Google Analytics provides statistics and basic analytical tools for SEO and marketing purposes. It is used to track and report website traffic. Measuring the activity for your online visitors allows you to understand how your website is used and how users respond to your content. Google Analytics can measure near anything about your website – who comes to your site, how long they stay, the pages they like the most and much more. However, the Google Analytics dashboard can be overwhelming for new users, and introduces a lot of terms that won’t hold much significance unless you can clearly understand what they mean. We will highlight some of the most important Google Analytics metrics and explain what they mean…
First of all, we have the Audience Overview, this provides you with a view on who visits your site and their demographics – including their age, gender, location, along with the number of views your content receives. The Acquisitions section shows you how users are accessing your site, this could be through advertisements, organic or direct search or referral links from other websites. The Behaviour metric allows you to see trends of what users are doing while they are on your website, for example, you can see what other pages they visit on your website or what links they click on and you would be able to see if this is a common trend.
The Conversions section tracks if users’ complete goals that you have set on your website. A good example of this would be if your goal is for customers to come on your site and complete a purchase or register for something before leaving your site, you can have a look at the Conversions and see how many people have completed this goal.
A Session is the period of time a user is actively engaged with your website, a session begins the moment a user arrives at your website and includes all of the actions they take during that session. New Sessions would be the number of first-time visits from users. It is good to have a high percentage of New Sessions as this means a lot of new traffic is coming to your site, however you also want to maintain a high repeat visitor ratio as this means you have engaged customers who are returning to your site.
The Users metric are the actual visitors to your website, this is measured as having at least one session on your website. Pageviews measure the total number of times your websites pages are viewed, even if a page is viewed more than once in a session, each view counts towards this number. Unlike the general pageviews metric, Unique Page Views only counts a pageview once per user session, even if the user comes back to the page repeatedly. It is good to look for the pages that get the most unique views as these show the pages people are interested in the most.
The Pages/Sessions is the average number of pages viewed during a session. If users are spending a longer amount of time on your site looking at few pages it could mean they have interest in your content whereas if they were going to 10 different pages and exiting after one minute they are most likely not finding the information they are looking for. The Average Session Duration measures the average length of sessions on your website whereas the Average Time on Page is more specific as this shows the average time users spend on an exact page or screen.
The Bounce Rate measures single-page visits, where users entered and exited your site from the same page. You would typically want your bounce rate to be less than 40% as this shows users are browsing your website and visiting more than one page. Exit Percentage measures how often users leave your site from a particular page, it is important to consider your user to make sure they aren’t exiting important pages – be sure to include a clear call to action.
How to improve your metrics
Your content should be engaging and interesting for users to read. It is also important to offer a great website experience to every user – if your site is not easy to navigate or is not responsive this will often result in a high bounce rate as users will get frustrated and leave your site and go elsewhere. Share your content on social media and have a strong search engine optimization and online advertisements to increase traffic. Identify trends and see what you’ve done well on successful pages that you can replicate on other pages. If you would like users to navigate to more pages on the site make sure you include engagement prompts, like calls to action to get users to click onto other pages.