33

Facebook Lead Ads: Your Ninja Lead Generation Machine [2017 Guide]

​Have you tried Facebook Lead Ads yet?

In this step-by-step guide, you'll discover how to create highly effectively Facebook Lead Adverts to generate quality leads for your business.

Let's get started and dive deep into the what, how and why of lead ads.

Use this navigation to quickly move over to a particular section of the guide.​

​What Is Facebook Lead Ads?

I am using it extensively for few months now and ​I don't have any doubts in saying that it's one of the most effective and powerful way of generating leads.

It's also one of the simplest and quickest way which you can literally set-up in under 30 minutes.

You don't need a landing page and it's a two clicks process for a user to submit their form.

Facebook Lead Ads

Facebook Lead Ads - User Journey

Why Facebook Lead Ads Are Better?

​Here are few of the benefits of lead ads over the traditional ads.

  • No Landing Pages:  User stays on Facebook throughout the whole journey eliminating the need to create a landing page.
  • Auto-filled Forms:  Facebook auto-fills form fields such as name, email & phone.  It improves both user experience and conversion rates.
  • Mobile Friendliness:  No need to worry about mobile optimization of website since user stays on Facebook only.
  • Loading Times:  One of the major factor contributing to poor conversions are slow loading websites and this factor is eliminated in lead ads.

​All these above factors make these lead adverts very powerful and effective.

It improves the user's experience by simplifying their journey from interaction with the ad to filling up the form.

That's great for marketers too as it cut down their efforts in setting up the ads and it also leads to higher conversion rates and lower acquisition costs.

​How To Create Facebook Lead Ads?

​You now know why lead adverts should really be part of your overall online marketing plan to promote and grow your business.

Let's now go over the steps involved in creating Facebook lead ads.​

Go to the 'Adverts Manager' section by clicking on the 'Create Adverts' option in the drop-down on your Facebook newsfeed page.

Facebook Lead Ads Create Ads

Facebook Lead Ads - Create Adverts

​Under the 'Adverts Manager' section, click on '+ Create Campaign' tab to proceed further to select the campaign type and objective.

Facebook Adverts Manager Create Campaign

Facebook Adverts Manager - Create Campaign

Select 'Lead Generation' option while selecting your marketing objective.  Give your campaign a relevant name and click on 'Continue'.

Facebook Adverts Manager Campaign Objective

Facebook Adverts Manager - Campaign Objective

​Under 'Advert Set' section of the campaign, give a relevant name to your advert set and select the Facebook page for which you are creating the campaign.

Facebook Adverts Set Name and Facebook Page

Facebook Adverts Set - Name and Facebook Page

​You have to next select an existing or create a new audience for your campaign targeting.  You have these three options here:

  • Create New:  Create a new audience by selecting target location, age, gender, language, demographics, interests or behaviors. 
  • Saved Audience:  Select from a saved audience if you have already created it earlier.
  • Custom Audience:  Select from a custom audience such as your website visitors or paid campaign landing page visitors.
Facebook Advert Set Select or Create Audience

Facebook Advert Set - Select or Create Audience

Note about [Audience]

I get much better results with 'Custom Audiences' as they have already visited your website and know about your brand.  It is a warm audience which tends to convert better.

​Select the placements for your lead ads and here are your placement options:

  • Automatic Placements:  Let Facebook decide your placements and optimize your ad for leads.
  • Custom Placements:  Here you can custom select your placements such as device types (Mobile or Desktop), platforms (Facebook or Instagram) and specific mobile devices (Android or iOS).

You can even select to show your ads when the mobile device is connected to a Wi-Fi to ensure that user's internet speed is good resulting in high conversions.

Facebook Lead Ads Placement Options

Facebook Lead Ads - Placement Options

Select either daily budget or lifetime budget for your lead ads campaign as well as select the ad schedule and then click on the 'Show advanced options' link.

Facebook Lead Ads Campaign Budget

Facebook Lead Ads - Campaign Budget

​'Leads' is selected by default under the optimization for advert delivery option and you have the option to select 'Link Clicks' as well.  I would recommend to leave it as default only.

You can also keep the bid amount as Automatic (default) or enter your Manual bid based on what an acquired lead is worth to you.

Click on the Continue button once you have made your selection to go to the advert and ad creatives section.

Facebook Lead Ads Optimization for Delivery

Facebook Lead Ads - Optimization for Delivery

​In the 'Advert' section give a suitable name to the advert and select the format type from the available options of a Carousal (multiple images), Single Image, Single Video and Slideshow.

Facebook Lead Ads Advert Name Format

Facebook Lead Ads - Advert Name & Format

​Select your creatives (image, video or slideshow) for the lead ads campaign depending on the format you have selected in the previous step.

Facebook Lead Ads Advert Images

Facebook Lead Ads - Select Advert Images

Under the 'Text' section, enter the ad copy for your lead ads such as Headline, Description text, select the appropriate Call To Action button.

You can then preview how your ad looks like on desktop news feed, mobile news feed and on Instagram feed and make the necessary changes if required.

Facebook Lead Ads Advert Text Preview

Facebook Lead Ads - Advert Text and Preview

There are 6 'Call To Action' options available under the Facebook lead ads:

  • Apply Now
  • Download
  • Get Quote
  • Learn More
  • Sign Up
  • Subscribe
Facebook Lead Adverts Call To Action

Facebook Lead Adverts - Call To Action Options

Design Checklist | Tips

Use these recommendations to ensure that your lead ads looks good wherever it appears and on every screen sizes.

  • Recommended image size: 1,200 X 628 pixels
  • Image ratio: 1:9:1
  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Description Text: 90 characters
  • News Feed description: 30 characters
  • Include minimal text on your image to ensure maximum ad reach  

Use Facebook Text Overlay Tool to check the image text ratings and ensure it says 'OK' and that your ad will run normally.

Facebook Text Overlay Tool

In the next 'Lead Form' step, you can duplicate or select an existing lead form or create a new from from the scratch.

Let's click on '+ New Form' and go through the process of creating a new form for your Facebook Lead Ads.​

Facebook Lead Ads Create Lead Form

Facebook Lead Ads - Create New Lead Form

Give a relevant name to your new form in step 1 and move on to the step 2 for creating the Welcome Screen (new name for 'Context Card') for your leads ad.

'Welcome Screen' is the initial page which appears immediately after clicking the ad where you can add more info of your product or service offerings.

Facebook Lead Ads Welcome Screen

Facebook Lead Ads - Welcome Screen

Use the welcome screen to tell your audience what exactly they are going to receive after submitting their details.

Facebook Lead Ads Welcome Screen

Facebook Lead Ads - Welcome Screen

Here are the required elements for creating the welcome screen:

  • Add a headline for your welcome screen (maximum 45 characters)
  • Use the same image from your ad or upload a new different image for the welcome screen
  • Under the Layout option, select either Bullets (maximum 80 characters for each bullet) or select Paragraph (no character limits)
  • Add your CTA (Call To Action) button text
  • See the preview of your welcome screen on the right hand side and move to the next step if everything looks good.

Note about [Welcome Screen]

Please note that adding Welcome Screen is OPTIONAL but I will always recommend to add it and use it to better educate your audience about your offering to get better quality leads.

​Under the Questions section of the lead form, select the fields which you need based on contact details, demographics or the work information of the user.

All this requested information will be pulled from the user's Facebook profile and will be prefilled in the form.

You can also add up to maximum of 3 custom questions by clicking on '+ Add custom question' option at the bottom.

Facebook Lead Ads Form Fields Questions

Facebook Lead Ads - Form Fields & Questions

Conversion Tip

Only ask for as much information as necessary even if the form fields will be auto-filled by Facebook.

You know that conversions goes down as we add more form fields.  I have found in my testing that this holds very true for Facebook Lead Ads too even if the users don't have to fill the info manually.

You have to next add the text and website link for the 'Privacy Policy' of your business.

