Small Business Websites

How to use Google Analytics

Written by Kristin Marquet for Gaebler Ventures

Google Analytics can be confusing when you are first learning how to use it. Yet, after reading through the entire article you will have a thorough understanding of what each term means and how to interpret the data.

Traffic reports are necessary for any business looking to increase web traffic, generate more leads, track leads, and convert those leads to online sales.

A strong analytics program can provide you with all the knowledge you need to know when it comes to running and monitoring marketing campaigns. The most comprehensive and thorough analytics program available is Google Analytics, Even though the interface is a little complicated to learn, once you do learn it, it will provide you with all of the information you need in order to take your business to the next level.

In this brief article, you will learn the basic components and features of Google Analytics. You will learn how important this program is to your business, the definitions, as well as how to read charts and other data. Google Analytics is free.

Once you login into your account, you will see the dashboard that contains various graphs, statistics, and other reports. These statistical reports include traffic sources, page visitors, hits, views, site overlays, and content data. You may run multiple reports, add new reports to the dashboard, and remove old ones.

Under the Site Usage section, you will see several metrics including:

Visits - the amount of times the pages on your site have been viewed. The visitors' overview graph shows the amount of visitors that have visited the site.

Map overlay - displays which countries your visitors are coming from. Darker green areas show that there are more visitors coming to your site from those areas.

Pages per Visit – the average amount of pages users visited on your site.

Average time on site – amount of time the user has spent on your site.

Bounce rate – The percentage of users that have left after visiting one page. This is essentially the amount of people who only visited one page on the site before "bouncing" to another location. This could mean that your site is difficult to navigate or that your site is not what the visitor was looking for.

Percentage of New Visits – amount of visitors that have never been to your site previously

There are four reports you should run and monitor daily: visitor overview, traffic source overview, keywords, and top content.

Visitor overview provides detailed information on how much traffic you receive, amount of page views, amount of time spent on site, and the bounce rate.

Traffic Sources Overview shows where your traffic comes from including what sites refer you visitors, what percentage of users use the various search engines as well as what percentage of visitors type your URL into their browsers.

Keywords reports show what keywords visitors used when they were searching the internet and found your site.

Content overview show which pages get the most traffic.

Kristin Marquet will be receiving her MBA from Harvard University in Fall of 2010. She has worked in the marketing and public relations field for over 10 years.

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