Google Analytics is a powerful tool that gives you insight into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness. It is free and can be accessed by anyone with a Google account. You can track how visitors are finding your site and Google Analytics displays the list of keywords that visitors used to land on your site. It also tracks the popularity of pages, what pages people are entering your site with, and what how long visitors stay on your site.
Google Analytics offers fully detailed results so you or your webmaster can easily determine what search engines and visitors are expecting from your site. Thus, you can tune your site to perform better, meet search engine standards and reach more customers effectively.
Sounds great, right? But so many of us don’t even know what all the data means in the first place! At Discovery Communications Group we look at these numbers everyday for our the companies we work with. It helps drive a lot of our strategies for clients and helps us make tweaks and edits so our clients continue to see results. So to help the average user decipher Google Analytics we have put together a three-part series on the basics of Google Analytics.
Part One: Navigating the Dashboard
The Dashboard gives you the overall usage numbers for your entire website. It allows you to choose a time period and see the trends over that duration. This is very useful to get a general snapshot of how a website is performing over a week, a month, three months etc. But what do all those numbers mean? It’s not as scary as it looks! Below is a basic description of each data point on your dashboard.
- Visits: this value is the number of times someone interacted with your website.
- Bounce Rate: One of the more confusing terms for people is actually quite simple. Bounce Rate is the percentage of visits in which the person left the site immediately. Either they hit the back button, closed their browser, or just went to a different website like their home page or a search engine. This tells you that the visitor got to your site and immediately didn’t think they would find what they were looking for there.
- Page Views: This value is the total number of pages that were visited by all the visitors during the specified time period
- Average Page View: This gives you an idea of how many pages were looked at during each individual visit. For most websites this tends to average between 3 and 5 pages. However, it is important to note that when looking at the analytics for a blog, people typically will only view one page.
- Average Time on Site: I believe this value to be pretty self-explanatory.
- Percentage of New Visits: Again, very self explanatory. This value is the percentage of visits in the specified time period that were from visitors coming to your site for the first time.
It is important to note that these statistics have more weight for different types of websites. For example, the bounce rate and the average time on site are not good measures for a blog because typically a visitor will come to the site, read the latest blog post and leave quickly. However, if this is your company’s website, you definitely want to know what all of this data is.
We hope you have found this overview of the data found on the dashboard of Google Analytics helpful. To learn more about Google Analytics check out Part Two: Traffic Sources.
The Discovery Communications Group is an award-winning, fully-integrated marketing agency located in Salem, NH, that specializes in web design, search engine optimization, and social media marketing services. DCG also provides printing and mailing services to meet every advertising need, servicing clients throughout New Hampshire and Massachusetts.