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9 Web Analytics Metrics You Need to Know

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Is your website getting results for your business? There’s one great way to tell: website analytics. Using Google Analytics, you can find out a lot about how visitors are using your site and how effective it is at delivering results for your business. Here are the 9 key website metrics you need to be tracking.

Website Traffic Metrics

Metrics related to website traffic can tell you how many people are coming to your site, where they’re coming from, and what pages they’re looking at.

  1. Users
    Google’s users metric shows how many unique people have interacted with your website. To find your site users, select Audience from the left-side menu, then Overview. You’ll see a number that shows how many people visited your site within the selected date range. If the same user visits your site multiple times within the specified date range, they are only counted once. However, if a user clears their cache or visits your site via a different device or browser, they could be counted as a new user.
  2. Sessions
    Any time an internet user interacts with your site for a given period of time, that counts as one session. A session can include multiple pageviews and interactions, and ends after 30 minutes of inactivity, at midnight, or when the visitor re-enters the site from a different search, referral link, or tagged URL.
  3. Pageviews
    The pageview metric tells you which pages on your site are the most and least popular. When one of the pages of your website—the home page or any other—is loaded by a device browser, that counts as one pageview. If the same user reloads the same page, that counts as a second pageview. To find your site’s total pageviews, select Audience from the left-side menu, then Overview. To see which pages have the most views, go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.

User Behavior Metrics

Metrics related to user behavior can show you how visitors engage with your website, and tell you if your site is providing a good user experience.

  1. Bounce rate
    The bounce rate is the percentage of site visitors that visit one page before “bouncing” away without taking any other action or looking at any additional pages on the site. In general, if you have a low bounce rate (under 50% is a good guideline), you can infer that site visitors are having a good experience on your site and are finding your website content useful and engaging. A high bounce rate usually indicates that people are not finding what they’re looking for, and that your website content is not doing a good job of holding people’s interest.
  2. Channels
    Knowing how people get to your site can not only help shape your marketing strategy, it can tell you which of your marketing efforts are working and which ones might need to be reconsidered. In Google Analytics, channel refers to the type of digital entity that sent traffic to your site, i.e., organic search, direct, referral, social, paid search, or email. To see which channels are delivering the most traffic to your site, go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels and Google Analytics will display a ranked list of channels, along with key behaviors of the site visitors from each of these channels so you can see whether a certain type of behavior (contact form submissions, length of time on the site, etc.) corresponds to the channel. 
  3. Referrals
    One of the ways people might get to your website is by clicking a link on another website. This type of site visit is called a referral. Knowing your website’s top referral sources, the websites that send you the most “business,” is an excellent opportunity to understand your customers better and identify opportunities for link-building, digital advertising, and guest blogging. Select Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals to see referral traffic volume over the selected time period, plus a list of the domains that have referred traffic to your site during that time. For each referral domain, you’ll see the number of people who have visited your site using that referral, and further details on how they interacted with your website.

Audience Metrics

Knowing your audience can help you with everything from creating marketing campaigns to product development, and Google Analytics can give you a lot of information about the people who visit your site.

  1. Demographics
    To learn more about your site visitors, select Audience on the left menu, then Demographics. You’ll see a breakdown of your users by age ranges and gender. Click on Age or Gender to see how different ages and genders interact with your site.
  2. Location
    Are you a local business? Are  you looking to expand or reach new markets? The Geo section of Google Analytics will tell you where your site visitors are located. Select Audience, then Geo, then Location to see a list of countries, and keep clicking on the area you want to learn more about to see ever smaller groupings, all the way down to the city.
  3. Mobile
    More than 50% of all internet traffic is now on mobile devices, but that applies to the whole world, not your specific site. Knowing what type of devices your visitors use can help you decide if you need to prioritize a mobile-friendly format. To see what percentage of your site visitors are on desktops vs. smartphones vs. tablets, select Audience > Mobile > Overview.