How To Use Google Analytics Beginners Guide


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1. What is Google Analytics and What Does It Offer Me?

Google Analytics is a FREE service that provides comprehensive statistics regarding the visitors to a website. Data available through this service consists of site visits, page views, bounce rate, average time on site, pages per visit and percentage of new visits. In addition to the data mentioned above, Google Analytics can also track referral traffic including search engine, direct visits, website referrals and marketing campaigns (Pay Per Click, Banner advertising, e-mail marketing etc.)

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2. How To Set Up A Basic Google Analytics Account

Below are instructions and pictures on how to set up a basic Google Analytics account. These instructions will give you access to all your websites traffic data. Advanced Google Analytics configurations will be covered at a later point.
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  1. To set up your own FREE Google Analytics account you must start by visiting the Google Analytics website at google.com/analytics
  2. Click on the "Access Analytics" blue button in the upper right corner of the page.
  3. Click on the "Add a new account" button in the upper right corner.
  4. Find the "Sign Up" button on the lower left corner.
  5. Fill out the information required on the following page. (site URL, account name, time zone or territory, and time zone.) Click "Continue" button when finished.
  6. Adding your last name and first name is optional but the country or territory is a required field.
  7. Read the Google Analytics Terms of Service, check the "yes, I agree to TOS" and finish registration by clicking on "Create New Account".
  8. Copy the JavaScript code given to you on the following page and click "Save and Finish"
  9. After clicking "Save and Finish" you should be directed to the account overview for the site you just set up. Notice how under 'status' there is an error. This is because we haven't installed the code you just copied to your website.
  10. It is very important that the Google Analytics JavaScript code be pasted right before the body tag (within the code) for every page in your website. See the image below for an example of a correct implementation.
  11. CONGRATULATIONS! You have successfully created and implemented a basic Google Analytics account. Wait a couple days (at least one) and re-visit your Google accounts to start seeing your site data.

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3. Getting The Basics Out Of Your Analytics

You have successfully registered your Google Analytics account and added the JavaScript code to every page on your website. It's finally time to take a look at your sites data. This section will help you interpret the data available to you in your Google Analytics account. Use the image below to help navigate the Site Usage aspect of Google Analytics.

 

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  • Dashboard Date (A) - By clicking on the arrow button next to the date you can sort what dates you want to see data for. The default setting is for one months data but it can be changed to incorporate several months or even a single day.
  • Visits (B) This is how many times a user has visited your website. A visit is counted regardless whether they enter through the homepage or through an internal page.
  • Pages/Visit (C) – This number is the average amount of pages a single visitor is viewing before leaving the website. Remember that this is just an average, some visitors view many more pages and some may view less.
  • Bounce Rate % (E) – Bounce Rate % is the amount of people who visit your site but leave after only viewing one page. Bounce Rate can be determined by this mathematical formula:

     

    Bounce Rate = total # of visits only viewing one page / total number of visits.
  • Avg. Time on Site (F) – The average time spent on the website by visitors.
  • % New Visitors (G) – A new visitor is classified as someone who visits your website that has never visited before. Google places a unique ‘cookie’ within your browser for every website you visit. When you visit a site and Google doesn’t find the cookie they report your visit as a 'new visit' within Analytics

Digging Deeper Into Google Analytics Data - Visitors, Traffic & Content

By clicking on some of the left hand navigation links we really start to dig into some of the juicy data that Google Analytics offers us. Visitors, Traffic Sources, and Content are three categories of data that Google offers you. I'll walk you through these categories and show you exactly how to utilize the data available to you.

 

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4.1 The Visitors Tab

Within the visitors tab we can get more details regarding new vs returning visitors, languages, trending, loyalty, browser capability, network properties and even mobile data.

 

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As you see in the image above, the Visitors overview page gives you a lot of details that you have already seen from the main dashboard. This data is great, but it gets even better. Let’s go over so of the other subsets of data found within the Visitors tab.

 

Benchmarking

Ever wonder how your sites statistics compare to other sites in your industry? This is exactly what Google Analytics offers you with its benchmarking option. Make sure to utilize the ‘open category list’ which will help drill down site stats that are comparable to the same niche as your site.

 

Map Overlay

Do you want to know where your sites visitors are coming from? Google Analytics offers the Map Overlay service which will show you exactly where people are visiting. This information is very helpful, especially when your site is tailors to a specific geographic location.

 

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New vs. Returning

How many 'regulars' does your website have? This option will show you how many visitors are returning or if they are visiting for the first time.

 

Languages

With so many web users being multi-lingual this tab will allow you to see what 'default' language they have shown to them on their browser. This data could be a fantastic indicator of whether you should offer your website in multiple languages.

 

Visitor Trending

This tab has a subsection that drills even further into your site visitor trends. The following sub tabs offer even more data: Visits, Absolute Unique Visitors, Pageviews, Average Pageviews, Time on Site, and Bounce Rate.

