Google Analytics is one of the best ways for any website owner to track the success of their online marketing; from advertising campaigns to search queries, it is the premier source. Unfortunately, the ability to view organic search results dropped dramatically when Google instituted new privacy laws in October of 20111. When a user is logged in with their Google account, they are protected by the SSL, and thus the information is hidden. Google is able to see that data, but Analytics users cannot.
This is the reason why the “keyword not provided” and “not set” appears as a very high percentage of Google Analytics accounts (90%+ in our experience). However, there are ways to get around this problem. This includes using other portions of the Google Analytics site to compile your information – such as using landing pages, site search and Google Webmaster tools. Of course, you could also use Google Adwords, but that provides information for paid search, rather than organic search.
How do visitors get to your site?
However, Google Analytics can still be a great tool for your marketing campaign. In addition to tracking the amount of visitors to your site, it can also show how visitors are getting to your site. This is accessible via the “acquisition” part of your dashboard.
Visitors can visit your site by direct, referral and organic search. If you are running a Google AdWords campaign, that information will be listed separately. Direct is when a user types your web address in their browser – or clicks a bookmarked link. A referral is when they click a link through either another page or through a link on an e-mail. Organic search – as mentioned above – is when they come to your site through keywords that match your site.
There is literally tons of information that can be found in your Google Analytics account – where a user is when they visit your site is another interesting tidbit. Not only can you discern the country a user is from, but usually their city or town and their language as well. You will find this information in the Audience/Overview part of your dashboard.
The first demographics category is language. Currently Google shows this information in what may seem like code – en-us is fairly obvious (English – United States) but what about pt-br or en-gb? A quick Google search and you will learn that pt-br is Portuguese — Brazil, and en-bg is English – Great Britain. The language is the first two letters – the country is the rest.
Another key information tidbit is whether or not users are accessing your website via a mobile device or not. Clicking on the “mobile” portion of your Google Analytics account will show you the percentage of people visiting your page via mobile, and via desktop. Hint: even if you do not have very many visitors using their mobile devices, a mobile responsive website design is still important.
Boing, boing, boing
Back to audience – one of the more important pieces of information that you can find is your bounce right. A bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to your site who click away to another site very quickly after viewing yours – note: the lower, the better. You want people to stay on your site for as long as possible. If you have a very high bounce rate, click on the page in question yourself; you might find that the dreaded error 404 has snuck up on you.
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1For a detailed explanation of Secure Browsing and it’s impact on Analytics, see this Google Article.