How does Google Analytics Track traffic sources

google analytics how to tell where traffic is coming from and how to check traffic in google analytics and how to track traffic sources in google analytics
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DavyGodwin,United States,Professional
Published Date:03-08-2017
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LESSON 7 Analyzing Traffic Sources In this lesson, you learn how to analyze the sources of traffic to your website. Where Does Your Traffic Come From? In the previous lesson, we examined ways to analyze the visitors to your site. Equally important, though, is where these visitors come from—that is, how they’re finding your site. In general, there are four ways for a new visitor to come to your site, as follows: . Directly, by entering your site’s URL into their web browser or using a browser bookmark. . Referral, by clicking a link to your site found on another site. . Search engine, by searching for a keyword and finding your website in the search results. . Campaigns, by clicking on an advertisement you’ve purchased for your site, such as AdWords, or on a link in an email newsletter. Which of these methods is best? There’s no hard and fast answer to that question, although most sites get the majority of their new visitors from Google and other search engines. It’s healthy, however, to also get a fair number of new visitors from links on referring sites. And there’s nothing70 LESSON 7: Analyzing Traffic Sources wrong with buying new visitors via pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. One wouldn’t expect, however, to find too many new visitors who already know your URL and enter it directly. Google Analytics tracks the last site your visitors visited before they came to your site. And, when it comes to traffic sourced from search engines, you can also learn what queries these users made that generated your site in their search results. Viewing the Traffic Sources Overview To gain an overview of the source of traffic to your website, access the Traffic Sources Overview report, shown in Figure 7.1. You view this report by selecting Traffic Sources Overview in the left pane of the Google Analytics Dashboard. FIGURE 7.1 Viewing the Traffic Sources Overview report.Viewing the Traffic Sources Overview 71 The top of this report displays the ubiquitous overview graph, so you can just ignore that. Instead, focus on the data table and pie chart directly beneath the graph; it’s here where you see what percent of site visits came from direct traffic, referring sites, and search engines. (Or, if you’ve advertised your site via ad campaigns, which percent came from those campaigns.) Scroll down further to the Top Traffic Sources lists, and you can see the top individual sources of traffic to your site. This list may include the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing), direct visits, as well as any sites that link to your site. Click the View Full Report link to view a more complete All Traffic Sources report, like the one shown in Figure 7.2. This report displays the top traffic sources in descending order, along with the number of visits, pages per visit, average time on site, percent new visits, and bounce rate associated with each source. FIGURE 7.2 The full All Traffic Sources report.72 LESSON 7: Analyzing Traffic Sources Also in the Top Traffic Sources report are the top keywords and key phras- es searched for by users who found your site on Google and other search engines. Google Analytics displays the number of visits resulting from each keyword search, as well as what percent of your site’s total visits was associated with each keyword. NOTE: Keywords A keyword is a word or phrase included in a search query. Click the View Full Report link to view a more complete list of keywords used, like the one shown in Figure 7.3. This report lists the most searched- for keywords in descending order, along with the number of visits, pages per visit, average time on site, percent new visits, and bounce rate associat- ed with each keyword. FIGURE 7.3 The full Keywords report. NOTE: Keywords Report You can also display the Keywords report by selecting Traffic Sources Keywords from the left pane of the Dashboard.Analyzing Direct Traffic 73 Analyzing Direct Traffic Google Analytics also lets you analyze traffic from each type of source individually. We’ll start by looking at direct traffic—those visitors who come to your site by entering your site’s URL into their web browsers or by selecting a bookmark. You display the Direct Traffic report, shown in Figure 7.4, by selecting Traffic Sources Direct Traffic from the left pane of the Dashboard. There’s the ever-present overview graph at the top of the report, which in this instance displays visits per day for your site’s direct traffic. Beneath that, you see a listing of statistics for your site’s direct visitors. These sta- tistics include the following: FIGURE 7.4 The Direct Traffic report. . Visits coming from direct traffic, as well as what percent of your total visits this represents. . Avg. Time on Site from your direct visitors, compared to your site’s overall average time on site. . Bounce Rate, or what percentage of visitors leave after visiting only the first page. This is also compared to the overall bounce rate for your site.74 LESSON 7: Analyzing Traffic Sources . Pages/Visit, compared to your site’s average pages/visit. . % New Visits, or what percentage of this direct traffic consists of new visitors to your site. This is also compared with your site average. NOTE: Overview Graph To change the metric displayed in the overview graph, click the graph icon next to any of the metrics (Visits, Bounce Rate, and so forth) displayed at the bottom of the page. Analyzing Traffic from Referring Sites Any site that contains a link back to your site is a referring site, and visi- tors clicking on these links are referred visitors. To learn more about these referred visits, select Traffic Sources Referring Sites from the left pane of the Dashboard. This displays the Referring Sites report, shown in Figure 7.5. The overview graph at the top of this report displays the total number of referred visits per day, whereas the bottom of the page lists the most popu- lar referring sites. Above this table are the statistics for these referring sites—visits, pages per visit, average time on site, percent new visits, and bounce rate. These same statistics are listed for each of the top referring sites. By default, the Referring Sites report lists the top ten referring sites. To display the next ten referring sites (and the next ten after that, and so on), click the right arrow button beneath the list. To display more detailed information about any individual referring site, simply click its name in the list. NOTE: Displaying Detail If you’d prefer to display statistics about referring sites in the aggregate, instead of a site list, click the Detail button above the referring site list.Analyzing Traffic from Search Engines 75 FIGURE 7.5 The Referring Sites report. Analyzing Traffic from Search Engines Most websites derive the majority of new visitors from the major search engines. That is, a person searches for a particular topic, generates a list of search results, and clicks your site within this list. To that end, analyzing which search engines generate the most traffic, as well as which keywords led to your site, is quite useful. All this informa- tion is found in the Search Engines report, shown in Figure 7.6. You gener- ate this report by selecting Traffic Sources Search Engines from the left pane of the Dashboard. The top of the Search Engines report displays the overview graph, which tracks visits per day for search engine traffic. Beneath that are the statistics for aggregate search engine traffic—visits, pages per visit, average time on site, percent new visits, and bounce rate. Beneath that is a list of search76 LESSON 7: Analyzing Traffic Sources FIGURE 7.6 The Search Engines report. engines that drove the most traffic to your site, with the same statistics listed for each search engine. To further analyze the traffic from each search engine, click a search engine’s name in the list. This displays a report for that search engine, like the one shown in Figure 7.7. Beneath the overview report (which displays visits per day from that search engine), you find a list of the top ten key- words used to find your site on that search engine, along with statistics for each keyword. To view the next ten keywords (and the next and the next), click the right arrow beneath the list. NOTE: AdWords Traffic You can also drive traffic to your site with AdWords advertising. Learn more in Lesson 11, “Tracking AdWords Traffic.”Summary 77 FIGURE 7.7 A report for a specific search engine. Summary In this lesson, you learned how to examine the sources of traffic to your website. In the next lesson, you learn how to analyze the content of your website.

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