Google Analytics is a great tool for understanding and improving your website traffic. If you’ve mastered organic search visibility and are satisfied that your content is prominently shown in SERPs, the next step is to look at how many people are visiting your site and where they’re coming from and that’s where Google Analytics comes in.
It helps you measure your traffic to know whether your efforts are yielding results, whether you’re reaching your ideal audience, and also provides insights to maximize your SEO efforts.
By the end of this post, you’ll know how to get useful information about the amount of traffic to your site and to improve your site performance using Google Analytics.
What Is Google Analytics And How Can It Help You?
Google Analytics is a web analytics service that allows you to track and analyze the traffic to your website. It’s a completely free tool that you can add to your website by copying and pasting a few lines of code. It then begins to keep track of visitors and visits, pages that are visited, how long people stayed on each page, and so on.
There are hundreds of metrics and dimensions you can track to analyze the performance of your website.
Why Is It Important To Monitor The Sources Of Website Traffic?
Knowing the source of your visitors has numerous advantages. Here are a few reasons why you should track your traffic sources:
Gain a Better Understanding of Your Visitors
Tracking your traffic sources helps you to know your visitors’ geographic location as well as the channels they use, so you can provide them with better products/content.
Track Multiple Traffic Sources to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Marketing Campaigns
Google Analytics allows you to track different traffic sources to gauge the effectiveness of each marketing channel.
Concentrate on Channels for Best Results
Once you’ve determined which channel brought the most visits to your site, you may put more effort into it to improve your results.
Discover Fresh Content Ideas
Various visitors may be interested in different topics, so checking your traffic sources for what your visitors are looking for will give you content ideas.
Identify Traffic Gaps on Your Site
You may figure out which channels aren’t bringing in enough visitors and optimize those channels.
What Website Traffic Metrics Does Google Analytics Track?
To track website traffic, Google Analytics employs three measures; pageviews, sessions, and users.
- Pageviews: Pageview is a term used to describe how many times a website has been visited.
When a user loads a web page in their browser, it is referred to as a “pageview.” If someone visits a blog post, two service pages, and finally the contact page, that visit will result in four-page views.
- Sessions: Google Analytics keeps track of each “session” that someone has on your website. A user’s session starts with the first page they see on your site and ends with the last page they see before leaving or becoming inactive (the “Exit Page”).
Because sessions can contain numerous page views, the number of page views received by your site will always be more than or equal to the number of sessions.
- Users: Unique visitors are referred to as “users” by Google Analytics. A unique ID is provided to each new user who visits your site, and this ID is used to track their subsequent visits.
Google Analytics will correlate three sessions with the same user if they visit your website three times. As a result, the total number of sessions on your site will always be more than or equal to the total number of users.
Tracking Your Web traffic With Google Analytics
To start tracking your website traffic with GA, you’ll first need to implement Google Analytics on your site by activating the tracking code.
Google Analytics Tracking Code
The first step is to locate your tracking ID, which is a one-of-a-kind identifier assigned to your Google Analytics account.
Follow the procedures below to receive your tracking ID:
- Go to Google Analytics and sign in to your account.
- Click Admin on the page’s bottom left-hand side.
- Select an account from the dropdown menu in the left column labeled Account.
- Select a property from the dropdown menu in the middle column, named Property.
- Click Tracking Info, then Tracking Code under the Property column.
- Your website’s unique tracking ID, which begins with UA, is displayed at the top of the page under Tracking ID.
Once you’ve found the tracking ID (gtag.js), copy and paste it into any webpage you want to track on your site. Alternatively, you can post it in the header of your site, since every page on the site has a header.
Once done, Google analytics should start tracking your website traffic and displaying it on your GA dashboard.
How to Keep Track of Organic Traffic Using Google Analytics
Go to your dashboard and you’ll find a broad breakdown of all the many channels bringing visitors to your site if you go to Acquisition > Overview.
More comprehensive information about your organic traffic is available if you click the blue “organic search” link.
The first report you’ll get is a breakdown of your organic traffic by keyword. This can help you optimize your SEO strategy to increase your traffic.
What Kinds of Web Traffic Can You Track?
Google Analytics categorizes website traffic into “sources” and “channels.” Website traffic can also be segmented by sources to help you determine how visitors find your website. Below are the various traffic sources you can track with Google analytic.
Search Engine Visitors (SEO)
Organic search, often known as “natural search,” is traffic generated by search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, and DuckDuckGo. Because it represents the volume of unpaid hits your site receives from search engine result pages, organic search traffic is regarded as one of the most important performance metrics for SEO (SERPs).
Traffic That Comes Through Referrals
Referral traffic is a metric used by Google Analytics to track visits to your site from other websites’ links. Strong referral traffic can aid your search engine ranking because Google considers referrals a recommendation from another site. This is why backlinks are a crucial component of any SEO plan.
Direct traffic is traffic from web users who arrived at your site by typing your URL into a browser directly or by visiting a bookmark they had saved.
Social Media Traffic
Social media traffic comes to your site through social networks or social media platforms. If someone visits your website after clicking on your link in a tweet or a Facebook post, Google Analytics will categorize it as social traffic. Although technically this is referral traffic, Google recognizes that social media plays a unique role in marketing and advertising; therefore it distinguishes it from the rest.
By tracking your website traffic with Google Analytics, you will be able to see the exact traffic sources for specific pages or marketing campaigns and measure how people find your website. This will help you find areas of improvement to consequently increase your traffic.