Years ago when I was single, I was corresponding with a guy from an internet dating site. Though we hadn’t met, he decided I was worth pursing and declared me “the sexiest woman on the planet.” I wrote a post about it, using that phrase as much as I could, pretending that Google would notice and validate me by ranking the post high in their search engine.
Boy was I shocked when it worked! For more than a year, I showed up on the first page of search results when you Googled “the sexiest woman on the planet” (with the quotation marks). For a while, I was #2 just after Scarlett Johansson — here’s the screenshot I captured as proof.
And when I checked again today, even when I turn off my customized results, Google still has me listed on page three. Still sexy after all these years, I guess!
The point of this post is not to brag (although I want as many people in the world to know as possible that I’m still ranked as “the sexiest woman on the planet”) — it’s to talk about the importance of web analytics in keeping your website strong in the rankings and helpful for your visitors.
I will never claim to be an expert in web analytics, but I can say without hesitation that Google Analytics is one of the best tools in the universe to help you figure out what you need to know about your website. Use your Google account to generate code for each site, and within minutes, you’ll be receiving more information about your site and visitors than you ever thought possible.
They’re always adding new functionality, and each time I check my stats, I’m amazed even more at the new features. My favorite improvement is the ability to see visitors on your site in real time. You see them arrive, switch pages, click around then take off. A little creepy, I know, but it’s vital information to see how people use your site.
Here’s a sample of what you’ll see:
- How people find your site
- How often they visit
- Where they hang out
- What page they leave from
- Where your visitors come from, and so much more
Another cool thing about Google Analytics these days is that many tools link into the statistics to give you even more information. For example, I can include Google Analytics links in my NerdWords newsletter through MailChimp to track clicks and activities generated from newsletter recipients.
And, of course, Google Analytics gives you the critical information you need to see how your site ranks with the keywords — thus I’m able to see that 880 people have visited my site in search of “the sexiest woman on the planet” since the post first appeared in 2008.
You can check your stats on the go with Google’s free mobile app for Android, but if you’re on an Apple product, you can find many third-party access apps. I could write a whole chapter on their statistics. In fact, a search on Amazon.com turned up almost 200 books that include info about Google Analytics, several of them dedicated to just that topic!
Bottom line: If you have a website, you should have Google Analytics.