Do you know how many people visit your website each month? Do you know how many of your visitors actually turn into patients?
If you’re not measuring the performance of your website, you have no idea whether it’s actually doing what you want it to do.
Google Analytics can give you a huge amount of useful data from your website absolutely free, and you can use this data to better understand what works and what doesn’t work about your marketing.
It sounds daunting, but getting started with Google Analytics isn’t as difficult as you might think. Start off with this guide, and there’s also a wealth of helpful information in the Google support centre.
Setting Up Google Analytics
First of all, you need to set up an Analytics account. If you already have a Google account that you use for things like YouTube, Gmail and Google Drive then you can use that account. If not, create a new one.
Make sure you set up Analytics in a Google account that only you have access to and that you intend to keep forever. Don’t let anyone else set up Analytics for your practice using their own Google account – if they cease to work with your business, they could take your Analytics data with them, leaving you to start again.
Once you’ve got a Google account, you can go to google.com/analytics and click sign in. Analytics gives hierarchies to organise your account, including properties and views. If you only have one website though, you only need one account with one website property.
Fill out the information for your website, and configure your settings for where your data can be shared. We’d recommend as a minimum letting technical support have access to your data. That way Google technical support can get into your account should you need them to. However, we usually just tick all of the boxes.
Now it’s time to install your tracking code. Once you’ve completed your information and accepted the terms and conditions, you’ll be given a piece of code. This piece of code needs to be installed on every page on your website. How you implement the code will vary depending on what type of website you have – the easiest way would be to ask your web developer if you have one. If not, you’ll be able to find instructions for installing the code in the Google help centre.
Next, set up Goals. Goals will tell Google Analytics when something important has happened on your website. Go to Admin, then click Goals. Then click the New Goal button. If any of the pre-set options are applicable, go with them. If not, you can set up a custom goal.
Here’s a guide to setting up Goals: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1032415?hl=en
If you have other actions on your website that you want to track, set up a new Goal for each of them. You can create up to 20 goals. Be sure that your Goals are highly important to your business. For example, someone books an appointment, signs up to your mail list, or fills in a contact form.
Now it’s time to start viewing data!
Reading Data and Reports in Google Analytics
Once you’ve set up Analytics, it will start to track traffic on your site and collect data. When you open Analytics, you’ll see your Audience Overview report. This will give you a good idea of how your website has performed within a specific time period. You’ll notice a box at the top where you can set your date range for the report, and compare different date ranges. For example, was your website traffic better this week or last week?
Google Analytics reports give you lots of useful information about your website traffic and their behaviour. If you’re not sure what some of the metrics mean, use our ultimate SEO glossary to explain some of the jargon.
You’ll notice on the left side of your screen there’s a bar that offers lots of other different reports. The best way to learn what reports are most important for your dental practice is really just to have a play and look into all of the reports. The reports are largely split into five categories:
Real-time reports show you exactly what’s happening on your website right now!
Audience reports tell you everything you need to know about your website visitors. You’ll find detailed reports for their age and gender (demographics), what kind of thing they’re interested in (interests), where they come from (geo), how often they visit your website (behaviour) and even the technology they use to view your website (technology).
Acquisition reports will tell you where your website visitors came from (all traffic). Your traffic is broken down by main channels, such as organic search and social (all traffic > channels) and then more specifically, like Google or Facebook (all traffic > source/medium).
Behaviour reports allow you to learn about your pages on content, such as the most visited pages on your website (site content > all pages), the top entry pages (site content > landing pages) and the top exit pages (site content > exit pages).
Conversions reports allow you to see how many goal completions have happened on your website? Remember earlier we went through setting up Goals? Well, the goals report tells you everything you need to know about how many goals have been completed and how they happened.
This is a very basic guide to getting started with Google Analytics – it’s a very powerful tool and can take a long time to learn how to use every feature. However, we definitely recommend getting it set up for your practice website, so you can start gathering data straight away. Use the Google support centre for more help and advice, and if you’d like to have a chat about how you can improve your website’s performance, get in touch!