Understanding the Google Analytics reports will give you clues about the health and overall appeal of your site.
Analytics is a very powerful tool for compiling statistics about your site, and what’s even better it is provided for free by Google. There are many different reports you can run and a large amount of information you can review and analyse.
However, as a website owner, one of your main concerns is determining how your visitors are finding you, and how they are responding to your content (in other words interacting with your site).
Here’s an overview of the key Google Analytics reports you should familiarise yourself with:
This report tells you in detail how many visitors have visited your website but also the number of pages on your website that your visitors have viewed per visit. The closer this value is to 1, the less your blog or website is engaging to those who stop by. Over time you may want to learn more about sub-reports and key performance indicators including terms like: unique visitor and absolute unique visitor.
2) Average time on site
The report does what it says on the label, and shows the amount of time each visitor (on average) has spent on your website. There are variables to take into account for this one, for example if you have a lot of ads that cause visitors to click away, but on average it's how long people are staying on your site before they leave.
3) New visitors
This report gives you a good idea of how many people are first-time visitors. A high value here can mean you are getting ranked in Google for keywords that are driving a lot of fresh, first time traffic to you. It could also reflect having a lot of backlinks to your site doing the same. If you are getting significant search engine traffic, Google analytics report will show you what keywords people are searching on to find you.
4) Bounce rate
The bounce rate is tied to the pages/visits stat, and gives you a different perspective of what your visitors do. When users visit your site, if they decide they don't like it (or it wasn't what they were looking for) and leave immediately without browsing the content of your website, then that is a 100% bounce. If they stick around and visit other pages within your website, the bounce percentage goes down accordingly. The higher this number, the faster your visitors are leaving. One thing to consider when evaluating this is to compare the bounce rate for organic (search engine) traffic vs referring traffic (links from other sites or maybe from ads you've placed). If your search engine referrals show a high bounce rate, it could be that the keywords people are finding you with don't match up well with your content and what they are looking for.
If you are seeing a low number of pages per visit and a high bounce rate, here are some things you can do to help engage your visitors and keep them on your blog or website longer:
Google analytics is one of the most advanced website stats packages available and it’s free, so if you operate a commercial website you should take advantage of this vital tool to maximise your website’s potential.
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