Facebook requires you to include the privacy policy on how you are going to use the personal information of the potential prospects which you are gathering through Facebook Lead Ads.

You can even add a custom disclaimer (optional) ​in the privacy policy section if necessary.

Facebook Lead Ads Privacy Policy

Facebook Lead Ads - Privacy Policy

The last step is to add the website link of your thank you page which you want the users to visit once they submit their details.

​For example, it could be a download page if you are giving away a free e-book to get subscribers or a page telling them that they are successfully registered for an event or online webinar.

Facebook Lead Ads Thank You Screen

Facebook Lead Ads - Thank You Screen

​You can then preview your form and click on either 'Save' (to save in drafts if you want to make any further changes) or 'Finish' (to publish it if you are happy with your form).

Facebook Lead Ads Save Finish Form

Facebook Lead Ads - Save or Finish Form

The last step is to select your newly created lead form, review your order and then click on 'Place Order'.

Facebook's team will then review it (to ensure it meets their guidelines) and activate your campaign - it can take from 5 minutes to up to 24 hours for your ad to go live.

Facebook Lead Ads Place Order

Facebook Lead Ads - Place Order

​How To Download Leads From Facebook Lead Ads?

​Once you start running your ads, one of the most common question from the marketers is how to access and download these leads.

​Go to your page for which you are running the ads and click on 'Forms Library' option under the 'Publishing Tools' section at the top right hand side.

You will see all your active lead forms ​there and click on 'Download' button to export your leads in CSV file format.

Please note that you need page 'Admin' rights ​to access the leads.

Facebook Lead Ads Download Leads

Facebook Lead Ads - Download Leads

​In this process, you have to manually export your leads and then import them into your CRM to move them into your sales funnel.

​This manual process can really hurt your conversions if your users are expecting an immediate follow-up.

To automate this process, let's see how we can integrate the Facebook Lead Ads with your CRM.

You can do it by going to 'Leads Setup' section under the 'Publishing Tools' and follow the given 3 steps process.

Facebook Lead Ads Connect CRM

Facebook Lead Ads - Connecting CRM

Here are few of the CRMs supported by Facebook Lead Ads presently:

  • Salesforce
  • Marketo
  • Drip
  • Eloqua
  • Mailchimp
  • Constant Contact
  • Infusionsoft
  • Active Campaign
  • Hubspot

You can also connect it using 3rd party lead ad integration solution partners:

  • Zapier
  • Leadsbridge
  • Driftrock
  • AdEspresso
  • Connectio
  • Active Prospect
  • SyncSumo
  • Sync2CRM

​I am personally using Zapier to connect my Facebook Lead Ads account to my Mailchimp account right now and it works as expected without any hassles.

​It instantly add my leads generated through Facebook Lead Ad to my subscribers list in Mailchimp account and start the automated email follow-up process.

Facebook Lead Ads Zapier Integration

Facebook Lead Ads and Zapier Integration

​Best Practices For Creating Effective Facebook Lead Ads

Here is a list of few important best practices you should follow to ensure the best results from your Facebook Lead Ads campaigns:​

Your Ad Is Your Landing Page

In a traditional Facebook ad, you can tease your users through your ads to get higher CTRs as they will get more detailed information on the landing page.

It's not the case with Facebook lead ads.  The users only see your ad and straight away go to the form submission page ​as soon as they click on it.

​So make sure to provide all the important information to the users through your ad and be as much descriptive as possible.

​Add Welcome Screen

​I strongly recommend you to add a welcome screen (previously context card) to your ads to provide more information to your users.

It creates an additional step for the users to complete before submitting their details and hence increase their commitment and the quality of leads.​

​Only Ask For Necessary Information

​Only ask for the information which is absolutely required for your follow-up in converting a lead to a paying customer.

For example, don't ask for their phone number if you are only following up through emails.  Asking for an additional info such as phone number considerably lowers the conversion rates.

​Target The Right Audience

​This is obvious and holds true to all the ads.  As per my experience, these ads works best with the 'Custom Audiences' like website visitors.

You can even target the audience who have visited your landing pages through other ad channels (like AdWords, Display​ etc.) but did not convert as lead ads give them an easy way to submit their details.

Integrate Your CRM

​Manually exporting and importing leads into CRM will effect your conversions and you won't be able to reach out to your prospects immediately.

Integrate your CRM to automate this process so that your lead is instantly moved to your CRM and added to your email list.

This will allow you to immediately send a confirmation or welcome email to your users who have submitted their info.

You can see the latest list of CRM integrations available here.​

Exclude The Converted Users

​This step is very obvious but easily forgotten!  Always make sure to exclude the users who have converted from your ad targeting.

You can do this by creating a separate custom audience for converters ​and add it in the exclusion list while targeting your audience.

​Stop wasting your marketing dollars by implementing this step.

​What Are The Drawbacks Of Facebook Lead Ads?

​Facebook Lead Ads is a great way to generate leads for your business with many benefits over traditional ad formats but it does have few drawbacks too.

​Quality Of The Leads

​This is one of the primary problem for Facebook lead ads.  It is so easy for a user to complete the steps that while following up we came across users saying they submitted it by mistake.

It is only a two click process (tap, tap, done!) so the commitment and the intent of users is low and sometimes they even forget submitting their details.

​Facebook is making efforts to overcome this issue by introducing new features like welcome screen, desktop targeting (only mobile was available earlier) etc.

​Remarketing Lists

​Since you are not directing your users to your landing pages, you cannot add them to your remarketing list to again target this audience on other channels like Google Display Ads.

You know that your website or landing page visitors is one of the most important set of audience you can target again for conversions.

You spend your marketing dollars on Facebook lead ads but you miss out on this important audience set.

Facebook lead ads is great for Facebook in keeping their users on Facebook but not good for marketers as they can't create a remarketing list.​

​Facebook Lead Ads : Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are the answers for few frequently asked questions with respect to the Facebook Lead Ads:

Facebook Lead Ads are available in which languages?

What about the Organic leads generated through lead ads?

Why there is no 'Share' button on Facebook lead ads?

Is it possible to run lead ads on Instagram?

Why I am not able to download all my leads?

Is it possible to save a draft of a lead form?

When my leads will be available for download?

Are all of the form fields mandatory?

​Conclusion & Infographic

Facebook lead ad is a great way to generate leads for your business with least efforts at low marketing budget.

The lead quality might not be as good but you should follow the best practices to weed out the junk leads.

Facebook is also continuously introducing ​new features to enable the marketers to get good ROIs on their marketing budgets for lead ads and on ways to improve the leads quality.

I hope you will find this guide useful and you will soon test out the lead ads for your business as well.

In the end, I would like to add this nice ​Facebook Lead Ads Infographic created by the Connectio team.  It quickly gives you a good overview of Facebook lead ads and I'm sure you will like it if you have a thing for the visuals.

Facebook Lead Ads Infographic

Facebook Lead Ads - Infographic by Connectio

​Let me know your feedback on this guide in the comments section.

Over to you now, stay awesome!​

32

Google Analytics : A Definitive Guide for Beginners

Are you just getting started with Google Analytics?

Do you know how Google Analytics can help in improving your site's performance (traffic and conversions)?

In this guide, we will cover how to understand different reports and data provided by Google Analytics to improve your site's performance and make intelligent decisions based on its analysis.

​Let's get started.

Here I assume that you already have your Google Analytics account set up.  If not, then follow this get started with analytics guide to set up your account first.

  • If you don't have access to any data to learn Google Analytics, then use this Demo Account provided by Google.  It can be accessed by any Google user!

​It's a fully functional account with real business data from Google Merchandise Store & a great way to learn by experimenting with Google Analytics features.

​I will be using this demo account in this guide to go through different reporting features of Google Analytics.

Use this quick navigation to skip to a specific section of the Google Analytics guide below:

Google Analytics Glossary

​Let's first get familiar with the terms you will see often in your Google Analytics account.  It is important for you to understand all these terms very well.

