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Exit Surveys: client says "on the internet," which means...

by Joe Kaczrowski | May 21, 2015

You've successfully resolved your client's matter and you're hoping to get some insight about where such a lucrative referral came from, so you ask the client only to get the response "I saw you on the internet." A useful response, but it doesn't help you determine which, if any, of your marketing strategies are paying off. One way to get more insight into internet traffic is through Google Analytics.

While Google Analytics probably can't help you determine where your client found your email or phone number, it can help you track a number of other things. Perhaps overly optimistic, but hopefully your client can distinguish between your website and Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

Google (and others) provide a lot of free resources to help you get Google Analytics ("GA") set up for your website (or "property"). If you search for "google analytics tracking code" you get these steps:

steps to set up Google Analytics

If you don't have a Google (Gmail) account, you will need to create one. Then go to and log in. Click on the Admin link on the top and in the middle (property) section.

Google Analytics banner - Admin

Then go down to Tracking Info to get the automatically created JavaScript you will need to add to your site.

Google Analytics tracking code

Once you've added the tracking code to your website it will take Google awhile to gather data about your traffic, but fairly soon you will start to see some numbers and charts summarizing your traffic.

As you'll soon see, there are a lot of numbers and different reports available. Google is a big fan of data and collects and tracks a lot of different metrics. The question then becomes what is important to you and your practice.

Google Analytics sidebar

First, a fun but perhaps not all that useful feature: Real-Time. Click this link to see who's on your website right now. You can see where people are from, how they got there, even what pages they're viewing.

For the other reports you'll see that GA defaults to displaying data over the last month in the upper right (below your name):

Google Analytics default date range


You can adjust the range by clicking anywhere on the date range:


Once you've selected the desired range you can begin exploring all the data Google makes available to you, the web property owner.

Perhaps more useful to you than the Real-Time data is the Audience tab. This gives you a number of reports on the visitors to your site. You can set up demographic tracking. Google's demographic information is based on the visitor's web history, so it's not exactly demographic data but rather a statistical approximation of the demographic breakdown of your visitors. Again interesting, and fairly accurate.

You can drill down on geographic data about your audience as well. Most of your traffic will likely come from Minnesota, assuming you're a local attorney, but if you are an outstate attorney or practice across different parts of the state, you can see how much traffic is coming from where.

Technology and mobile information may or may not be that relevant for you. Overall web traffic is trending more and more toward mobile, leading to policies like Google's mobile-friendly SEO ranking (or more accurately penalty for non-mobile-friendly sites).

User Flow is a useful report. It shows how people navigate through your site. You can highlight traffic through a certain page, or follow a path through all the way through to the exit page.

Getting back to the original question, what does a client's answer of "I saw you on the internet" mean, the Acquisition tab can offer some useful data. At the highest level, GA will break down your traffic into three categories:

 GA acquisition types

Direct traffic is visitors that knew your URL and came directly to one of your pages. Organic Search is traffic from a search engine. Referrals are links from other pages. You'll also notice more advanced options like Search Engine Optimization and pay options like AdWords (AdWords being the 'pay' part, not the reporting). If you're active on social media, you can also dig into traffic coming from your feeds as well as other social media referrals.

Finally, campaigns. This tab is one way for you to track the source of your traffic. It does require some additional set up, but you can create campaigns through AdWords or through added parameters on your URLs. Even if you don't go that route, you can still see what organic keywords are driving traffic to your site (what people are searching for when they end up on your site).

Google Analytics Behavior tabThe Behavior tab gives you a lot of data about your site: which pages are being viewed, for how long, how many times, etc. All Pages is a list of every page visited on your site in the specified time period. Content Drilldown lets you navigate your site and drill down on specific subsections of your site. This can be useful, for example, if you want to look separately at blog traffic and traffic to biographical information or another section of your website.

As you explore these reports, you'll notice a "Secondary dimension" button over the page listings at the bottom. This option lets you choose another data point to add to the list. For example, if you're viewing traffic on the Content Drilldown page, you can add geography data (what city, state, etc.) or referral information identifying the source of the pageviews.

The final tab, Conversions, is another more advanced feature, generally used for eCommerce transactions but it can be used to track other 'conversions' on your site. If you're interested in conversions you may also want to take a look at micro conversions, which is a way to identify and track specific milestones on the path to a conversion. 

As you can see from the length of this post, which was intended to be just a short, high-level introduction to some of the data you can track through Google Analytics, Google tracks and makes available to you a wide array of metrics on visitors to your site. What is relevant to your practice, and how much you use, is up to you. Again, trying to circle back to our original question, what does it mean when a client says he or she found you on the internet, if they end up on your website you can use Google Analytics to answer that question. However, a phone call or email from an 'internet client' does not necessarily mean they ended up on your webpage. A Google search now includes contact information and hours of operation, among other things:

Waconia Brewing

While very helpful to the end user (and mobile-friendly), this Google feature does prevent some traffic from reaching your site. Similarly, your social media channels should include contact information, which means visitors to your Facebook page and Twitter profile can contact you without visiting your website. Again, easy and user-friendly, and it still leads to inquiries from potential clients, but it does pose the risk of keeping some traffic off your website. As noted earlier, hopefully your clients can distinguish between Facebook and your website, and while there is still some potential confusion with search results (organic search results vs. paid results, which often are indistinguishable to your potential clients), Google Analytics can help you dig a little deeper when your client says he or she found you on the internet.

FN: For those keeping score at home, and read last week's post about MS Word's readability score, this post rated at 56.6 for readability with a grade level of 10.3.