Google Web Analytics

How to Interpret Data in Analytics

Google Web Analytics

How to Start in an Online Business

Phase 3 – Step 20


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How to Interpret Data in Analytics

How to Interpret and Analyze Data in Google Analytics

Google Analytics – An Overview


Now, we will explore the main areas of Google Web Analytics, and learn How to Interpret and Analyze Data. I will point you to the areas where I feel that will provide you the most important Data that you need to begin Analyzing when first starting out.

After some time, you can go in on your own and fully explore each of the areas, clicking on all of the links provided in each section, and reviewing the information that is presented. From there, you can decide, as to which, if any, of those areas and Reports should be looked at on a regular basis, and which ones might only need to be viewed periodically.


Let’s take a look at Google Analytics now.


Sign in to your Analytics Account. (See:  How to Sign Up With Google Analytics  for sign in help.)

Once you access your Google Analytics Home Page, you will see two main areas:

  1. On the left will be the Dashboard Topic Areas (each area contains a drop-down menu).
  2. On the right will be 9 Specific Areas either containing an Overview or a Report for that area.


The Dashboard Topic Areas (left) are as follows:

  1. Home
  2. Customization
  3. Reports
    • Real-Time
    • Audience
    • Acquisition
    • Behavior
    • Conversions

4. Discover

5. Admin


Each of these Topic Areas contains a drop-down menu with multiple choices that can be accessed.


The 9 Specific Areas (right) are:

  1. Google Analytics Home
  2. Users Right Now
  3. How do you acquire users?
  4. What pages do your users visit?
  5. How are your active users trending over time?
  6. When do your users visit?
  7. Where are your users?
  8. What are your top devices?
  9. How well do you retain users?


Most, if not all, of these areas are fairly self-explanatory, and you can click on the various links contained in each section to review the Data that each area offers you. There are also, multiple links in the left menu area (click on any Topic to reveal the drop-down menu) that you can also explore. I will only address a few important areas that I believe that you should be looking at now. You can explore and review all of your other options over time, and then, revisit the ones that you feel are important to you.


Examining the Information in the Dashboard Topic Areas


There are several areas in your Dashboard Topic Area that will provide you with some good initial information:

    • Landing Page Report
    • Audience Overview Report


You should also see your Query Report, which you access through your Google Search Console not Google Analytics (instructions below).


Landing Page Report


Access the Landing Page Report as follows:  Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages.

The Landing Page Report joins Search Console and Google Analytics Data by Landing Page. The Search Console Data represents the aggregate Impressions, Clicks, and Position Data across all the Keywords for a particular page.

If you click on one of the Landing Pages, you will be taken to a detail view which will show you all of the Keyword-Level Data for that particular page.

You get this oddly shaped table because the Google Analytics Data is only available at the Landing Page level. It is, however, helpful to have this Data as a reference when looking at the Query-Level Data.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to attribute website behavior to individual Queries, but if your Landing Pages are sufficiently targeted, you can get a sense of themes and intents that drove that Traffic, and how that Traffic, as a whole, performed.


Query Report


The easiest way to locate the Query Report is through your Google Search Console not Google Analytics. (Click this Link to access your:  Google Search Console).


Access your Query Report as follows:

  1. Click on the site that you wish to view.
  2. Click on:  ‘Search Traffic’ > ‘Search Analytics’.


The Query Report gives an overall list of all Search Queries with Clicks, Impressions, CTR (Click Through Rate), and Average Position. It does not provide any Google Analytics Data as visits are not tracked at the Keyword level.


Search Console Data


Search Console Data is joined with Analytics Data via the Landing Page dimension. This integration lets you see how pre-click Data like Queries and Impressions correlate with post-click Data like Bounce Rate and Transactions.


The Search Console Reports include one dimension that is specific to Google Web Search Data:

    • Queries: The Google Search Queries that generated Impressions of your Website URLs in Google organic search results.


The Search Console Reports in Analytics use four metrics specific to Google Web Search Data:

  1. Impressions:  The number of times any URL from your site appeared in search results viewed by a user, not including paid AdWords Search Impressions.
  2. Clicks:  The number of Clicks on your website URLs from a Google Search results pagenot including Clicks on paid AdWords Search Results.
  3. Average Position:  The average Ranking of your website URLs for the Query or Queries. For example, if your site’s URL appeared at position 3 for one Query and position 7 for another Query, the average position would be 5 ((3+7)/2).
  4. CTR:  Click-Through Rate, calculated as: Clicks / Impressions * 100.


