The Best Google Analytics Reports for Improving Websites

Last updated By | 8 Comments

best google analytics reports

Google Analytics isn’t just for knowing how much traffic your website is getting, your top pages, and how your traffic sources and marketing efforts are performing. Nope. There is an even better use for it!

It’s also really important to use it to help improve your website – so it converts many more visitors into sales, leads or subscribers. But unfortunately Google Analytics can be a little daunting at times, particularly with seemingly endless reports to check out and analyze. Where should you start for best results?

To help you make sense of this, I’ve created a list of the best Google Analytics (GA) reports so you can quickly gain more insights into your website performance and what needs improving most. Let’s get started…

The best GA reports to improve your website sales and leads

Check the landing pages report for pages with high bounce rates and low conversion rates
Your top landing pages (entry pages) are crucial to optimize because they often get very high levels of traffic, and are the first pages your visitors see on your website. If visitors don’t find what they are looking for or are confused, they will leave without converting into one of your website goals.

To improve your website with this report, pull up the your landing pages report for the last 30 days (found under ‘Behavior > Site Content > Landing pages’).  Then see which pages out of the top 10 have highest bounce rate (over 50% is high) and which have lower than website average goal conversion rate (both indicated below in yellow) – these are indicators of poorly performing pages on your website.

GA landing pages bounce rate and conversion rate

Then optimize these poor page performers first – improving headlines, benefits, imagery and call-to-action buttons are some of the best ways to do this. Optimizing these helps increase visitor engagement and increases the chances of them converting for your key website goals.

Use In-Page Analytics feature to reveal exactly what visitors click on
Don’t presume you know what visitors are doing on your pages, and what they are clicking on – it can often be different than you might expect. Use this great click map feature in GA (found under ‘Behavior > In-Page Analytics’) on your key pages to gain better insights into your visitors journey and flow around your website.

Then based on what insights you find, to improve your website you should focus your visitor’s experience on more important links. This can be done by deemphasizing less useful links (or removing them) from key pages, and reorganize your navigation menus to focus on major website goals.

inpage analytics

Note: Ideally you should turn on the ‘enhanced link attribution‘ option in your settings – this makes the clicks more accurate for when you have multiple links on one page going to the same destination page.

Check the browser report for poor conversion rate performers
Your webpages can sometimes look slightly different or even break in some browsers (often due to small differences in how browsers show CSS code). This can unknowingly cause many lost sales or leads!

To make sure this isn’t negatively impacting your website, you need to regular check the ‘Browser & OS’ report (found under ‘Audience > Technology ) and make sure your conversion rates aren’t much lower for any browsers. If you see ones on this report that are much lower, you should go ahead and check for technical problems like CSS rendering issues and fix them immediately.

ga browser report

Analyze your Funnel Visualization report for high-drop off rates and optimize
It doesn’t matter how good your website is if visitors struggle to get through your checkout or sign-up flow pages. To understand how well your visitors complete that process, its vital you check your Funnel Visualization report. On this report (found under ‘Conversions > Goals > Funnel Visualization’) you can see how many visitors get through each page of your funnel (like your billing page), and which pages are most problematic – even where they go if they go to another page.

You need to pay great attention to any pages with a high drop off rate (more than 40%) and optimize those first – adding security seals and risk reducers, reducing distractions like header navigation, and improving error handling often work well. Improving these pages will greatly increase your sales or signups.

funnel visualization report

Note: Obviously you will need to have made sure you have setup your goals for your website adequately, including adding key pages in your goal flows. Here is a great guide on setting goals up.

Check your traffic overview report for poor performing traffic sources
Improving the quality and quantity of your traffic has huge impact on your website conversion rates, sales or leads, and its vital you gain insights into traffic performance and optimize the major sources.

To help you gain greater insights into this, pull up the ‘Channels’ report as Google calls it (found under ‘Acquisition > Channels) and check which of your top 10 traffic sources (channels) have high bounce rates (over 50%), and also for sources that seem low or missing from the top 10.

For example, you may find your email traffic isn’t as much as you had hoped for or isn’t converting well, so you should optimize your email marketing campaigns soon. Same goes for your paid search and SEO too.

GA acquisition overview report

Use the mobile overview report for tablet/mobile insights
Mobile traffic is bigger than ever before, often accounting for over 20% of total website traffic – and these visitors have very different needs due to smaller screen sizes, and often convert much lower than regular website traffic.

To understand your mobile traffic, and its performance, you need to check your ‘mobile overview’ report. Here you need to see just how high your traffic levels are for both mobile and tablet devices, and see what the conversion rate for each is. If conversion rate is much lower for any, you need to check your website on that device for key issues and fix immediately.

And if you haven’t already done so, to increase your conversion rates it’s critical to have a mobile optimized website as soon as possible (like using responsive design), particularly if your mobile traffic is over 20%.

