Our Blog

The Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics

By Snap Agency March 9, 2017

If you own a business, you need to understand the fundamentals of internet marketing. Even if you hire an SEO agency to handle the bulk of your company’s online activity, you still need a firm grasp of the basics in order to make sense of what you’re paying for. To make the best decisions about internet marketing strategies, you need accurate data that you can understand. Gathering and interpreting user data is one of the biggest obstacles faced by many people new to the world of SEO, but properly understanding analytics isn’t as complicated as it may first appear.

Here are answers to some of the most common questions about Google Analytics:

What Is a Google Analytics Account?

Google Analytics is the most popular way to track and analyze website traffic. The platform presents a clear, organized view of who is using your website. You can manage up to 50 websites under one Google Analytics account. GA accounts are free with the option for paid upgrades.

Google Analytics lets you generate a wide variety of reports, and each report is based on one specific website. Reports are called “views.” You can view all site data, data only from AdWords traffic, traffic from a specific subdomain and more.

Google Analytics gives you a lot of freedom over how you can organize and read data related to your website, but this freedom can be confusing at first. If you don’t know what data to look for, you can end up focusing on the wrong issues.

What Data Should I Focus On?

Don’t lose sight of the forest for all the trees! Google Analytics lets you focus in on the smallest data point. While that can provide great insight, you want to also keep an eye on the bigger picture.

GA reports are divided into four general categories:

Audience Reports

Where did your visitors come from? How often do they visit? What interests do they have? This category helps you understand the people who view your website.

Acquisition Reports

How are users finding your website? Are they using organic searches, referrals, direct traffic, social media or some other avenue? This category helps show you the digital road your users take to arrive at your site.

Behavior Reports

Once on your site, what do your visitors actually do? Behavior reports (found under the “Overview” tab) provide detailed info about time spent on your site, total page views, bounce rate and more. Learn which pages are popular and which aren’t for valuable insight about what you can do to improve your site.

Conversion Reports

At the end of the day you’re selling a product or service. Conversion reports show you customer behavior throughout the conversion process. At what point do they click on a call-to-action or make a purchase? When do they abandon a potential sale?

What Goals Should I Set?

Don’t fall into the “traffic trap.” Too many internet marketers focus too much on traffic. While you do want people to visit your site, your business depends on conversions, not general popularity.

Google Analytics lets you measure conversions by setting “Goals.” There are four different types:

  • Destination – The number of users who reach a post-sale confirmation page
  • Duration – The amount of time a user spends on the site
  • Pages/Screen – The number of pages viewed during a single visit
  • Event – The specific action taken by a user, such as clicking on a specific link

How Should I Segment My Audience?

The beauty of web marketing is that you can create different experiences tailored to different types of customers. Google Analytics lets you organize groups of customers into “Segments.” While perhaps not the most humanizing name, segments let you engage with your customers in a way that targets their interests and concerns.

You can create your own segments or use Google’s pre-existing ones. Some popular segments include:

  • Location
  • Demographic
  • Traffic Source
  • New or Returning Visitor

You can create up to four segments at a time. They’re easy to take on and off, allowing you to quickly place a temporary filter without impacting any tracking data.

Google Analytics Is for You

If you’re new to the world of SEO, Google Analytics can seem pretty daunting. Internet marketing pros can make a living doing nothing but working with Google Analytics! This one tool has the capacity for incredible depth and analysis.

Anyone can learn the four basics above, and those four basics can help your site reach more customers than ever before! A few simple strategies can set up your site for success.

So if you’re feeling intimidated by Google Analytics, don’t be. GA is popular because the core elements of it are available for everyone.

Do you have any questions about how your business can benefit from Google Analytics? Share your concerns and we’ll help you find the right solution.