Jun 24, 2009 at 6:00 pm
Website performance and health reports
Google Analytics (GA) and Webmaster Tools (GWT) are used to determine the health and performance of any public website. A small snippet of code is added to the very end of each website page which reports back to GA both quantitative and qualitative data about each site visitor. GWT uses the Google search engine to test and report back errors on the site and sitemap.
Using these tools in conjunction on a regular basis provides very detailed information about the following site attributes:
- How much traffic the site is seeing
- How many errors users are experiencing
- What keywords are driving traffic to the site
- The pages on the site are performing the best/worst
- How many incoming links the site has
- Where website traffic is coming from
- Detailed information about site visitors
Without close monitoring and regular reporting, websites run the risk of losing traffic, accumulating errors, and becoming difficult to search.
Tasks to complete
- First, the website needs to have GA installed and a sitemap created (if it was not already completed) and submitted to GWT.
- Both tools will need a couple of weeks to gather data before any useful conclusions can be made.
- Once GWT has enough information, the fixes will be clear. All critical errors and issues should be corrected immediately before moving on.
- An incoming link and keyword report can be made using the information in GWT. This is information gleaned from the search engine spiders.
- Next, GA is used to analyze the overall traffic of the site using visitor, page view, and bounce rate metrics.
- A top content report can be pulled to show pages that are performing well (seeing a lot of traffic and directing it to other parts of the site), pages that are performing poorly (low traffic or high bounce rate), and how people are reaching these types of pages.
- A traffic source report can be pulled to understand where visitors are coming from and how they got to the site in the first place. Traffic is divided between three categories: search engines, direct, and referrals.
- If needed, a visitor report can be created to show a cross-section of the people who are viewing the site. This includes technology, geographic location, and language.
Additional Analysis Tasks
In addition to GA and GWT, other tools should be used to find presentation, browsing, and search engine problems.
- Sites should be scanned and optimized for loading time. This includes script minifying, image optimization, and code bloat.
- Web site code should also be validated across the site. Invalid code can lead to accessibility problems, display issues, and on-screen errors.
- Broken links on the site should be scanned for and corrected on a regular basis.
- Search engine optimization including keyword strategy, keyword placement, and meta information should be examined and reviewed on a quarterly basis.