Getting Started with Google Analytics

Getting Started with Google Analytics

Now that you have your website up and ready to generate business, it’s time to track your traffic. Google Analytics can be intimidating at first, but it is the best tool for understanding what’s working on your site – and what isn’t.

Below, we’ll cover what data you should be looking at to ensure your website is performing well.

Tracking Traffic

Understanding where your traffic is coming from and which keywords are working is essential for entrepreneurs with little ime on their hands. When you know where to focus your energy and money, you’ll be able to grow your traffic efficiently.

Discovering channel drivers

Understanding which channels are sending you traffic is helpful in deciding which areas you should throw money at, and which campaigns aren’t working. To find your top traffic channels, from the dashboard, follow the instructions below:

  1. Acquisition
  2. All Traffic
  3. Channels

traffic channels

Once you click channels, you’ll be able to see which channels are driving traffic. It will either be:

Warning: The traffic report isn’t flawless. It gives you a great overview of where traffic is coming from but the numbers might not be 100% accurate.

For instance, Direct Traffic is typically a "miscellaneous" channel when Google can’t determine where the traffic really came from. For instance, if your Direct Traffic skyrockets one month, there’s a good chance it came from a campaign that lost the tracking code.

Discovering which search terms drive traffic

In addition to discovering which channels send you traffic, it’s also important to find out which keywords or phrases users are searching to get to your content. To do this, simply repeat the steps to get to the traffic channel overview, then click into Organic Search. You’ll then see the traffic broken down by the search terms, phrases, or URLs users typed into the search engine to get to your site.

Traffic Terms

Unfortunately, the top results will most likely say "(not provided)" or "(not set)".

Additional reading:


Traffic numbers are important to understand how visitors are getting to your site; but engagement metrics help you understand how visitors are interacting with your site. Important engagement metrics to understand include:

Below, we explain a few ways to find out who your customers are and what they like most on your site.

Discovering top pages

To discover which pages are driving the most page views (not sessions) follow these steps from your dashboard:

  1. Behavior
  2. Site Content
  3. All Pages

Here you will get a very basic overview of your top pages, which means the pages that get loaded most on your site.

To dive deeper into these metrics, check out: Google Analytics Content Reports: Understanding the Key Benefits

Understanding where your visitors are coming from

Discovering where your visitors are coming from will help you plan your marketing efforts; you’ll have a better understanding of who your audience is and therefore plan email and social campaigns better. For instance, if the majority of your visitors live on the West Coast, perhaps scheduling your email campaigns at 10AM EST on Tuesdays is not as effective as you thought.

It’s also helpful for planning your content strategy. For example, a Boston-based yoga studio might have a blog with the intention of attracting foot traffic to their business. However, if it’s a well-done blog, it could attract website visitors from all around the country. Use that to your advantage.

One way is to include a content piece angled toward those readers. For instance, if the Boston Red Sox are about to play the LA Angels, a studio owner could write a timely blog post on "Don’t Stress: Breathing Techniques for when Your Team Plays the Red Sox". This way, the next time a West Coast yogi is in Boston, there’s a good chance they’ll keep this studio in mind.

Audience Location Example

Steps to find out where your visitors are located. From your dashboard:

  1. Audience
  2. Geo
  3. Location

You have the ability to dive deeper by simply clicking the country. Click a few more times and you can discover the city. You also have the option to switch from City to Metro location below the map.

Metro Example

Customizing Your Google Analytics

As you get more familiar with Google Analytics, you’ll most likely find that there are a few things you would like to personalize even more. Well, you can with the use of filters, advanced segments, shortcuts and customized reports.


Filters are a helpful tool for cleaning up your traffic data. Sometimes your traffic overview can be misleading and include visits from internal referrals, for instance. With filters, you can clean up that data by excluding specific IP addresses.

To find out what other filters you can create, check out this great guide from LunaMetrics: Basic Google Analytics Filters for Every Site

Advanced Segments

An advanced segment is an invaluable tool for isolating the traffic data you want to look at. For instance, you can create segments for different content types, mobile devices, campaigns and more. By creating segments, you’ll get a clearer picture of how different sections of your site are performing.

Start playing around with advanced segments outlined in these helpful guides:

Customized Reports

A custom report is exactly what it sounds like: a report you create from the bottom up that displays the metrics and data you’re interested in. There are a few limitations as to which metrics and dimensions you can select but for the most part, a custom report is yours to design.

Recommended reading:


This feature simply saves you from clicking around and creating the same reports again and again. By creating a shortcut, you’re simply bookmarking a report to your dashboard view, so it’s already there when you sign on. Very helpful for reports you look at daily.

Recommended reading:

In Summary

Google Analytics is a vital tool for understanding how your website performs, who your visitors are and how your business is growing. It might seem overwhelming at first but once you master it you’ll be able to make decisions that will take your business to the next level.

Talk about this lesson