5 features in Google Analytics I couldn’t live without

I’ve been using Google Analytics since 2006 and in that time I’ve seen some great changes and upgrades.

Below I’ve listed my top 5 most useful aspects of Analytics and the things I couldn’t live without.

About Google Analytics…

Google Analytics (GA) is a free service offered by Google that generates detailed statistics about the visitors to a website. It is the most widely used website statistics service, currently in use at around 57% of the 10,000 most popular websites (Information from Wikipedia).

1. Filters

Google Analytics has a neat little feature called ‘filters’ which allows you to manage data and statistics more accurately. Typically I use this for excluding IP addresses as this can skew many different areas including visits, bounce rate, time on site and more. I would recommend that if you use Analytics to exclude your IP to get a more accurate feel for stats.

2. Goals

Whether you run a small static website or a large eCommerce site, it’s crucial that you setup goals to track where your conversions are coming from and the phrases that were used. Setting up Goals in Google Analytics is a must do step and a great way to measure the success of a website. This can then lead you to testing and changing elements that may not be working so to improve conversions.

3. Annotations

Analytics Annotations was implemented so you can make notes/comments on your stats. Typically I use this when I upload new content, gain important backlinks and have ranking improvements. It’s also good as a marker if you have made changes to your site and then compare this to positive or negative stat changes.

4. Custom Reports

Although Analytics gives users some great information, sometimes it’s a bit frustrating having to click multiple links to gather all of this information. Custom reports are a great way to combine all this information in to one panel and remove any unwanted data that’s not required.

5. Website Load Speed (New Interface)

To use this feature you will need to have the new GA interface and also install a small amount of code into your current Analytics code – further details on this can be found here. The site speed section measures the page load time on your website. Whilst I like this feature and use it often, I try and average out the figures as I’ve found they are not fully accurate – but I’m sure more work will be done on this in the near future.

Do you have any favourite GA features? Leave your comments below.

This post was written by , Dave is a digital marketer specialising in SEO and PPC, and can be followed on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.

2 Responses to “5 features in Google Analytics I couldn’t live without”

  1. Thanks Dave – especially good tips on Annotations and Load Speed. Never used Annotations but they make sense & I think I will start.

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