Understand Google Analytics

Google Analytics Jargon Buster

Google Analytics is one of the best free tools you can use to measure the effectiveness of your website. Why? Simply because this tool can help you understand the changes you need to make in order to boost your online presence.

But having a powerful website analysis tool at your disposal is quite useless if you do not know how to exploit its full potential. Unfortunately, this happens way too often, most users under-utilising this tool mainly because they do not understand specific terms, such as:

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Pageviews –  Indicating the number of times each web page is accessed by visitors, Pageviews is a useful metric because it allows you to identify which pages are the most popular. If a user reloads a page or navigates to a different page and then returns to the original one, the action is counted as an additional page view.

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Unique Pageviews – This field identifies the total number of unique views gathered by a page.

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Bounce Rate – Expressed as a percentage, Bounce Rate reveals the percentage of visitors who leave your site shortly (bounce) after accessing it. Since a high Bounce rate indicates that your web pages fail to provide what most Internet users expect, this metric is essential when analysing the relevancy of your website to what people are looking for.

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Sessions (formerly referred to as Visits) – Sessions displays the total number of times your site has been accessed by visitors. One session consists of one or more page views, starting when a user initiates the first view and ending when he or she leaves the site or is inactive for more than 30 minutes. Why did Google change terminology? If different terms had been used separately in app views and web views until recently, Google adopted identical terminology for both views in order to give users a clearer, more consistent insight into Google Analytics data. For the same reason, Google replaced Unique Visitors with Users  a metric that indicates the number of non-duplicate visitors to your website over a specific time frame.

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New Visits – New Visits indicates the number of users who visit your website for the first time. A previous user can be registered as a new visitor if he or she removes your website’s cookies from his or her computer or if your cookies expire.

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Entrances and Exits – While the former metric specifies the number of entrances to your website, the latter points out the number of exits from it. Both metrics are equal to the number of visits to your website.

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% Exits – This metric helps you identify the percentage of exists occurring from a specific web page or set of pages.

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Time on Page and Time on Site – Calculated by subtracting the time when a user hits a page from the time when he or she accesses another page, Time on Page shows how long each visitor spends on each page of a site. Time on Site specifies the average length of time all visitors spend on a website.

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Direct Traffic – Direct Traffic sums up the visits to your website resulting from accessing bookmarks or from typing the URL directly into a browser’s address bar.

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Total Unique Searches – Excluding multiple searches done on the same keywords during the same session, this metric points out the number of times your website search box has been used over a certain period.

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Visits with Search – This metric specifies the number of pages accessed via your site’s search box.

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CTR – Click-through rate indicates the percentage of Internet users viewing a web page after clicking on a particular ad.

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CPC – Cost-per-click reveals the average cost paid for each click on your ads.

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CPM – Cost-per-thousand defines the cost per 1,000 impressions received on each web page.

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Additionally, Google Analytics makes available a benchmarking tool, allowing you to compare your page views, visits, time on site, bounce rate, and other metrics to data from your competitors, and custom reporting, which gives you the option to create a variety of custom reports based on pre-set preferences.