Use the Visitors Flow view in Google Analytics to understand visitor behaviour on your website.
Saturday, November 5, 2011 at 6:56AM

A snapshot of the Visitors Flow view in Google Analytics

In this article we will explore how the Visitors Flow view in Google Analytics can help you understand visitor behaviour in your website.

Google Analytics is a free, and very powerful, website traffic analysis programme that helps you understand how people find, navigate and leave your website. If you're not using Analytics, or similar web-tracking software on your website you're missing out on an excellent source knowledge about how people find your website, what they do when they visit your site, and what pages people exit your site. You can find detailed information about installing and configuring your account on the Analytics website.

One of the most helpful features in the new Analytics interface is the Visitors Flow view. This view gives you a pictorial representation of how people arrived at your website, what pages they clicked while they were online, and what page they were on as they left your site.

Visitor flow – how visitors move through your website

To find the Visitors Flow view click the Visitors menu on the left hand side of Analytics, and select Visitors Flow. The diagram will appear in the main window, and you will see a number of connected columns, including: Country/Territory, Starting pages, 1st interaction, 2nd interaction. You can zoom in and out of the view, and pan to the left and right using the scrolling bar on the left of the window. You can change the Country/Territory selection to a range of variables, including: city, language, region.

As you look at the window first consider how people arrive at your website, what are the top three starting pages? In the example below the primary starting page is the homepage, but there are 55 other pages that were the entrance page during the reporting period.

You can hover over each box and see the percentage of visitors who clicked through the landing page to an inner page in your site, and the percentage who left the site from this page.

Questions to consider:

1. One question to ask yourself is are over 50% of your visitors leaving your website without moving beyond the homepage? If so then your homepage is not optimized well, and visitors are not finding the information that they expect when they click the search result.

2. Next, find out which keyword phrases are sending visitors to your site. Read the keyword research section under the Traffic Sources/Search Engine Optimization menu and consider how your homepage could better respond to the keywords that are leading most visitors to your site. The keyword section only works if you have connected your Analytics account to Google Webmaster Tools, you can find instructions on that here.

3. Finally, are there pages that you don't consider of high value on your website that are actually getting significant traffic? You may discover that you are receiving visitors to a page of section of your website that you don't think is important, and therefore haven't invested much time or energy in. Or, you may discover that you're receiving many visitors from outside your country, or region; and realise that you would benefit from offering shipping, a toll-free number, or local postal address in their location.

Analytics is a challenging tool to get the best out of. The Visitors Flow view is an excellent way to see how people are interacting with your website, without having to crunch the numbers yourself.

Article originally appeared on Mesh Inc. | A Digital Marketing and SEO Company | Vancouver BC (
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