Google Analytics: A Crucial Website Tool for Practices

March 17, 2011

Every website owner – including your practice -- should have familiarity with three tools: Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools, and SEO Quake. These three provide the owner with ability to run diagnostics, ensure proper indexing of a site and determine page ranking.

Every website owner – including your practice -- should have familiarity with three tools: Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools, and SEO Quake. These three provide the owner with ability to run diagnostics, ensure proper indexing of a site and determine page ranking.
 

Today we’ll look at the first one, Google Analytics, which is free and requires your practice establishing a Google account. If you already have a Google account, just look under the tab, or search, for “Google Analytics.” To use these analytics, simply obtain the necessary code for your URL and insert in your website.

With analytics, you can monitor:

• Traffic
• Source of traffic
• Most popular “page”
• Time spent on site
• “Bounce Rate”
• Location of the visitor

Determining the traffic is usually measured in by the number of “uniques” your page receives over the preceding 30 days. This decreases the number of “false positives” that could falsely amplify your traffic. This does, however, give you an overall “feeling” of the popularity of your site.

The source of traffic tells you how people arrived at your site. Search engine traffic, aka organic traffic, directly reflects your success with SEO. This is probably the most important statistic to watch. The higher percentage of traffic arriving from search engines...the better your content marketing or SEO.

Stats on referring sites indicate the strength of links to your site. If you were to run an ad campaign, this can be tracked as well.

By looking at your most popular page, you can easily determine what topic people interests people the most. For instance, my anchor article on “retinal detachment” is now the most popular on my site. Topics dealing with floaters are almost as popular. When I first started, I wanted to include information about macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy only. With analytics, I discovered there more interest in retinal detachments.

Time spent on the site and “Bounce Rate” are similar. Time spent on the site is self explanatory. “Bounce Rate” means the frequency someone arrives at your site and clicks away before doing anything at all...they didn’t like what they saw (for any reason). These two variables reflect how relevant your page is to the reader. They like it, they stay (and if not, they bounce).
 

The location of the visitor is determined as well. I can even figure out the IP address of the computer used to hit my site. While admittedly a little “big brother” it gives you an idea of the sophistication of the analytics.
 

By determining location of the visitors (country, state, county, town, etc.) you can monitor the effectiveness of your web presence.
 

At first, running analytics on your site can be a bit intimidating. But once you are comfortable with the process, valuable information is obtained. It gives you feedback on your work and the value of the site. Most importantly, it helps you fine tune the topics that interest your readers.