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Interpreting Your Google Analytics Reports

Google Analytics can provide a rich source of understanding who’s going to your dental website and what they’re doing there. Looking at the numbers associated with your dental website will help you see if your website company and Internet marketing initiatives are working. Stats can also show where you need to take action and give you a clearer understanding of how you can succeed at Internet marketing for your dental office.

Let’s take a look at what the numbers in your Google Analytics report mean …

Number of visits

This one is easy. The number of visits to your site is exactly what it sounds like – the number of individuals who visit your website within the reporting period.

Clients often ask us what’s normal and how many visitors they should expect. Most dentists who are not doing any marketing will get an average of 50 to 125 website visitors every month … depending on the size of their local market and their patient base. Practices that are active with Internet marketing have much better traffic numbers, with averages of 150 to more than 300 visitors every month … depending on which Internet marketing initiatives they use.

The more people who are actively looking for a dentist who visit your website, the more likely it is you will get new patients. If your visitor numbers are low, you might want to consider advertising or Internet marketing options for your dental practice.

Bounce rate

A bounce is when someone enters the website and then leaves without looking at additional pages. This could be because:

  1. The patient found what they were looking for quickly and moved on, such as your phone number or address.
  2. The potential patient didn't see what they expected and hit the back button, such as if they were expecting to see a different dental office.
  3. The visitor didn't mean to go to your site in the first place, such as accidentally clicking on an ad.
  4. You have been targeted by spam. Spammers create false referral data by “pinging” the server. This doesn’t affect the security of your website or the patient experience, but it can drive up your bounce rate. We make every effort to filter out these types of referrals … but it is like playing whack-a-mole: once you filter out one spam referral, another one pops up to take its place.

There can be legitimate reasons why someone might bounce away, which is why a 40 to 60% bounce rate is considered normal. If it's more than 60%, we would take a deeper look to determine if you need a new website design or a change in your advertising strategy.

Pageviews, pages per visit, and time on site

Knowing how potential patients behave on your site can provide valuable information to help you improve your website.

The number of pageviews is the number of different pages that all website visitors opened during the reporting period. The number of pageviews divided by the number of visitors gives you the pages per visit. These are helpful in determining if your site has enough valuable content for the user and whether your information is easy to navigate.

The time visitors spend on your site is also useful to know. The longer people spend on your site, the more valuable they find the information. Patients might be reading about a treatment option or finding more information about your practice before booking their next appointment. Resources like patient education videos, interactive tools, in-depth descriptions of your treatments, and blog posts can increase engagement and the time a visitor spends on your site.

Traffic sources

Knowing where your traffic comes from can be very helpful in determining if your Internet marketing efforts are working.

Direct traffic comes from people who type your website directly into their browser. These are probably staff members, patients who are familiar with your website, or potential patients from print and offline advertising. Most dentists who aren’t investing in Internet marketing will likely see the largest portion of their traffic coming from organic or direct sources.

Organic traffic comes from search engines such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing. Visitors may be looking for you directly, or they might be searching for a dentist in your area.

AdWords visitors are people who clicked on a Google search ad to get to your website.

Referral traffic comes from links to your website. For example, your dental office may be listed on the local chamber of commerce website. When someone clicks on the link on the chamber site, it goes to your site and is tracked in this section of the report.

Social traffic comes from Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, or another social network. Seeing referrals either means that people are talking about you on a social network or that the public is seeing your social media efforts.

Using the numbers

Google Analytics can provide a rich story about how and why people are looking at your site. Understanding the numbers can help you decide what parts of your Internet marketing efforts are working well and what areas you need to work on.

If you have any questions about Google Analytics or the client report we provide each month, please contact us!

Jean Fraser
Jean Fraser
As the Director of Marketing at Optio Publishing, Jean is fascinated by all things related to internet marketing, including SEO, Google AdWords and Social Media Management. When not at work she can be found tearing up the dance floor.
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