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Google Analytics: Beginner's Guide (5 Minute Read)

Google Analytics: Beginner’s Guide (5 Minute Read)

Do you have a personal blog or website that needs better traffic and increased conversions? Google Analytics can help you get there. How does it work? It provides insights into metrics like traffic sources, conversation rates, engagement, and audience demographics and highlights where your site performs and where it needs improvements.

Using Google Analytics can be highly beneficial for businesses to track webpage searches, web traffic, and web advertising, but also for people who have a personal blog and want to keep an eye on their traffic sources, user behavior, conversion rate, and the average time visitors spend on their blog. In other words, if you want to know what kind of traffic your website is getting, analyze basic reports, or set up campaign tracking, Google Analytics is the tool to use.

Google Analytics allows business owners and marketing teams to access real-time data and information related to how the users interact with their online site. Despite its apparently tangled interface, Google Analytics is relatively easy to understand and use! You just need to master the basics of analytics and learn how to use the tracking data.

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a free website tracking tool and platform that reflects the way users interact with a website. Basically, it is an SEO tool that allows you to track what users are doing on your website. Based on user behavior, the tool develops traffic reports detailing all the information gathered. Mostly, Google Analytics gathers site traffic and provides analytics details related to a multitude of variables – from how many users you have to the time periods each user is spending on the website.

Based on this data, this free program can compile an overview report of all the collected data and give valuable insights into user behavior. The behavior overview allows businesses to get information on the general activities of users, ad tracking, active users, and so much more. Moreover, this is one of the most powerful tools marketing teams can use to extract analytics essentials and access various analytics reports. Google Analytics helps people gather and analyze key metrics of their online site and provides optimization opportunities for increased traffic and performance.

Google Analytics can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. It can help with basic reports on traffic and conversions, but it can also provide custom reports for increased efficiency and understanding of audience behavior. While standard reports are often used to get an insight into how many visitors a website has, how the users found the site, and how many views a certain page had, custom reports prove to be very useful when you want to access specific analytics details related to ads tracking, campaigns, marketing channels, etc.

How does Google Analytics work?

Google Analytics uses a combination of different analytic systems to gather activity from users. Specifically, it uses JavaScript page tags (or a Google Tag) which reads the information the user provides, such as webpage, session duration, and how many times a user goes on a webpage. The tag sends the information to a google databank, and metrics are then used to produce numerical data like users or session durations.

This is why many websites ask users to accept cookies. Webpages use cookies to gather information so that Google Analytics can compile this information into a simple report with different informative channels. Google Analytics uses this information to create data visualization, monitoring tools, a comprehensive dashboard, a predictive analytics system, and understands the different types of data gathered.

What makes Google Analytics special is how it uses the information collected from users to give businesses a way to visualize the data that has been collected and can predict future data. This data can help with business performance and allow users to put together a strategy to allow their websites to perform better.

How can Google Analytics help?

Google Analytics provides access to valuable data, the backbone of successful digital marketing strategies and informed business decisions. Data provides insight into what the target audience likes, wants, and needs to keep coming back to your page and continue buying your products or services. Furthermore, data allows you to optimize your online page and grow your ranking, as well as increase the return on investment of your website.

Google Analytics can help in a multitude of ways! It all depends on your goals! Set the type of goal you want to achieve – better traffic, better conversions, better engagement – and put the tool to work. Google Analytics helps you track all the right numbers to understand how your website performs in the universe of the worldwide web. The tool allows you to assess your website performance and how much ad revenue you are getting. This is a powerful platform designed to serve both individuals and businesses that want to improve their search engine optimization performance, track user interactions, and establish prolific digital marketing strategies.

The most common reason for using Google Analytics is fast access to a real-time report that allows website owners to have an overview of their website traffic and marketing teams to improve their strategies and achieve their conversion goals. Here are some of the most important things Google Analytics can do for you:

Track online traffic

An essential piece of the puzzle if you want to run a successful business online, traffic reports identify traffic sources and allow you to plan your strategy for growth. Does your traffic originate from search engines, social media platforms, backlinks, advertising, or custom campaigns? You’ll get your answers from the Google Analytics Acquisition reports and find it easy to understand where most of your users are coming from and how to use the information to benefit your business.

Track the activities of users

Google Analytics allows you to access behavior analytics to understand how your users and visitors use your site. Behavior reports are essential if you want to optimize your online business performance. The tool will get you data on:

  • Bounce rate
  • Average session duration
  • Page views
  • Exit rates and pages
  • Top pages
  • Site search

It provides valuable information about who is looking at your website, when they’re looking at your website, what audience they are a part of, and so much more. A reliable tracking tool, it helps you to see if you are reaching your target audience and assess your website’s user experience. Once you know where your traffic is coming from and what pages get the most traction, you can identify the content that gets the most internal traffic and improve how you interact with users. 

