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Google Analytics Basics for Beginners

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I’ve talked about the importance of knowing your numbers in the past, and if you haven’t yet set up a Google Analytics account, I highly suggest doing so if only to view some of your basic visitor stats.

Setting up an account is a piece of cake.

Just head on over to www.google.com/analytics and click that Sign Up button after logging in with your Google account.

You will be asked to fill our your website information, so just follow the instructions until you get to your Tracking ID.

Get your tracking ID

The Tracking ID that is provided will need to go on every page you want to be tracked in your account.

Normally, if you use WordPress or Blogger, your site would have been created using a template, so you would only need to install this tracking code in the HTML of the template file.

If you own a website with separate HTML files and no master theme/template file, you will need to install the tracking code on each HTML page individually.

Google tells you that your Tracking ID should go before the </head> code of your template.

If you are comfortable with editing your HTML template file, go ahead and add it there.

If you are a Blogger user and are not comfortable with editing your HTML yet, just add it as a new sidebar “HTML/Javascript” widget and it will work the same.

Once set up, it will take up to 24 hours for your site to start displaying data, so don’t fret if you think it’s not working right away.

You’ve just installed the code, so everything from this date forward will be tracked.

It is not possible to view past data from before you installed the code because nothing was being tracked at that time.

From here on out, you can login to www.google.com/analytics at any time to check your data.

Once logged in, you will click on your website URL that you added and your dashboard will appear:

The overview page will show you most of your basic stats including how many Visits, Unique Visitors, and Pageviews you’ve had in the selected time period (top right).

The sidebar contains your reports for various things.

To keep this super simple, we are only going to look at a couple of the essential reports in this post.

The first being the Referrals report.

Related: Bounce Rate vs Exit Rate in Google Analytics: What’s the Difference Between These 2 Metrics?

Where do your visitors come from?

Under Acquisition choose All Referrals.

Here a list will appear which will show you how many visits a certain website has referred to you.

This is great information because you are able to easily see where your visitors are coming from.

Clicking on one of the URLs will open up another page which will list the particular pages of that website that your visitors came from.

If you’re curious about the website and what they said about you, you can click on the little icon beside the link to open the page up:

 What are your visitors searching for?

Next up let’s look at the Search Engine Optimization report.

Under Acquisition again, choose Search Engine Optimization and then Queries.

Here you will see a list of the daily top 1,000 search terms that visitors used on Google to find your site, as well as how many impressions you received for that search term.

You will also see how many people clicked on your link after searching, your average position on Google, and your CTR (click-through rate).

In the sidebar once again if we click Landing Pages, you can see which pages those visitors landed on after searching for you.

Clicking Geographical Summary in the sidebar will then tell you where in the world your visitors came from.

Related: Tracking Sales Conversions in Google Analytics

Wrapping Up

These basic stats are essential for building your blog and following.

Now, if you have a potential advertiser asking you your numbers, you can confidently tell them your monthly Visits, Unique Visits, Visitor Demographics and Pageviews.

Knowing this data, you can tailor your future posts to suit your readership, modify your SEO strategy, and just have a better overall outlook on your blog from a reader’s perspective.

There is much more information that can be found inside Analytics, so take a peek around and do it often!