Google Analytics Basics

google analytics
google analytics

If you have a website, you should be looking at your Google Analytics web statistics every so often, just to get a sense for how your website is performing — what works and isn’t working. It’s about making more informed decisions for your website. And so with that said, here are our recommendations for Google Analytics Basics with Terminology definitions at bottom:

  1. Go to and login with your google account.
  2. To customize your Dashboard (main summary page you come to after logging in), just click “Add to Dashboard” link at the top of any report.
  3. To exclude or filter out internal traffic to your website from people on your corporate network, follow the instructions in this post by creating a filter.
  4. To see where the bulk of your traffic is coming from (direct, organic search, referrals, social, or other) as well as the the bounce rate and conversions (conversions are for goals you have setup), go to Acquisition > Overview.
    • Then click on the different acquisition types to get more details:
      Direct will list all the pages that people directly typed into their browser/bookmarked to view your site.
      Organic Search will list all the keywords, paid or unpaid, used by users to enter your site.
      Referrals will list all the sources that referred traffic to your site.
      Social will list all the originating social networks that pointed visitors to your site.
    • If you are seeing alot of spammy websites popping up in these results, you should go to Admin tab > View column > View Settings link and check the box under Bot Filtering to “Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders.”
  5. To learn which keyword queries are getting your visitors to your site – through organic search only, go to Acquisition > Search Console > Queries. Please note that if this page shows no data and your your Organic Search results under Acquisition > Channels page shows “(not provided)” then there is not much you can do. See not below NOTE on that. However, you CAN get search query data via your Webmaster Tools (Google Search Console) under Search Traffic > Search Analytics. To show more info on Impressions, CTR, and Position you can click the options at top of page.
    NOTE on (not provided) results: If a user is logged into their Google Account/Gmail when searching, their search is conducted over SSL. Because of this, the referral data relating to that search is hidden and we are now receiving more and more (not provided) results for our keyword queries report. Even keyword rankings are becoming a thing of the past because there is no longer one set of true rankings as search results are becoming more and more personalized based on location, social connections and other factors. Webmaster Tools/Google Search Console is a great alternative to get more query results or  read this article to learn more »
  6. To learn what are the most popular landing/entrance pages people are visiting — through organic search only, go to Acquisition > Search Console > Landing Pages . Check out all columns — impressions, clicks, average position, and CTR.
  7. To see which pages people are bouncing in and out of the most, go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages to check the Bounce Rate column for each page. You may need to add a call-to-action button to pull people in further to the site for these pages.
  8. To see a cool map overlay of where people are coming from to your site, go to Audience > Geo > Location.  Click on the different areas of the map to get more info.
  9. To see how many repeat visitors you have, go to Audience > Behavior > New vs. Returning .
  10. To see what percentage of desktop, mobile, and tablet are accessing your site, there are two places to view. First try Acquisition > Search Console > Devices and if that page shows no results, then try Audience > Mobile > Overview.
  11. To check on your site’s speed, go to Behavior > Site Speed > Speed Suggestions.
  12. To find the keywords people have used in your internal search within your site go to Behavior › Site Search › Search Term. Then be sure to check out their search results and add or change your website pages accordingly. See this post on Why and How to Implement Internal Search on your Site.
  13. To compare your industry against other industries with similar traffic levels, go to Audience > Benchmarking. For example, you can compare your property with all properties in the “All Hotels and Accommodations” industry in the United Kingdom that receive 500 to 1000 average daily sessions.
  14. To check out a cool map of visitors paths throughout the site, go to Audience > Users Flow .
  15. To setup goals or funnel visualizations and review your results go to Conversions > Goals > Overview.
  16. To track what keywords are going to which landing pages. Because of the (not provided) results happening as a result of browsers protecting their users info, this is no longer an option within Google Analytics.
  17. If you want to track your live email/print campaign success, check out Real-Time > Overview. If you have setup a goal then view Conversions.
  18. If you have an Ecommerce site you should set things up to track more options by going to Conversions > Ecommerce > Overview.
  19. To setup a custom report, go to Customization tab at top and click button for “+New Custom Report”.
  20. To email any report to a group of people/yourself on a recurring basis, just click the Email button at top and setup accordingly.
  21. To track custom (email or social) campaigns using UTM parameters, view this post from Sprout Social.
  22. To track social campaigns via Shareaholic, bookmark this page and add on your domain to the end of it’s URL. To get more details you must register and verify your site.
  23. To integrate Google Analytics with MailChimp (Analytics360), follow this post.

Google Analytics Terminology:

  • Bounce rate: The percentage of visitors who enter the same page as they exit, thereby “bouncing” in and out of the site. If you have a one-pager website don’t worry about this number being too high.
  • Landing/Entrance pages: The pages through which visitors entered your site.
  • Exit pages: The pages through which visitors exited your site.
  • Impressions: The number of times any URL from your site appeared in search results viewed by a user.
  • Clicks: The number clicks on your website URLs from a Google Search results page.
  • Average Position: The average ranking of your website URLs for the query or queries.
  • CTR: Click through rate = Clicks / Impressions * 100.
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