The Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a digital service set up by the search engine which enables website owners the ability to monitor activity on their website using data and metrics. It’s really useful.


Before we get started, if a word or phrase pops up which you haven’t come across before, simply scroll down to the Glossary of Terms at the end of this article to clear things up. Lingo is no good if you don’t already speak the language, right?


What is Google Analytics used for?

What Analytics is used for is largely down to what you want to get out of it, or what your business requires. Some of the most common reasons for using the platform include:


  • To monitor website traffic by seeing how many people are visiting your site, when they’re visiting, the pages they’re going to and how long they are spending on your website. This will also help determine if your bounce rate is too high (where they ‘bounce’ back off the page without looking at it properly) and if you need to do something to improve visitor dwell time (how long they stick around).


  • To see if your SEO strategy is working. Whether you manage your Search Engine Optimisation yourself or work with an SEO expert, Analytics will allow you to see if the keywords that are being targeted, or the SEO tactics that are in place, are helping attract more visitors to your website.


  • To give you a good idea of who your audience is and what your target customer(s) might look like. Analytics uses World Wide Web wizardry to show you handy information like the age, gender, location and even the wider interests or device being used of the people who are coming to your site. You can then use this data to shape your marketing plan and influence things like social media content and email marketing campaigns.


  • Analytics shows you the source of web traffic i.e. where the visitors to your site have come from. Again, this provides invaluable information when it comes to putting a marketing plan together and allocating budget to things like paid ads. If you get a lot of traffic from Google, for example, you might want to invest more in your SEO or some PPC (Pay Per Click) ads. If a substantial amount of people come from LinkedIn or Facebook, then you might want to inject some cash into some social ads on those platforms instead.


How much does Google Analytics cost?
As with a lot of services these days, Google Analytics is advertised as being free and to a certain extent, it is. There are plenty of benefits you can get out of the platform without having to pay a single penny. However, Analytics is what has come to be known as a ‘freemium service’. In order to unlock the more advanced (‘premium’) functionalities, you have to pay the price - quite literally.


The premium version of the platform is called Google Analytics 360 and starts (yes, starts) at a whopping cost of £90,000 per year. There’s an entire raft of articles on the internet that breakdown the pros and cons of the free versus paid versions but just know that for a vast majority - if not all - of small and medium-sized businesses, standard Google Analytics will more than suffice. Honestly, don’t be frightened.


Is Google Analytics easy to use?
The great thing about Google Analytics is that it only really has to be as complex as you want it to be. It enables different levels of detail around the data it feeds back so if you were content with a simple overview then great but if you wanted to go more granular, then you can do that too.


To set up your Google Analytics account:


  1. Sign up and input the basic information you’re prompted for
  2. Add the tracking code you are provided with into your website pages (a web whizz will be able to help you with this if you get stuck)


Once you’re set up, you can then customise your dashboard (Google Analytics homepage) to show the reports that are most useful to you, or you can simply navigate the sidebar of options. The interface can seem pretty confusing and overwhelming at first but after a few YouTube tutorials, you’ll be well on your way.


Glossary of Terms:


Bounce rate - The amount (normally shown as a per cent) of people who leave your website after visiting only one page on there.


Data and metrics - The facts, figures and numbers shown in the Analytics platform which you can then use to monitor how well your website or business is performing.


Dwell time - The amount of time somebody spends on a page on your website (after landing on it via search engine results) before clicking back to the search results.


Freemium service - A service which advertises itself as free but then only allows access to a premium package following payment or subscription.


Google Analytics 360 - The premium (paid) version of Google Analytics, with costs starting at £90,000 per year.


Keywords - The words and phrases that are being optimised throughout the content on your website in order to appear high in the search results. These form the basis of your SEO strategy.


PPC (Pay Per Click) - Adverts placed via Google’s Adwords platform which appear in the search results page. You then pay each time somebody clicks on your ad to go to your website.


SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) - The practice of increasing the quality and quantity of visitors to your site by impressing Google with great (optimised) content.


Website traffic - Simply the people that are on your website at any one time.


Article By: Team Organic