5 things Estate agents should check in Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free web service that allows you to track visitor activity to your website and view detailed reports. The serviced launched in 2005 but has become increasingly popular in the last five years. It is now the most widely used analytics service on the web due to its ease of use and the association it has with Google.
Anybody with access to their own web site should use Google Analytics to help them better understand the browsing habits of their visitors. You can check traffic activity on every single page of your site and see which ones are the most popular. You can also track the user journey to see which other pages they navigate to within your site.
Understanding your audiences’ habits will allow you to plan more efficient marketing strategies, either through traditional methods or using content marketing to grow your online audience.
How do I get google analytics?
To get up and running you need to Google Analytics’ website and sign up for an account. It’s a straightforward process designed to offer an easy user experience. There are several versions of Google Analytics available, however, you only need the simple version to begin with. The simple version is a free-to-use service that allows you to track all traffic on your website.
To sign up, enter your your website address and email details. Then choose whether you want to monitor activity through your mobile or via a desktop. Finally, click the ‘get tracking I.D’ button and you are ready to go.
A better understanding of Google Analytics
Below we have broken down several of the terms you will see while using Google Analytics. They will also appear frequently during this article as they are the standard terminology used in relation to web analytics. Each one is explained to give you a better understanding and to help you feel more at ease when using the service.
This is the total number of pages viewed, not the number of visitors you have had to your website: you could have 4,000 page views from only one visitor. Ideally you would like more than two page views per visitor as this shows they have moved around your website and have taken an interest in the content.
These are the amount of visitors that entered the website externally, rather than navigating to the page from an internal link. This is a good indicator of how successful your website pages are for attracting people from search engine results. If you only have entrances from your home page, this means your other content is not optimised for people’s key search terms.
Bounce rate is a percentage of the number of visitors that do not make any other interactions on the page. This happens if a visitor lands on your web page and then presses the back button rather than clicking on an internal link.
You have to remember that the bounce rate is calculated from the number of entrances, not the total number page views. You may have a page with an 80% bounce rate, 10,000 page views and 100 entrances – this means 50 people bounced off that page.
If you have written a blog article, someone may enter via your blog page, read it for 10 minutes, talk to colleagues, copy and paste the url to share on social media, then leave the web page. If this happens it is still classed as a bounce as it was a one-page session. You can set up custom rules to give you a more refined bounce rate, such as anybody spending less than 20 seconds on the page is classed as a refined bounce.
Exit rates are the percentage of people who left your site from a specific page. Exits point to someone viewing multiple pages on your website but then left on the last page they were browsing, rather than just viewing one page and leaving, which is a bounce. Exits actually mean that people navigated your website before leaving. If you have a high exit rate from a ‘contact page’, it means that users likely had a good experience and decided to contact you before exiting your site.
Sessions are defined as grouped interactions that one user takes within a certain time frame on your website. Google Analytics defaults that time period to 30 minutes, meaning no matter what the user does on your site in the time (browsing, downloading etc), it counts as one equal session.
What should estate agents check in their analytics
Now that you are all signed up and know the lingo, you need to start using analytics efficiently. We have put together our top five tips for getting the most out of the service, enabling you to have a clearer insight into how people view your website and interact with your agency online.
See the property content your website visitors are viewing
Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages
In terms of understanding your web audience, nothing is more valuable than knowing the pages they visit the most on your website. By clicking on the ‘site content’ section under ‘behaviour’ you will derive a real awareness into the user habits of web browsers. This is really helpful as you can build content around the pages that are the most popular on your website.
This is especially handy for your sales/letting pages, where you will see the properties that are the most viewed. By seeing the most viewed properties, you will get a clear idea of the property tastes of your audience.
How are the website visitors seeing your website and property details
Audience > Mobile > Overview
Google Analytics is key for helping you understand the user habits of your audience. People are using mobile devices to get online more than they ever have before – and it is only going to increase. By looking at the ‘mobile overview’ page, you will see the methods they are using to view your website.
You can see if people are viewing your page via a desktop, mobile or tablet. If you find that the majority are viewing the site through a mobile, you might want to think about optimising your site for mobile devices if you haven’t done so already.
You can adjust the timescale in which you view your analytics, allowing you to get a better indication of people’s browsing habits. It may be at the start of the year when most people are viewing from a desktop, but closer the end of the year their browsing habits have shifted to using mobiles or tablets to view your content.
You can make decisions on how much mobile optimisation is needed if you find more people are using mobile devices to look at your web pages. If it looks like it will increase to a decent percentage of visitors, it may be worth looking at the speed and overall weight (page size in MB) of the website. These are not only ranking factors for search engines, but also reduce bounce rate and help the user to look around your website more efficiently when using a mobile device.
Find out the location of your website visitors
Audience > Geo > Location
‘Location’ enables you to see exactly where your visitors are coming from, narrowing it down to the country and city they were located in when on your website. You can track the amount of traffic that you are receiving from your local area and can also see if there are any visitors from an unexpected source.
An unexpected source is when someone is viewing your website from a location that doesn’t correlate with your business. Let’s say your agency is in Reading but you are getting lots of page views from Manchester. It may be worth exploring why that’s happening; it is possible that someone in Manchester is thinking of buying a property in Reading and have identified a home on your site. Or perhaps there has been a spike of interest from multiple people in that area, who thinking of moving further south. If that is the case, you may want to think about doing a targeted advertising campaign in the area where the interest is coming from.
It’s also helpful for you to track potential campaigns if you are running a marketing campaign in a nearby town and you see a spike of activity from users in that area. This will show that the the campaign is having the desired effect and bringing traffic to your website. If it isn’t having the desired effect, you can reduce or stop the campaign to be more efficient. Remember to check with offline points of contact as well.
How are they finding your property website content?
Acquisition > Overview
‘Overview’ is the best way to get an all-round look at the traffic flowing through your website. If you are paying for someone to do your SEO, organic traffic should be increasing after a certain amount of time, which you can track. If not, then you know the SEO is not having the desired effect.
There is also access to social and email views which lets you know how effective those channels have been for bringing new visitors to your website. The next time you sit down to review your digital marketing budget, make sure you thoroughly check through ‘overview’ to get the best idea for where you need to improve.
See what property content your website visitors are viewing with a weighted view
Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages – add weighted
Okay, this is very similar to the first one we listed but with one crucial difference: we adjust the settings to be weighted. To do this click on the ‘bounce rate’ heading to sort the results by bounce rate, then change the sort by ‘weighted’. Instead of showing the pages with one visit and a 100% bounce rate, it shows the pages balanced with the amount of entrances and page views. The results will also be helpful for seeing where you can improve your website.
Start seeing the trends and opportunities through your website analytics
You will be in a much better position to judge traffic to your website and see where you can spot browsing patterns with your audience once you have a grasp of these five factors. As a result, you can make better decisions on how to progress marketing strategies to enhance brand message and ultimately gain more instructions.