Learning Google Analytics

Sarah Fischer / 20th May 2013 / Comment

If you are a regular reader of the Wheelhouse blog, you’ll remember the contest we ran a few weeks ago for a free voucher to Aaron’s Google Analytics (GA) course at the School of Visual Concepts. I was interested in learning Google Analytics so I asked Aaron, a few months prior, if I could sit in on the workshop. I’ve played around on GA before with my personal blog, but since analytics tracking is a big part of what we do here at Wheelhouse Search, I thought it was high time to dig deeper into Google’s popular tool.

Learning Google Analytics

The School of Visual Concepts (SVC) in downtown Seattle was founded in 1971 with the ideology that students should be taught by working professionals who bring in real-world experience and insights on constantly changing markets. For a fluid industry like SEO, staying on top of Google updates and new tools can make or break a company.

This entry-level course introduced students to the basic capabilities of GA. The classroom, equipped with 12 Mac desktop computers and a projector, welcomed students from various businesses, but each held some sort of marketing role within their company.

Rather than teach solely from PowerPoint slides, Aaron had everyone work within a GA account, either their company’s or from a personal site. The morning consisted of an overview of the scope of GA and what information each of the sections provides. After spending the afternoon sharing specific tips on setting up goals, filters, annotations, and advanced segments, Aaron left the last few hours of class to answer specific questions and help students work through the different analytics they wanted to monitor.

By the end of the day my brain was overflowing with GA tips and tricks. Even if I can’t remember how to do everything in GA that the class covered, it was beneficial to learn what kind of information GA provides. As long as I know the information is possible to find, I can review notes and search the web for how to find it. I’m looking forward to applying what I learned to my own GA profile.

Here are the first three things I implemented on my own Google Analytics account. For clarity and brevity’s sake, I’ve included links to helpful blog posts that will walk you through each of these processes:

Exclude internal traffic
By excluding traffic from internal sources, you’ll know the stats you’re seeing are from independent viewers. Google has a great tutorial on excluding internal traffic. This method only works on static IP addresses. If you are unsure of your IP address (which you’ll need), type “What’s My IP” into Google. Yes, it’s that easy. And awesome!

Monitor your site’s SERP placement
SEOmoz shares how to show keyword position using filters and advanced segments. The number in parenthesis is your site’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP) spot for that keyword. For top ten results, Avinash Kaushik, Analytics Master, provides a link to a pre-programmed advanced segment (you’ll need to be logged into your GA for the link apply).

Set up goals
Setting up goals is simple in GA and lets you monitor how many pages someone visited on your site, if they completed a conversion process, if they watched a video, and more. Click Admin > pick the appropriate profile > Goals > Create a Goal, and then set up the goal for what you want to monitor. I’m hoping to get a lower bounce rate and more exploration on my site, so I set up a goal to track how many people visit more than one page per visit. Super simple!

There you have it! This sums up my take on Aaron’s Google Analytics class at the School of Visual Concepts. Want more information on learning Google Analytics, Aaron’s classes, or SVC, or have specific questions on Google Analytics? Post your comments below or email us at info@wheelhousesearch.com.

By Sarah Fischer