Decoding Google Analytics

Client: I need Google Analytics on my site as well.

Me: No problem. Just sign up with a gmail account and send me the snippet of code.

Client: What?

Me: Snippet of code. When you sign up for Google Analytics, they’ll give you some back end code to put into your site so that all the analysis can be deciphered in their handy-dandy laymen’s term tool that they use.

Client: What?


Ok – so you get my point (at least I hope you do). Google Analytics, even for someone who knows a smidgen about SEO can be a struggle to decode. It’s like reading hieroglyphics with braille.

So, here is Pegleg Web Designs to the rescue (wearing my Wonder Woman wrist bands and shiny, patent leather fighting boots), to give you some starter points on the essentials on using Google Analytics.

If you want to know how to improve the marketing of your website, Google Analytics is the way to go. Set yourself up with an account, and install the tracking code that they give you into your HTML.

Once you accomplish that task, you need true data. That means, not including the numerous visits you make to your own site. Go to and copy your IP address. Log into your Analytics profile. Click Admin>Profiles>Filters. Click New Filter and select options to Exclude traffic from the IP addresses that are equal to…then enter your IP address. Click Save and now you won’t see your own visits to your site in the results.

Once that’s done, you’ll be able to see the true amount of traffic that starts hitting your site.

Stay with me…….don’t go towards the light…..

So, you’re looking at that really awesome Google Analytics dashboard and you’re scratching your head. WTF is this stuff? So, in order to make it super easy, ask yourself a few questions that you have thought about getting answers to with regard to your site:

  • How many visits is my site getting in a specific time period?
  • Where are the visitors coming from?
  • Are there some basic things I can learn about the visitors?
  • What pages are they looking at when they’re on my site?
  • How long are they spending on my site?
  • Are there any pages that make people get off the site right away?

Here’s the widgets you want to start out with:

  • Pageviews/Visits – The number of pages viewed or number of times people visited your site.
  • Unique Pageviews – If a visitor comes twice, it’s counted as an additional visit/view, so unique means the number of actual people that visit.
  • Bounce Rate – the percentage of people that enter and exit your site from the same page. So, if your bounce rate is 100%, that’s a bad thing. People look at your home page, or another page on your site and immediately leave. You want this number to be low. The “good” area to be in is anywhere between 50 – 70%.
  • Impressions – The number of times your site appears in search results.

So, if you look at your analytics, and set up your widgets the way you want to see certain data/analysis, it would look something like this:

This is a snapshot of my website, Pegleg Web Designs. You’ll see that I have a widget for visits per page, exit rate, average time on page, bounce rate, unique visitors, new visits and where the visitors came from.

On the visits per page, you’ll notice that most people target the home page, followed by the services and pricing schedule, then onto my portfolio where people have viewed my web designs and e-newsletter examples. My bounce rate is pretty good (slap me on the back with a good ‘ol atta girl), averaging over a 30 day period of 70%. What I like is how they found me. If you check the Widget area called “Visits”, you’ll notice that most people found me directly, followed by Google, my blog, Digital Spinner, and a site I put together for my high school 30th reunion.

So, what does this tell you, the business person who wants to improve their online marketing strategies? First off, the bounce rate is crucial. If it’s 100%, people are immediately leaving the site. What’s the reason for them running away? I put on deodorant this morning.  Is it the design? Is it not giving them the immediate information based on the keywords they searched on? Does your page have Calls to Action? Maybe it’s too wordy or technical that they can’t understand it.

Secondly, look at where they are finding you. I’m happy to see that people find my site by going to my blog. As I explain to all of my clients, it’s not just about a website anymore. You need social media to help enhance your online presence. That’s where your marketing strategies really start to pay off. So if you think you don’t have time to keep up with posting stuff on your business fan page or if you can’t blog once a week, perhaps you should rethink your marketing strategy. It’s a HUGE boost to your page ranking, and it also affects your bounce rate. Why? I’ve noticed that whenever I publish a blog, or post something on my fan page my bounce rate goes down….way down.

So, if you want good ranking with Google, you need to commit to social media (and a few other things). Check out that previous link for some SEO strategies you can download directly from my site. Most of them are free, along with some good ‘ol elbow grease. It just takes some hard work and time on your part to make your online presence a success!!!


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