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Find the method in the madness. Understanding Google Analytics helps jumpstart your marketing campaign.

If you’re anything like me, the charts, numbers, and percentages from Google Analytics were a lot like looking at Chinese. It was really interesting to see how the characters look but you wish you could understand what was going on. After trying to understand what exactly those numbers meant and how I can apply them to improve my website, I learned some valuable lessons which helped me get to know who is actually coming to the site and how to gear content towards that guest. Here are some useful tidbits which can help you too!

Make Google Analytics One of Your Business’s Greatest Allies

These days, you absolutely need analytics software when dealing with lead generation or online sales. You save and earn money at the same time by using analytics programs. Good programs will tell you how your website is doing, who is coming to the site, where they are coming from, and what these visitors are doing on your website. This information helps you figure out what draws your customers to your website and what might drive them away. All of this will help you adjust your marketing campaign, know what you should put on your website, and to make it profitable. Lucky for you, Google Analytics is free and is one of the most useful reporting tools you’ll find.

Know the Jargon

Now that you’re on Google Analytics, you need to get the vocabulary down so you know what you’re looking at.

It’s important to know that the graphs and information Google Analytics displays show information from a certain period of time frame. You can adjust this time frame to display a specific day’s worth of traffic information or data from a several year span.

  • Visits: This number represents how many people have actually visited your site.
  • Pageviews: This shows how many pages on your site people have looked at.
  • Pages/Visit: This is the average amount of different pages on your website viewed per visit
  • Bounce Rate: This took me a little time to understand, but it’s basically the number of people that came to your website and left without visiting any other pages. It could come from people who clicked on your website accidentally, who were sent there by Google Images, or took a look around for a few seconds and left. It’s like those people who enter a store, take a look around from the door, and leave without buying anything or even a saying word. You want your bounce rate to be low.
  • Average (Avg.) Time on Site: How long visitors tend to stay on your site.
  • Percent (%) of New Visits: This shows how many people coming to your site are newcomers compared to regular visitors.

Your Five Friends

Google Analytics can give you a fire hydrants worth of information to drink from. Let’s just look at five important reports for starters.

The following five reports can be found on what is called the Visitors Overview. This is where you get your statistics at a glance. You can see how much traffic you receive, how many page views, the average dwell time on your website, and your bounce rate. You can even dig in deeper and see how much of your traffic is new, what internet browser they are using, if they carry an iPhone, and more. The good thing about Google Analytics is how extremely user friendly it is. All of this information is fairly easy to access and is clearly labeled.

  • Traffic Sources Overview: This shows how your visitors came to your website. Whether they came from a search engine or if they typed in your URL. This information is valuable when figuring out where you want to target your marketing campaign.
  • Referring Sites: This shows you which sites are leading their visitors to your site through links.
  • Keywords: This report shows you what search words visitors are typing into search engines to get to your site. You can track what the visitors did on your website, finding out where they went and how well your site is converting visitors into customers.
  • Top Content: This shows you which pages are getting the best results (i.e. the sites that get the most traffic and have the best conversion rates).
  • Map Overlay: Map overlay helps you get the big picture by putting all the clicks on a map so you can see where all the traffic is coming. This helps put all the information you get from the other tools onto a geographic map. This is helpful for more visual learners.

Remember This

This was just a basic explanation on how to get started using Google Analytics. There are mountains and mountains of information you can glean from Google Analytics but you first have to know how to start off finding the method behind the online traffic madness. This should help you out in making those first few steps towards knowing how to target your audience and successfully market your website.