A beginners guide to Google Analytics

“What gets measured, gets improved/managed/done”, is a common saying in business circles. It signifies the need for businesses to cultivate a learning environment where they can constantly improve. This is particularly relevant for businesses that rely on Google for rankings.

Using an analytics program can show how visitors interact with a site, show which keywords they arrived with, the actions they take on the site etc. Knowing these metrics can determine if a marketing campaign will be scaled up or down. The free Google Analytics tool can help webmasters find this data and so much more.

The volume of data available makes navigating the platform no easy feat. This has led to many business owners avoiding it altogether. This article will highlight some of the more important aspects of this tool and its impact on your business. Google Analytics can show which marketing efforts are working, what isn’t and give pointers on optimizing the site and content.

Before delving into it’s use, it’s just as important to understand a few key terms:

  •  Dimensions – These are attributes of an object that can be tracked and assigned multiple values. Screens, Pageviews and Session Duration are all examples that appear in Google Analytics.
  • Metrics – These are the individual elements of a dimension that can be measured and expressed as a sum or a ratio. Visitors, Sessions and New Users are examples of metrics in GA.
  • Sessions – These record the amount of time that a user stays engaged on your website. A session is often associated with a date range and can be set up to log all the actions that a user takes on your site.
  • Pageviews – These are part of the Visitor overview and indicate the total number of pages viewed.
  • Bounce Rate shows the percentage of users that visit only one page on the site.

On first login, you’ll be directed to a general overview that shows relevant information regarding traffic and content stats. On the left of the page, you’ll find the tools needed to navigate the dashboard to find specifics like traffic sources, conversion etc. You can also generate a traffic report and pinpoint events that led to traffic fluctuations.

With the interface out of the way, the analytics tool offers four sections that help businesses track key performance indicators.

Visitors Overview

On the Visitors Overview page, you have access to a wide range of information, including Number of visitors, active pages, location, Page views, Bounce rate etc. All these provide insights on what different visitors when they land on your site. The tab also offers demographic details like language, browser, operating system; allowing you segment visitors and use the data in future marketing efforts.

Traffic Sources Overview

The Traffic Sources Overview shows how your SEO efforts are faring. It’s used to display incoming links, which platforms your traffic is coming from, which keywords are driving traffic, whether organic or paid traffic is producing better results etc.

Content Overview

In the Content Overview tab, you can determine the efficacy of a content marketing campaign by detailed tracking of your content pages. Unlike other reports, the Content Overview allows you track the page views down to individual pages.

When combined with the bounce rate, this can allow you see if the content on a page resonates with visitors. It also reveals which pages (and content) is drawing visitors in and which ones they leave from.


Keeping track of these metrics is a means to an end, which is making conversions and sales. The Google Analytics tool allows you set goals and review conversions based on those goals. Four types of goals available include URL destination, average time on site, event and Page/Visit. Your goals can be as simple as monitoring how long visitors spend on a page or whether they are funnelled to a particular page. Tracking conversion rates on these goals can provide a roadmap of sorts for optimising a site.

The Google Analytics dashboard is full of tools to help webmasters tweak campaigns and get the most out of their marketing efforts. Extensive data collection and the ability to create customised reports make Google Analytics, a must-have for serious business owners.

At Search and More, we appreciate the fact that not every business has the time to learn how to set up marketing campaigns, much less study a dashboard for daily stats. Contact us today and let’s help you develop a marketing campaign that actually delivers results.

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