A Blogger’s Guide to Google Analytics

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Google Analytics is a great tool to use if you want to improve your blog. But if you aren’t sure where to start with it, it can be a little intimidating. There are so many different stats you can pull out from it, but they won’t mean anything if you don’t know what they are for. So I have put together a blogger’s guide to Google Analytics, to help you understand it a little bit better (hopefully!).

I’ve included a few really basic things, such as how to install Google Analytics. I know this won’t be relevant to everyone as most of you will probably already have it installed. But for those of you that don’t, I’m hoping it will help. So as this is quite a lengthy guide, you can use the following links to skip to where you want on the page:

– Installing Google Analytics on Your Blog

– Google Analytics Terms & Meanings

– Setting the Time Frame in Google Analytics

– Important Areas in Google Analytics for Bloggers

– What stats from Google Analytics should I include in my blog’s media kit?

Installing Google Analytics on Your Blog

It honestly isn’t as difficult as you might think! First things first, you need to set up a Google Analytics account. Google offers a good guide on how to do this. Once you have your account and website set up, you need to install it on your blog.

To do this you will need your tracking ID. This can be found if you click on “All Web Site data”. On the pop out, under the column “Properties & Apps”, you will see your blog listed. The tracking code is the code beginning with UA.

Installing Google Analytics on WordPress

It is super easy to install in on WordPress as everything is done through a plugin! Just install the Google Analytics plugin, then once this has been activated, go to Settings>Google Analytics and paste in your tracking code. Simple!

Installing Google Analytics on Blogger

On the back-end of your blog, in the left-side menu go to “Settings”>”Other” and then under “Google Analytics” enter in your tracking ID. Then click save. Easy as that! I would definitely recommend having Google Analytics installed in Blogger in particular as the stats that appear on blogger take into account bots, so they aren’t always 100% accurate.

Google Analytics Terms and Meanings

Sessions: A session covers the amount of time a user has actively engaged with your website. It basically means that it looks out for the amount of times a user has returned to your website within a certain period of time. So the number of sessions is the total amount of hits your website got from the group of users. Similar to page views, but it takes into account the interaction within a time period, so it is often a lower number than the page views.

Users: This covers the amount of people that have had at least one session during the date range specified.

Page Views: This is the total number of pages that have been viewed. It takes into account repeated views of a single page as well.

Pages/Session: This is the average number of pages viewed in a session. Again, it takes into account repeat views of a single page.

Avg. Session Duration: This is just the average length of a session.

Bounce Rate: This is a total percentage in which during a single-page session there was no interaction with the page. A bounced session always has a duration of 0 seconds. So for example, someone clicked on your blog from the Google search results then clicked back straight away.

% of New Sessions: This is an estimate of the amount of first-time visits to your blog, as a percentage.

Setting the time frame in Google Analytics

Setting the time frame in Google Analytics

I like to view my data a month at a time. So I just adjust the time frame in the top right corner. Viewing the data month by month means I can compare traffic and see areas where I can improve. It is so interesting to see how the amount of traffic changes on a monthly basis.

There is actually the option to compare the data to a previous time frame too, so this makes it easier to view the data on a graph with two lines. You just have to click “compare to”, then select the time frame.

Important Areas of Google Analytics for Bloggers

As there are so many areas to it, I thought I would pick out a few of the most useful to bloggers.

Audience

This is just a quick overview of the traffic your blog has had in the selected time frame. This snapshot gives a good summary of how well your blog has done in terms of sessions.

Acquisition>All Traffic>Channels

This is where you can find out where your blog’s traffic has come from. In most cases, the majority of traffic will be from “Organic Search”, e.g. Google. If you were to click on Organic Search, you will see a list of keywords appear that people have used to find your blog in Google. This can be a good place to find inspiration for future blog posts/blog posts you could improve. The “(not provided)” keyword is Google basically withholding info. This is their way of getting big companies to spend lotsa dollar with them. So I tend to just ignore it, as there isn’t really any other way around it.

The other options allow you to see your direct traffic, social and referrals. But for social and referrals you can get better data from another place on Google Analytics…

Acquisition>All Channels>Referrals

This is the best place to go to if you want to see a full list of referring websites directing traffic to your blog. You do tend to get a few spammy websites listed here like “casinos4dummies”, which was one listed on mine. You can just ignore these, as you will know straight away which are spam. It is just an interesting way to find blogs that might have put a link back to your blog.

Acquisition>Social>Overview

This is where you can see how well your social channels have been doing at directing traffic to your blog. If you click on each social channel in the list, you will be able to see the blog post they have directed traffic to. I find this really good for identifying pins on Pinterest that are doing quite well.

Acquisition>Search Console>Queries

Another of my favourite places to get some good data! Here you can get a more extensive list of keywords that have been used to find your blog through Google, compared to the “Organic Search” data I showed you how to find a few paragraphs up.

You will be able to see the search queries listed on the left. These are the actual search terms people have used in Google. Next to these are clicks, so these are obviously how many people have clicked through to your blog after searching that specific term. In the following column is “Impressions”. This is the amount of people that have seen your blog post listed in the search results. The reason this is important is so that you can compare it to the amount of people that have actually clicked through. If it is a high number of impressions, but a low amount of clicks, you might want to change the meta description to make the page more enticing. The “CTR” (Click-through rate), will also help with working this out.

The final column covers the “Average Position” of your blog for the search term. If it is quite a high number, then you might want to go back to the blog post related to the search term and try and improve the SEO.

Behaviour>Site Content>All Pages

This is the place where you can find your top performing blog posts. It displays a list of the blog posts that have had the most page views. Here you can identify pages that you could potentially improve, such as those with a high bounce rate or high exit rate. The aim is to get people to look at as much content as possible on your blog. You want to really engage your audience. So it is key to remember that when creating content and optimising old content.

What stats from Google Analytics should I include in my blog’s media kit?

This obviously does come down to personal preference, but the main areas I would focus on are the stats provided on the “Audience” page. “Users”, also known as “Unique Users” per month, is one of the key stats. As well as the number of page views.

For each stat, you want to include I would recommend setting your time frame for 4 months, then dividing the total “users” by four to find an average. Just make sure you mention that it is an average in your media kit.

There is also another interesting area of Google Analytics where you can find out more about the people visiting your blog. This helps give brands/PR’s more information about whether your blog has the correct audience for their campaign. To find this information you need to go to Audience>Demographics>Overview. This will give a quick summary of the age and gender of your audience.

Please let me know if you have any further questions about Google Analytics and I will do my best to answer them! In the meantime, I hope this guide helps and you can find out some interesting stats about how your blog has been performing. If you fancy reading more about improving your blog, I have a list of good SEO tools you might find useful.

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