Back to Basics: Understanding Your Google Analytics Data
Google Analytics is probably the most powerful web analytics programs available today that’s entirely free to use (thanks, Google). While many have heard about Google Analytics, many are either overwhelmed or unaware of the many benefits that it offers for measuing the performance of a website. In this article, we’ll provide a quick guide for Google Analytics and where businesses can find key nuggets of information to answer these common questions about their business’s website:
- How Do I Learn More About My Audience?
- How Are People Finding My Site?
- What Posts Do My Readers Like Most?
- How Fast is My Site Loading?
- What’s Happening on My Site Right Now?
Click here to access Google Analytics: http://www.google.com/analytics/
How Do I Learn More About My Audience?
The best way to learn about who’s visiting your site is by going to the Audience menu of Standard Reports on your Analytics dashboard. Here, you can view where your visitors are located, what he or she is using to access your site (desktop, mobile, tablet), and other interesting information. Under the ‘Geo’ section, you can see where in the world the majority of your users are coming from so you can make the better decisions with retargeting and scheduling email and blogs, for example.
How Are People Finding My Site?
Under the ‘Acquisition’ section, you can see where users are finding links to your website.
All Traffic will tell you how someone stumbled across your website URL, whether they found through a search result or typed the domain into a browser.
All Referrals will tell you a more detailed report of visits by people who clicked on a link to your website from another website. This report excludes search traffic and direct visitors.
This is helpful information if you want to see if that guest blog is giving you referral visitors or if the blogs you post on social media are getting clicks.
By the way, if you really want to look at how your social media properties are doing, look under the ‘Social’ section, which will show you every social network that has sent you traffic to your website, including favorites like Facebook, Pinterest, and more news centered sites like Digg and Reddit.
What Posts Do My Readers Like Most?
You can answer this question by going to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. Here you can view which pages are most popular on your website. It always will tell you the average time users spent on each page and when they left. This gives you a great understanding of what content is working and what’s not.
Pageviews is the count of how many people have visited that particular page. Unique pageviews is how many times a unique visitor has loaded that particular page. If one user loads the same page twice, it will display two pageviews and one unique pageview.
Avg Time on Page
This will tell a measure of how long a reader stays on a page. Each page is different so you can’t directly compare pages but you can definitely see what content interests readers longer than others. If it’s just a few seconds, you may need to revise or add in more interesting information.
This is the number or readers who visited one page before ending their session.
By looking at these three main metrics, you can get a sense of how you web content is working for your website. Average time on page is the most important when trying to figure out the effectiveness of your content. The longer a reader stays, the better. Page views, bounce rate, and additional metrics like social sharing will give you a sense of what’s working and what’s not.
How Fast is My Site Loading?
Site speed is an important factor in if a user stays on your site or doesn’t. Under Behavior > Site Speed > Page Timings, you can see how long it’s taking your pages to load and how these page compare with your site as a whole. Right below the report, Google offers its Speed Suggestions you can take to make your site faster.
What’s Happening on My Site Right Now?
Real-time reports will tell you who is on your website at ever second in real time – what they’re reading and how they get there. These particular reports provide great information during events, big press releases, or marketing campaigns so you can see what’s happening and give you the opportunity to act now.