User - User is a unique visitor who visited your website at least once within a specific date range and it includes both new and returning visitors.

Session - It is the duration of time a user is active on your website.  One user can have multiple sessions on your site or app and a new session starts after the inactivity of 30 minutes or more.  Original session continue if a user leave your website and return within 30 minutes duration.  Please note that '30 minutes' is default duration which can be changed in Google Analytics.

Pageview - It is defined as the total number of pages viewed and it is an event which triggers when a page is loaded (or reloaded) in a browser.

Average Session Duration - It is the average time duration spent by a user on your website or app during a single session.

Pages per Session - It is the metric for average number of pages visited during a single session by a user.

Bounce Rate - It is the percentage of single-page sessions i.e. when a person left your site from the entrance page without browsing any other pages on your site.  

Dimension - A dimension is a descriptive attribute that can be given different values. There are few default dimensions available such as Source, Medium, Traffic Type, Browser, City etc. and you can also create 'Custom Dimensions' for additional data you send to Google Analytics.

Metrics - Metrics are specific elements of a dimension that can be measured as a sum or a ratio.  Screenviews, Pages per Session, and Average Session Duration are few examples of metrics in Google Analytics.

Goals - It allows you to track important actions that users take or complete on your website or mobile app.  You can create specific Goals to track user actions, such as e-book downloads, product purchase, blog subscription etc. in your Analytics account.

Conversion - It is a completed Goal on your website that is defined by you such as newsletter sign-up, purchase transaction, landing page visit etc.

Source - It tells you the origin of your traffic such as a search engine (Google, Bing etc), Direct, or a domain (like facebook.com).

Medium - It tells you the general category of the traffic source such as Organic, CPC (cost per click campaign), Referral, Email, Social etc.​

Segment - It is a subset of sessions or users that share common attributes. It is used for doing better analysis by isolating a set of users having similar behavior.

Google Analytics Home

​This is the home screen you will see when you log into your Google Analytics account.

You can see the list of all websites you have set up on home screen with some basic stats such as number of sessions, average session duration, bounce rate and goal conversion rate.

google analytics guide

You can select a specific date range to see the data for that particular time period and you can also compare the data for two different date ranges and see how it has changed.

google analytics compare data

I have compared Nov'16 with Oct'16 data in this example and you can see how the websites have performed in Nov'16 Vs Oct'16.

It will give you a bird's eye view ​of your website's performance in terms of traffic and goal conversions.

google analytics data comparison

​Clicking on a particular website link will take you to the 'Reporting' section where you can view more in-depth stats.

Google Analytics Reporting​

​The main Google Analytics reporting page display your 'Audience Overview' data.

The left sidebar has a search box to help you find specific reports and there is a list of important report sections such as Dashboards, Audience, Acquisition etc.

We will discuss each of these report sections in detail below.

google analytics reports

1. REAL TIME

As the name suggests, you can see the real time stats of your website visitors in this section such as number of users, their demographic details, traffic sources etc.

a) Overview

This dashboard gives you a bird's-eye view of the real time activity of users on your website.

google analytics real time overview
google analytics top locations
  • Active Users: Number of active users on your website currently.
  • Top Referrals: List of top referring sites for your current active users.
  • Top Active Pages: List of website pages with most number of current active users.
  • Top Social Traffic: List of top social sites driving most traffic of active users on your site.
  • Top Keywords: List of top keywords driving most traffic of active users on site.
  • Top Locations: Cities highlighted on global map from where you have the current active users on your site.
​b) Locations

​This section gives you the break down of the real-time visitors on your website by countries and cities.

google analytics locations countries cities

​You can click on any country name to further drill down to see their respective cities from where you currently have the visitors on your website.

google analytics real time cities
​c) Traffic Sources

​The dashboard in this section give you the insights on all the traffic sources of your real-time website visitors.

google analytics real time traffic sources

​Here you get the breakdown of traffic sources such as Organic, Direct, Referral, Social, Google CPC etc.

​d) Behavior

​Get the behavior insights of your website visitors here including the device type such as Desktop, Tablet or Mobile they are using to access your website as well as the top active pages of the website.

google analytics real time behavior
​e) Events

If you have any analytics events configured on your website then you can see which events are being triggered by your real-time visitors here in this section.

Learn more about setting up of event tracking and type of events here in this article by Google.

google analytics real time events
f) Conversions

If you set up any Goals in analytics for your website, then you can see them in this section and track how many visitors have completed those conversion Goals.

Learn more about setting up of goals​ in your analytics here.

google analytics real time conversions

​2. AUDIENCE

​The analytics reports under the Audience, Acquisitions, Behavior and Conversions sections are the ones you are going to use most.

You can analyze historical data and compare site's performance over a period of time for different data metrics.

Let's first dive into 'Audience' data.​

a) Overview​

​This is the default report you will see when you select a web property in your Google Analytics account.

It gives you the most important stats of your website such as number of sessions, users, pageviews, bounce rate, pages / session, average session duration​ over a period of time.

google analytics audience overview

You can compare your site's performance between two time periods by selecting the 'Compare to' date range.

You can also change the data timeline and see your report in Hourly, Daily, Weekly or Monthly view.​

audience overview compare dates

By default, you will see sessions graph but you can plot the graph for different metrics such as Users, Bounce Rate, Pageviews etc. by selecting it in the drop-down option.

google analytics sessions drop down

​You can also compare two different data metrics such as Sessions Vs Bounce Rate or Users Vs Pageviews and plot the comparison graph.

analytics audience overview compare metrics

​Google analytics show the reports on all your users as a whole by default and you can use +Add Segment option to see the report for a particular segment of your website visitors such as mobile traffic, organic traffic, referral traffic etc.

analytics add segment
google analytics add segment

​You can create your own custom segment under +Add Segment section by using the +NEW SEGMENT option and then selecting your own criteria based on their demographics, traffic sources, user behavior etc.

google analytics custom segments
b) Active Users

​This report lets you see the number of active users who interacted with your site or app and started a session within a period of 1, 7, 14 and 30 days.

google analytics active users
​c) Demographics

This report gives you the demographic details of your website visitors which includes their age and gender.

google analytics demographics

Google Analytics Demographics Overview of Website Visitors

The age and gender section gives you the detailed breakdown of your visitors along with few key stats associated with them such as bounce rate, pages / session etc.

google analytics age

Age Group Breakdown of the Website Visitors

google analytics gender

Gender Breakdown of Website Visitors

IMPORTANT : Use 'Conversions' drop-down to see what type of audience is completing your most important goals such as 'product purchase' or 'ebook download' etc. 

In my example above, the audience in age group of 25-34 years do 53% of my product purchases.  In gender breakdown, 72% of total product purchases are done by male audience.

This information is extremely useful to get insights on the age group and gender of your audience which has the highest affinity towards your product.

  • Use this info to target your audience in paid campaigns such as on Facebook or Google Display Network to improve their effectiveness by many folds!
d) Interests

This report shows you the interests of your website visitors - the overview section list down the top-10 interests in Affinity Categories, In-Market Segments and Other Categories.

google analytics interests

Google Analytics - Visitors Interests Overview Report

  • Note down the interests of your top converting users and use this data to target your audience in Google Display Network to optimize your campaigns.
e) Geo

​This is a very straight forward report which gives you the break-up of location and language of your website or app users.

Google Analytics Geo Language

Google Analytics - Geo Language Report

google analytics geo location

Google Analytics - Geo Location Report

In 'Location' report, you can click on any 'Country' name to get the next level break-up of visitors by cities.

​f) Behavior

The behavior report give you the insights on you how your users are interacting with your website or app.

New Vs Returning ​report segregate the users who are visiting first time and those who are returning back again during the time period you have selected.

Google Analytics New Vs Returning

Google Analytics Behavior - New Vs Returning Users

​Higher percentage of returning visitors means users are finding value in your content or offer and they are returning back often to refer to it.

