If you’re like me, you’ve used Google Analytics for quite some time, and find the wealth of information quite useful. One area that has always been a bit frustrating, and not as useful as it seems it should be, is the Site Overlay report. When you would click on this report, a window would open showing the home page of the site, then an overlay would appear (making the site page fade a bit), with some statistics on different links, showing how frequently they were clicked.

Depending on your browser and operating system, sometimes this display would not clear properly, causing problems with browsing later. In any case, the information was tantalizing, but but not always clearly understandable.

In-Page AnalyticsGoogle has now replaced Site Overlay with In-Page Analytics (right). This display is very similar to Site Overlay, but seems, at least at first blush, to work much better, and is in a frame in the page, instead of a new window. Google says the feature is still considered beta, meaning things may change, or may not always work correctly, but so far it seems smooth in our exploration of it.

The little percentage numbers near a link indicate the percentage of clicks for that link. Hovering the cursor over the number drops down a small window with details indicating the number and percentage of clicks, the goals information if they are configured, and, if ecommerce is configured, transaction and revenue information relative to the link.

For most this will be a nice improvement over Site Overlay, and may be very helpful in diagnosing the performance of your web site. What do I mean by that? Suppose you believe that your site visitors will click on certain links on your home page, such as your rooms page or your availability link. In-Page Analytics lets you see what percentage of the clicks actually go through that path, and determine what they are doing from there. You may be in for a surprise.

It is quite possible that the wonderful “call to action” link that you feel is on your page is not getting many clicks. What should you do? One option is to make it more prominent, wait a few weeks, and see if the statistics have changed. Another is to use Google’s Website Optimizer to create multiple versions of the call to action, and see which produces the best results.

The point isn’t that there is a particular answer that will work for everyone. Instead, the point is that information is valuable, and knowing that something is not performing as expected is the first step to making changes for the better.

Try In-Page Analytics, and see how your links are performing. Then you can determine if you need to make any changes.