Understanding Google Analytics – Basics Explained

Google Analytics is one of the leading web analysis tools for finding out more about the people who read the articles on your website. It offers a great way to understand and know more about customer behavior. The statistics from Google Analytics can also help you analyze if your website content needs any changes, to match certain demographics, and generate more leads and sales.

Setting Up A Google Analytics Account

To setup Google Analytics for your website, you first need to have a Google Account. You can either use your current Gmail account or sign up for a new Google account. After signing in, you will be able to view the ‘Overview’ page, from where you can manage users, manage filters and add profiles of new websites to track.

Once you add a website profile, you will need to insert a special Google generated JavaScript code, to each page you want tracked. Follow the instructions to paste the code, and upload the modified pages, to get the tracking process underway.

Google Analytics may take up to 24 hours to begin collecting data for your website. When you want to view detailed charts of traffic to your website, all you have to do is login to your Google Account.

Viewing A Report

After logging in, you will see a section called ‘Website Profiles’ on the default ‘Overview’ page. Scroll down to the website, whose data you wish to view, and click on the ‘View Reports link to the right of the website name. You will now be able to view the ‘Dashboard’, which provides a short summary of the activity for each website. Here are details of the sections that you can view on the Dashboard:

1. Site Usage: At the top of the report, below the Website traffic graph, is the Site Usage section. It contains six traffic parameters. Clicking on each, will display individual charts for that parameter.

  • Visits: Displays the number of visits to your website during a given period of time. The default time period is 30 days.
  • Pageviews: Shows the number of pages, which the total number of visitors have viewed.
  • Pages/Visit: Presents the average number of pages viewed by a visitor, before leaving your website.
  • Bounce Rate: Shows the percentage of people who visited only one page of your website, before they ‘bounced’ somewhere else. If this number is high, it could mean that many people get to your website but realize that it is not what they are looking for. We would consider a good bounce rate to be under 40 per cent.
  • Avg. Time on Site: This is the average amount of time a visitor spends at your website, during a single visit.
  • % of New Visits: Displays the percentage of visitors who have not viewed your website before, as compared to all visitors. If the number is high, you are receiving lots of new traffic. If it is low, it could be because you get repeat visits from regular visitors.

2. Visitors Overview: This section gives details of the page views, average page views, time spent on site, bounce rate, new visits and more. One of the key numbers here is the amount of ‘absolute unique visitors’. This number counts each website visitor only once, within a selected date range. It also provides information about browsers used, operating system, network locations and so on.

3. Map Overlay: The default view given by Google Analytics is the Country/Territory view, showing a world map, with countries rendered in varying shades of green. The darker the color, the higher is the percentage of visitors coming from that particular country. When you click on the ‘View Report’ link, you will see a map with country specific views, showing the various cities that your visitors reside in. The bigger the orange circle, the greater are the number of visitors coming from that particular city.

4. Traffic Sources Overview: This section gives you a percentage-wise breakdown of traffic from paid as well as organic sources. The three organic sources available include search engines, referred websites and direct traffic.The page on direct traffic shows the number of people who knew your domain name, and typed it in specifically to reach your website. The page on referring websites lists external links from where visitors reached your website. This includes articles listed on article directories, social networking websites and blogs, as well as links from authoritative websites. The page on search engines provides a list of top search engines, and the percentage of visitors that came from each search engine.

You can also view separate traffic details from paid sources like AdWords campaigns, paid search engine keywords, or other paid advertising campaigns. In addition, this section also lists the top sources of traffic, and the most popular keywords used to access your website.

5. Content Overview: This section gives you basic information about the number of times the pages in your Website were viewed. It also displays overall information about unique page views and bounce rate for the whole website.

There is also a section called ‘Top Content’, which lists the most viewed pages of your website. For each page, Google Analytics tells you how many times it has been viewed, how much time the average visitor spends there, and the bounce rate. If you have a popular page that many leave after viewing, you should think about adding something attention grabbing to it, to make them stick around longer.

The Content Overview section also provides other data such as a summary of how visitors found your page, top keywords per page, click patterns and much more.

These are just some of the basics needed to understand how your website is performing. Google Analytics also provides advanced views of other statistics. A sharp analysis of these statistics can give you a good picture of visitor activity on your website. This information can be used to modify unproductive pages by adding new articles or other types of content, which would turn indifferent website visitors into keen customers.

 
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