Google Analytics Behavior Engagement

Google Analytics Behavior - Engagement Report

​The engagement report list down the number of sessions and pageviews by time duration.  Use it to understand how your users are engaging with your content or offering.

​g) Technology

This report give the insights on browser, operating system and network being used by your visitors while accessing your website or app.

Google Analytics Browser Operating System

Google Analytics - User's Browser & Operating System Report

​Use this report to find out the most used browsers, operating systems, screen resolutions etc. by your users and then test extensively to ensure your website is 100% compatible with them.

Use the highlighted 'Primary Dimension' navigation ​to get more insights such as Screen Colors, Flash Version etc. to get more data for your compatibility testing.

​h) Mobile

​This report gives you the percentage break-down of your users by the type of device they use to access your website or app i.e. Desktop, Mobile or Tablet.

Google Analytics Mobile Device Category

Google Analytics - Mobile Overview Report

The percentage of users accessing the web over mobile is increasing exponentially so always ensure that your website is mobile optimized.

  • Do mobile-friendly test of your website using this tool to check if it is mobile optimized or not.

​3. ACQUISITION

​This is my favorite and one of the most important analytics report which shows you how the users are coming on your website.

It list out all the traffic sources such as Organic, ​Direct, Social, Email, Paid etc. from where you are getting your visitors.

Through this report, you can also find out how successful are your marketing campaigns in bringing the website visitors ​and completing a specific goal such as product purchase.

​a) Overview

​This report gives you the overall snapshot of your acquisition channels and the insights on user behavior and conversions from each channel.

Google Analytics Acquisition Overview

Google Analytics Acquisition Overview Report

b) All Traffic​

​This report give more detailed insight of users coming through different acquisition channels such as number of sessions, new users, bounce rate, conversion stats etc.

Google Analytics Acquisition All Traffic Channels

Google Analytics - All Traffic Channels Report

​Use this report to understand which is your best traffic source with good user engagement as well as top conversions.

Click on any 'Traffic ​Channel' to get the next level details such as clicking on 'Social' will give you further break-down of social channels i.e. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ etc.

​c) AdWords

This report is useful only if you are running AdWords campaigns and linked your AdWords account with Google Analytics account.

It gives you great insights on the performance of your AdWords campaign ​and you can see campaign wise performance.

The benefit of linking your Adwords & Analytics account is you can see the user behavior data ​against all your campaigns like bounce rate, pages / session along with conversions.

It helps you understand the effectiveness of your campaigns and analyze if you are driving qualified paid traffic ​to your website based on their engagement rates.

Google Analytics Acquisition Adwords

Google Analytics - AdWords Campaigns Report

​In this section, you can measure the performance of your campaigns by various other metrics such as targeted keywords, user search queries, hour of day, destination URLs etc.

​d) Search Console

You can see the data from your Google Search Console here in this section if you have linked it with your Google Analytics account.

Read my ultimate guide on Google Search Console on how to quickly increase your website traffic through this awesome free SEO tool.

The landing page report shows you the user stats such as impressions, clicks, sessions etc. for each of your website landing pages.

Google Analytics Ssearch Console Landing Page

Google Analytics - Ssearch Console Landing Pages Report

​Similarly, you can also see the report on Countries, Devices and Queries under the Search Console section of Google Analytics.

Queriesreport is really important as you can't see over 90% (comes under 'not provided') of these search terms in 'Acquisition' report of Google Analytics.

This report gives you the list of actual user search queries along with their key stats like clicks, impressions, CTR and average position.

Google Analytics Search Console Queries

Google Analytics - Search Console Queries Report

e) Social

​Get the breakdown of your website visitors coming through all the different social channels in this report.  The social channels here include:

  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Quora
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • Reddit
  • Google Groups
Google Analytics Acquisition Social

Google Analytics - Acquisition Social Report

Social > Landing pages report list down your top landing pages receiving the most website visitors from social channels while the Social > Conversions report give the number of conversions and its value from each social channel.

Google Analytics Social Conversions

Google Analytics - Social Conversions Report

​f) Campaigns

Get the insights and measure the effectiveness of all your campaigns on different channels such as Email, Social, AdWords etc. here in this section of the report.

Your AdWords campaigns data will show up in this section if you have linked your AdWords account with Analytics account.

If you are using UTM parameters to track your campaigns, then ​you can see and analyze the performance of all your campaigns in this report.

Google Analytics Acquisition Campaigns

Google Analytics Acquisition - Campaigns Report

​Campaings > Paid Keywords report lets you analyze your top and worst converting paid keywords and give you the insights to further optimize your campaigns based on this data.

Google Analytics Acquisition Campaigns Paid Keywords

Google Analytics Acquisition - Campaigns Paid Keywords Report

​Similarly, you can analyze the performance of your keywords ranking organically in search results under the Campaigns > Organic Keywords report.

​4. BEHAVIOR

​Behavior report helps you in tracking and analyzing how your visitors interacts and move through the different sections of your website and these insights enables you to optimize it for better performance and conversions.

​a) Overview

​The Behavior Overview report gives you an overall behavior metrics of your visitors such as pageviews, bounce rate, % exit, avg. time on page as well as list of your top content (most visited pages), search terms and events completed.

Google Analytics Behavior Overview

Google Analytics : Behavior Overview Report

​b) Behavior Flow

The Behavior Flow report gives you the visual overview of how your website visitors are interacting with your website.

It lets ​you know the exact path your visitors take from the page they enter your website to the next set of pages they visit till the last page from where they exit your website.

Google Analytics Behavior Flow Report

Google Analytics - Behavior Flow Report

​c) Site Content

​Site Content report gives you the detailed insights on the performance of your website pages in terms of most visited pages, bounce rates, average time spent, number of entrances, exit percentage etc.

 Site Content > All Pages report enable you to see top pages of your website along with few key metrics associated with them.

Use this report to identify your worst performing pages which you can work on optimizing further - here are few metrics to help you identify these pages:

  • Least number of pageviews
  • High bounce rates
  • High exit rates
  • Lowest average time on page
Google Analytics Site Content All Pages

Google Analytics - Site Content All Pages Report

​Site Content > Content Drilldown report enables you to see the performance of website by subfolders like authoritypanda.com/blog, authoritypanda.com/reviews or authoritypanda.com/deals.

​You can see your top folders getting the most number of visitors and then further drilldown to see the top pages within each folder.

Google Analytics Behavior Content Drilldown

Google Analytics - Behavior Content Drilldown Report

Site Content > Landing Pages report list down your top entrance pages from where your visitors entered your website.

In this report, you can also see the conversion metrics of ​each of your landing pages and analyze your top and worst converting pages.

Along with conversion metrics, you can also see other performance stats such as sessions, bounce rate, average session duration etc.​

Google Analytics Site Content Landing Pages

Google Analytics - Site Content Landing Pages Report

Site Content > Exit Pages report gives you the list of last pages visited by your users before leaving the website.

The pages with high exit rates are the ones you should look to work upon to stop the visitors from leaving your website and make them stay longer.

You can try to add more engaging content such as images, videos etc. or add the links to other related pages so that they don't exit your website.

Google Analytics Site Content Exit Pages

Google Analytics - Site Content Exit Pages Report

​d) Site Speed

​This report shows you the performance of your website in terms of the speed and loading times.  Use it to find out the performance areas that needs improvement as it directly correlates to your website's user experience .

Site Speed > Overview report gives you the overview of few key performance metrics such as average page load time, server connection time and server response time.

You can also see your site speed by different browsers​, country and pages.  Use it to identify which browsers or pages of your website has high page load times and work on optimizing it.

Google Analytics Site Speed Overview

Google Analytics - Site Speed Overview Report

Site Speed > Page Timings report compares the load time of all your pages (sorted by most visited pages at the top) with the overall average page load time of your website.

It quickly tells you the pages which has below average performance that you need to prioritize for optimizing to improve their page load times.

