Are you maximizing your company website, blog, and Facebook page? Are they optimized for the best performance to fit your needs and for organic search results? Google Analytics is one of the most popular web visitor tracking tools. It adds a small snippet of code that is placed on all the pages of your website. Google Analytics reports can tell you:
• Where users come from, what pages they visited, and what do they do on the site
• Which of your marketing initiatives are most effective
• Accurate website traffic patterns/trends
• Which customer and customer segments are most valuable
• How can the website convert more users into customers
• Which keywords resonate with prospects and lead to conversions
• Which online ad or creative is the most effective
• Where people leave the site
• Which pages retain users the longest
• What search terms people use to find the site
But to understand what its reports are telling you, you first need to understand the Google Analytics jargon. Here is a glossary of key terms for you to use as a reference guide.
Acquisition: How you acquire your website visitors
Alerts: This is a custom feature that can be configured to notify you when visitors perform a certain task or goal that you have set to measure.
Benchmarking: This report lets you compare how your website’s metrics perform against other websites of similar size and category. It will give you an idea of how you’re doing in areas such as visits, page views, bounce rates, average time on site, and other metrics, relative to the average business in your category.
Bounce Rate: The number of people who visit only one page of your website and then leave (either clicking back to the results page or closing the browser). A high Bounce Rate often indicates that your pages are not relevant to what your visitors are looking for. If you have a high Bounce Rate you may need to develop better targeted ads, Landing Pages, and perhaps create better content to engage visitors to explore your website.
Branded Traffic: This refers to people who come to your website by searching for your brand’s name (or related terms).
Click: The single instance of a user following (clicking on) a web link to another website page.
Conversion: This is what occurs when a goal you have set for a visitor on your website, is completed. Completing a purchase, submitting a contact form, or clicking on a particular ad or page are examples of goals you can measure. Google Analytics allows you to create customized goals so you can measure user actions that are important to your website.
Cookie: This refers to a small piece of code that remembers visitors and their preferences, when they are on your website.
Cost Data: If you use Google AdWords, this is the information imported from a Google AdWords account into a Google Analytics account.
Click-Through-Rate (CTR): The number of clicks your website receives in search engine results pages divided by the number of impressions (how many times it is seen) your listings get.
Custom Reporting: A Google Analytics report that includes only the information you want to see based on the metrics and dimensions you choose.
Dimensions: A Dimension is typically, an attribute of a visitor and their activity on your website. The source that someone came from (referring URL), technical information like browsers or mobile phones, the activity a person performed such as the landing pages, searches they did on your website and the products they purchased, are all Dimensions. Dimensions are used to help organize, segment, and analyze your website’s data.
Direct Traffic: Visits to your website where the visitor types your URL (web address) into their browser’s address bar or uses a bookmark to get to your website. Direct traffic tells you what percentage of your visitors know your brand and website URL versus finding your website through a search engine or another website.
Ecommerce: (Electronic commerce) These reports track visitor actions within your website’s shopping cart of other commerce area of your website.
Engagement Rate: (also known as Average Session Duration) This is the length of time a visitor spends on your website, measured in time intervals.
Entrances/Entrance Page: (also known as Landing Page) These are the pages where visitors entered your website from outside sources. Usually your homepage will have the highest number of Entrances.
Entrance Point: This is the page a user visited just before entering your funnel – it isn’t always your homepage (see “Funnels” below).
Events: An event can be any action you want to track on a webpage, for example you could track how often a file is downloaded or a video is played.
Exit Rate: This is the percentage of visitors who leave your site after looking at a particular page. If the visitor only looks at one page and leaves, that is the Bounce Rate, if they look at several pages and then leave, Exit Rate will tell you which of those pages has the highest rate of people leaving after viewing it.
Filter: A display of information according to the specific criteria you select. You can use filters to carry out actions like eliminating internal traffic from reports or to only include traffic to a specific subdomain.
Funnels: The series of pages a visitor goes through on their way to your goal page. Creating funnels can show you where visitors abandon the process during the path to conversion to your goals.
Goals: Actions you want visitors to take on your website that you define as a success. Goals must relate to a quantifiable action that your website’s visitors take such as a purchase, contact form submission, or downloads. Goals are set up in Google Analytics to track Conversions.
Goal Conversion Rate: The number of visits on a site that included conversions divided by the total number of visits.
