Monday, November 2, 2009

Google Analytics - SEO Tool


Google Analytics is one of the best tools out there for analyzing traffic on your website. With a little bit of setup, it will give you an enormous amount of information about who is coming to your site, what they're looking for, and how they're getting there. In fact, it has so much information that it can be overwhelming!

Don't let it scare you away. With just a little training, you too will be able to use Google Analytics like a pro.

Step 1: Set Up Your Account
In order to use Google Analytics, you'll need to set up an account with them. This will provide you with a unique identifier to add to your site. You can only access information about your own site; you can't access information for other sites unless the site owner explicitly grants you access. The only people with access to your information will be people you grant access to.
1. Go to Google Analytics.  
2. If you do not have a Google account, click Sign Up Now, to the left of the sign-in box. This will take you to a page where you can sign up for a Google account.  
3. If you have a Google account, use your email address and password to sign in.  
4. Click the Sign Up button to continue.  
5. In the next window, provide Google with the URL of the site you wish to analyze.  
6. Give the site an account name that is easy to remember. If you will be tracking multiple sites, this is especially important.  
7. Select the country your site is based in, or the country it is serving. Then select the appropriate time zone.
*If your site is based in India but all your users are in the U.S., you may want to select a U.S. time zone to figure out when in their day most choose to use your site - or you may want to set it to your city's time zone to see when you need the most workers on staff.
8. Click Continue.
9. In the next window, provide your contact information.
10. Click Continue.
11. In the next window, read the Google Analytics terms of service. If you agree with them, click the Yes box.
12. Click Create New Account.
13. Google will provide you with a block of code. Copy this - you'll need to insert it into your web site.

Step 2: Insert Google Analytics JavaScript Into Your Pages

You must insert the code into every page you want tracked. If you have a technical person who takes care of your pages, have them add the code for you.
Inserting Google Analytics code for most sites

* To insert the Google Analytics code, you need to get into the guts of your page - the HTML.
* If you are using a service like WordPress, you'll need to open the footer.php file to place this code.

1. Find the </body> tag at the very bottom, just above the </html> page.
2. Do you see the code urchinTracker(), utmLinker(), utmSetTrans(), or utmLinkPost() above the </body> tag? If so, you must paste the Google Analytics Javascript above that code. If not, paste it immediately above the </body> tag.
3. If you have templates, insert the code into them as well.
4. Once you have uploaded the pages back to your site, you can begin tracking information!

Step 3: Get an Overview of Your Site Performance

* The moment you set up your account and insert Google's JavaScript into your pages, Google Analytics has great charts that will give you an overview of your site's performance, if you know how to read them.

1. Log in to Google Analytics.
2. In the center of the page is a section titled Website Profiles. Click on the View Reports link to the right of the name of the site you're interested in. This will bring you to the Dashboard.
3. At the top of the page is a chart that gives a visual representation of your site traffic over the past month.
   * This chart will only give you data from the time you inserted the tracking code into your pages.
   * If you want to change the span of time the chart displays, click on the dates in the upper right-hand corner. Click on dates in the calendar that is revealed or manually type in dates to view a different span of time.
   * To compare traffic over two different time periods, select one date range you want to use, click Compare to Past, and select the range you wish to compare it against.
   * Just below the dates is a menu that says Visits. Click on it to change the graph to pageviews (how many times the pages on your site have been viewed), pages per visit (how many pages on your site users visited on average), average time on site (how long each user spent on your site), bounce rate (what percentage of users left after visiting only one page), or percentage of new visits (how many visitors had never been to your site before).
4. Immediately beneath that chart, you'll see a header that says Site Usage, with six small charts underneath. Under Site Usage, you'll find quick information on various site traffic statistics for the time period shown in the main chart. Each one has an individual chart.

    * Visits tells you how many visits there were to your page. A visit is defined as a page view when that user has viewed no other page on your site in the past half hour.
    * Pageviews tells how many times the pages on your site have been viewed.
    * Pages/visit tells how many pages, on average, users view when they come to your site.
    * Bounce Rate tells what percentage of users left after viewing only one page on your site.
    * Avg. Time on Site shows how long each user spent on your site.
    * New Visits shows what percentage of your users have not visited your site before.

# The Visitors Overview graph shows how many visitors have come to your site.

    * This number is usually lower than the Visits statistic, sometimes a lot lower, because some visitors may visit your site over and over again.
    * Click on View Report to view more detailed information about your visitors.

# "Map Overlay" displays what countries your visitors are coming from.

    * The darker the green, the more visitors come from that country.
    * Click View Report to get in-depth information on where your visitors come from.

# Traffic Sources Overview shows which percentage of users are getting to your site by typing your URL directly into their browser, and via search engines, referring sites, and other avenues such as emailed links.

    * Click on View Report to get breakdowns of exactly what places your users are coming from, and what keywords they're looking for.

# Content Overview specifies the top five most viewed pages over the time period you're looking at.

    * Click on the name of any page to get extremely detailed information about where the people viewing that page came from, how long they spent on the page, how many of them were new to the page, and a lot more.
    * Click on View Report to get access to information about the performance of all pages on the site.

Step 4: See How Your Site Is Performing Daily and Hourly

    * If you want to find out whether your site has peaks during certain times of day or on certain days of the week, Google Analytics can tell you.

1. In the menu to the left, click on the word Visitors.
2. To the left beneath the main chart, you'll see a number of different statistical breakouts.
3. Click on any of the words to get a bar-chart breakout of the daily performance for that aspect of site traffic measurement.
4. If you want to learn hour-by-hour trends, click on the word Hourly above the bar chart to see an hour by hour graph for the time period at hand.
5. To compare two different time periods, click on the dates above the line graph. Select the first set of dates you want to work with, check the Compare to Past box, click on the second set of dates, and click the Apply Range button.

Step 5: See Where Your Traffic Comes From

    * Are you getting most of your traffic from search engines? Is there a blog that links to your pages and generates a bunch of traffic? Here's how to find out.

1. In the lower right-hand corner of the Dashboard you'll find your site's top 5 most-accessed pages. Click on any of these.
2. Below the chart on the right hand side, you will see a heading labeled Landing Page Optimization. Click on the link beneath it labeled Entrance Sources.
3. Beneath the chart, you'll see a table. This table lists all the places your users came from to visit your site.
   * In the first column to the right of the source name is the number of pageviews your page received from that source.
   * The next column tells how many of those were unique pageviews - someone coming to your page who had not been to that page before in the time frame you're reviewing.
   * Time on Page tells you how much time, on average, users from that particular source spent on the page in question.
   * Bounce Rate shows how many people from that specific source left your site after looking at that page, without viewing another page.
   * % Exit shows how many people from that specific source went to another site from that page. (This number may be lower than the Bounce Rate number; if they close the window or shut down their browser, it is not considered exiting.)
   * When you set up certain financial measurements in the Goals section, Google will crunch the numbers to show you how much return you're getting with the $ Index column.
4. If you want to get information on other pages, under the Content menu on the right, click on the Content by Title menu item. You can now go through all of your content to learn information on every page!
5. Return to the main dashboard by clicking on the word Dashboard in the upper-left corner.

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