Last updated on January 12th, 2013 at 01:20 pm
So you’re a marketer and you work well with data. Data verifies strategies. Real data tells you how your users react to you. Real data should be the one directing where your SEO campaign should go. The closest place you can find your real data is in Google Analytics. Here’s where it gets interesting.
I’ve been talking a lot about User Activity lately so I thought that it was high time that you guys explore the world of User Activity through Google Analytics. This is the first of a multi-part tutorial of Google Analytics. We will take you through Google Analytics – from installation of the tracking code to how it translates to meaningful data that can direct your SEO strategy.
All About your Website
Google Analytics is a tool that helps you keep track of your User Activity. This includes how many users entered your website in a specific time-span, where those users came from, which pages they visited, etc. It has even expanded to how well your site’s speed is doing and how much social signal your site has garnered.
In short, Google Analytics is all about real data in your website. Data that you can translate into useful business intelligence and SEO strategy for your online campaigns.
Go to http://www.google.com/analytics/ and create an account – or if you already have a gmail account, you can use that.
To start using Google Analytics to track your website’s data, follow these steps:
1) Click on New Account. This is where you will put all of the websites of one specific account.
2) Select your Tracking Options. This is pretty much a no-brainer. Of course, for this tutorial, we’re tracking a Web Site.
3) It’s definitely up to you if you want to share your data with Google. Make sure that you change your Account name to your client’s account.
4) Get your Tracking code by copying it. It will look like this:
As the instruction said, copy it and paste it into the code of every page you want to track. We usually paste it in the header code of the theme we’re using for our CMS so that it is automatically inside the <head> section of every (front-end) page of our website.
And voila! Let a few days pass by and you’ll get some data you can use in your Google Analytics dashboard.
Understanding the Data
Google Analytics can get tricky, technical and confusing if you let it. Let’s keep things simple. Basically if you’re a person who just wants to know what your users are doing in your website, installing the tracking code is all you need. Only when you’ve installed the tracking code correctly will it be able to gather your user’s data. Once it has gathered data, it can show you the data when you visit your Google Analytics account again.
When I first went ahead and checked out Google Analytics, I didn’t know which was which. I needed a Google Dictionary (ironic, isn’t it?) to get me through the variables. Wouldn’t want you to go through that, would we? Let me walk you through it:
Unique Visitors are the number of people who went in your website for that specific time frame. The difference between unique visitors and visits is that any visit from a specific IP address would increment the Unique Visitors count only once while going out of the website and going back in again would increment the Visits count on as many times as the user goes back and in on that day.
Pageviews are the number of pages a visitor has looked at for the duration of his stay (for that day) in your website.
Pages / Visit is simply Pageviews divided by Visits.
Average Visit Duration is the average time spent by your users in your website.
Bounce Rate is the percentage of your users going into your website and ‘bouncing out’. Bouncing out can be defined as any action the user does that takes him out of your website in a specific time frame. This time frame is not yet exactly known – it can be a 5 minute time frame or a 10 minute time frame or perhaps it depends on the type of website (blog, e-commerce, informational, etc.). For example: the user hitting the ‘back’ button or the ‘X’ button after 10 seconds because she doesn’t find what she’s looking for – that’s considered a bounce.
% New Visits is simply the percent of the people who have visited your website for the first time during a chosen specific time period versus the number of people who have already visited your website previous to that time period.
These are just the basics. It gets deeper and deeper than this. There’s data manipulation, filtering, goal setting, and lots more.
Tips for Keeps: Set up Google Analytics for your website today. Don’t delay – you’ll be amazed how you can use the data for your website’s SEO and business development efforts.