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Thread: Google Analytics 101 - What You Absolutely Need To Know

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    Email problem derekjay's Avatar
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    Exclamation Google Analytics 101 - What You Absolutely Need To Know

    Whilst Google Analytics is probably the most important tool you will ever have at your disposal as an internet marketer, it is, no doubt, rather daunting at first. Not to worry though, here’s what you ABSOLUTELY need to know…



    Upon logging into Google Analytics, you will be greeted by a colourful looking dashboard (if you have more than one website, just select the one you want to look at). The dashboard is broken up into the following sections:

    * Site Usage
    * Visitors Overview
    * Map Overlay
    * Traffic Sources Overview
    * Content Overview

    Site Usage

    This section essentially covers the traffic/usage element of your website’s metrics. Most importantly are visits, bounce rate and average time on site. “Visits” is the total number of visits to your site (by humans, not spiders) over the time period specified (top right hand corner). “Bounce rate” is the percentage of visitors who visit your website, and leave almost immediately (ie, non targeted visitors). An acceptable bounce rate varies from industry to industry, but try to keep it between 30% – 45%. “Average Time on Site” is as it says – is the average time each visitor spends on your site. You want to try increase this figure over time and get visitors to “hang around” – using video is a great way to achieve this.

    Visitors Overview

    On the surface, this is a simple line graph, providing a display of how many visitors you’ve had over the time specified time period. Click on the “view report” link for more in-depth details on these visitors.

    Traffic Sources Overview

    The goldmine of Analytics data – where is my traffic coming from. This displays the relative percentage of traffic originating from either search engines, referring site or direct visits. Ideally, you’ll want to increase your search traffic (either organically or using PPC) over time. Once again, clicking the “view report” link will provide in-depth data on the sources. Check who’s referring the most traffic and see if you can capitalize on it. Also, have a look at the keywords that you’re featuring for in search engines and consider optimizing for them (if you haven’t already done so).

    Content Overview

    This area simply shows you what your visitors are looking at (the “/” means your home page). You may be surprised to see that your visitors are spending a lot of time on your internal pages, which means you’d better ensure that the content is top notch!

    And that is the Google Analytics dashboard in a nutshell. As long as you understand what these main metric represent, you will be able to fiddle and figure the more complex metrics out along the way. It’s amazing how much rich data Analytics provides, and best of all, its free!

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    Good overview Derek A couple of things i would add are
    1. GA is fantastic but we run a lot of sites without it simply because
    the data is being used with some tools to reverse engineer seo and ppc campaigns. In most cases this will not matter too much
    right now but this access as well as the big G seeing what is converting and in their big brother way potentially controlling the
    universe i tend to favour AW stats in cpanel that works with server logs but produces similar data without third party prying eyes.
    2. If you are running an adwords ppc campaign as well as seo it is important to set GA to segment the 2 sources, it is easily done
    in the settings but doesn't happen naturally.
    3. Not relevant to most people but we have recently been setting up multiple users for a GA account, for example where a company
    wants several staff(eg marketing manager,sales manager etc) to be able to see the stats and have access but only one person is set
    up as admin hence able to tamper with it.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OnlineMarketing View Post
    i tend to favour AW stats in cpanel
    I'm not sure that AW stats is anywhere near as good as GA when it comes to splitting out the robotic traffic, though.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    I'm not sure that AW stats is anywhere near as good as GA when it comes to splitting out the robotic traffic, though.
    Dave when you say Robotic traffic do you mean filtering the spiders and other bots. If you do it is a debatable issue and for me it is less important in some markets than protecting your ip by avoiding GA. As i say though GA performs a function though as with all Google's "Free" tools there is a hidden cost(i know several people have had their gmail accounts taken away in the last year,gmail is great for routing email into until they decide to take it away!) in Google Analytics case your private data is available to use by other people in 3rd party tools. In low competition environments that's no big deal but a few of our clients are making over a million dollars per year from their seo based online lead generation. It really depends on the market you are in regarding competition and money being made both of which are fairly transparent judgements if you use the google keyword tool for a few minutes.

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    Moderator IanF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OnlineMarketing View Post
    (i know several people have had their gmail accounts taken away in the last year,gmail is great for routing email into until they decide to take it away!)
    Now this worries me why and when do they remove these accounts?
    Only stress when you can change the outcome!

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanF View Post
    why and when do they remove these accounts?
    My guess would be they're connected to spam issues.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Email problem derekjay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanF View Post
    Now this worries me why and when do they remove these accounts?
    These situations are almost always related to users who have (sometime unknowingly) abused or misused the system. Google has an extensive "terms of use" agreement, which covers many bases.

    So if you're going to use their free apps (which are excellent in my opinion), you need to know the rules of the game, and ensure that you play within them. It's really much like anything else - you need to know what you can and can't do, so as to stay out of trouble.

    As for the topic of reverse-engineering SEO and PPC campaigns... Well that's just part of the game. As with any other form of marketing, your competitors are going to be investigating your tactics.

    PS - These are just my opinions... I certainly don't want to start an argument about whether or not Google is taking over the world

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by derekjay View Post
    I certainly don't want to start an argument about whether or not Google is taking over the world
    It's not an argument - it's fact
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Moderator IanF's Avatar
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    I was worried google randomly just deleted your account as it is quite useful to me. I try not to be naughty!
    Only stress when you can change the outcome!

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    Yep as Derek pointed out
    These situations are almost always related to users who have (sometime unknowingly) abused or misused the system
    it's the sometimes unknowingly that is the worry but there seem to be other reasons and the T's and C's are typically vague hence cover the big G's interpretation
    and in typical Google Autocratic fashion they offer no help/support desk, no right of appeal and no explanation whereas other email hosts do eg yahoo,msn....

    They have the same policy with Google places listings ie zero customer support or appeal/explanation for rejected listings hence we have had a slew of enquiries
    to try and sort out rejected listings in the last few months. There are over 10,000 posts on the "Help" forum(i put help in inverted commas because Google doesn't
    seem to have the word in it's company dictionary) from businesses all over the world complaining that their places listing has been rejected with no explanation
    why, no support and no way of finding out how to solve the problem.

    Google is extraordinary in 2 ways : Innovation and Ignorance

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