Google Analytics Site Speed Page Timings

Google Analytics - Site Speed Page Timings Report

Site Speed > Speed Suggestions report gives the PageSpeed Score for each of your website pages based on their loading speeds and also give detailed insights & suggestions on what needs to be done to improve it.

Google Analytics Site Speed Suggestions

Google Analytics - Site Speed Suggestions Report

​Clicking on total suggestions link (like 7 total) under PageSpeed Suggestions will open a new window showing your website's speed score on mobile and desktop devices along with the detailed instructions on how to fix and improve it.

Google Analytics Page Speed Score

Google Analytics - Page Speed Score & Suggestions Report

​I would recommend to list down your top traffic pages with low speed score and prioritize them to fix the errors reported and improve their page load times.

Site Speed > User Timings report enables you to track the load times of the different elements on your website pages such as time taken to load by certain images or resources, response time for button clicks etc.

You are required to configure and add custom codes to your website to enable and see 'User Timings' report metrics.

​e) Site Search

​If your website has a search box to help your visitors easily search for a specific content and it is configured with Google Analytics, then you can see this user data under 'Site Search' report.

​Refer to this official support article by Google to enable and setup Site Search in your Google Analytics account.

Site Search > Overview report displays the overall metrics of the site search usage on your website by the visitors such as total unique searches, time spent after searches, search terms etc.

Google Analytics Site Search Overview

Google Analytics - Site Search Overview Report

Site Search > Usage report display the number of sessions your website received when someone searched through the search box on your website in comparison to the number of sessions when search box was not used.

You can see the search terms typed by your visitors in website's search bo​x under the Site Search > Search Terms report along with few other key metrics like total unique searches, pageviews per search, time spent after search etc.

Google Analytics Site Search Search Terms

Google Analytics Site Search - Search Terms Report

You can get the list of top pages where highest number of searches are generated through the website search box under Site Search > Search Pages report section.

​e) Events

​This section allows you to track the user interactions with different elements on your website such as clicks on buttons, links, images or video plays, form submissions.

Please note that you are required to configure the event tracking on your website to be able to use this report in your Google Analytics account.

​The Events > Overview report provides the summary of total number of events triggered on your website along with other metrics like unique events, event value, sessions with event etc.

You can also put the event value (not mandatory) against each event while setting up your event tracking.  For ex, for a product of $20 price, you can set the value as 20 for this product purchase event.

Google Analytics Events Overview Report

Google Analytics - Events Overview Report

Events > Top Events report list down your most triggered events along with the event values.  You can look into the events by category, action or label as highlighted below (these are defined while setting up event tracking).

Google Analytics Top Events

Google Analytics - Top Events Report

Events > Pages report list down your top pages where most number of events are triggered along with the event value.

It helps you in identifying your most valuable pages where most of your important events are happening such as product clicks, file downloads, video plays etc.​

Google Analytics Events Pages

Google Analytics - Events Pages Report

Events > Flow report shows the path of your visitors from when they visit your website to the completion of the different events set up by you for tracking.

Google Analytics Events Flow

Google Analytics - Events Flow Report

​5. CONVERSIONS

You should be visiting this section very often to track the performance of all your campaigns and optimize them based on your findings.

It gives you key insights that enables you to improve the conversions ​of your website.

It lets you analyze what are your best performing campaigns and which one needs to be optimized further or may be shut down.

​a) Goals

This section gives the in-depth insights on the completion of all your goals that you have set up in the Google Analytics account.

Goals > Overview report list down the key metrics such as total number of goals completed, conversion rate, abandonment rate etc.

You can also see the goal completions by pages or by ​source / medium to find out your top performing pages and traffic sources.

Google Analytics Conversions Goals Overview

Google Analytics Conversions - Goals Overview Report

Goals > Goal URLs report displays your top URLs where most number of goal completions have happened along with their goal value.

​This could be your thank you or success pages where you direct your visitors after completion of a goal if you are using a a 'destination page' goal type.

Google Analytics Goal URLs

Google Analytics - Goal URLs Report

Goals > Reverse Goal Path report shows you the previous pages (up to 3 pages) visited by the users before completing a goal.

This gives you important insights on the most common path taken by ​your visitors before completing a goal.

Google Analytics Reverse Goal Path

Google Analytics - Reverse Goal Path Report

​Goals > Funnel Visualization section allows you to visually see the steps taken by your visitors to complete a goal.

You will be able to see this report if you have a multiple steps conversion funnel and you have set up the steps involved in it while setting up your goals.

Google Analytics Funnel Goal Setup

Google Analytics - Funnel Goal Setup

In the below example funnel for completion of a purchase, there is a big drop-off of 59% of visitors from 'Cart' page and only 22% and 18% drop-off from Billing & Shipping and Payment pages respectively.

This means that 'Cart' page needs to be optimized to minimize the drop-offs and increase the conversions.

You can also see the entry and exit pages at each step of the funnel and work on optimizing the funnel pages with higher number of exits.

Google Analytics Goals Funnel Visualization

Google Analytics Goals - Funnel Visualization Report

Goals > Goal Flow report shows the path taken by the visitors to enter in your conversion funnel.

You can also select various dimensions from the drop-down option such as traffic source / medium, pages, social network, country etc. to analyze what type of audience is more likely to complete a goal.

Google Analytics Goal Flow Report

Google Analytics - Goal Flow Report

​b) Ecommerce

​This report is meant for the e-commerce companies that sell their products or services online through an online shopping portal.

It gives in-depth insights on the shopper's behavior and interaction with your website at different pages of the funnel such as product listings, product page, checkout page, payment page etc.

​You need to set up and enable the e-commerce tracking to generate and see these reports.

​Ecommerce > Overview report provides the overview of the important metrics such as number of transactions, conversion rate, revenue, top selling products / categories / brands etc.

Google Analytics Conversions Ecommerce Overview

Google Analytics Conversions - Ecommerce Overview Report

Ecommerce > Shopping Behavior report display the behavior of your shoppers and compare the total visitor sessions with number of sessions at various pages of the funnel like product, checkout or payment page.

It also compares shopping behavior of the shoppers by New Visitors Vs Returning Visitors .

Google Analytics Ecommerce Shopping Behavior

Google Analytics Ecommerce - Shopping Behavior Report

​Similarly, Ecommerce > Checkout Behavior report shows the shopper's behavior throughout the checkout funnel steps which includes billing & shipping page, payment page, order review page and transaction page.

​Ecommerce > Product Performance report list out the top selling products along with the product revenue, number of purchases, quantity sold etc.

Google Analytics Ecommerce Product Performance

Google Analytics Ecommerce - Product Performance Report

Ecommerce > ​Sales Performance give the details of the individual transactions (sorted by highest revenue transactions at the top) such as total revenue, tax value, shipping charges, refund amount and quantity.

​The report under Ecommerce > Product List Performance shows how a group of products are performing on your ecommerce online portal.

The products are grouped as product Categories (​such as shoes versus handbags), Related Products (like table is a related product for person who is looking to buy a chair), Search Results (products put under a list for a particular search term).

Google Analytics Ecommerce Product List Performance

Google Analytics Ecommerce - Product List Performance Report

​c) Multi-Channel Funnels

​Google Analytics by default attributes a conversion to the last traffic source (like organic or paid) through which a user visits your website and completes a goal.

This somewhat gives you a misleading data in conversion reports!

As it does not give any credit to the traffic channels that brought your visitors for the 1st time or 2nd time etc. through which a user discovered your product but did not complete a goal at that time. 

​It's a well known fact that most of your visitors will not convert at the very first visit but over multiple interactions during a period of time.

That's where Multi-Channel Funnels ​helps you in understanding the contribution of various traffic channels and marketing campaigns in getting the final conversions.

Multi-Channel Funnels > Overview report provides you the overview of all the traffic channels that works together to bring in converting visitors on your website.

