Want Your Website to Sell More? Start by Digging into Google Analytics Data
Ever consider the relationship between Google Analytics and copywriting for your site? Now, don’t run away screaming “I hate numbers! They have nothing to do with my writing!”. I want to put aside matters of grammar and formatting to dig a bit deeper with your content.
How can you tell if your content is converting?
How do you know if words you’re using are resonating with the right audience?
The web was made to be measured, and I want to show you the yardstick: Google Analytics.
Which you already have installed on your site, yes?
But don’t take my word for it. Today’s post gets an extra dose of expertise as I’ve invited Adriana Tica to weigh in on this subject. Adriana is a digital marketer with more than 10 years in the field. She runs Idunn, a digital marketing agency that works with clients all over the world. Content writing/copywriting, social media marketing and marketing strategies are just a few of the services of Idunn. Adriana has been instrumental in writing converting copy for landing pages and paid advertising. Not only for my clients, but for my own site!
So let’s jump in!
Find out who your audience -really- is, so you can talk to them better
Two Places Alison Recommends
You’ve created personas of your ideal audience. You’re interacting regularly with your clients, guests, whatever you refer to your audience as. But who you think is visiting your site and who actually is digesting its content might not be similar. Use Google Analytics to form a more complete profile of who’s interested in your business:
- Audience > Geo: Regardless if you are a local or national business, I see a lot of value in reading the Geographical information. Did you know you can drill all the way down to the (impressive) level of cities and/or municipalities? This can be insightful in choosing colloquial phrases or writing for a national or international audience. It can also help track any efforts you’re doing to expand into a new marketplace.
- Audience > Demographics: First, know that you need to turn this feature on, as it’s not available by default. This section, based on user search habits, can enlighten you to the age, gender and interests of your readership. This can be a great place to focus your content on topics to a specific subset of people.
More often than not, the real audience of your website is different from what you imagined or theorized. Using the features above is like a virtual stroll between your peeps. Your real peeps. You get to meet them and learn a lot more about their pain points, wants and needs.
And yes, this is great for your marketing.
For example, you may be a real estate agent finding out that most of your visitors are also interested in Netflix and productivity software.
What does this have to do with the condos you are selling?
Well, it can have a lot to do.
Your copy could reference one or two Netflix shows. This way, you effortlessly create common ground with your audience.
Or can you squeeze in a reference to the Pomodoro technique (because everyone who’s into productivity software has heard of it) before you move on to explain which cool new app you are using to boost productivity. Here’s another idea: why not explain how one of your condos boosts productivity through ergonomic furniture or perfect lighting?
I could go on and on, but you get the point.
Briefly put, it’s all about building bridges. There’s no detail too small when it comes to getting to know your audience. It’s the first and most important step to effective digital marketing campaigns of any kind.
Are they really reading your content?
It’s time to do away with vanity stats – looking a spike or a big number (whatever ‘big’ means to your business) and declaring the site a success. It doesn’t matter how many people are on your site: you should only care about how long they’re on your site, and what they do while on it. How do we monitor this? There are many ways to slice and dice it, here are two:
Behavior > Engagement: average session duration
Alison: A session duration is a mathematical equation used in part to determine, on average, how long someone was on your site. Your copy is not great in my books if you have 10k visitors to a blog post but 90% of them leave after 30 seconds. Is your long-from content being skimmed, read, or avoided? Review your numbers and look for content that is not performing as it should.
Adriana Weights In: Keep in mind that the average session duration, along with bounce rate are two metrics that can make or break your SEO game.
If you think about it, it’s quite natural.
The longer a person lingers on your website, the more interesting it must be. In Google’s terms: the better you are at answering the question that brought them there in the first place.
On the other hand, if someone gets to one of your pages from SERPs and bounces back to them in a few seconds, then your content definitely needs more work. Google bots take it as a sign that you did not manage to answer the question in their query and, therefore, you should not be ranking for said query.
Behavior > New vs Returning
Alison: This measures how many people coming to your site have visited it prior. Depending on your business, either New or Returning will be more important.If you sell a high-ticket item, it may make sense that you would have a lot more new users (people don’t need to buy a purebred dog every year, for example).
Returning is often the bread and butter of most businesses. If your goal is to be an established brand with visitors who hang on every piece of content you put out, by golly you better see a higher Returning rate.
