A Comprehensive Guide to Mastering Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free reporting service offered by the search giant, designed to aid Webmasters in tracking the performance of their website. This tool allows users to determine where their traffic is coming from, even to which page, amongst other interesting bits of data. Therefore, it’s an excellent service for those conducting website audits.
Regardless of the type of website you run, you must deeply understand how your visitors behave and what you can do to ensure they have a better experience. Here’s our comprehensive guide to mastering Google Analytics, so you can get the most out of this powerful tool and understand how your website is performing.
Now, for those who aren’t using Google Analytics just yet, here at a few reasons why you should set it up today:
1) It Doesn’t Cost A Dime
Yes, this service is free without a catch. Plus, it is better than any other reporting tool because it provides data about your website from how Google sees it.
2) Fully Automated
Once you have set everything up for your website, you don’t need to lift a finger. Google Analytics automatically updates periodically, and illustrates how your website is performing through each report update.
3) Customised Reports
Speaking of reports, by using the built-in tools, you can create custom reports by simply dragging and dropping in the data that matters.
4) Links To Other Tools
You can effortlessly link your Google Analytics account to other services and tools like Google Search Console and Google AdWords.
5) Build Your Knowledge
Google Analytics is an excellent service for building knowledge on digital marketing and SEO. As such, it can help you make informed amendments to your website by seeing which pages perform the best. Plus, you’ll have access to data such as the age, location and gender of your audience so that you can tailor content accordingly.
What Data Does Google Analytics Help Webmasters Track?
Google Analytics aims to help Webmasters make informed decisions about their websites based on actual data. In terms of the data you have access to, Google has broken it down into the following groups:
Acquisition: Find out how traffic reaches your website, i.e. traffic sources.
Behaviour: Learn what visitors arriving on your website are doing.
Conversions: Discover how visitors are turning into customers on your website.
Understanding Dimensions and Metrics
Before reading any Google Analytics reports, we think it’s important to understand what “Dimensions” and “Metrics” mean because this is how it calculates findings.
Dimensions: These are elements of the data, i.e. location, age, traffic source.
Metric: These are measurements of the dimensions.
For instance, if you are wishing to understand where people are visiting your website from, the dimension would be the location, and the number of people will be the metric.
The Most Important Metrics To Pay Attention To In Google Analytics Are:
- Traffic: The total number of visitors to your website.
- Traffic Source: This displays where all your visitors are coming from, i.e. referrals, social media, direct and search engines.
- Sessions: The interactions that have occurred within a specified time.
- Average Time Spent: This shows how much time each visitor has spent on your website on average.
- Top Pages: This exhibits the most popular web pages on your website. This is especially useful when conducting a website audit to improve the content on your lower-ranking pages.
- Exit Pages: Pages where most visitors leave your website.
- Bounce Rate: The overall percentage of a single page visit divided by total sessions.
- Unique Vs. Returning Users: This is the number of new people visiting your website versus regular visitors.
- Location: The country and city most of your visitors are browsing from.
- User Behaviour Flow: How visitors are browsing your website.
- Site Speed: How fast your website loads.
- Age: The age demographic of visitors.
How to Use An Analytics Report?
Most, if not all, first-timers tell us they felt overwhelmed the first time they logged into Google Analytics. We agree–the busy home dashboard can be scary, especially for a non-technical person.
As an overview, the home dashboard shows most of the data you’re looking for on the left side, such as Audience, Real-time, Behaviour, Conversions and Acquisition reports. Let us give you a brief run-through of what you can expect to see from each report:
1) Real-time Report
When you click on a real-time report, it will unveil what is happening on your site at that current moment. For instance, you’ll be able to see how many people are on your site, the pages they are visiting, and which part of the world they are browsing from, amongst other information.
Real-time reports can also help you to:
- Figure out how much traffic your website is receiving from a blog post.
- Understand if an event or sale is driving website views.
- Ensure that your URLs are all working the way they ought to.
2) Audience Report
An audience report is an overview of your website in terms of who your visitors are. As such, it will show you demographic data, such as location, interests, technology and behaviour.
Audience report data ensures you better understand your audience, which can help when making vital decisions on how to tailor your website accordingly. For instance, if you notice that most of your traffic is coming from mobile devices, but your conversion goals are set up for desktops, improving the experience for mobile devices will help you immensely.
3) Acquisition Report
An acquisition report is designed to provide Webmasters with an overview of website traffic. This report primarily shows the type of traffic source, such as organic, referral, social, and paid search.
4) Behaviour Report
A behaviour report offers an overview of what most, if not all, visitors are doing on your website. You can see how individual pages on your website are faring and their behaviour. Likewise, it’ll also provide you with an overview of the following:
- Unique pageviews and pageviews in general.
- Bounce and exit rates.
- The average time spent on the pages.
You can also review how your content is doing by titles, URLs and other search terms.
5) Conversions Report
Conversion reports provide an overview of how visitors convert into customers on your website. If you have a website, odds are that you want to achieve a goal or conversion. This will be different for every type of website. Regardless of your plan, this feature can help you track it.
There is much more to Google Analytics than we can cover in this article. The best way to get to grips with this service is by setting up an account and having a go yourself. An SEO expert is also advised if you need help to make sense of it, especially in understanding how to tailor your website for maximum results.