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Analytics – What is it and Why you NEED it! – Part Four - November 19, 2012

If you missed our previous post you can find it here:

Last week we covered the Audience section of Google Analytics and now we will focus on the Traffic Sources. There is quite a bit of information in this area so we kept this post as short as possible while giving you the most detail we can.

  • Traffic Sources:
    • Sources
      • All Traffic: this gives you a breakdown of all paid, organic, and referral traffic to your website
        • Organic is used when someone finds you through a search engine and clicks on that link to go to your site. So for example Google/organic means someone did a Google search, found your website, and clicked on the link to go to your site. These are GOLD and what you constantly want to improve upon with good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices
        • Referral is used when another site sent them to your site. For example facebook.com/referral means that somewhere on Facebook a link to your site was clicked on and a user went to your site from a page on Facebook
        • Direct is when they typed in your domain name directly into the browser and went to your site. It will look like (direct)/(none) and hopefully is higher up on your list. This means users know your site, know the link to your site, and are using that as a way to find you.
        • If you click on any of the links under this section you will be able to see the stats for the calendar period you have selected. This is an excellent way to see how many people find you, using a particular method and can be used to gauge if a post on LinkedIn may have brought traffic to your website.
    • Direct: this will load the top Landing Pages on your site. These are the pages a user is going to and the tool is best used to showcase how users are finding your site and what your popular pages are. THIS is why you need analytics in place. This will provide measurable so you can see what your users find to be useful pages and how they are entering your site.
      • A key note is that you may have a couple replications of your homepage here. You might see /index.html and / as tracked pages and they are really the same page. The / (or trailing slash) is because your homepage is also a file. For example. www.spotlightwebdeisgn.net and www.spotlightwebdeisgn.net/default.aspx are the same page, the browser just understands that default.aspx is my homepage and both links will go to the same page.
    • Referrals: this is a breakdown of the exact links that sent traffic your way. It is not uncommon to see different version of Google here.
    • Search: have both the Organic (free) and Paid traffic to your site. Most of us are not using a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign through Google so the Paid Traffic area will be blank. The Organic is key here though.
      • Organic: are the terms that a user typed into a search engine to find your site. You can find the Keywords and the numbers for that Keyword. If you want to be found for certain keywords and don’t see them coming up here, make sure those keywords are in the content of your website.
  • Search Engine Optimization
    • Queries: provides details on the queries a user typed into Google and how your ranked for that query.
      • Terms to know here are Impressions, Clicks, Avg. Position and CTR (Click Through Rate).
        • Impressions is the number of times your site or any page(s) on your site were returned when that key words were typed into a search engine
        • Clicks is the number of times a user clicked through to your site from that search engine results page
        • Avg. Position is the average position you returned on the site. Normally search engines return 10 results per page (not including advertising) so you can see how deep your position is and how deeply a user went to click on your page. For example 10 would mean you were the last result on the first page whereas 137 would mean you were the 7th result on the 13th page.
    • Landing Pages: provides an exact page on your website and the same stats tracked in the queries section. This can be used to see your popular pages and where specific pages are ranked in search engines for you.
    • Geographic Summary: breakdown of geographic region/countries that found your site through a search engine result.
      • If you are receiving SPAM emails, an example would be from an Indian based SEO company promising you better search engine results, you will see those countries reflected here as well. I am pointing this out to let you know what the country results here will be skewed slightly to include any companies that are doing searches in hopes to sell their services.
  • Social: this is a breakdown of Social Media sites and traffic. Examples are Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.
    • Sources: tells the number of visits and Pageviews as well as Avg. Visit Duration and the number of pages per visit. This is the same as the previous stats we looked at BUT they are only for social media sites.
    • Pages:?? Gives stats for specific shared pages.
    • Conversions would be used to track any special campaigns you have setup. If you have not set up any this area will not have any information.
    • Social Plugins will track specific plugin actions. This area will have limited information.
    • Social Visitors Flow: this keeps track of the social media site that sent a visitor to your site and the path they followed while on your site. It can be used to show you where users are going on your site once you share a link on a social media network.

This concludes the Traffic Sources section. You can read our Content Section section here.