Google Analytics Mutlichannel Funnel Overview

Google Analytics -Mutlichannel Funnel Overview Report

In the above example, there are 73 conversions where a shopper visited site through Direct, Referral as well as Organic channel before making the final purchase so all these 3 traffic sources here contributed to this conversion.

Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions report list out the number of conversions where a channel has appeared anywhere in the conversion path except the final interaction.

​It shows how different channels are assisting you in getting the final conversions and understand the importance of each channel's contribution.

Google Analytics Mutlichannel Funnels Assisted Conversions

Google Analytics Mutli-channel Funnels - Assisted Conversions Report

Multi-Channel Funnels > Top Conversion Paths report display the path taken by your visitors on your website for completing a conversion.

The report is sorted by the path with most conversions at the top and helps you understand how visitors are interacting with the website ​while completing a conversion.

Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnels Top Conversion Paths

Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnels - Top Conversion Paths Report

​Multi-Channel Funnels > Time Lag report shows the time difference in days from when a visitor visit your website for the first time to when they complete a conversion.

The below report shows that 70% of the ​conversions are happening on the same day and only about 3% of conversions are taking place with time lag of 1 day.

Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnels Time Lag

Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnels - Time Lag Report

Multi-Channel Funnels > Path Length report display the number of interactions made by a visitor before completing a conversion on your website.

The report below shows that it takes only 1 interaction to complete 57% of the conversions and 2 interactions for about 20% conversions.​

Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnels Path Length

Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnels - Path Length Report

​d) Attribution

Google Analytics by default works on last interaction attribution model which means it gives 100% credit to the last channel a visitor interacted with before completing a conversion.

Model Comparison Tool report enables you to compare the different attribution models such as last interaction Vs first interaction.

​There are different attribution models available for the comparison such as first interaction, last interaction, linear (where conversion is evenly attributed to all contributing channels) etc.

Google Analytics Attribution Model Comparison Tool

Google Analytics Attribution - Model Comparison Tool

​The below report shows the comparison between the last interaction attribution and first interaction attribution.

Google Analytics Attribution Model Comparison Report

Google Analytics - Attribution Model Comparison Report

Conclusion

Google Analytics is a critical tool to measure your website's progress and track the performance of your campaigns.

It gives great insights to help you in improving your website's performance in terms of traffic, conversions, speed and user experience.

I hope you would be able to find some useful nuggets in this guide to effectively measure and improve your site's performance.

I am going to cover more advanced features of Google Analytics in upcoming posts.

Do let me know your feedback in the comments below.  Over to you!

36

Google Search Console : Best Free SEO Tool (Ultimate Guide)

Google Search Console or GSC (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) is one of my favorite and essential SEO tool for all online marketers and SEO experts.

In this guide, we will cover how to use powerful features of GSC to improve your website's SEO and rankings.  Only actionable steps with no fluff!

So, what is Google Search Console and why it is important?

It's a free tool by Google to monitor and maintain site's performance in Google search.​

You can use it to strategize and optimize your site's SEO and rankings.

You would be able to identify the issues hurting your site's performance and boost the SEO and rankings by fixing them.

It is a long guide so use this navigation to quickly ​jump to a specific section of Google Search Console:

We are going to cover these sections of GSC as highlighted below:

google search console seo tool

Let's dive in and get started.

1. Search Appearance

The search appearance section gives you these very important insights:

  • How your website visually appears in Google search results
  • Ways to enhance site's visibility in search results to improve CTRs
  • Find and rectify issues hurting your site's SEO performance
  • Optimizing your site's performance on mobile devices

There are many snippets code such as rich cards and rich snippets which you can integrate to make your site search listings extremely informative as well as visually appealing for the users.

It will make your search listings stand out among other results and improve your CTRs (Click Through Ratio).

  • High CTRs in search results directly equate to higher rankings!

(a) Structured Data

Structured data markup is a way to provide information to search engines so that they can easily recognize it and display it creatively in search results.

It commonly uses the Schema.org markup language which is an open community promoting the standard structured data markup.

It helps Google to display 'Rich' results in search listings like in the image shown below:

structured data results example

Image source : Search Engine Journal

The highlighted info in search results like ratings, reviews, votes, movie star casts, album tracks etc. is due to the structured data rich snippets.

This has a huge impact on SEO and keyword rankings.

Users tend to click more on listings with rich snippets.  It tells them that this website will give them detailed info such as reviews, ratings, votes etc. which is very useful.

It improves your CTRs in search results and boost rankings.

Google currently supports rich structured data for following content type:​

Content Type

Available Features

Articles

Top stories carousel

Local Businesses

Place actions

Reviews

Critic review cards

Music

Music actions

Recipes

Rich cards / Host-specific lists

TV & Movies

Watch actions

Videos

Rich cards

​Refer to Google's official guidelines here on qualifying content types and how to enable them on your website.

How Google Search Console can help with structured data?

google console structured data errors

In Google Search Console (or GSC), you can find the pages where you have set up the structured data to show rich snippets in the search results.

It could be for different elements such as product pricing, reviews, ratings etc.  If any of these elements are not set up correctly, it will appear in GSC highlighted by a red line named 'Items with Errors'.

You can download the list of pages with errors that needs to be fixed. You can then share this list with your webmaster or developer to get it rectified as per Google's guidelines.

You can also use Structured Data Testing Tool to detect and fix the issues.  Below is a test result which detected all rich snippets on a URL with no errors.

google structured data testing tool

​(b) Rich Cards

Rich Cards are the most recent introduction by Google to improve their user's experience.

On 17 May 2016, Google added Rich Cards for movies and recipes websites and added reporting section in Google Search Console.

It uses card carousel feature with a high-resolution image to further enrich the search results and improve searcher's experience.

They are similar to rich snippets and you can see the difference between standard, rich snippet and rich card results below:

google rich cards

Image Source : Google Webmaster Central Blog

Rich cards also use Schema.org structure markup to show the website content in more engaging and appealing way to mobile users.

It is currently available for movies and recipes content types and it will only appear on mobile search results initially.

Visit the gallery ​with example images and code samples of each markup type here.

Rich Cards report and debugging errors:

You can track the coverage of your rich cards like how many of them are indexed and find out errors in Google Search Console Rich Cards report.

google rich cards errors

Rich Cards : Growth Opportunities:

In the report, you can also see which rich cards are further enhanceable by adding supported markup.

google enhanceable rich cards

Using Rich Cards for SEO benefits:

If you host the supported content for Rich Cards (movies and recipes), then you should definitely get this implemented to get SEO advantage.

  • Make you search listings stand out in search results
  • Show engaging and visually appealing results to searchers
  • Improve the CTRs of your site in search results
  • Enjoy higher rankings!

(c) Data Highlighter

Data highlighter is the tool introduced by Google to make it super easy to markup your site to display rich snippets.

You don't need to depend on developers for adding markup.

It is point and click and anyone can do it easily.

Here is a video highlighting the benefits of data highlighter:​

Steps to markup your content using Data Highlighter tool:

search console data highlighter

Step 1: Go to Data Highlighter section in Google Search Console.

Step 2: Click on 'Start Highlighting' button and a pop up will appear.

Step 3: Enter the URL of your site which you would like to markup and select the content type to be highlighted.

Step 4: Select if you want to tag that URL only or also other similar URLs.​

Step 5: Google will now render that URL and you can start highlighting the elements on your page such as images, titles, author, ratings, categories etc. 

Step 6: ​Once you are done with tagging all data items, click 'Done'.

​That's it! Google will ask you to review data items and you can remove items you added by mistake.

You don't need to rely on developers now to add markup.  Go ahead and do it yourself - it is fun and it will boost your site rankings.

(d) HTML Improvements

HTML Improvements is the most important tool where you can quickly find actionable insights to improve your site's SEO.

It will highlight all the issues discovered by Google while crawling / indexing your website pages such as:

  • Duplicate, too short or too long meta descriptions.
  • Missing, duplicate, too short or too long title tags.
  • Non informative title tags.
  • Issues detected with non-indexable content on website.