GA mobile overview report

Check the exit pages report to find problematic pages
You also need to find out which pages are most often causing your visitors to leave (called an ‘exit’ page) – and improve and optimize those too.

To find these top exit pages, check your ‘exit pages’ report (found under ‘Behavior > Site Content > Exit Pages). In particular look for any pages that shouldn’t be in the top 10, and try to figure out why so many people exit your site on them. Also look for pages with especially high exit rate (over 50%), as this often indicates problems.

A few ways to improve these exit pages is by using and optimizing call-to-actions at the end of them, and try using exit intent popups to show a great incentive (discounts/free guides etc).

GA exit pages report

Analyze the top pages report for key missing pages and high exit rates
Your top pages report can contain some real gems for insights – not just what your top 10 pages currently are (found under ‘Behavior > Site Content > All Pages).

First you can see if any of your top pages have high exit rates (important to optimize those ASAP) and also to check if any pages relating to your key goals seem missing from this report or have low traffic. For example, perhaps few people are visiting your ‘why us’ or benefits page – making links more prominent to this page will hopefully increase sales/leads.

GA top pages report

These are the simpler reports, there’s many advanced ones too

These are just some of the simpler GA reports that will help you improve your website. Here are a couple of the many more advanced ones to learn about:

  • Using the ‘Converters’ visitor segment to figure out the behavior of people who convert for your main website goals (sales/leads etc).
  • Using the ‘Site Search’ report to find pages causing most amount of internal searches (indicates visitors not finding what they need).

If you are interested in learning more about these advanced GA reports, simply comment and let me know.

No time to analyze reports or not good at finding insights?

If you don’t have time or the skills to gain great insights from these reports (or prefer some expert eyes) check out my ‘Google Analytics Insights’ service I just created – I’m sure you will find it useful.

Like this article? Please share it using these icons below... thanks!

460
SHARES
FREE CONVERSION TOOLBOX TO BOOST YOUR WEBSITE SALES
Get free access to my 7 expert guides and discounts to boost your website sales or leads
Also includes blog updates and we won't spam you!
  • Janet Bryson

    Great article Rich! I definitely will have to check out some of those google reports for my online store.

  • Mark Goldberg

    Great article as usual Rich – but something that’s been lingering is that google analytics is becoming more and more of a late adopter tool. As I’m sure you’ve been finding that many of the leading thinkers are going beyond google and using different tools. For all the blemishes with google analytics (those times when you are really just trying to get something done and work around the quirks), the main problem is with the competitive data from your customers being sapped by GA. Not to go into the details, because I’m sure you are already aware of them on an acute basis at least. Why not focus on some other products like woopra or gostats or something. (The new interface on gostats.org is nice for GA refugees)

  • http://rich-page.com/ Rich Page

    Thanks Janet. Hope they work out well for improving your sales!

  • http://rich-page.com/ Rich Page

    Thanks Mark. Interesting view point. I’ve actually found them to be catching up a bit with the big boys like Adobe Analytics, with more customization options than before. But sure, they still play catchup mostly. And I haven’t actually heard much about Woopra or Gostats in a long time – Kissmetrics seems to be very ‘trendy’ over the last few years though.

  • Mark Goldberg

    Hi Rich, it’s kinda funny, I’ve found Kissmetrics to be really feature light and pricey for the little that it does. Seems like they are investing a lot in marketing recently just like mixpanel, chartbeat, etc. I bet it will die down quite a bit due to churn as newer products eat their value proposition. (A couple that I mentioned before are already doing that, and I’ve been exploring other tools that do also.)

  • http://www.aquahabitat.com/ Spring Creek Aquatic Concepts

    Interesting. Our lightest pages in info have the lower bounce rates. They are short simple entry pages. The pages people appreciate the most from us are complete discussions and they have higher bounce rates ~ 75% . The crux is our highest placing pages on Google have the most useful information as semantic search would dictate. So for us bounce rate goes UP with quality of info served on the page. I think I will just stick with that and look towards improving our navigation to improve bounce.

    Our plan is to fill out our entry pages to place higher in google. If bounce rates rise, so be it.

  • http://rich-page.com/ Rich Page

    Thanks for the comment. Bounce rate is important, but conversion rate for top entry pages is much more actionable. This is particularly the case for content/blog websites – bounce rates are often high due to visitors coming with a specific purpose – to read the article/content they showed interest in clicking to. And always think about your visitors needs, and then what goal you want them to achieve – just as important as higher SEO rankings.

  • Charles Bosse

    Great help from this blog! Google analytics is a tool used to measure the performance of one’s site. By using it we can see which area we are weak and will be able to find ways to improve its weaknesses. The key to succeeding online is simple; everything you do online has to revolve around your SEO/Marketing Strategy. Please feel free to visit our website at https://www.internetmarketingexpertsbrisbane.com.au/.