Goal Flow: This is a visual report that show you the path that visitors took along their way to making a conversion on your website. It helps you track the steps that occurred before the conversion took place so you can optimize your website to increase conversions.
Impression: When your website appears in search results for a particular search query.
Include: A type of filter that includes a piece of data when it meets the qualifications and keeps only those hits that match.
In-Page Analytics: This is a visual report that give you an overview of how visitors interact on particular pages such as wheat links are being clicked the most often or if your content is organized most effectively.
Keywords: These are the words that visitors used to find your website when using a search engine. This information shows you what searchers are actually looking for when they find you. This also helps you to determine potential new keywords to target.
Landing Page: (also known as Entrance Page) The first page a visitor lands on when they click through from the search engine results page; also known as the entrance page.
Loyalty: A visitor’s loyalty is measured by behavior, that is, by the amount of times they return to your website in a specified time period. Loyal visitors are typically highly engaged with your website and your brand. Low loyalty often illustrates the need for new content and regular updates to a website.
Metrics: Individual pieces of data that can be measured, for example, page views, gender, average visit/session duration.
New Sessions: An estimated percentage of first-time visits.
New Visitors: (also called Users) People who have not previously or recently visited your site are considered new visitors. If the person has previously visited your website by deleted cookies, cleared their browser history, or visited in private browsing mode, that user will be counted as a new visitor.
Organic Traffic: Visitors who come to your website by clicking on the unpaid (organic or natural) search engine results.
Paid Traffic: Visitors who come to your website from Google AdWords ads, paid search engine keywords and other online paid ad campaigns. This data will show you how effective your paid online advertising is.
Page View: The number of pages a visitor views over the duration of their visit to your website. Page views allow you to see which pages on your site are the most popular.
Pages/Session: This is the average number of pages viewed during a session.
Parameters: Theses are tags added to the end of URL addresses in order to better define and track what source the traffic to your website is coming from – usually this is used for ads or links from other social media such as measuring the effectiveness of your referral Tweets, Facebook posts, etc.
Query: The word or phrase a user enters into a search engine to find your website.
Referring Sites/Referral Traffic: Other websites that refer or send visitors to your website are called referring sites (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, your blog, advertisements, etc.). Knowing where your traffic is coming from allows you to focus more resources on sites that are referring more traffic.
Screen Resolution: This defines what screen size users are utilizing when visiting your website (desktop, laptop, mobile device) so you can best optimize the structure of your site to best serve the most popular dimensions.
Search Engines: The three main search engines are Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Google Analytics segments your data so you can see how much traffic each search engine is generating.
Sessions: (formerly known as Visits) The number of times your website is accessed (this is different from number of Visitors) and the period of time users are actively engaged on your website. Watching the trends in your visits allows you to analyze which aspects of your online marketing are working.
Site Search: A search feature within your website that allows visitors to search your entire website for certain keyword and information.
Sources: (also known as Traffic Sources) Where the traffic to your website originated as well as what keywords visitors utilized to get there.
Time On Site: The average length of time a visitor spends on your website within a specified time period. You can use this data to measure the effectiveness of your website. The longer visitors spend on your site, the more informative and/or interactive it is.
Top Exit Pages: The pages on your website that visitors leave from. In Google Analytics, these pages are listed in order from those the most visitors exited your site to those pages that visitors least exited your site. If users are leaving your site from a Thank You page after purchasing or downloading information, that is good. If one of your Top Exit Pages is the Home page on your site, that is not.
Top Landing Pages: The first pages that users land on, or come to when entering your Website. Within Google Analytics, these pages are listed in order of most visited to least visited. This data is important because it allows you to see which pages are attracting visitors.
Tracking Code: This is a small snippet of computer code that is inserted into the body of any webpage that you want to gather analytic data for; the tracking code captures information about visits to a page.
Traffic: The total number of visits to your website. Traffic can be divided into multiple categories including, direct, organic and paid.
Unique Visitor: The number of individual (non-duplicate) visitors to a site over the course of a specific time period. This data is determined by cookies that are stored in visitor browsers.
Uniform Resource Locator (URL): The address of your Website (i.e. www.mycompany.com)
Visitor: The number of individuals who viewed your website. One visitor can visit your site multiple times so you will never have more visitors than visits. The “Visitor” section of Google Analytics offers data and reports concerning the behavior of the visitors that frequent your Website.
Visitor Flow: A report that visualizes the path visitors took through your website, starting with the source the user arrived from and ending with the page the user converted on or exited from.