographical Summary to get a better idea of where your visitors are coming from and how they are getting to your website.

Google Webmaster Tools also gives website owners a number of useful administrative and security tools. For example, you can recover a hacked site, request a malware review and even disavow backlinks.

You can also control indexing of content (pages) from your own website using Webmaster Tools. You simply complete the online new removal request form, including the url to be removed, and it will usually be removed from the index within a few days. In some cases, you may have to take additional steps such as using the robots.text file to prohibit Googlebot from crawling the page.

Last but not least, Webmaster Tools also provides instructions for taking corrective steps if Google has taken a “manual action” against your site for spamminess, hidden text, thin content, mismatched images or unnatural links. A “manual action” can lower a website’s ranking in the index or it can result in the site being deindexed and no longer appearing in the search results at all.

You can request a review of your site after you have corrected the problem(s) that led to the manual action. Note that even if your reconsideration request is granted and your website is reindexed or reranked, your website may not appear in the same location in search results as it did before the manual action.

We have the ability to gain high levels of visibility into your website and your customer journey. Ensure that you are using that data to improve performance across all channels. With Strongpages, you can get insights and an actionable plan and implementation to fine-tune your digital presence.