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If you own a website or work for an SEO company it is important to track your website traffic with analytic tools.
Tracking your visitors lets you see what types of trends people like to see on your site; this will allow you to deliver the kind of content that will grow your traffic.
Some web hosts provide their own analytics tool, but Google Analytics is the industry standard and is probably more capable than what your web host offers.
It’s free, easy to use and highly customizable. Whether you are trying to build the popularity of your personal blog or work at a large SEO company, you can learn a lot about your visitors with Google Analytics.
How to set up Google Analytics
Google Analytics requires access to the HTML on every page of your website. Head to the Google Analytics main page and click “sign up”. Follow the steps and enter your website name, URL, industry category, time zone and account name. Click “Get Tracking ID” and accept the terms of service.
Google Analytics will create a tracking code for you; it is important that you paste this into every single page of your website. Remember, if you have a blog that is separate from your main site, you will need to include the tracking code on your blog in addition to your other pages. Some people recommend placing the code within the HEAD tags, while others suggest placing it before the very last closing tag. It doesn’t really matter where in the code you paste it but it is best to put it in the same place on every page.
Your Google Analytics won’t be immediately useful when you first install the tracking code. You will need to wait a few days before starting to analyze the data you collect. The reason being, you only begin tracking visits after installing the tracking code; any visits made to your page before the installation of the code were not recorded. If you aren’t sure that you installed the tracking code correctly, you can go into the Real-Time overview (in the left menu), visit your site, and see if Google Analytics records any visits.
How Do I Use the Data I Collect?
After a week of collecting data, you can begin looking at your analytics for trends. From the Audience overview, which is the default location that your analytics will take you to, you can see the number of visitors to your site over the last month. You may notice that the number of visitors during the week is different from the weekend; this is normal.
To learn more about your visitors, use options under the Audience tab on the left menu. You can see where they are from, what language they speak, what device they are using and more.
To see where your visitors are coming from go to Traffic Sources overview. You will see a pie chart representing where your visitors come from – Search Traffic is from search engines like Google or Bing, Referral Traffic is from links on other sites, and Direct Traffic is those visitors who typed the URL of your site into the address bar.
Below the pie chart you can see the keywords that your visitors used to find your site on search engines. One of your top keywords may be “(not provided).” Unfortunately, this is normal – these are keywords that Google has chosen not to provide for privacy reasons.
There are lots of ways to use this data – from determining what kind of content to continue providing, to choosing the keywords you’d like to focus on.
There are many more reports available in Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a very well documented tool and you can find an endless number of tutorials depending on what kind of information you need. Good luck with your analytics!