​Here is a screenshot showing the issues with meta description and title tags:

search console html improvements errors

You can click on any discovered error item and download the data in CSV spreadsheet or Google doc format:

search console html improvements download

Using HTML Improvements tool for SEO benefits:

  • Quickly discover the issues related to indexing and meta tags
  • Download the list of pages affected in CSV or Google doc format
  • Send the list to your developer or fix it yourself at the earliest
  • Get more Google love & enjoy higher rankings and increased traffic!

Ensure you have ZERO errors showing in this section.  This is a surefire way to increase your rankings in search results.

​(e) Sitelinks

Sitelinks are a particular format of search results.  It shows internal pages of a website just below the main result to help the users in navigation.

This is how sitelinks appears in search results:​

google sitelinks

Sitelinks are automatically generated by Google and there is no way right now to set it up in search results.

However, you can potentially increase the chances of getting sitelinks by having a good site structure, by keep adding high-quality content and by building the authority of your website.

In Google Search Console, you have the option of demoting a sitelink if you don't want it to appear in search results.

Here are the steps to follow:

demote sitelinks in google search console

(f) Mobile Accelerated Pages (AMP)

Mobile Accelerated Pages (AMP) project was introduced in October 2015 to design quick-loading mobile web pages to improve the experience of mobile users.

It is an open source framework backed by Google to design mobile-friendly pages that loads instantly and you can learn more about this project at AMPProject.org.

Here is a demo video to give you an idea of how the mobile site pages built with AMP framework would load instantly giving users a great experience:

There are many top brands (like CNN, TripAdvisor, eBay, Forbes) all over the world already using AMP technology for their mobile sites giving their users rich mobile experience.

SEO benefits of using Accelerated Mobile Pages:

  • Reduce bounce rates
  • Increase time visit duration and engagement on mobile site
  • Increase conversion rates
  • Higher rankings in search results due to first 2 factors

Adopt this latest technology to get an edge over your competitors.

Take help of your developer and convert the regular HTML codes of your mobile site to AMP specifications.

​In AMP section of Google search console, you can find the error reports related to your AMP implementation which you need to debug.

It also gives you stats such as keyword rankings, links to your site, validation errors etc so go ahead and explore it to find tons of actionable insights.

​2. Search Traffic

This is my favorite section which I refer to almost daily.

It gives you great insights on how your website is performing in Google search results in terms of keyword rankings, backlinks, internal links, mobile vs desktop traffic comparison, CTRs etc.

Let's go ahead and dig into each of the sub-sections.

​(a) Search Analytics

You can dig and get lots of insights on how your site is performing in search results from this section.

Let's break down all the available filters and data labels one by one and see what it means and how we can leverage it for SEO benefits.

google search console search analytics

CLICKS: This tells you the number of clicks received for each keyword.  You can see your top keywords sorted by highest clicks.

You can even get the clicks count by pages, country, device types such as mobile or desktop and search types such web or image.

Clicks by country:

google search analytics clicks by country

Clicks by device type:

search analytics clicks by device types

Clicks by keyword queries:

google search analytics clicks by keyword queries

​You can analyze this data to get more clicks and traffic for your website.

For example, if your top keyword with most clicks is ranking at #5 in search results, then this could be your focus KW to improve its ranking and get more traffic.

IMPRESSIONS: This tells you how many times your site appeared in search results against a particular keyword query.

Couple of ways you can use this data for SEO benefits:

  • If you are getting many impressions but fewer clicks for a Keyword, then improve Title & Meta Description and include rich snippets to make it stand out against competing results.
  • Look for the keywords with impressions but no clicks at all.  It's your growth opportunity - build backlinks, optimize pages for these KWs to improve rankings and start receiving clicks.

CTR: CTR stands for Click-Through Rate and it is calculated as a percentage.  It is a very important metrics and one of the many Google ranking factors.

CTR = (Clicks / Impressions) X 100

For example, if you receive 5 clicks from 1000 impressions then the CTR would be (5/1000) X 100 = 0.5%.

In search analytics, you can compare the CTRs of two date ranges to keep track of how your CTRs are changing and set up goals for yourself:

google click-through rate comparison

Continuously work for getting high CTRs to get better rankings!

POSITION:​  It simply tells the ranking position of your site for a particular keyword.  

For ex, you might be at position #25 for a keyword which is getting good impressions.  It shows it has a good search volume and it could be one of your focus keywords to improve its position.

Again, you can track positions of your keywords by comparing 2 date ranges in search analytics section.

QUERIES: These are keyword queries which searchers are typing in to find your website.  

This is one of the filter types and you can see the Clicks, Impressions, CTRs and Positions for all your keyword queries.

You can sort keywords by clicks, impressions, position etc and download the data in CSV or Google Docs format.

PAGES: It helps you to filter out the URLs and again sort them out by clicks, impressions etc.

It's a great way to find best and worst performing pages for you to strategize and create SEO plan based on the findings.

COUNTRIES:  This filter tells you from which countries you are getting the visitors and you can sort your results by clicks and impressions.

It helps you find your site performance by country and do the comparison of rankings, clicks or impressions between two countries.

DEVICE TYPES: In this filter, you can analyze your site's traffic distribution based on the device types like desktop, mobile & tablet.

Let say, if more visitors are accessing your site on mobile than desktop than you should focus and prioritize to optimize user's experience on mobile such as implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages and Rich Cards.

SEARCH TYPE: This filter gives you stats on whether you are getting more clicks through web, image or video searches in Google.

So let say if you have a blog on photography and you are expecting more traffic through image searches then you can optimize your images and add title, alt text and description to improve rankings of your images.

DATES: It helps you to select a custom date range​ to see the site's performance for that particular time period.

The most effective way to use it is by comparing data for two different periods. For ex, compare the stats for this month with last month and compare the performance.

google search analytics compare dates

(b) Links to Your Site

In this section of Google Search Console, you can see all the domains that are linking back to your site.

In the nutshell, it's a backlinks checker tool for your site.

Use it to check what domains are linking back to you and if there are any spammy ones (like adult, drugs etc unrelated to your industry) which could hurt you.

In that case, you need to submit these links to Google's Disavow tool.

Use Disavaow tool here, if you believe your site's ranking is suffering due to low-quality backlinks and ask Google not to consider them as a ranking factor for your site.

Screenshot of the domains linking to site which you can download as well:

google search console links to your site

(c) Internal Links

Internal links are the hyperlinks that point to another page or source on the same website or domain.

In Google search console, this section gives you the report on the count of internal links pointing to a page on your website.

google search console internal links

Internal links are critical for SEO rankings.  Look how extensively Wikipedia use it on their site and they get tons of love from Google in rankings.

Use this report to find out how many internal links your pages have.  Build the internal links to your important pages which you would want to rank well.

It sends out the signal to Google that these pages are important and has valuable information.

Use internal links to build the authority of your deep internal pages such as information-rich articles and guides.

(d) Manual Actions

This report list out the cases where a manual reviewer from Google has determined that your website is not compliant with Google's quality guidelines.

It is different from an algorithmic penalty which is automated and it won't appear in this report.

A manual penalty is generally more severe and requires you to take massive action.

You need to submit your site back for consideration after fixing all the reported issues under manual review to get the applied penalties removed.

Here is a spam type chart released by Google, which shows the count of domains ​where manual action has been taken:

google spam chart manual action
  • Stay miles away from black-hat SEO practices to build long-term business

(e) International Targeting

This section is useful if you have a global audience and your site's content is translated into various languages for users in different countries globally.

You need to add hreflang tag to serve the content in right language to your users.

For example, you want to show content translated in the Spanish language to users from Spain but show English content to users from USA.

In this section, Google search console report the errors in the implementation of hreflang tag on your site.  It will help you to identify and fix the reported errors for better international targeting.

(f) Mobile Usability

This tool identifies and reports the usability issues or errors that your users might be experiencing while visiting your site on mobile devices.

