An introduction to Google Analytics

January 8, 2014Blog

Tracking visitors to your website is an essential part of your online marketing campaign. Looking at visitor numbers will show whether your SEO efforts have been worthwhile. Analytics will also show when your traffic has dropped due to a problem with the website. Google Analytics is a free tool available from Google that shows visitor information for your website. Visitor location and how they found you are essential metrics for making improvements to your campaign. Initially setting up Google Analytics does require some basic web development knowledge, due to the tracking code needing to be installed. This tracking code, although fairly simple, will need to be installed into the html files of the website.

What it all means

When you first log into Google Analytics the amount of data can be a little overwhelming. Bounce rate, traffic and referrals are all terms used by the software which, to a first time user, can be hard to understand. Visits and unique visits is one metric measuring the amount of people who have viewed the website. These two numbers differ due to the amount of returning visitors to your website. For example if your number of visits is 100 and the unique visits is 50 then those 50 people visited your website on more than one occasion.

Google Analytics Visits Image

Bounce rate is a measure of people who visited the website and then left straight away without viewing other content. This is usually due to the user not being able to find what they were looking for. In an ideal world a bounce rate of lower than 40% should be expected. Any number higher than this could mean your website doesn’t have enough content to engage people.

The image below shows an example of an average bounce rate of 50%, further improvements could be made to lower this number.

Google Analytics Bounce Rate Image

Pages/visit is simply described as the amount of pages viewed per visitor. This metric is directly linked to the bounce rate of a website. A decrease in bounce rate has a direct correlation to the amount of pages viewed; a higher pages/visit shows your website is engaging people’s interest making them stay around longer.

The example below shows a pages/visit of 4.12 which is higher than average.

Google Analytics Pages/Visit Image

If you dig a little deeper into the data collected by Analytics you may notice something called ‘Referrals’. This type of traffic is gained from people clicking links on external websites; this could be anything from directories to blogs. The referral list example below shows which domain names have provided traffic over the time specified, this includes social media and directory visits.

Google Analytics Referrals Image

Custom Dashboards

Interpreting data in the form of a custom dashboard shows all important information on one page. These dashboards take a little time to setup but allow the user to generate custom reports to their requirements. Getting accurate, fast information about your websites traffic should be a top priority for your online marketing campaign. Google Analytics is the ideal way to provide this service for free with very little setup costs. Try it out on your website and see what improvements can be made for you.

Contact us today if you require help with your installation and use of Google Analytics.