Online marketing map and termsThe importance of Google analytics should not be underestimated. The data you can pull from this free tool is SEO gold when it comes to tweaking your digital marketing engine.

As search technology becomes more sophisticated, specific data analytics become evidently more useful and/or important. Here are five you should be taking a good look at this year.

User behaviour

Given search engines are fixated with improving user-experience, logic would suggest how visitors use your site is arguably the most important metric search engines use to assess the merits of your website.

One of the key stats is how long readers stay on a page and how many average page views you receive per visit.

If visitors are hanging around to absorb page content and exploring other areas of your site, you can be assured your content is engaging and your SERPS will improve.

Also check bounce rate. If it is high, look into which pages visitors arrive to your site and which they are leaving from.  That said, don’t assume that a high bounce rate is a bad thing, particularly if your page meets needs (for example, it could be an article which you want visitors to read if you are a publisher, with few other actions required – perhaps consider measuring this in combination with dwell time to see if people are sticking around on those pages or whether they are pogo-sticking straight out of the page again).  A high bounce rate could mean that you have actually met their needs in the first place, so it’s not wise to simply look at one metric in isolation.

All pages

The All Pages metric found in Behaviour>Site>Content>All Pages gives you an overview of visitor activity on each page. This is a highly important metric to use to determine the value of a page.

Pages that are not performing well will have a high bounce rate and low dwell time. Identify any pages that are underperforming and fix them.

Mobile-friendly

The mobile revolution was nailed on last year when Google launched the Mobile Update. Companies should start seeing ways of improving mobile pages from the mobile metrics. Pay particular attention to bounce rate and session duration.

But you should also be looking into what type of device people are using. Screen size has an impact on how much visitors are willing to engage with content on your website.

For example, they may be more willing to read an article or make a purchase on a 10-inch tablet rather than a smartphone with a screen half that size. Is there any way you can improve the user-experience for smartphone owners?

If you’re not mobile-friendly yet, take a bite out of becoming so by ascertaining the devices (sizes, models, types) that visitors are using to come to your site and look to optimise (and render well) for those devices first.

Exit pages

Exit pages are similar to the bounce rate metric only drill information down to the actual pages visitors are leaving from. Bounce rate is only recorded when people visit one page (a page will be counted as a non-bounce after 30 minutes of activity, so you may still find that there are theoretical bounces even if someone loaded the page, went away for half and hour and then reloaded the same page).

Analytics gives you a percentage of people leaving from a particular page in relation to the number of page visits. If a high number of visitors are leaving from your landing pages or midway through the paying process, you can resolve the issue and look at ways of improving conversion.

User Explorer

User Explorer is still in beta testing, but could prove to be a highly useful insight once it is launched worldwide. The data reveals client id’s taken from the device or browser so marketers can determine user activity from specific individuals.

This data you can pull from User Explorer will help companies refine personalised marketing campaigns and customer loyalty programs, or even tap into customers to ask what improvements they would like to see on your site.

If you are not already using Google Analytics to measure your SEO performance, start doing so now. Without performance data, you have no insights that will help improve your SEO and content marketing campaigns.