Robin Good: If you are seriously interested in optimizing and continuously improving the traffic, engagement level and subscriptions / sales on your web site, this article can provide some good basic advice on how to extract the most valuable actionable info from Google Analytics.
Three areas are of critical importance for you:
c) Outcome - Goals
The three key engagement metrics that you should give highest priority and attention to, when it comes to engagement, are:
1) Pages per Visit: This is the average number of pages a visitor views when coming to your website. The more engaging your site is, the more inclined visitors will be to continue clicking beyond the entry page.
2) Average Time on Site: This refers to the typical amount of time visitors spend on your site, despite whether they continue to stay on the page they came in on or navigate elsewhere within your domain.
3) Bounce Rate: This represents the percentage of single-page visits to your site. It gives you a sense of how many visitors left your site from the entrance page rather than clicking further into your site as compared to total visitors. Like Pages per Visit, Bounce Rate can help you determine the performance of your entry pages based on the actions visitors take (or don’t take) after they’ve arrived on your site.
In this article you can find also a simplified review of the "Goals" function inside Google Analytics and how it can be best used.
Check out also the new Google Analytics features reviewed here:
also not to be missed: http://mashable.com/2011/09/29/real-time-analytics-google/
Read the full article here: http://mashable.com/2012/01/04/google-analytics-guide/
(Curated by Robin Good)