There is a plethora of articles written out there on the various nuances of interpreting the ever-changing and elusive Google Analytics but for the more novice user, (the typically overwhelmed small business owner and marketing manager), I will give a quick synopsis of what can be gained from its features.
Visits: How many people loaded your page in a give time period. Should be a good mix between new visits (users are seeing your site for the first time) and returning visitors. If returning is less, then give users a reason to return with new, fresh content that is consistently added, for example adding a blog.
Bounce Rate: This is the measurement of how long a user stayed on your site and clicked on other pages of your site. Here is the formula: Bounce Rate = Total Number of Visits Viewing One Page / Total Number of Visits to that Page. Websites with high bounce rates of over 50-60% need to analyze how to better engage their visitors. If the site is a blog site,don’t fret – bounce rates are typically higher since users are going to read the specific article or newest post and then leave.
Traffic sources: Next to each Source, it will show either Organic, Direct, Referral or Social. This is a great way to analyze your efforts of your traditional marketing, social media marketing, organic seo, and your backlinking. [For more info on organic seo and backlinking, see my blog post: the-building-blocks-of-seo-explained-in-simple-terms/] You can see the overview broken down in percentages by the four categories when you click on ‘All Traffic’ to and view the detailed report.
- Direct (people that came directly to your site, presumably by either typing in your web address or having your site bookmarked). This is a possible indication of your traditional marketing bringing people to your website (examples: through print ads, business cards distribution, networking, and radio/tv ads].
- Referral (people that followed a link from another site to your site). This is a result of positive backlinking from trusted sites that have relevance & authority.
- Organic (people that found your site on a search engine). This is a result of your engaging content, keyword usage, blogging and optimized content and source code. [This does now include all search engines, although separated in detailed report. If you’d like more information on tracking conversions on other search engines: https://support.google.com/ds/answer/1280164?hl=en.]
- Social (people that followed a link from one of your social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc). This is a result of regular, engaging and productive social media marketing.
If you are consistently monitoring the traffic sources, you will see what’s working and what’s not when it comes to directing more visitors to your site; and you can adjust your marketing plan accordingly.
Keywords: These are the words or phrases people entered into their search engines to find your website. NOTE: In late 2011, Google started encrypting or hiding keyword searches of all U.S. users who were signed into their Google Accounts. “Nearly two years after making one of the biggest changes to secure search that resulted in a steady rise in “(not provided)” data, Google has switched all searches over to encrypted searches using HTTPS. This means no more keyword data will be passed to site owners.”
Hence, its getting more difficult to track your targeted keywords when more than half are under the category “not provided”. So you will have to be more creative to monitor if your keywords and your search engine marketing are working for you. Here’s a good article about alternate ways.
Audience: This is a valuable new feature so you can learn more about your visitors: the age, gender, demographics and interests of your target audience. You can even determine which device category they’re using to view your website, a great indication if your website is truly mobile friendly. More about the new Audience feature:
This was just an elementary introduction of a very extensive and somewhat complex monitoring system. More articles to expand on the subject coming soon. In the meantime, submit any questions you have at: http://f78.27d.myftpupload.com/contact/