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Understanding Google Analytics

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If you run a website, you’ve probably heard about Google Analytics. Many webmasters go on and on about how the tool holds incredible insights, but if you’ve never used the tool before, it often just looks like a mess of charts, graphs and data when you log in.

What It Does
Google Analytics collects all kinds of data about visitors to your website. It tracks where visitors come from, how long they were on your site and where they went within your site. This data can help you determine where you need to improve your advertising or search engine optimization efforts as well as what you’re already doing right.

You may also find, based on information from Google Analytics, that your regular customers or visitors aren’t actually who you think they are. For instance, the largest number of sales, conversions or visitors who spend the most time on your site may be from a different geographic region than you expect or may be in a different age or income group. Thanks to Google’s data collection efforts, Google Analytics is able to provide you with this type of information.

How Visitors Got To Your Site
For many webmasters, how someone got to a website is one of the most important metrics. Visitors can arrive at a site from a search engine, a social media platform, a link sent in an email or by clicking on an advertisement. Knowing where the majority of your traffic is coming from can help you increase the number of visitors to your site.

With Google Analytics, you can track which social media posts and which social media platforms send the most traffic to your site. Additionally, you can determine what keywords people search for when they find your site through a search engine. You can also see your search engine rankings for keywords, and this can help you not only see your SEO progress but help you find different keyword combinations to optimize for.

What Visitors Did When They Got There
Google Analytics can also help you get an idea of what people do when they arrive at your site. Data collected includes how long people stayed on your site, what links they clicked on while there and what page someone left from. This type of information can help you determine what your most popular pages, posts or products are, and they can also help you figure out if pages on your site are lining up with visitors’ expectations. If people arrive at your site and leave after a few seconds, they’re probably not finding what they’re looking for.

Are People Doing What I Want?
If you run a website, whether it’s a blog, a sales portal or a site for collecting information about potential clients, there are probably certain things you’d like visitors to do. This can include everything from simply clicking around to increase ad revenue to signing up for an emailing list. With Google Analytics’ goal tracking, you can determine if these things are happening.

Goal Tracking can be set up to track up to 20 different goals. In addition to using goal templates, you can also set up goals manually. Common types of goals include getting visitors to fill out a form, make a purchase or spend a certain amount of time on your site. Once you’ve set up goal tracking, you can monitor different time frames, so you can see if changes to your site are helping or hindering your efforts.

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