Google Analytics is a free service that gives in-depth statistics and detailed data tools for SEO and marketing services. The primary purpose of Google Analytics is to monitor traffic on a website and collect information on visitor interactions on the site.
There is a range of data collected in this service, including user demographics, behaviour, and interactions. These interactions include page views, bounce rates and also average session times users spend on the website. Another essential feature analytics offers is splitting traffic to your site by direct, referral, paid and organic sessions. This feature can assist you in understanding where the traffic originates and which form has the most sessions on the site.
How does Google Analytics work?
Every time there is a visitor to a new page on the website, the analytics code collects more updated information regarding the user’s activity. It then sends the information to Google’s servers for processing. It can take up to a day to get the information to finish processing. Once the data is processed, Google will store and organise the information and display it on Analytics, where you can track and view the changes.
On occasion, Analytics will provide some results based on sampled data. Sampling can refer to the reporting of trends within the data, usually to help generate reports faster. The data when this occurs is not recording all interactions, but instead projects trends from the sample.
If your report is based on sampled data, Analytics will send an alert. If there are more than 500,000 sessions collected on the report, this will happen automatically. To help improve the accuracy of reports, you can change the sample size.
Why should I use Analytics?
Analytics is a crucial tool for website owners since it allows for continuous tracking of online objectives. This enables you to make informed decisions for your site based on data provided by user interactions.
Besides tracking results and objectives, Analytics can provide information that helps understand your site audience better. This can help you tailor your site to benefit your audience and get better conversions.
Alongside tracking users, if you plan to follow any events listed on your site with Google Tag Manager, you’ll need Analytics as they work as a team.
How do I set up Analytics?
Analytics is available free to anyone that has a Google Account. The service can only use Google Accounts, which are also free, so it’s necessary to create an account if you don’t have one already.
When signing up for Google Analytics, there is a three-step setup phase.
The first step is providing essential information regarding the website you wish to track. Once completed, you’ll receive a unique code that must be added to every page of the site that enables tracking. After this is completed, your site will begin to send traffic information to Analytics in a few hours.
What reports can be viewed with Analytics?
Every time you enter Analytics, you’ll arrive at the Audience Overview Report page. This will display basic information from the site such as visits, bounce rate, page views and the number of first-time or returning sessions.
For SEO services, Analytics has critical information that can measure the success of an SEO campaign, alongside traffic sources and durations on various parts of the site. By default, Analytics will provide data on a monthly time frame. Date ranges can be adjusted very quickly for those who wish to see data from more extended periods.
Analytics offers over 50 different reports for your data. Reports from SEO agencies will often include data from analytics, but scaled down to eliminate any useless information. When discussing targets for your SEO campaign with your agency, it’s vital to decide which metrics will be essential and better serve your business.
Here are some of the main reports you’ll see when in Analytics. These can commonly be found on the left sidebar within the service:
Real-Time reports monitor current user activity on the site. For example, it allows you to see user activity as it happens on your site. You can see a live count of how many people are on the site and see where they are going on the site. These reports constantly update and follow all activity within the site.
Audience reports help with breaking down the geography and demographics of visitors to the site. This section can find more detailed information on ages, gender, location, interests, location and even languages of visitors to the site. This can help give better insights to the audience that visits your site.
There’s also information on the technology used to access the site. For example, the browser and type of device being used to access the site.
Acquisition reports display the various methods of accessing the site from organic, direct, paid and referral traffic. This is crucial to help determine the success of your SEO campaign. Referrals are also essential to see if link building has been successful or if you have spam websites linking to the site.
Behaviour reports help provide information about the website’s content, giving a breakdown of specific website pages. There is also data on the length of time visitors spend on every page, the percentage of people leaving on a particular page, and the page’s loading speed. These different components all help find potential issues with content on the website.
The main two parts of conversions are eCommerce and goals. Goals serve as completing an activity on the site that helps the associate business succeed, such as completing a contact information submission form. Monitoring goals on Analytics requires Google to know the activities you want to be tracked on the site. This is done by creating event tracking with Tag Manager. E-commerce conversions typically are more challenging to develop, requiring you to insert specific code into your website.
What is Google Analytics 360?
Google Analytics 360 is the paid premium version of the standard Google Analytics. Both versions act similarly; however, Analytics 360 has more significant limits on data collected and is more flexible with the available data sources.
Analytics 360 is only necessary for larger enterprises that have massive data sets that need to be monitored. For smaller businesses, the standard analytics will have all the required information needed.