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You’ve probably heard before that you can’t track what you don’t measure. Google Analytics is free software from Google that makes tracking website visitors and new leads easy. But understanding what all of the terms mean can be a little time consuming and frustrating. We’ve put together a definitive A-Z glossary that will give you a quick reference guide to all of the terms you’ll see most often. If you need Google Analytics installed on your website, or would like a free website analysis, please contact us – we’re happy to help.
Alerts: A Google Analytics Alert is a notification of a change in your data. Alerts are beneficial because they draw your attention to program abnormalities you otherwise may have overlooked.
Benchmarking: The Google Analytics service gives users a view into how their Website is performing in comparison to other Websites of similar size. Benchmarking allows you to compare your site’s Analytics data, including visits, page views, bounce rate, average time on site and other metrics against data from other participating Websites.
Bounce Rate: The percentage of visits in which the visitor only views one page of your Website before leaving is known as the Bounce Rate. With Bounce Rate information, you can analyze the quality of user visits. A high Bounce Rate often indicates that your pages are not relevant to what your visitors are looking for. You can lower your bounce rate by generating better targeted ads and Landing Pages, as well as creating quality content that will engage visitors and draw them into your Website.
Click: The single instance of a user following a hyperlink to another page or to initiate an action.
Conversion: This is what occurs when a goal is completed. Conversions happen when a visitor comes to your site and completes a desired goal or action. Completing a purchase and submitting a contact form are both examples of goals. Google Analytics allows you to create customized goals so you can measure user actions that are important to your Website.
Cookie: A small amount of text data used to remember information from page to page and visit to visit. Cookies can contain information such as user preferences or shopping cart contents.
Cost Data: The information imported from a Google AdWords account into an Analytics account.
Custom Reporting: Google Analytics offers the option to create custom reports based on the metrics and dimensions you choose. Custom reports present the information you selected, organized in a way that works for you. Once you create a custom report, it will be available to you each time you login.
Direct Traffic: Visits to your site where the user types your URL into their browser’s address bar or when a visitor uses a bookmark to get to your Website. It is important to know where your Website traffic is coming from so you can understand which marketing endeavors are working for you. Direct traffic illustrates how many of your visitors know your brand and Website URL. These visitors did not find your Website on search engines or on another site. They came directly to your Website.
Ecommerce: The purchasing or selling of products or services over the Internet.
Exact Match: One of the three different match types that Google Analytics defines to identify a URL for either a goal or a funnel. An exact match is a match on every character in your search string from beginning to end.
Example: if you set your exact match URI to “/page1” then only the “/page1” string will be included. “/page12345” would not and “2/page1” would also not be included.
Filter: A guideline that includes or excludes specific data from reports. You can use filters to carry out actions like eliminating internal traffic from reports or to only include traffic to a specific subdomain. Learn more about using filters in Google Analytics.
Funnels: Series of steps a visitor completes to reach an end goal. Google Analytics allows you to indicate up to ten pages in each funnel definition. Creating funnels can show you where visitors abandon the process during the path to conversion.
Goal: A measure of something you want to track in Google Analytics that you define as a success. Goals must relate to a quantifiable action that your Website’s visitors take, such as product purchases, newsletter sign ups, or downloads. Goals are set up in Google Analytics to track conversions.
Goal Conversion Rate: The percentage of visits on a site where the visitor completes a goal or completes a conversion.
Google Analytics: Free service offering a simple way to track metrics on your Website with the addition of a small snippet of code placed on all pages of your Website. Google Analytics allows you to see how visitors found your site, what pages they visited, how long they stayed on your site, among many other facts and figures. Properly understanding and interpreting the data available through Google Analytics will allow you to improve your Website, increase your conversions and increase your Website’s effectiveness. You can create or access your Google Analytics account at http://www.google.com/analytics/.
Head Match: One of the three different match types that Google Analytics defines to identify a URL for either a goal or a funnel. Matches the characters you specify as the beginning of a string including all strings that end with characters in addition to what you have specified.
Example: if you set your head match URI to be “/page1”, then “/page12345” will also be included because the beginning of the string is identical.
Impression: The display of a referral link or advertisement on a web page.
Include: A type of filter that matches a text string or regular expression against incoming data, and keeps only those hits that match.
Keywords: These are the words that visitors use to find your Website when using a search engine. Google Analytics provides a list of keywords that have been searched by users who find your Website. This information shows you what searchers are actually looking for when they find your Website. This also allows you to discover potential new keywords to target.
Landing Page: The first page a visitor views during a session; also known as the entrance page.