Search Console Data is incompatible with Google Analytics segments. If you apply segments to the Search Console Reports, the Analytics metrics are segmented, but the Search Console metrics are not, and return values of 0.


Audience Overview Report


You access the Audience Overview Report in the Dashboard Topic area (on left), by clicking on:  ‘Audience’ > ‘Overview’. This will provide you with the following information:

    • Number of Sessions, Users, and Page Views
    • Average number of Pages viewed per Session
    • Average Session Duration
    • Bounce Rate
    • % of New Sessions

Looking at all of this information will give you a good idea about your visitors habits.


Examining the Information in the ’Specific’ Areas


Google Analytics Home


This section will give you some good basic Data. In this area, you will immediately see four statistics on top, a Graph, and a couple of links, one in each bottom corner. I will begin by explaining what each of these statistics are. The four statistics, with respective explanations are:

  1. Users – This is the number of people who visited a page(s) or post(s) on your site within the given time frame in the lower left corner.
  2. Sessions – Session is a group of user interactions with your website that take place within a given time frame. For example a single Session can contain multiple page views, events, social interactions, and ecommerce transactions. A single user can open multiple Sessions. Those Sessions can occur on the same day, or over several days, weeks, or months. As soon as one Session ends, there is then an opportunity to start a new Session. There are two methods by which a Session ends:
    • Time-based expiration: After 30 minutes of inactivity or at midnight
    • Campaign change: If a user arrives via one campaign, leaves, and then comes back via a different campaign.

For more information about Sessions, see:  How a Session is defined in Google Analytics.

3. Bounce Rate – Single-page Sessions divided by all Sessions, or the percentage of all Sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page and triggered only a single request to the Analytics server. These single-page Sessions have a Session duration of 0 seconds since there are no subsequent hits after the first one that would let Analytics calculate the length of the Session.

4. Session Duration – The time frame of a user’s interaction with your site. By default, a Session lasts until there’s 30 minutes of inactivity, but you can adjust this limit, so that a Session lasts from a few seconds to several hours.


The Graph that is shown, will show the number of visitors to your site for each day in the time frame represented.

The link in the lower left corner is the time coverage for the presented statistics and graph. In the beginning, I would recommend changing this to 30 days. (Each time that you open Google Analytics, it will reset the default back to 7 days.) Later on, as your site progresses, you can keep this at 7 days, if you so desire.

The link in the lower right corner (Audience Overview), leads to a more detailed Report about your visitors. Click the link to see what information is offered, as well as, click on each of the available links in the Report.


Users Right Now


This is a ‘Real Time’ Report, showing current activity on your site. If your site is relatively new, the ‘Users Right Now’ will probably be showing ‘0’. To verify that your Google Analytics is working correctly, open up a new page in your Browser, and visit your own site. Click on a specific page or post. Then, close that page or post out. Go back to your Google Analytics and refresh the page there. Your Real Time Report should have recorded your visiting activity.

By clicking on the link (lower right corner), will show specific Data about your visitors in Real Time. You will be able to see Top things like:  Referrals, Social Traffic, Keywords, Active Pages, and Locations. You can click on any of these Header links to view additional Data.


All of the other areas located in the ‘Specifics’ Area are self-explanatory. You can click on any that you wish to look at, as well as click on the link in the lower right corner of each to see details.

Viewing the information in your Google Analytics and Google Search Console Accounts will provide you with some initial information on how your site is performing, as well as which areas require some improvements. However, like I said before, do not get ‘Paralysis by Analysis’ (a dreadful disease). Continue to concentrate on creating great, regular, Keyword Rich content and only Analyze after a sufficient amount of Data has been accumulated. At that time, you can begin making any necessary adjustments to your site.


Please leave a Comment or ask a Question in the Comments section below.


When you are ready, see my next Post:  What It Is – The Rewards – Phase 3 – Step 21.


Thank you,

CJ Dodaro

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About Author

CJ Dodaro
I am a semi-retired, 65 year young man who has owned and operated a variety of successful business throughout my life. Starting most from scratch, I have acquired extensive knowledge for what is required for setting up a business properly from the ground up. Since these businesses have been both the brick & mortar type as well as the online variety, I feel qualified to help people in almost any business area that they wish to pursue. I wish to share the information that I have acquired in order to help other aspiring entrepreneurs become successful.

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