Why do you need to know how to read Google analytics reports?
If you are using a website for your business you will want to know everything about your site from where your traffic is coming from to what is working and what isn’t. Google analytics is a free service from Google that you can use to gather a huge amount of information about your site but many people only use it to simply see how many visitors they have had that day. So learning how to read Google analytics reports is vital if you really want to understand what is happening with your traffic.
Tips on How to Read Google Analytics Reports
When you open your Google Analytics you can select which of your sites you wish to view information about and you will then be presented with a host of graphs and other data on the reporting page. At the top right you can select the time period that you wish to view data for and this can be for as long as you have had the site through to just the last day. Once you have selected your time frame you can look at the information that you are provide.
The page is actually customizable so you can have it display the specific graphs that you want to see, but typically you will be shown the following in your Audience Overview:
- Sessions: These are the number of times that someone has entered your site and includes new and repeat users.
- Users: These are the number of unique users that has accessed your site, this number will often be less than the number of sessions as there will be users that will have accessed your site more than once. Remember that returning visitors is a good indicator to Google and can help with your rankings.
- Pageviews: These are the number of pages that any user has viewed when they have visited your site. Having considerably more page views than sessions is again a good indicator as to the quality of your site to the search engines.
- Pages / session: This is the average number of pages that any user has viewed in a visit. The higher the figure the better for Google.
- Avg. Session Duration: This is the length of time that users have spent on your site, again the longer this figure the better as it shows Google that people are actually spending time on your site to read what is there.
- Bounce Rate: this is the percentage of visits that “bounce”, that is they come into a page and quickly leave without interacting. While this can mean that the user found exactly the information they were looking for, it can also indicate problems. Users that find that the page does not answer their query or that find the page confusing or not to their liking will “bounce”. A high bounce rate therefore is an opportunity for you to improve your site.
- New vs Returning visitors: This shows you how many of your visitors during your analyzed period are new and returning. Depending on your business you may want to ensure that you maximize your returning visitors.
- Demographics / System / Mobile: These allow you to get an overview of where your traffic is coming from with regards to countries, browsers and even operating systems used so that you can better understand your users.
Using google analytics for marketing will require you to gain even more information than the overview that the figures above provide. By using the menu on the left of the screen you can access even more information:
- Acquisition: Using the best keyword tool, it can provide you with an overview of where your traffic is coming from such as organic search and also direct referrals. Other selections allow you to further investigate this and to show you everything from the queries that users have typed into the search engines through to the specific landing pages that they have arrived at. This information is great for finding keywords if google analytics and also for seeing exactly what is and is not working for attracting visitors.
- Behavior: From site search through to your site speed you can view exactly what is affecting your users behavior within your site and how they move around and use your website.
There are of course a huge amount of other reports there within the analytics so it is best to jump in and learn what you can find. Learning how to read Google analytics reports is not hard if you are willing to take the time to explore all the information that is available to you.