Loyalty: A measure of visitor behavior. A visitor’s loyalty is illustrated by the amount of times they return to your Website in a specified time period. Loyal visitors are typically highly engaged with your Website and your brand. Low customer loyalty often illustrates the need for new content and regular updates to a Website.
Match Type: Defines how Google Analytics identifies a URL to include or exclude for goals and funnels. The three available match types include head match, exact match and regular expression match.
New Visitors: Internet users who have not previously or recently visited your site are considered new visitors. If cookies on a previous visitor’s computer have expired or if they have deleted their cookies, these visitors will also register as new visitors. Google Analytics lets you see how many new visitors you have so you can fine-tune your Website to increase repeat visits as well as increase the number of new visitors.
Organic Traffic: Visitors who come to your Website from unpaid organic or natural search engine results.
Paid Traffic: This consists of visitors who come to your Website from Google AdWords ads, paid search engine keywords and other online paid ad campaigns. When investing in an online PPC or other advertising campaign, this data will show you how effective your paid online marketing program is.
Page View: The amount of times visitors arrive on individual pages of your Website. If a user reloads a page, that action will be counted as an additional page view. If a visitor navigates to a different page and then returns to the original page, a second Page View will be recorded as well. Page views allow you to see which pages on your site are the most popular.
Query Parameter: A VARIABLE=VALUE pair that follows the question mark (“?”) in a URL. Example: http://www.example.com/search?q=foo contains the query parameter q=foo
Query Variable: The VARIABLE portion of the VARIABLE=VALUE pair that makes up a query parameter. Variables store information such as search terms entered into a search engine. In the above example, the “q” in “q=foo” is the query variable.
Referring Sites: Other Websites that refer or send visitors to your Website are called referring sites. Knowing where your traffic is coming from is an easy way to increase your ROI. You can focus more resources on sites that are referring more traffic, or re-evaluate your campaigns on sites that are not driving much traffic.
Regular Expression Match: One of three different match types that Google Analytics defines to identify a URL for either a goal or a funnel. Special characters can be used that enable wildcard and flexible matching. This is useful if your visitors are coming from multiple sub domains or if you use dynamic session IDs.
Request URI: The string at the end of a URL after the “.com” in your Web address is the request URI.
Example: If your URL is “www.mycompany.com/page1/product1.htm” then your request URI is “/page/product1.htm”.
Returning Visitor: A returning visitor is a user who has been to your Website and has come back. When visitors return to a Website, it demonstrates that the Website is of interest to them.
Search Engines: Online tools that allow you to find specific Web pages by using a keyword search query. The three main search engines are Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Google Analytics segments your traffic data so you can see which search engines are driving traffic to your Website, and how much traffic each search engine is generating. Google Analytics allows you to separate this data into paid and non-paid results.
Time on Site: The average length of time a visitor spends accessing your site within a specified time period. You can use this data to measure the effectiveness and quality of your Website. The longer visitors spend on your site, the more informative and interactive your site is.
Top Exit Pages: The pages on your Website that visitors leave from. In Google Analytics, these pages are listed in order from those the most visitors exited your site to those pages that visitors least exited your site. Take into consideration the content of the exit page when deciding on a course of action. If people are leaving your site from a Thank You page, there is no need for worry. If one of your Top Exit Pages is another page on your site, you want to investigate why your visitors are leaving from this page.
Top Landing Pages: The first pages that users land on, or come to when entering your Website. Within Google Analytics, these pages are listed in order of most visited to least visited. This data is important because it allows you to see which pages are attracting visitors.
Tracking Code: A small snippet of code that is inserted into the body of an HTML page. The tracking code captures information about visits to a page.
Traffic: The total number of visits to your Website. Within Google Analytics, traffic can be divided into multiple categories including, direct, organic and paid.
Traffic Sources: Where your traffic is coming from. Google Analytics includes information on which sites your visitors are coming to your Website from as well as what keywords they are using to get to your Website.
Unique Visitor: The number of individual (non-duplicate) visitors to a site over the course of a specific time period. This data is determined by cookies that are stored in visitor browsers.
Uniform Resource Locator (URL): The address of your Website (i.e. www.mycompany.com)
Visitor: The person who goes to a Website. The “Visitor” section of Google Analytics offers data and reports concerning the behavior of the visitors that frequent your Website.
Visitor Session: The time a visitor spends on a Website. The longer a visitor stays on your Website, the more relevant it appears to search engines. To increase the amount of time visitors stay on your site, it is important to present informative content, easy to use navigation, and up to date information on your brand, products and services.
Visits: The amount of times your Website is accessed. This data allows you to see how effectively your Website is being promoted. Watching the trends in your visits allows you to analyze which aspects of your online marketing are working.
With all of the great information and data available to you within Google Analytics, you have the power to make your security website work stronger for you.