Improve SEO and content marketing

You keep hearing about the importance of SEO, but what does it do? SEO – search engine optimization allows your website to grow organically. It helps you see what pages have the most traffic and identify pages with poor engagement. Based on the pages that perform the best, you can establish your content marketing strategy. Connect the Search Console to Google Analytics, and you’ll get instant access to keywords and pages that matter most for your page. A better page performance leads to better SEO results.

Track conversions

Conversion tracking helps business owners track user actions and measure the performance of marketing campaigns. They are basically showing you if people are buying your product or service once they land on your website. Conversion rates are not included in your simple reports nor are generated automatically. Conversion analytics only works if you set certain goals, such as leads, sales, or behavioral goals. 

Why do you need custom reports?

People with personal blogs can use Google Analytics to see who their audience is and how their website is currently doing. Businesses can go beyond standard reports with Google Analytics. Accessing their custom report, businesses learn who their audience is, what marketing tools are working, and what marketing campaigns aren’t working. Through advanced Google Analytics, they can redirect their marketing efforts where they are needed and have access to even more tools that can help them achieve their marketing goals.

Google Analytics Report

If you set up a custom goal report, you can collect more specific metrics. Custom reports allow you to customize pretty much everything from alerts to dashboards. The information provided will get you a deeper insight into the metrics of the goals you are planning to achieve. The platform is equipped with a wide range of premade reports and dashboards that can quickly provide access to data regarding the website’s performance and SEO metrics.

Furthermore, custom reports can be shared with third parties, such as organizations, management, or investors, and provide clear numbers on the milestones achieved, the goals set, and the overall performance of your business. You can simply export them into a spreadsheet and use them to improve your website and strategy decisions. Not everyone will understand every detail included in the report, but the basics are easy to comprehend, and the graphs always help.

How to set up Google Analytics?

1. Set up your Google Analytics account

2. Connect your URL – install the Google tag to start collecting data

3. Get access to real-time reports – basic overview reports that include traffic data, traffic sources, active users, most popular pages, etc.

The data available in reports includes dimensions and metrics. Metrics are things that can be measured with a number – users, conversions, purchases, while dimensions are how metrics can be divided – number of users by source, number of conversions by device type, etc.

Need assistance setting up your Google Analytics?

Our team can assist in properly configuring your Google Analytics account. Request a Free Consultation to discuss pricing and capabilities.

A step-by-step guide to using Google Analytics

This step-by-step guide will be directed toward the individual user and small business owner. Google Analytics is easy to use once you get started and it takes care of most of the work.

Planning

The first step in setting up any business or personal website is to figure out a plan. What is the information you want others to gather from your website? What are the goals you have for your Google Analytics dashboard? Having a plan for what you want, the type of content you want to promote, and who you want to see the website will bring you closer to having the ideal Google Analytics report.

Installing Google Analytics

While you can go to the Google Analytics website to check your data, you can also install Google Analytics directly onto your website. If you have a WordPress website, you can install Google Analytics onto WordPress by going into the tools section, looking into marketing, and then finding Google Analytics.

Using Google Analytics

First, you’ll want to go to the Google Analytics webpage and sign up for an account. It will prompt you to connect a website which is where you’ll connect your website. Once that is done, you can press “start.”

You can spend time configuring what kind of data you’ll collect on your website and what kind of report setup you would like. Google Analytics makes all the data super easy to see through graphs and other visual figures.

Things to do on Google Analytics:

  • Connect Google Ads with Google Analytics
  • Configure reporting views to show relevant data
  • Set targets
  • Browse Solutions Gallery to find all the layouts that are relevant to you and your business goals
  • Set up tracking codes to organize more information and data. Your tracking code will track what people are doing on your website. You can also track conversations through your website, as well as user interaction with videos, shopping pages, and more.
  • Track searches done to your website and through your website. Learn more about optimizing your website for the best search tracking results here.

Gathering ads information

To gather information on ad tracking, you can connect Google Ads with your Google Analytics account. This can be conducted using the Google Analytics admin menu.

Explore

The best thing to do when starting your Google Analytics account is to explore all the options available. Take the time to figure out what aspect you want to track. Also, explore different ways to use the data to improve your website and business. Knowing who is looking at your website can help you alter your work to appeal to that audience. Learn what works and what doesn’t. This is the biggest part of the Google Analytics learning process.

Google Universal Analytics vs Google Analytics 4

One more important thing to be aware of. Google Universal Analytics, also known as, GA3 will be sunset on July 1st, 2023. The new platform, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) will be the platform for processing information after that date. Google has pushed back that date at least once already, but for now, that is the official date. The fundamental concepts of Google Analytics are similar across both platforms, but there are some differences between the two. If you’d like to become more familiar with the differences between GA3 and GA4, take a look at this article here

Google Analytics Academy

If you want more information on using Google Analytics, check out Google Analytics Academy where you will find all the necessary information. This free program will take you through the basics and explain how to use the program for your business. Check it out here!