The Beginner's Guide to Google Analytics

The Beginner's Guide to Google Analytics

Date & Time
July 29, 2023
Reading time
6 mins
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Lopamudra Barik

Are you making the most of the data available from Google Analytics (GA) about your website?


The first step is to determine your objective. What are you aiming for? You will frequently be entrusted with improving site traffic or conversions. You'll need a platform that tracks those metrics to do this, which is where Google Analytics comes in.

This article will explain what Google Analytics is, how it works, how to get started, and what data it offers.


Let’s start.

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a free online tracking tool and platform that collects data on how users interact with your website. Once the data is collected, Google Analytics filters it into easy-to-read interactive reports, which is what we see in the platform.

Google Analytics


On a basic level, you may see how many visitors you have, how they found you, how many views a page receives, and other information. 

Google Analytics is, in many ways, the portal that gives you inner, back end, and real-time access to what your users desire.

What Are the Benefits of Using Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is the most powerful tool for tracking website analytics, and it is provided by the search engine king. It's also completely free.


Although getting started requires some effort, there are numerous online courses and tools available to guide you through the process. After you've connected Google Analytics to your site, you can go to the Google Analytics dashboard and start looking around. It can't go back in time, so you'll have to wait for data to accumulate.

You can also learn more about your visitors' languages and whether they browse on desktop, laptop, or mobile devices. All of this information might help you target your marketing to the right people.


Furthermore, if you use Google Ads, Google Analytics can assist you in determining whether your ads are on the proper track. Business owners can find adjustments to make and new audiences to reach out to by examining data over a period of days, weeks, or months.


In this post, we'll go through how to set up and examine Google Analytics reports to help you measure and optimize your digital marketing initiatives.

Step 1: Create an account

Google Analytics is a free service that anybody can use.

All you'll need is a few minutes and some basic information about your website to set up an account. To get started with Google Analytics, you'll also need a free Google account (if you have a Gmail address, you already have a Google account).


To keep track of data for more websites in the future, you do not need to create a new Google Analytics account. 

Here's how to set up your account:

  • Go to sign up for an account.
  • Fill out the form with the relevant information, including whether you want to track a website or a mobile app.
  • At the bottom of the page, click the "Get Tracking ID" button. Take that code and paste it into your clipboard.

Step 2: Place your tracking code on each page of your website


Google uses your tracking ID code to track activities on your website. If you don't put this code to all of your pages, you won't be able to report on every website visit.


If your site is built in WordPress or another CMS like Joomla or Drupal, adding the analytics tracking code is simple; simply add the tracking ID code to your site's header template file. This template is used on all of your website's pages.  Alternatively, the tracking code can be manually entered into each page.

We can now begin setting up your Google Analytics account for your specific business needs with the code uploaded to your website...

Step 3: Create Analytics Goals

Conversion tracking with Goals is one of the most effective features of Google Analytics.

Goals are precise actions that you want your website visitors to take. For example, if you sell things on your website, one of your objectives would be to have users click on "confirm purchase" buttons, showing that you've made sales.


Once you've configured your Goals, Google Analytics will automatically track important actions on your website and credit conversions to the appropriate marketing channel.

Goals in Google Analytics can be of three types:

  • A Destination Goal is achieved when a certain page on your site loads. This type of objective is commonly used to keep track of numerous "thank you" and confirmation pages that load when people purchase things, register for email updates, or seek more information.
  • Duration goals track how long people stay on your websites for. A Duration Goal can be applied to certain pages of your website or to the entire site.
  • Page/Screens per Session Set these goals to see if visitors to your site are browsing around to view additional products or obtain more information.
  • An Event When visitors do specified actions on your website, you have achieved your goal. Clicking social media icons, watching a video, clicking an ad, or completing a transaction are all examples.

If you already have Goals set up, go to Admin in the top navigation and then click Goals under the "View" column.  You can go to the screen shown below by clicking the red "+ New Goal" button on that page.

Remember that Goals are essential for tracking the performance of all of your marketing efforts.  Please do not skip this step!

Step 4: Connect your Google Search Console account to your Analytics account

Google Search Console(previously Webmaster Tools) is a free tool that assists businesses in managinghow their websites appear in Google's search results.


By connecting Google Search Console to your Google Analytics account, you'll be able to observe how your website ranks for various Google search queries, as well as how many people click from Google to your site.

To begin, you must create a Search Console account if you do not already have one.  Take the following steps:

  • Complete the steps to prove you own your website.  You can prove ownership of your site by submitting a blank HTML file to your server(see screenshot below).

Simply follow the on-screen instructions until your Search Console account is linked to Google Analytics.  Once completed, you will have access to extra reports, which we will go through later in this course.


Next, if you're using Google Ads, you'll need to connect your Google Ads account.

