How does Google Analytics work? With Google Analytics 2020 you can see:
- How often your website is visited.
- Which pages were viewed and how often.
- From which websites you get visitors.
- How long visitors stay on a page on average.
- On which pages people leave your website.
- From which countries your visitors come.
- What percentage visits your website via a mobile phone or tablet.
And with some settings you can:
View the conversion and positions in Google
- If you set goals, you can also see which pages get you the most customers, subscribers or contact moments.
- And if you link Google Analytics to Google’s Search Console , you can see on which words you rank, how high you rank and what the click-through ratio (CTR) is. </ li>
These are statistics with which you can optimize your website.
Start with Google Analytics
Don’t have Google Analytics yet? Then create one first.
Do you already have a Google Analytics account? First log in to Google Analytics. Then read this article.
How does Google Analytics work?
The first page that you see when you open Google Analytics is the homepage.
The homepage of Google Analytics is full of graphs and tables about the traffic to your website. You can best see the homepage as a summary of all statistics.
On this page you can quickly see how many visitors you had this week, how many pages were viewed (sessions), how long people stay on average on a page, which pages were visited the most and on which devices people visit your website.
And yet I don’t look at these statistics that often.
In fact, I don’t view 95% of the available statistics in Google Analytics on a regular basis.
And you don’t have to do that either.
You don’t get as much as an entrepreneur from most statistics
A few examples.
You can see, via Target group GEO , which countries your visitors come from. And even from which province. But most webmasters don’t use this information that much.
You can also see what percentage visits your website via mobile phone or tablet, via Target group Mobile . You can see for yourself which version of the iPhone they are using. But this information is also of little use to you. Your website should be mobile friendly anyway.
Same with the browser they use and which screen resolutions are popular. Target group Technology Browser and operating system Screen resolutions .
These data can help you build and improve your website. For example, you can make it extra important to test the website for specific browsers, resolutions or devices.
But these are not statistics that you have to keep in mind regularly. We will discuss which statistics you have to keep an eye on.
The various reports in Google Analytics
Let us briefly review the Google Analytics menu items.
- Real-time: you can see what’s happening on your website right now.
- Target audience: Anonymous and general information about your visitors.
- Acquisition: How do your visitors get to your website? Via which websites?
- Behavior: Which pages are visited? How often? How long?
- Conversion: If you have set goals, you can find information here how often your goals are achieved. And on which pages.
The most important statistics in Google Analytics
The statistics that can tell us the most are the page statistics, followed by the acquisition statistics.
- Where do visitors come from?
- Which pages are visited?
About interpreting statistics
We must be careful when drawing conclusions from statistics too quickly.
It is normal for statistics to differ per day, week and month.
You cannot compare a Sunday with a Monday. And you shouldn’t compare January with July.
Increases and decreases in visitor numbers are normal. With most websites, it is busier on weekdays than on weekends. And with some websites the opposite.
And it is often busy in January and this decreases until the end of the summer (vacation). Then it rises again to December, the ‘festive month’.
How should you interpret graphs then?
You must compare similar periods. February this year with February last year, for example. Then you can see what is different.
You can select a date by clicking on the date in the top right. You can then choose a fixed period, for example the last 7 or 30 days, but you can also select a period yourself.
Then you can check Compare with and set it to Last year or Previous period . And here too you can manually select a period.
A clear (research) question
What exactly do I want to know?
What is the reason that you visit Google Analytics? What do you want to learn?
Without question it is easy to get lost in the statistics without learning anything.
Types of questions you can ask:
- What kind of blogs perform best?
- Which websites do I get the most visitors from?
- Does adjusting X and Y make sense? Do those pages perform better after the adjustment?
And you can take action based on such answers.
Where do visitors come from?
If you click on Acquisition in the menu on the left, you will see a few options.
Via All traffic Referrals you can see through which websites visitors come to your website. When you click on a website, you also see which specific pages of that website send you visitors.
If you advertise on Google and have linked your Google Adwords account to Google Analytics, you can view the performance of your ads under the Google Ads heading.
If you link the Google Search console of your website with your Google Analytics account, you can see at Search Console which keywords you rank on and how high you rank. But for those statistics you can just go to the Search Console.
And at Social you can see how many visitors you get through the various social media channels.
Statistics of your pages
You can find the page statistics via Behavior Site Content All pages.
You will then see a graph and a table.
You can find the statistics of your pages in the table. To be able to do something with the statistics, you have to understand the data points.
- Page Views: This is the number of times the page has been viewed.
- Unique pageviews: How many people viewed the pages.
The page views are always higher or equal to the unique page views, because some people view a page multiple times.
Average time on a page
Pay attention. This is not an exact statistic. The time is only saved when you click on a link – and thus leave the page. This means that no time is measured when you leave the website on that page (by clicking on the cross in the browser).
This is the number of new first page visitors. This often means the number of visitors from the search engine and sometimes the visitors via social media, other websites or the newsletter.
This is the percentage of visitors who only visited this page and then left the website.
That is the percentage of visitors who have viewed multiple pages, but left the website on this page.
How do you use page statistics?
It is important to know that the statistics do not say everything.
In general: the longer a person is on a page, the more people find value on the page.
But that is not always the case.
Suppose you have a page in which you explain a term. A not so difficult term. You only need three paragraphs. Then the ‘time-on-page’ can be very low, because one does not need that long to read the text and/or after reading the definition they have reached their ‘goal’ and leave the page, while no time-on-page is measured.
A good page can therefore have a low ‘Average time on a page’.
But if you put a few large articles next to each other, you could look at the average time on a page, the bounce rate, and the exit rate to see which pages you could improve.
Let’s take an example
Let’s say two pages have the statistics on average time on a page, the number of entrances, bounce rate and exit rate
Use Google Analytics statistics
The first page has a very high bounce and exit percentage. 96.17% and 95.75%. But the average time on the website is high, 5 minutes and 46 seconds.
This probably means (and hopefully): the visitor comes to the page, reads everything, has found what he or she is looking for and then leaves the website. So the page helps the visitor, but the visitor doesn’t stick . So I could link more on the page to related pages on my website.
The second page is the opposite. A relatively low average time on a page, but also a low bounce and exit percentage.
This can also be a good page. When I visit the page, I see that ‘navigating’ is the main purpose of the page. There is relatively little text, but there are a few clear links to more specific articles. I can see from the statistics that people click and therefore probably help the reader.
And yet I could see if I could expand the page without making navigation more difficult.
Judge and improve
So you should look at the purpose of the page, the length of the page (number of words), the average time on the page and the bounce and exit percentage.
Where is something wrong? Do you have a long informative article, but a low time on the page? Then you should probably improve the article.
Do you have a navigating page, but visitors don’t click? Then you have to check if you meet the right need. Do visitors expect an informative article? Are you linking to the right pages? So by now you should know how Google Analytics works! Still have questions? Use the comment form below. Good luck and thanks for reading!