Don’t forget the effects of your copywriting from other sources
There’s so much gold to be found in the the Acquisitions tab in Google Analytics. Its job is to tell you what other sites and platforms sent traffic to you. Knowing what channels are out there, you can create stronger content strategies with them.
Organic Search Channel
Alison: did the words you used in your headings and content match what people were asking Google? If this traffic isn’t much to write home about, you have some keyword research to do.
Adriana’s Bonus Tip: Correlate this with your bounce rate. If most people coming from organic traffic are bouncing right back to the search results page, then you need to update the content on that page. Use tools like BuzzSumo to see what others are writing on the same topic and try to create a page or a post that is more comprehensive than the top results.
Better yet, remember that traffic should never be your end game here. If one of your blog posts ranks really well, add a link and a CTA to a service or product page. You want to monetize that blog post, not just rejoice in offering free information.
Alison: someone “liking” your content on Facebook or Instagram doesn’t pay the bills. You need to know which platforms are getting people to leave and go to your site where you can have a further conversation with them. Take stock of the sort of content you’re creating in the best-performing platforms and apply that to others that need help.
Adriana: Marketer’s FOMO is real. This is why our brands end up on (almost) all social networks. But this shouldn’t be the case.
If time spent on page is just a couple of seconds for people coming from Facebook, maybe that’s not your ideal platform. Maybe Twitter is where your crowd is hanging out. Or maybe it’s LinkedIn.
Take another look at your buyer persona (see above). Be where they are. You don’t have to stretch yourself too thin and have a “meh” presence on five platforms. Instead, you should rock your presence on one or two of them.
Alison: this displays websites that link out to your site. This can be a great way to see how that guest blogpost did, or if there are new relationships you can foster from sites you didn’t know were sending traffic your way. Alison Bonus tip: this can also tell you if paying for that yearly directory listing was worth it. No links from it? Cancel!
Adriana: Don’t forget to disavow spammy links from low-DA websites linking to you. It may sound like a snooze fest of a task (and, frankly, it is), but it can save your SEO.
Acquisitions > Search Console
Alison: find out what people are typing into Google to find you (yes, spelling mistakes and all). This can be real eye opener into what key areas your helping people to solve, or content that you didn’t think relevant compared to others really is. You need to create a Google Search Console account and link it to your Google Analytics account. When activated, it can go back to the last three months of data, which is great.
Do note that what Google Analytics pulls is more an ‘overview’ of queries, and only reveals those that lead people to your site. For a serious deep dive, I recommend looking at your data directly in Search Console. There’s a lot more information, including queries that you showed up for but ultimately weren’t clicked.
Adriana’s Take: Google Search Console can be a goldmine and your ticket to greater sales. Here’s what I like to do for the Idunn website, as well as for our SEO content clients:
- Take a look at which pages are almost ranking well. Add some more content to them and try to obtain some backlinks (social sharing helps!).
- Take a look at which pages rank well, but have a low CTR (click through rate). This combination means that people see the result in SERPs, but they don’t click on it. Work on your headline and meta description to see if you can improve your CTR.
Don’t forget to track your copywriting efforts
Everything we’ve mentioned so far relates to what people have already done on your site. What do we do to track success moving forward? Enter Conversions > Goals. Note that this isn’t only for people who sell physical products, Goals are helpful to track all sorts of desired results. Some examples are:
- Destination Goals: Track the success of people going through a specific order of pages. I like to use this when I want people to travel through an overview page of my services and then drill down to specific services I offer.
- Engagement Goals: Track specific lengths of time you want users to spend reading specific content.
- Event Goals: Track when visitors perform a specific action. I like to use this for seeing if my writing encouraged people to click and watch a video, or clicked an ad.
Interested in learning how to set up Goals? Alison offers ongoing webinars to show you how easy it is to do, and what Google Analytics data to look for to insure you get the best ROI for your content!
No matter if you write your own content or hire a professional copywriter, we both encourage you to use Google Analytics. Keep tabs on the performance of your key pages and posts. Dig deeper in the numbers to see how they measure up to your final ROI (items bought, phone calls made, deals closed). With just a little knowledge of how Google Analytics works, you too can have a fuller picture of your business, and how your content can work its hardest for it.
Just remember one thing: the Google Analytics dashboard may display numbers. But its true value resides in revealing user intent. Whenever you open Google Analytics, do it like a private investigator. Be curious about what it may reveal about your audience personas and about how you can use that info to build your “case”.