Stuart Marler
Stuart Marler 21 April 2015

What Is Google In-Page Analytics?

Insight into Google In-Page Analytics.

Ever visited a webpage, couldn’t see what you were looking for, so just hit the back button? That’s a situation we´re all probably familiar with. When visitors arrive at your website you want them to stay, so it makes sense to make sure they can easily find what they are looking for.

Fortunately, there is some great free software out there to help. One package is Google Analytics and it offers the ability to analyse traffic to your site and provides some really useful insights. One tool it provides is the relatively under-used In-Page Analytics.

What Is In-Page Analytics?

In-Page Analytics is a tool which you can use to improve the user experience of your site. It shows which links get the most consideration on each page and how visitors interact with your site pages. It provides you with some extremely useful metrics such as pageviews, unique pageviews, average time on page, bounce rate and percentage exit. It’s true that these particular metrics can all be found using other analytics tools, but you can customise your analysis and change them by using the drop-down menu in Full View. However, the most exciting feature by far of In-Page Analytics is that it gives you information about each link on every page of your web site in the form of a pop-up showing the actual number of clicks and the percentage share of clicks for the page being viewed. You can quickly and easily see which links are most popular with your visitors.

Be aware that in order to use Google Analytics, Google first has to know that you own the website. You can verify your site using another useful analytical software package – Webmaster Tools.

Using In-Page Analytics

In-Page Analytics can be found by visiting the Google Analytics website and searching under the Behaviour heading on the sidebar. It works best with current versions of Chrome and Firefox and with Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 or later.

When loading In-Page Analytics, it is common to get the following error message:

This isn’t actually a problem – if you don’t load in full view, your web page is shown within the Google Analytics page and you will need to scroll up and down to access the whole page. Full View means you see the web page live and as visitors would see it but with the analytics data superimposed and, as such, it is much easier to use. Unfortunately, one thing that is missing in Full View is the “clicks below” feature which gives you information about drop-off as you go down a page. This can be a useful piece of information when determining your page layout.

If your page loads directly in Google Analytics without the error message, don´t worry, you can still get Full View if you want to. You will need to download the Page Analytics (by Google) Chrome extension. This adds a button to the right hand side of the address bar on the Chrome browser. If you go to your web page normally and then click on the Page Analytics button, the data will be overlaid on the existing page. When you click through to other pages, the relevant data will appear. Obviously, this means you will have to use Chrome as your browser.

The first thing to do in In-Page Analytics is to set the date range over which to run your reports. You can compare different time periods such as month-on-month or year-on-year – a really useful reporting tool. The data is provided for all sessions, but this can also be customised. It is worth running reports for every category that is relevant to your business needs. This may be time-consuming, but if you are carrying out a web site review, it needs to be thorough.

Using In-Page analytics is fairly intuitive, but Google does provide support pages to help you. They are simple, clear and easy to understand, if a little spare on detail. However, they are a good starting point and give you the confidence to start analysing your site.

Whilst In-Page Analytics gives you a really good understanding of how visitors use your site, there are a few notable weaknesses:

  • It shows the number and percentage of users who clicked through a link to another page. If there is more than one link to a page, this is not differentiated and the pop-up shows the clicks all of the links combined. Every link to a page will have the same information in its pop-up box. This means that you cannot tell which link is best used. This problem can be dealt with by updating the Google Analytics tracking code and enabling Enhanced Link Attribution.
  • Hovering over a link brings up more details about the link, but it can pp up in unhelpful places and can be irritating.
  • It does not track “Submit” buttons, only links to other pages. To get this information, you need to set up Goals instead. This puts the data somewhere else in Google Analytics and creates more work. As well as this, the number of goals that can be created is fixed and may not be adequate for some businesses.

What next?

So you’ve run the reports and you are aware of how popular or unpopular each page link is and from where your traffic originates. So what? Well it may be time to re-evaluate the layout of your web pages. If, for example, your “Contact Us” button is under-used, you could change its location, colour, size or text. Many visitors only look at the part of the page that is immediately visible and don’t scroll down.

Is your tagged content placed there? If people have searched using a keyword, can they find what they are looking for and click straight away? Are you using the right keywords to attract the type of visitor who stays on your site? It´s all well and good coming high up in search engine rankings, but that has to translate into visitors staying on your site and finding the information or product they were searching for if it is to be of any use.

Google’s In-Page Analytics allows you to easily envisage any necessary changes to on-page optimisation and web design, although you may feel it would be a better use of your time getting a professional to do it for you!

If you need anymore help, please do contact us at Retriever digital

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