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  • Visits - The Visits tab allows you to breakdown your sites visit by individual Hours, days, weeks, or months. This is a great alternative then manually switching the date box to individual days. This data will also display what percentage of traffic that day offered. (In our example we’re looking at one months worth of data).
  • Absolute Unique Visitors - This function measures how many unique visitors have visited your website by day, week or month. This data is available by the use of cookies. These cookies are stored in your web browser and allow Google to not ‘count’ a re-visiting user as an absolute unique visitor.
  • Pageviews - Pageviews measure how many pages were viewed in total. This data is displayed on a per hour, day, week, or month.
  • Average Pageviews - Average visitor page view data is displayed by hour, day, week or by month.
  • Time on Site - Isolate ‘time on site’ data by a specific hour, day, week or by month.
  • Bounce Rate - Narrow down the time of the day, week or month in which your sites bounce rate is at its highest. This data is great for reducing bounce rate numbers.

Visitor Loyalty

Getting traffic to your website is great but knowing what type of loyalty your visitors have is truly valuable information. This tab offers several subsections that let you get all this great information: Loyalty, Recency, Length of Visit, Depth of Visit.

 

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  • Loyalty - This tab further drills down into your visitor’s loyalty. How many repeat visits do you get in a certain time period? 1 time? 2 times? This section will give you all this information.
  • Advanced Segments - To go one layer deeper you can go into the advanced segments and select a type of segment that you would like to know the data for. By default ‘All Visitors’ will be selected. Other options include sorting by new visitors, paid traffic, search traffic and even mobile traffic.
  • Recency - The recency sub tab shows for most visits when the previous visit happened. Data is available from the last visit being the current day to the previous visit being over a year ago.
  • Length of Visit - Want to know how long visitors are staying on your site? This tab graphs out the information by the amount of seconds spent on the site.
  • Depth of Visit - Google Analytics allows you to even track how many page views on average your site is receiving per visit.

Browser Capabilities

What browsers do your site visitors typically use? Just because your site displays correctly in Internet Explorer doesn’t guarantee that it looks the same in Fire Fox. This data will allow you to determine which browsers are most important to develop for.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Browsers - This data shows you how many visits are coming from a particular browser.
  • Operating Systems - Knowing your visitors operating systems allows you to better develop your site to allow all your visitors a positive experience.
  • Browsers and Operating Systems - A combination of browser and operating system data can be found in this tab.
  • Screen Colors - You want to make sure that the colors you selected are showing up that way for all your visitors’ right? This tab allows you to see what bit resolution your visitors are currently using.
  • Flash Versions - What version of Flash do your visitors typically have installed? Does it make sense to develop flash content using version 10.1 if all your visitors have an older version installed?
  • Java Support - This data simply states whether or not Java is supported on their platform. Use this data in consideration with future development.

Network Properties

Do you want to know what network providers your visitors use? How about hostnames or even their connection speeds? This data can help when completing future development for your site.

 

 

 

  • Service Providers - What service provider is are your visitors most commonly accessing your site with?
  • Host Names - Host names sometimes give you an opportunity to see who exactly is interested in your site.
  • Connection Speeds - Knowing what the average connection speed of your visitor uses can make decisions on how to continue to develop your site easier. For instance, if your users are most commonly utilizing dial up for their connection you may want to avoid flash on your site.
  • Mobile - Are people visiting your site through their mobile devices? See how much of an audience your site is capturing through phones, I-pads, and other mobile devices.

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4.2 The Traffic Sources Tab

Within the visitors tab we can get more details regarding new vs returning visitors, languages, trending, loyalty, browser capability, network properties and even mobile data.

 

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Where is your sites traffic coming from? This tab allows you to narrow traffic down by direct traffic, referring sites, search engines etc.

 

Overview

The overview tab allows you to get a big picture or snapshot of where all your sites traffic is coming from. The primary tracking sources consist of direct traffic, referring sites, and search engines.

 

Direct Traffic

The traffic that comes directly from manually typing your URL directly into their browser. Direct traffic can also come from a user revisiting your site through a 'bookmark'.

 

Referring Sites

The traffic that found your website by clicking on a link from another website.

 

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You can go another level deeper by clicking on one of the regerral sources (like sphinn.com in the example mentioned above.) Google Analytics will tell you which page from that site sent the user to your website.

 

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Clicking on one of the specific pages highlighted above will allow you to get another level of information. This includes total visits, avg time on site, pages/visit, bounce rate and % new visits.

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Search Engines

Find out which search engine is sending you the most traffic and narrow the traffic down to the exact keywords people are finding you with. This information is sortable by ‘non-paid’ and ‘paid’ search traffic.

 

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Clicking on a search engine name will allow you to see information specific to the traffic received from that particular search engine.

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Notice that you can click on any keyword to get another layer of information that pertains to that specific keyword.

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All Traffic Sources

If you're looking for a comprehensive list of all the sources that sent your site traffic then this is the tab you’re looking for. You can sort by visits, page/visits, avg time on site, % new visits and bounce rate.

 

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Keywords

If you’re looking for all the keywords that generated traffic to your site regardless of what source (search engine) they come from then this is the tab for you.

