How to Read and Understand Google Analytics

In my opinion,  Google Analytics is one of the best tools out there.  Best of all,  it is free.  But do you know what Google Analytics has to offer?   Google Analytics can generate up to 85 different reports that can help you analyze all possible data about your website traffic. Here are a few steps that will help you get started with Google Analytics from setup to understanding and interpreting the data.

1.  Map Analytics/OverviewMap overlay will show you the geographic region where you are attracting visitors.

2. New Versus Returning Visitors-  This will show you if you have returning customers and if so, how often are they returning.

Questions to keep in mind in this section:

  • Do customers come once and never return?
  • How often would you like customers to return?
  • Are you happy with the amount of new visitors?

3.  Visit/Time Spent on Sight– This data should always be up. The longer a potential customer is on the site, the better chances of getting a sale. An average time on site that is a matter of seconds or is decreasing will show you objectively that people are not compelled enough to stick around to purchase from your site.

4.  Visitors Section/Overview– Shows the percentage of new visits being up or down. Declining new visitors is a clue that work is needed. Whatever you do, work on your SEO either organically for paid. Just make sure to do something to fix this.

5.  Visitor Loyalty/Visitor Regency– If you are selling a product that has a longer buying cycle, this number which counts “sessions” not visits, should be increasing. If it is, your prospects keep coming back to learn more and educate themselves.  Note that almost 80% of visitors only visited once.

6.  Depth of Visit – This section is good to measure to see how “deep” into your site folks are going. This tells us that people are gobbling up everything you can provide at them about your product.

7.  Traffic Sources/Direct Resources– Creating your own Keywords can save you a bunch of money. Rather than paying SEO company money to find your keywords, you can do it yourself in this section of the analytics report. You can see what words people used to find your site. Note: Make sure that these keywords appear in the title pages for even better search results.

8.  Referring Sources– This data give you an overview of how many pages and how many visitors a site have. After 60 days, you will be able to compare from data from one time period to another. Also, you will be able compare the time on site to a previous time period. This should always be climbing. If it’s flat or declining, you have may have a dull or boring website. Remember to look for trends.

9.  Top Content/Overview– If you are using banner ads, links or other referring sources, this section is a good way to show how visitors are coming to your site from these sources.

  • High Bounces – is a really fast check to see which pages have the highest bounce rate. When pages have a high bounce rate, this usually indicates that there is a problem with getting a potential customer to engage in the site and click through to the next page. If you are get-ting tons of traffic from paid search, but everybody leaves immediately, is not a good return on your ad spend. Some problems that will contribute to a high bounce rate are:
    • Irrelevant/poor content
    • Too many backlinks (links that divert to another website)
    • Dead links
    • Pop-ups
    • Lack of suggestive on-site content
  • High Exit Rates – These are the pages that need your attention and work. Not redirecting the customer back to the website after an online purchase and pages leading to dead ends both lead to the
    frustration of the site visitor.

Just remember that consistency is the key. It is one of the best ways to drive site traffic and increase online visibility for your website.

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3 comments on “How to Read and Understand Google Analytics
  1. […] A static site is a lost site – so use that expertise and blog about what you know best. Keep it current to ensure website activity is constantly […]


  2. […] a nod as “Brand Ambassador of the Year” for her stellar works in cultivating and growing the Build the Store brand. “The nomination was a huge surprise. Many of the people who were nominated in this […]


  3. […] Measure, Measure:  Make sure that you are using tools such as Google Analytics to measure the success of your website.  There are some other great tools that will help you […]


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