What is Google Analytics About?
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What is Google Analytics About? Google Analytics is a free analytics tool that generates detailed statistics about how users find and use your website. On its website, Google explains that the system “helps you analyze visitor traffic and paints a complete picture of your audience and their needs, wherever they are along the path to purchase.”
Google Analytics and Google Search Console are two different things. While you can certainly sync the two together, they are separate platforms, each producing it’s own unique data and Reports. We will only be discussing Google Analytics in this post. For information on Google Search Console, see my Post: What is Google Search Console About?
The main components of Google Analytics Reports are: Dimensions and Metrics. These two main components will make up every single report in Google Analytics.
Dimensions are the attributes of your data, such as a particular area where your traffic is coming from or the Social Media Network that you are evaluating.
Metrics are the measurements for those Dimensions. For example: if you are looking at how your ads are performing in Chicago (the dimension), the 2,000 paid sessions you have recorded would be your Metric.
4 Metrics in Google Analytics That Beginners Should Watch
These are the 4 Metrics in Google Analytics that Beginners Should Watch:
- Bounce Rate
- Landing Pages
I will discuss each of these as follows:
Figuring out who is coming to your site, how they are using it, how long they spend on your site and on each page, and how many posts or pages that they look at before buying or leaving, will give you a lot of insight on what is working, as well as, what needs to be improved.
The Visitor Overview Report will provide you with a snapshot of data for a particular period of time. You can access that Report as follows: In your left side menu, click on: Audience > Overview.
You should check these four metrics in that Report on a regular basis:
- Unique visitors
- Pages per visit
- Average time on site
You will initially see a graph of the last weeks visitors, by day. Scrolling just below that will show you a pie chart which separates New Visitors and Returning Visitors. Scrolling down further will show you more information.
2. Bounce Rate
What your Bounce Rate should be, and how many pages that your visitors will look at on average, will depend on your site and how it is set up. Bounce Rate is defined as the percentage of single-page sessions. For example: If you have a Bounce Rate of 50% on your Home page, that means that 50% of your visitors will leave your site without viewing any of your other pages or posts.
Your Bounce Rate can be accessed in different ways. Here are two examples:
- In your left side menu, click on: Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. This view will show you page views, as well as, average time your visitors spends on the page.
- In your left side menu, click on: Acquisition > Traffic > All Channels, Source/Medium, or Referrals. These different views will show you your Bounce Rate within the context of different types of Traffic.
The primary reason you should look at your Bounce Rate is to determine if your Home page, Landing page, or E-Commerce page is retaining your visitors. It’s a good way to tell if your visitors are taking the actions you want them to take, based on your Call to Actions, or if they are simply visiting and then quickly leaving.
A high or low Bounce Rate on each individual page or post, depends primarily on what each one is designed to do. In itself, a high or low Bounce Rate, is either bad or good, depending on the context or purpose of each page or post.
If the Bounce Rate on a broad post, that you wrote for the sole purpose of being shared, containing no Internal links or Affiliate links, with a Call to Action of: ‘Share this post on your Social Media site‘, then a high Bounce Rate is actually a good thing for that particular post. If people are visiting and then sharing as you have asked them to do, then that post’s purpose is being fulfilled. There is no where else for your visitor to go, unless they want to explore on their own, the other posts on your site.
In contrast, if a visitor views a Product Review post that you have created, and instead of converting to an intended sale, they simply start looking around at some of your other posts, then although you are getting a low Bounce Rate on that post, it is actually a bad thing, because your intended purpose is not being fulfilled. Check your Call to Action on that post to see if it is actually a good one or it could use some work.
One of the most important things to look for when analyzing your Bounce Rate, is the changes in it after you have made significant changes to that page or post. If it has changed for the better, then whatever changes you have made are working. If it has changed for the worse, you will need to reevaluate those changes and make the necessary corrections to fix that.
The source of your Traffic is another important Metric to consider. Depending on how your new site is set up, you may see most of your Traffic coming from branded search, paid advertising or from Keyword searches.
The Traffic Sources Overview Report is the starting point to gaining insight into how people are finding and visiting your site. You can access that Report, as follows: On your Google Analytics Home page, Scroll down to the Traffic Channel section, and click on the: ‘Acquisition Report’ link (lower right corner).
This will bring up a pie chart of the Top Channels for your Acquisition Overview. They are:
- Organic Search
You can then click on the arrow next to: Top Channels (under Primary Dimension on left) and click on: Top Sources/Medium to see a further breakdown in another pie chart. If you Hover over the segments in the pie chart, you will see additional information. Also, if you Scroll further down, you will see additional information related to your visitors and their behavior.
4. Landing Pages
It is very important to watch the behavior of all of the Traffic that you receive to your Landing Page. Organic Search Traffic that results in a high Bounce Rate might mean the ideas you are optimizing that page for do not necessarily match what a visitor may be looking for.
Your Landing Pages Report can be found as follows: In your left side menu, click on: Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages.
The Landing Pages Report clearly shows you which pages are greeting your site’s visitors. These Landing Pages are usually the first experience a visitor has with your site.
Google Analytics is very complex, and we have only touched the surface here on what you can find and monitor within it, but this is a good starting point for those just starting to use it. Over time, you can explore the site more fully, and see if there are any additional areas that will be beneficial to you.
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