Google Analytics is the best free tracking tool offered by Google. It can provide essential information to any business or web developer.
From measuring page speed to collecting visitors’ demographic information, Google Analytics is a ubiquitous tool that can increase the visibility and success of any website.
Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool offered by Google to help you analyze your website traffic, however, if it can have some technical nuances that are not easily understood by a layperson.
That is why we have compiled this Google Analytics guide to help you understand the benefits of Google Analytics and to help you create your account.
Ready to collect some important data? In this article we will answer the following questions:
Google Analytics is a free website analytics software that provides you with a variety of data about your website, from its speed to how many visitors come to the site.
It is a vital tool to measure the success and visibility of your website, which in today’s technology-driven world, can help mark the success of your business as a whole.
Google Analytics also provides more intricate data, such as which pages on your website are the most popular and which marketing efforts are the most successful at converting.
This data is crucial in guiding your business' content creation and marketing efforts
Google Analytics is so much more than quantitative data. If used correctly, it can isolate holes in your business model and help structure opportunities for growth by providing the necessary information to do so.
And the best part? It does this all for free!
The building blocks of any website are code. Therefore, Google Analytics functions by implementing Google Analytics Tracking Codes.
A website owner can copy and paste this code onto each page of their website, which then collects data that is configured by Google Analytics and presented to the website owner.
Since Google Analytics is inherently a tracking code, it also sets a cookie on each visitor’s computer, which has the capacity to store additional information and data that is extremely useful for business strategy, from marketing to product development.
What makes Google Analytics so useful is its ability to provide you with a wide range of data that is specific to your website and its functions.
A list of the most common pieces of data acquired by Google Analytics includes:
Website visitors - tracks how many visitors click on your website over different periods
Visitors' location - shows where the visitors of your website are located geographically, which is extremely helpful for marketing efforts considering a market can easily be geographically stratified.
Mobile-friendliness - does your website function well on mobile devices, as this often changes the layout, and sometimes functionality, of your website.
Where your web traffic is coming from - shows which websites direct traffic to your website, whether from social media or other sources.
The popularity of each of your web pages - shows which pages are the most popular, which provides insights that may shift your business strategy.
Leads and Conversions - tells you how many people bought something from your website or subscribed to a service that you provide.
The popularity of blog content - SEO (search engine optimized) blog content boosts website traffic. Therefore, knowing which content drives traffic can help you produce more successful content in the future.
Website speed - the speed of your website is one of the most important pieces of data to ensure that visitors remain on your website after clicking on it. Websites that lag are proven to have a significantly higher bounce rate than those that respond and function quickly.
The first step to setting up Google Analytics on your website is to make a Google Analytics account. It would be best to create your Google Analytics account through your primary Google account that you use to run your business.
You will be able to switch accounts or grant others access to your account if necessary, however, it is best to use your primary account when setting up Google Analytics for your website so that you ensure the ownership of your data.
Once your account is created, you have to sign up for Google Analytics, create a tracking code, and begin learning about your audience.
You then choose your tracking method, either for a website or for a mobile app, enter the website’s name, URL, industry, and the time zone you would like the report in.
Next, you need to choose your data sharing settings.
The next major step in setting up Google Analytics on your website is installing your tracking code.
Once you agree to terms and conditions and receive your Google Analytics code, you need to copy and paste it into the code on every page on your website. However, where this code is installed depends on the format the website is coded in and the platform hosting the website.
Next, you must configure your goal settings, which are found by clicking the “Admin” button on your Google Analytics account. This will help you track which goals and conversion are being met.
These goals will vary depending on your business, and you can only set up 20 of them, so choose them wisely and make sure they are essential to your business.
Finally, set up "site search," which will allow you to track what visitors are searching for on your website. This will help you create a more user-friendly site, providing you with detailed information about what users are looking for or are having a difficult time finding.
Once Google Analytics is up and running on your website, you can analyze the data that has been collected.
Google Analytics provides you with an “Audience Overview Report,” which can be adjusted for the period you want to analyze and also allows you to compare data from two different periods.
The Audience Overview report will also provide you with a line graph that tells you how many sessions your website had that day. Underneath the line graph, you will see metrics concerning the number of page views, total sessions, bounce rate, and users.
For even greater specificity, this report provides metrics about the languages, countries, cities, browsers, operating systems, services providers of your users.
Each of these metrics can be analyzed further. For example, you can see a report that shows which cities in each country have the highest traffic.
Additional metrics provided by Google Analytics include:
Bounce rate measures how many visitors leave the website (aka bounce) after only visiting one page. It is measured by tracking the number of single-page visits versus the number of total page visits.
The bounce rate helps analyze how engaging and user-friendly a website is. It is assumed, that a website is engaging, loads quickly, and provides quality content that will ensure that visitors remain on the site rather than clicking-off after only viewing a single page.
Therefore, the bounce rate essentially functions as an additional metric for the effectiveness and performance of a website.
Having a high bounce rate communicates to you that something on your website is inhibiting conversion. This is essential for websites that require visitors to click on other pages to convert.
For example, you run an e-commerce website, and the majority of visitors click-off after only visiting the homepage and do not continue to the purchase page. There may be a hole in your marketing strategy or some other issue with your website that is inhibiting conversion.
Google Analytics can help you lower your bounce rate by providing you with the necessary data.
As directly outlined by the Google Analytics Help page:
Google Analytics may lead you to a certain page that is causing the problem or may provide data that suggests the website as a whole is leading to a high bounce rate.
Maximizing Google Analytics is all about using the data collected to optimize your website and drive business and marketing decisions.
The first way you can maximize your Google Analytics data is by viewing the data in different forms. Google Analytics provides the option to see the data in the following ways:
The next way to maximize your Google Analytics account is by setting up goals, as previously mentioned. These goals will differ based on your business and the purpose of your website.
However, setting up goals allows you to track important actions taken by your users, such as conversions and purchases.
Setting up goals also tracks users’ interaction with the website such as which page is most commonly the landing page, how long visitors stay on the site, and bounce rate.
Another tip for maximizing Google Analytics is by setting up custom alerts. This will ensure you are notified when unusual actions take place on your website, and it will save you time because you will not have to check your account daily.
Custom alerts also allow you to target a specific metric or segment of traffic, all of which provide greater insight into the success of your website.
An additional way to maximize Google Analytics is by measuring the speed of your website, which is essential for search engine optimization and the overall traffic directed to your website.
Google Analytics provides data on average page load time, server response time, and browser speeds, all of which are important metrics for ranking higher on search engines.
Google Analytics provides crucial data on your website's reach, functionality, and overall quality.
With the information Google Analytics provides users, you have the capacity to transform your website, marketing strategies, and your business as a whole.
Setting up your Google Analytics account is as simple as clicking a few buttons, and it configures the collected data for you in ways that are easy to comprehend. You can analyze specific metrics and compare them with each other.
With its diversity of customizable features, Google Analytics will serve your businesses in any capacity that you wish!
Install Google Analytics and elevate your business today!