Here are few error types that is being reported​:

  • Flash Usage
  • Viewport not configured
  • Fixed-width viewport
  • Content not sized to viewport
  • Small font size
  • Touch elements too close
  • Interstitial usage

​Use this report and work with your developer / webmaster to fix the reported errors.

Users accessing the web on mobile devices is increasing exponentially over the past few years.

They are most likely to visit mobile-friendly sites that are well optimized for mobile devices.

Make sure to fix all the reported issues and deliver a great experience to your users on all device types.

3. Google Index

This section gives the insights on pages being indexed by Google or blocked by their crawlers and the keywords identified in your site content sorted by their significance.

(a) Index Status​

Below is a screenshot of the index status report:

google search console index status

​Index status report gives you the following stats:

Total URLs indexed in Google: Count of total URLs being indexed by Google in its search results.  

It is almost always significantly less than total URLs crawled as it does not count URLs that are duplicates or the ones containing meta noindex tag. 

Blocked URLs: This gives you the count of URLs ​ blocked by robots.txt file and are not allowed by you to be indexed in Google search results.

URLs removed: Count of URLs removed by you ​from Google's index by using URL removal tool provided by Google.

By using this report, keep an eye on the steady rise in count of crawled and indexed pages which shows that Google crawler's are able to access and index your pages without any issues.

Also, look out for sudden drops in indexed pages which could mean your server is down and Google is facing issues in crawling your site pages.

​(b) Content Keywords

Content Keywords section in GSC gives you the list of keywords and their variants identified by Google while crawling your wesite.

The keywords are sorted by their significance based on how many times it appear on your site pages.

'If you see any irrelevant keywords in the list, such as 'drugs', then it could be the case of your site being hacked.'

You can click on any keyword to drill down further and see it's variants, frequency and the top pages where it has appeared.

google search console content keywords

(c) Blocked Resources

​It gives the list of site resources which Google crawlers are unable to access as they are blocked by site's robots.txt file.

You may want to hide few resources from Google such as member's area of any paid product or download link for subscribers which is absolutely fine.

Check the list to ensure you are not blocking any resources such as JavaScript, CSS and image files that are important for Googlebot to crawl and interpret your pages like a normal user.

(d) Remove URLs​

Remove URLs tool gives you the option to block pages temporarily from appearing in Google search results.

Use it to block pages you don't want everyone to access and contains confidential data you don't want to get exposed.

It's a temporary URL removal tool and it block your pages for 90 days after which it can again appear in search results.

google webmasters tool remove url

​Enter the URL you want to remove and then click on 'Continue'.  In the next step, select your preferred option and submit the request:

google search remove urls

4. Crawl

Crawl section in Google search console gives you crawl stats, errors identified while crawling, Fetch as Google tool, option to submit sitemaps, test robots.txt file and add URL parameters.

(a) Crawl Errors​

This report has 2 primary sections - Site Errors & URL Errors.

google crawl errors

Site error types:

DNS Errors

Server Errors

Robots Failure

URL error types:

Common URL errors

Mobile-only URL errors

News-only errors

(b) Crawl Stats

​Crawl stats report gives the information on Googlebot's activity on your site within the last 90 days.

It gives info on pages crawled per day , kilobytes downloaded per day and time spent downloading a page.  It provides high, average and low values for each of them.

You can use this report to analyze how active Googlebot is crawling your site's content every day and how good is your page load speeds.

(c) Fetch as Google

This is a great tool to check how Google crawls and renders a page on your website.

Use it to test if Google is able to access all the resources (like images, scripts etc) on your page correctly and how it renders it.

fetch as google

Enter URL path in the textbox and select the Googlebot type (Desktop, mobile etc) and click on 'Fetch' or 'Fetch and Render' button.

'Fetch' option only gives you HTTP response received, while 'Fetch and Render' will also render your page based on selected platform (desktop or mobile).

'Fetch and Render' runs all resources present on your URL, such as images or scripts and shows you how Googlebot see your page visually.

Fetch request statuses that can be returned by Google:

  • Complete: Google successfully fetched and crawled your URL.
  • Partial: Google was able to fetch your URL, but could not run all the resources because they are blocked by robots.txt file.
  • Redirected: If the URL is being redirected. The tool does not follow a redirect and you need to do it manually.
  • Not Found: If the requested URL does not exist on your site.
  • Blocked: If the URL is blocked by robots.txt file.
  • Unreachable: Google did not receive any response from your server and the request timed out.
  • Error: Google unable to access your URL due to some error.

(d) Robots.txt Tester

Robots.txt is a simple file on your server which tells Google which files or folders they need to access on site.

You can block certain sections through this file which you don't want Google to crawl and index.

Few commonly used examples for robots.txt file:

Allow full access

     User-agent: *

     Disallow:​

Block full access

     User-agent: *

     Disallow: /​

Block a folder

     User-agent: *

     Disallow: /folder/​

Block a file

     User-agent: *

     Disallow: /file.html

The robots.txt tester section in GSC reports errors and warnings - ensure not to block any important resources required by Google to properly index it.

(e) Sitemaps

Sitemaps (sitemap.xml file) is an efficient way to communicate to Google about your site's structure and pages.

It helps Google to categorize and index your site efficiently.

Submitting a sitemap.xml file is highly recommended as a good SEO practice.

You can submit or test a sitemap through this section in Google search console and can check the number of pages submitted Vs indexed.

google xml sitemaps

(f) URL Parameters

Use the URL parameters tool to tell the objective of using various parameters on your site.

Certain sites could have different URLs providing the exact same content due to the additional appended parameters for different reasons.

​This leads to duplicity issue and can hurt site rankings.

Use this tool to handle it, and provide info to Google on how to interpret these parameters.

The appended URL parameters could be for tracking purposes, for personalizing user's experience like the country parameter, or session id of a user etc.

Important Note: It is quite technical, so don't make any changes unless you are 100% sure how it works.  Any errors here can severely affect your site rankings and visibility in search results.

5. Security Issues

Taking all the necessary steps to protect your site from malware infection or hacking  is critical and should be of utmost importance.

​Most likely, you must have seen these malware warnings while accessing a site.

google security malware issues

Google even show the warnings in search results if they detect a malware.

malware may harm your computer

If you see below message in Google search console, then there are no security concerns and your site is virus free.

google search console security issues

The below message shows your site is infected by a malware and immediate attention is required to fix it.

You need to submit the site for review after fixing the issues so they can review and remove the warnings from site and search results.

google malware detected

Google provide in-depth guidelines and best practices to prevent your site from being hacked or infected by malware.

If your site is already hacked, then follow this helpful step-by-step tutorial ​by Google to recover your site.

6. Other Resources

This section list other tools provided by Google to help you test few other site functionalities.

Resources

Description

Structured Data Testing Tool

Use it to check that Google can interpret structured data markup correctly and display in search results

Structured Data Markup Helper

Use this tool to add structured data to your site's HTML easily by highlighting it

Email Markup Tester

Use this tool to verify the structured data contents of an HTML email

Google My Business

Make sure to list your business here so that it is easily discoverable on Google Search, Maps and Google plus

Google Merchant Center

Use it to upload your product feed to make your product info available on Google Product Search etc.

PageSpeed Insights

Use this tool to get the feedback on your site's loading speed and the suggestions on how to make it fast on all devices

Custom Search

Create a customized search experience for your users on your own website by using this tool

Google Domains

Search and register the domain names to create your new website by using this tool

Webmaster Academy

Learn how to create a website which provides great value to the users and have it easily indexed and crawled by Google

Use the ones which are relevant for you and your business.  For ex, Google merchant center is irrelevant if you are not selling any products.

Conclusion

Google search console should be the top SEO tool in your arsenal.

It is the best free SEO tool available for everyone.  You can use it to find many actionable items to quickly improve your SEO and website rankings.

I hope this guide will be useful in improving your SEO.

Are you going to start using it?

Let me know in the comments section below.  Over to you now!