If you have used Google Analytics as a beginner, no doubt you are satisfied with it, aren’t you?
But do you know how to use Google Analytics to maximize your productivity? Tracking the visits is the main thing websites do to know more about their content and increase their conversion. In this article, I will try to explain the primary terms used in Google Analytics for beginners and how you can maximize the return from your visitors.
I will explain:
Is Google Analytics important?
Short answer – yes. Long answer – yeeeeeeesssssss!
Google Analytics is a free tool that provides information about your website, your articles, your visitors, how they feel about your website. Google Analytics is to a website as a financial ratio analysis is to a company. It lists all the vital properties and background of your website and the nature of the traffic you are attracting. By paying attention to and improving upon the details will help you get the most out of your visitors (advertising royalties, more sales, more click-outs, more sign ups – whatever your objective is).
Key Terms in Google Analytics for Beginners
This is the list of websites and profiles that is shown once you log into Google Analytics.
You should always be in the “Reporting” tab to see all your stats.
What are Keywords?
Keywords are the phrases visitors search for to land on your content.
Although you might be excited that a lot of weird keywords are bringing you visits, don’t stop there! Use the report to dominate the search results and rise even higher. As an author for an article on how to use Google Analytics as a beginner, the first thing I must tell you is that you should optimize your website to bring in more visits from targeted keywords. The visit might have come from keywords in the middle of your article or even from your meta description.
Google (plus Yahoo! and Bing) does not take meta keywords into account, but still fetches for the summary (meta description). That is why, adding meta description to your article is important. In Writedge and DailyTwoCents, that description can be added by using the Yoast SEO Tool. Aim for a green SEO score in the SEO tool. See what keywords are bringing you visits and if possible, add those keywords in your title and early areas of your article. Don’t overdo it, make sure the reading feels natural.
How To See Keywords in Google Analytics
As said above, you should be on the Reporting tab of the analytics dashboard. On the left sidebar, scroll down until you see Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization > Queries.
Traffic Types in Google Analytics
Knowing Your Traffic Sources
Google Analytics tracks your traffic sources and categorizes them into three types – Direct, Referring and Search Engines.
Referral Traffic: When a visitor enters your site/article by clicking on a link inside other websites, it is called referral traffic. This does not count the links from search engines as they are search engine (organic traffic). Referral Traffic can be from Facebook, Twitter, your online bookmarks on Digg etc. The normal percentage of referral traffic (when no ad campaigns are used) should be around 15% or less. More referral traffic is not bad, as it means more people are linking to your website.
Search Engine Traffic (Organic): Search engine traffic are the visits from search engines. This traffic is natural and if no artificial variables are involved, search engines can bring you consistent traffic every time – you don’t need to create backlinks again and again. Search Engine traffic should be more than 50%. Search Engine traffic is mostly converted, this means that organic traffic reflects your exposure, success, and productivity.
Direct Traffic: All traffic from direct URL inputs are the direct traffic. Not only the direct input but the traffic from browser bookmarks, links from offline documents are also direct traffic. In short, the traffic whose source cannot be determined is direct traffic. Highly secured websites and servers also count towards direct traffic.
How To See Your Individual Article Counters
The number of pageviews in Google Analytics is the measure of how many times a webpage or an article has been viewed. Go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages to see the individual stats for all your individual pages. This is more useful in case you need to see what pages have more bounce rates, more page depth (pageviews) or visits.
Be sure to set the correct timeframe in the upper-right corner of the reporting dashboard.
What is Bounce Rate and why is it important?
Picture from Pixabay
Bounce rate is the measure of page views in your website. Most people relate it with time on site, which is not true. A 100% bounce rate occurs when a visitor only views 1 page on your website in one session. The more pages your visitors explore, the lower your bounce rate will be. A normal page view rate is 3 pageviews per visit. If this number is lower, your bounce rate is high and you should optimize your pages so as to increase your productivity, conversion, and quality.
On the other hand, a 100% bounce rate also does not mean your death. If a visitor happens to click on an advertisement, or an outbound link you created to affiliate websites like Amazon, it also results in a 100% bounce rate. Not exactly bad, right?
How to decrease bounce rate?
If your bounce rate is normally high, put links to related pages at the top-right or middle-right. If the average time on site is low, put the “related pages” in the top-right and in the middle-right if your time is a little high. I had few 100% bounce rate pages, so I have kept links a little high (nearly above the fold).
You can also experiment by adding links somewhere in between the article. Adding text links within the text is even better as it retains the SEO value but still goes with the flow. You can also set outbound links to open in a new window. This will open the link to another website in a new window while still keeping the original page open.
Use this variable to measure your conversion and popularity.
Traffic from the United States and Canada are mostly converted because they have a large consumer base. Not only conversion, the advertising pay rates are also high for traffic from these countries.
The more interesting your content is, the more viral it goes. With that being said, your content is viewed by a large number of internet users from all countries. You can also measure popularity by visitor trending and visitor loyalty. Page views and bounce rate come under the trends visitors show.
Loyalty is measured by the recency, length and depth of the visit (pageviews). Interesting and useful content is the only parameter for getting more loyal visits. To increase your page views, you have to follow the measures to decrease bounce rate.
Are your visitors loyal to your writing?
Visitor Loyalty is primarily the measure of returning visits – which is most helpful in the case of blogs and other community based websites like Writedge and DailyTwoCents. You can see if your blogging community actually returns to see your new articles. And if yes, what percentage of them? We can’t and should not expect all of our followers to come back again and again. My expectation is only 30%, which is still high. I understand this – I myself don’t go through or find every article my fellow writers write.
But I never miss the interesting articles of interesting users which I follow – maybe I read and comment on only 30% of the articles.
New visits mean popularity and also means your articles are getting new audience and readership base, which is a good thing.
How to filter out your own visits?
There is an option to filter out your own internal traffic. For that purpose, you have to create a filter. Follow the below steps to create a filter to exclude your own visits:
Firstly, you need your IP address. Just google ”what is my IP address” and your G-friend will show the IP address of your computer. It is a numeric code. Copy it.
Come back to your Analytics and enter the Admin tab. Head over to Filters and create a new filter. Give that filter a name. I decided to name it “Exclude my own visits”.
In the filter type, choose “Predefined” > “Exclude” > “traffic from the IP addresses” > “that are equal to”.
In the text box below, paste your IP address.
New filter has been created
Hit Save. Done!
How to filter out bots?
Bots are machine scripts that visit your website to see the content. Different types of bots serve different purposes. For example, a Google bot visits your page to save it in its directory (cache). A spam bot just visits your page to artificially inflate your views and register a source back to its website. These visits do not provide any conversion, so they best be excluded from your Google Analytics stats.
To filter out bots, Go to Admin > View Settings > Check “exclude all hits from known bots and spiders” and hit “Save”. You can also try to create a new view like I have done, but that step is optional. I only want to know the magnitude of the difference bots make in my traffic. If you are into such thing, you can totally do that too.
Want more tutorial on Google Analytics?
The best way to get more out of your Google Analytics is to search for it yourself. Be familiar with the GA dashboard, log in every day, track your visits, see what keywords you can dominate – and improve upon them. The video below provides a more in-depth tutorial of the new GA interface.