Google Analytics

Who’s Using Your Website?

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What? Google What?

googleAnalyticsGoogle Analytics is a free Web analytics service that provides statistics and basic analytical tools for search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing purposes. The service is available to anyone with a Google account. Google bought Urchin Software Corporation in April 2005 and used that company’s Urchin on Demand product as the basis for its current service.

Your MarketMSO site has Google Analytics built-in but more importantly, you can also use your own Google Analytics code to get even more statistics on your site.


Why Should You Care About Analytics?

If you are still reading, we like to think that it means you are interested in improving how well your website performs for your readers. That said, you need a baseline of data to know how your readers are using your site today before you can even think about making adjustments or improvements.

Where to start…

We highly recommend using your own Google Analytics account so that you can get additional data that is not available in our simple dashboard that is available to you right now. There is no charge for a Google Analytics account and you create one here: Google.

googleAnalyticsOnce you have your own account, you can link your account to your site by going to your website dashboard and then clicking Settings > Google Analytics. This will take you to a screen where you can login and then link your Google account to your site. now you can start collecting data from all users on your site and go to your Google Analytics account to view the data.

To verify your account is working correctly, you will either need to wait 24 hours and then you check your Google Analytics account to ensure that the data is updated or you can test that the real-time stats are working by opening your site up while in your Google Analytics account and make sure that it registers that you are on your site.

Visitors, Clicks, Sessions, Traffic:

With Google Analytics, you can see how many unique people, from what countries and how long they stay on your site amongst other statistics. Are readers leaving your site before they look at a page that you really want them to see? Maybe tweaks need to be made to your home page or menu so that your best content is up front and in the face of all your visitors.


In Google Analytics, go to Audience > Interests > Overview

Some interesting stats that you can find here are the interests of your visitors. Want to blog about something different, take a look and see what interests your visitors have and let that help with your topic. Need to know if your readers are male or female? You can find that here in Demographics > Gender

Play around in Google and see everything that statistics can offer you, but more importantly, take action on the data that you now have access to so that your readers will get more value from your site and will ultimately grow your business in the process.

Free Classes and Support

If you would like to learn more about free online Google Analytics Classes & Support – click here.

Common Definitions for Analytics


With Google Analytics, a hit is ANY request sent to the GA data collection system. This includes pageviews, events, custom variables, measurement protocol uploads, etc.

You can backup your Google Analytics data by keeping a copy of the hits sent to Google. There are many good reasons to do this, as explained here: backup your Google Analytics data


A pageview is recorded every time a page is viewed. Or, more technically, a pageview is recorded every time the Google Analytics pageview tracking method is executed. When a visitor hits the back button, a pageview is recorded. When a visitor hits refresh, a pageview is recorded. Every time a page is opened in the browser, regardless of whether it has been cached, a pageview is recorded. (Of course this assumes the tracking code is on the page in question.)


A visit consists of a series of pageviews that a single visitor makes during a period of activity. A visit ends after the visitor either closes the browser, clears cookies, or is inactive for 30 minutes. (The timeout length is customizable in the tracking code settings)


Visitors are defined by a unique ID – this ID is usually stored in a visitor's cookies. Whenever the tracking code is executed, it looks for cookies on the browser set by the current domain. If they can't be found, new cookies with a new ID are set. Google Analytics emphasizes visits over visitors because of the inherent inaccuracies of trying to track individual users. For example, a visitor who deletes their cookies, uses multiple browsers or shares their computer will show up inaccurately.


A visit with one pageview. It doesn't matter how long the visitor was on the page or how they left. Technically, it's a visit with only one interaction.

Time on Page

Time on page is measured by subtracting the time a visitor hit a page from the time they hit the next page. (e.g. If they hit Page 1 at 12:00 and hit Page 2 at 12:03, time on Page 1 is three minutes.) This means that the time on page for the last page in a visit is always zero because Google Analytics doesn't track pages being closed.

Time on Site

This is the sum of the time on page for all pageviews in a visit. Or, more accurately, it is the difference between the time they viewed the first page and last page in a visit. Note that viewing pages in different tabs doesn't affect this. Google Analytics simply sees a string of pages being viewed in chronological order, without any reference to multiple tabs or windows.

New Visitor

A visitor who did not have Google Analytics cookies when they hit the first page in this visit. If a visitor deletes their cookies and comes back to the site, the visitor will be counted as a new visitor.

Returning Visitor

A visitor with existing Google Analytics cookies from a previous visit.

Dollar Index

A measurement of how influential a page is to conversion. The higher the number, the more frequently it was viewed prior to a purchase or conversion. It's calculated by taking the goal conversion value or transaction value of a visit and applying it evenly to all the pages prior to that conversion. Seen in aggregate, it just attempts to correlate pages to conversions.


Pageviews divided by visits. This metric shows the average number of pages viewed per visit.

Direct Traffic

Ideally, this is the traffic that came to a site via bookmarks or by directly typing in the URL. In reality, it is the traffic for which the code couldn't determine a source. Depending on the site and the browser, some links may not show a referrer and instead would be categorized as direct. Using campaign variables will get around this misrepresentation every time.

Referring Sites

This is traffic for which (1) a referrer was identified, (2) the referrer is not a search engine and (3) there are no campaign variables. The referring URL (a.k.a. the page that contains the link to your website) is also stored for referrals.

Search Engine Traffic

Google Analytics automatically categorizes traffic as coming from a search engine if the referring URL is from its list of known search engines and there is a search term identified in that URL. Both organic and paid search engine traffic is put into this group.

Event Tracking

A feature that allows you to track visitor activities separately from pageviews. This is commonly used to track interaction with AJAX or Flash content.

Google Analytics API

The API extracts data from Google Analytics accounts. It allows customers to programmatically extract Google Analytics data and incorporate it with 3rd party applications and/or databases.

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