A Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. It launched in 2005 and is now the most widely used web analytics service on the internet.

If you have a website or a blog then you need Google Analytics. It helps answer many questions such about traffic (how many people visit my website? do I need a mobile-friendly website? which websites and marketing tactics send traffic to my website?), pages (which pages are the most popular? how long do they spend on each page?) and conversions (how many visitors have I converted into leads or customers?).

Tracking Code

Google Analytics is implemented with “page tags”, in this case, called the Google Analytics Tracking Code – you need to add this to every page of your website. The tracking code runs in the client browser when the client browses the page and collects visitor data and sends it to a Google data collection server.


After you install your tracking code on your website, you will want to configure a small goal setting in your website’s profile on Google Analytics.  Goals tell Google Analytics when something important has happened on your website. You can create up to 20 goals on your website so make sure that the ones you create are highly important to your business such as lead form submissions, email list sign ups, and purchase completions.

Site search

This will allow Google Analytics to track any searches made on your website so you can learn more about what your visitors are looking for on specific pages. This provides you with valuable data and can be used alongside your keyword research.

Report features

Once you start getting in Google Analytics data, you can start learning about your website traffic. Each time you log in to Google Analytics, you will be taken to your Audience Overview report. This is one of over 50 reports that are available to you in Google Analytics.

Most of the standard reports within Google Analytics will look similar to this. At the top right of the report you can click on the dates to change the date range of the data you are viewing. You can also check the compare box to compare your data from one date range (such as this month) to a previous date range (such as last month) to view your data.

Below the main metrics, you will see reports that you can switch through to see the top ten languages, countries, cities, browsers, operating systems, services providers, and screen resolutions of your visitors.

Here’s a quick overview of the main reports.

Audience reports

These reports tell you everything about your visitors. You can find detailed reports for your visitors’ demographics (age and gender), what their interests are, their location and which language they speak, their behaviours (how often they visit your website), and the technology they use to view your website.

Acquisition reports

These reports provide you with information on the traffic i.e.what drove visitors to your website and can be broken down into categories such as channels and sources. You can also find information about traffic from social networks  and PPC campaigns.

Behaviour reports

Behaviour reports tell you about your content, in particular the top landing and top exit pages on your website. You can view number of sessions, average session duration and bounce rates. If you set up Goals within your Google Analytics, you can also view conversion rates and which path the visitors took to complete the conversion.

This is just a very brief overview of the basics of Google Analytics – however if you don’t enjoy viewing your reports, then why not try a tool like Quill Engage, which is a free service that will take your Google Analytics data and summarise it into insightful and easy-to-read reports that are delivered to your inbox.

If however you’re ready to move to the next level in Google Analytics then take a look at Custom Reports, Dashboards, and Segments. This allows you to create reports using the exact metrics you want to view. The more you use them, the more you will get more familiar with the way reports work, so you can create new ones on your own.