Learning to navigate Google Analytics can take some time. There is a ton of information on the website that bloggers will find useful.
The question is-exactly what should I be focused on when I come to my Google Analytics page?
Basically Google divides traffic with two main metrics. USERS=unique visitor and SESSIONS=each time your site is visited by a particular visitor.
A user would be someone who visits your website. If a visitor comes to your site 5 times in one month Google will consider those 5 visits as one unique visitor.
If you have a single visitor to come to your website 5 times in a month that is considered 5 sessions.
We will dive into some more important metrics to follow for most bloggers.
I say most bloggers because GA is super detailed and will provide you with everything from where your visitors are coming from, demographics about visitors, interests visitors may have, and to the pages they land on and even exit from.
For most bloggers especially newer bloggers who are focused on growing their traffic this post cover those metrics that are specific and help to determine your websites traffic habits.
Related Reading: Install Google Analytics on Your WordPress Blog
Let’s start by understanding the Google Analytics (GA) home menu
Home-in the home section you get an overview of your websites traffic habits. it’s like having a snap shot of everything going on.
Anytime you come to GA you can view data from the home section or drill down and find specific info.
Real Time-this shows in actual time people on your website. You can see what content is being view’d and what part of the world your visitor is from
Audience-this section gives you information about visitors such as behavior, demographics, interests
Acquisition-in this section we see how visitors land on your site. GA breaks down your traffic from SERP’s, social media, and even direct visitors
Behavior-the behavior section is a great resource. You can see what content is most read by your visitors, if people are going from page to page on your site, and even how long visitors stay on your website.
Basic Metrics to Get Familiar With
- Pageviews: how many pages were viewed by all users.
- Pages/ Session: (Average Page Depth) is the average number of pages viewed during a session. Repeated views of a single page are counted.
- Average Session Duration: The average length of a session
- Bounce Rate: The percentage of single-page sessions in which there was no interaction with the page. Learn more
My goal for you in this guide is to give you a simple to follow way of understanding all the data you will find on your GA page.
It may seem like alot of info at first glance, so we will learn in sections. GA is a great tool to have in your arsenal.
It’s a free tool that will help you understand everything going on with your website/blog.
The next section we cover will be analyzing the data, and what metrics to focus on.
For you, these statistics might not be available just yet if you are only beginning to build your site.
However, you will find yourself using this tool all of the time so let’s get familiar with it now.
If you have recently set up your GA you may not have all data available. Google needs some time to review your site to begin reporting.
What to focus on? I look at a few things but most important
1. Where my traffic is coming from?
2. What content is bringing me that traffic.
Let’s access the reports
Where is My Traffic Coming From
Go to Acquisition-> All traffic-> Channels.
This report shows you how people land on your site, it shows the bounce rate which is how long visitors stay on your site, and you can also see how many pages are visited.
For Pinterest users looking to get information on best performing pins.
You can go to Acquisition-All Traffic-Referrals-click on Pinterest and you get a list of pins. You can then copy and paste a pin url in a new window and learn who saved that pin.
Acquisition- Overview this metric is very useful as well. You see exactly what channels your traffic is coming from.
For example if your new to SEO the organic search option shows you what percentage of your traffic is coming through SEO efforts.
The areas you can monitor here are Direct, Social, Organic Search, and Referral traffic.
Social: visitors came through their publication links in social networks
Direct: visitors come from a link or from a direct search for the name of your website.
Referral: Visitors come from another website as if they were invited to post on someone else’s website.
Organic: the visitors searched for something and landed on your very own site.
Acquisition- Social- Overview: This metric will show you the traffic that is referred by your social media channels.
If you promote your blog on Facebook, or Pinterest you can see the amount of traffic your getting.
When you find that one of your social media channels doesn’t seem to generate traffic and you are promoting on that channel you can adjust your promotion efforts to engage more with your audience.
Audience-Overview:This metric shows information on your visitors such as the language they speak, type of device they use to access your site, web browser, and other demographics info.
Audience> GEO: You will see what countries your visitors are from as well as the language they speak. This can be a powerful metric as it tells you what parts of the world seem to find your content.
Audience-Mobile: I really like this section. Here you can see the actual device that users browse your website with.
FYI-Make sure your website is mobile responsive, a large number of web surfers are accessing the web via mobile and tablet devices.
Behavior- Overview: This is useful information because it shows you why visitors visit your website.
You may want to create more posts of this type to increase traffic. This metric will show you what content visitors are interested in.
You will see you posts in descending order including a post that has a/ for the post title. This would be your homepage.
Behavior-Behavior Flow-This section is really useful. It shows what pages bring visitors to our website.
From the page they land on it shows what pages they visit while on your website.
This is great because you can determine whats popular with your audience. To access the report go to Behavior-Behavior Flow
- Interlinking Articles- related posts should be linked in articles
- Use a Recent Posts widget- This is a great way to get visitors to see more of your content
- Add a search widget on your blog- I find this to be very useful. If I’m unable to find a particular post I will search for a keyword related to the post
A quick word on Bounce Rate. With these reports you can determine which of your pages have higher bounce rates and work on improving the content in those pages.
It could be a couple of simple things you change or add that can make a huge difference.
Let’s check the report, go to Behavior-Site Content-All Pages. This gives you information on your top performing pages.
You get pageviews, unique pageviews, average time on page, and even bounce rate.
Here you can see how much time is being spent on your most popular posts by visitors and when a visitor exits your site you can see if they exit from the same page they landed on or a different page.
I hope this basic Google Analytics overview was helpful to you! There is so much GA has to offer.
I suggest spending as much time as possible going through the different metrics.
This post gives you some of the more important metrics to track and will certainly help to grow your website traffic.
Use this guide and find out what’s working on your website and the improvements you can make to continue to grow and reach the success you have envisioned!
Now over to you
I’m curious? How do you navigate Google Analytics to improve your website? Join the conversation and leave comments below. We love hearing from our readers!
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