 

Campaigns

If you’re running any sort of Pay Per Click, Newsletter or RSS feed then you can track your campaign traffic in this section of Google Analytics. (To receive this data you must go through advanced Google Analytics configuration)

 

Ad Versions

Are you using Google AdWords (PPC)? This tab specifically shows the different ad versions that you are using.

 

AdWords Overview (Additional account set up necessary)

If you chose to link your Google AdWords account to your Google Analytics account then you will be able to view details about your PPC campaign through your analytics account.

 

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Campaigns

The campaigns tab will allow you to see all the campaigns you have set up through Google AdWords. The main screen shows you the campaign name, clicking on the name will bring you to your ad groups. Click on a particular ad group will bring you to specific keywords that you have been bidding on. This is where you can find all the details about your AdWords campaign.

 

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Keywords

This tab takes you directly to the data you receive in the third step taken on the ‘campaigns’ tab. The 'keywords' tab is a quicker opportunity to get this data.

 

Day Parts

Want to know what part of the day your campaign receives the most clicks? This tab will show you what hour of the day your site is receiving visits.

 

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Destination URLs

Where are your visitors entering your website via PPC? This tab shows you the landing page that they start their visit on.

 

Placements

Are you using pay per click within Googles Display Network? This tab will allow you to analyze the performance of your ads and optimize your placements. This will ideally improve your ROI.

 

Keyword Positions

Want to know where your PPC ads are listed when users are clicking on them? This is exactly what data is available to you within this tab.

 

TV ads

Google offers full TV advertising opportunities. This tab will give you information regarding your campaigns.

 

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4.3 The Content Tab

What content is generating your sites the most visits? What’s your top landing and exit pages and what sections of your site are being clicked on the most? This and much more is located in the ‘content’ tab of Google Analytics.

Overview

The overview tab offers you a quick view of how many page views, unique views, bounce rate and a list of your sites top content.

 

Top Content

Do you ever wonder what parts of your site bring in the most traffic? This tab gives you all this information. Clicking on any page link will give you all the data for that specific page.

 

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Content by Title

This tab will show your sites most popular content by its title. The title is what is located in that particular pages ‘title tag’ element. Clicking on any of these titles will give you further statistics about that page.

 

Content Drilldown

This information will only look different from your “top content” tab if you organize your content by folders. For example the services folder is found in our analytics and by clicking on this link you can see stats for all pages within the folder.

 

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Top Landing Pages

Top landing pages are the pages that people are first visiting when they reach your website.

 

Top Exit Pages

Top exit pages are the pages within your website that people are exiting the site from most.

 

Overview

This tab will open up the homepage of your site and give you a visual of how many people are clicking on specific parts of your site. Note that Google Analytics does not keep track of external links, only internal links.

 

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Site Search (Advanced configuration required)

Does your site use internal site search? Want to know what search queries your visitors are typing? After a couple advanced configurations Google Analytics will report this data to you.

 

Event Tracking (Advanced configuration required)

Do you ever want to know how many time someone clicks on your video, download or even an outbound link? After some advanced configuration this data is available to you through Google Analytics.

 

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4.4 The Goals Tab

Overview

What is the goal of your website? Is it for visitors to purchase items? Sign up for a newsletter? Goals allows you to track how many people have completed your goal is and then reports it to you through Google Analytics.

 

Total Conversions

This tab will show you how many conversions or ‘goals’ have been completed within a certain amount of time. You can break it down by day or hour for more in depth information.

 

Conversion Rate

What percentage of your visitors complete on of your goals? This tab will show you all this data.

 

Goal Verification

When you set up a goal in Google Analytics you will have to determine a point in which your goal has been met. This example shows that when a user reaches the page /contactconfirm.asp that the goal has been achieved. From a user perspective, the only way they can access this URL is if they successfully fill out the contact us form on the DKS website.

 

Reverse Goal Path

Want to know what your visitors were doing before they met the goal you set up? This is the tab you can see reverse paths. For instance, DKS gets a lot of contact forms filled out once a user visits a service page or views the project pages.

 

Goal Value

Google Analytics allows you to set a value for each goal that is achieved. Have you done the calculation for the value for each quote request e-mail you receive? Place this value in Google Analytics when setting up your goals. Now when you click on the goal value tab you will be able to see a financial value for each goal achieved.

 

Goal Abandoned Funnels

How many people started the conversion process but left your site before completing the goal? This tab will give you this information.

 

Funnel Visualization

Assuming you set up a funnel for your goals (advance set up required) this tab will show you a visual for where your visitors are leaving your site. This information is extremely valuable for showing ‘issue’ pages in your checkout/conversion process.

 

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If your reading this you made it to the end! This post was created to help people better understand some of the data that is available to them through Google Analytics. If you enjoyed this article please subscribe to our RSS Feed as we hope to have an advance Google Analytics edition released later this year.

 

CONTACT US

tel 612-659-8660
fax 800-861-7411
sales@DKSSystems.com


DKS Systems
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Golden Valley, MN 55426
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