Step 5: Connect your Google Ads account to your Analytics account


Google Ads enables businesses to advertise in Google search as well as on millions of other websites worldwide. If you are not already using Google Ads and do not intend to do so in the near future, you can safely skip this step.


To have a better understanding of your ad effectiveness, I propose integrating your Ads and Analytics accounts.


By linking your advertisements and Analytics accounts, you'll be able to observe data like how long visitors stay on your site after clicking your advertisements, as well as how likely paid visitors are to achieve your various analytics goals.

Simply follow the on-screen instructions to connect the two accounts.  You will now have access to more detailed user behaviour data for your Google Ads campaigns.

Step 6: Enable E-Commerce Tracking

This step is only applicable to companies that run e-commerce websites.

If your website does not support e-commerce transactions, proceed to step 7 and skip this step.  If you do have an e-commerce website, this is one of the most critical tasks to take...


Enabling Google Analytics-commerce monitoring on e-commerce sites enables business owners to track more complex metrics like which products are purchased and average income per sale.

Finally, further tracking code will need to be added to your website. The specifics depend on your e-commerce platform:

  • If you're using an e-commerce platform that interfaces with Google Analytics (for example, BigCommerce), you can enable e-commerce tracking from the admin dashboard of your website.
  • If you're-commerce platform does not automatically interact with Google Analytics, thee-commerce tracking code must be added to the "thank you" page after a shopping basket purchase.

Step 7: Review Source/Medium Reports

To get results from Google Analytics, you must first grasp how to use each of the numerous analytics reports.


The Source/Medium report is the first one you should be familiar with. This report contains essential information about your traffic's source (such as Google, Bing, or your email newsletter) and medium (search advertisements, display ads, banner ads, email, and so on).


Furthermore, because you've previously set up Goals, this report shows you how different types of traffic convert into leads and sales. You can better spend your marketing money and efforts if you have this information.


As previously stated, using the URL builder in all of your marketing efforts is critical in order to provide accurate and relevant report findings. If you do not use tracking URL  from the URL builder tool, Google Analytics may wrongly label certain traffic as uncategorized "direct traffic."

Examine the Source/Medium report to determine which traffic sources are doing well and which need to be improved.

Step 8: Review Channels Reports

The Channels report is a consolidated view of all the data gathered for your Source/Medium reports.


Rather than viewing data for channels based on specific referrers or sources of traffic, the Channels report displays wider trends based on broader traffic categories such as paid search, email, and social media traffic.


This analysis can help business owners rapidly determine which marketing channels are producing the best benefits for their bottom line. This report's findings might also identify which marketing initiatives are falling short.


Most small business owners can acquire all of the information they need from the Channels report's Default Channel Grouping. The following channels are included in the default grouping: direct, organic search, referral, email, paid search, social, display, and other advertising. To obtain more channel statistics, either the criteria for each type of traffic or new channel groupings can be introduced.

Step 9 : Review Website Traffic by Device

Is your website ready for how today's Internet users browse?


Building a website used to be considerably easier before the tablet and smartphone industries took off. Most people now see websites on displays the size of their palms, thus sites must be created with mobile interfaces or responsive designs to remain useful for visitors.


Visitors utilizing mobile browsers will likely perform poorly if business owners have not optimized their website. Running the Website Traffic by Device analysis will reveal whether your site requires further attention.

You may now click on each channel to learn more about how it performs on each device.

Then you'll understand why linking your Search Console and Google Analytics accounts was so critical...

Step 10: Review SEO Traffic reports

The Search Engine Optimization reports might assist you in understanding how people find your site via Google's search results. Please keep in mind that these reports can only be generated after your Google Analytics account has been linked to Google Search Console .


There are three sorts of SEO reports:

  • Reports on Queries indicate which Google search queries generated the most impressions for your page. You can also check how many impressions resulted in clicks, which gives you an idea of your organic search clickthrough rate.
  • Reports on Landing Pages identify which individual pages of your site were more likely to appear in Google's search results. This information can assist you in determining which pages rank well in Google and which are more likely to draw visitors.
  • Geographical Summaries reports include general SEO analytics from many nations, which may be ineffective for small enterprises that primarily serve local clientele.


These reports solely include stats for Google's organic search results.  The SEO analytics do not include traffic from advertising, email marketing, social media, or even other search enginelike Yahoo or Bing.

Step 11: Review Google Ads Traffic reports

If you are not using Google Ads, you may skip this step.


For everyone else, I recommend checking your Google Ads Traffic reports in Analytics in addition to using the Google Ads reports. These reports are jam-packed with data that sheds light on your visitors' actions after clicking on your adverts.


By default, your Google Ads report in Google Analytics displays both ad clicks and a bounce rate (how frequently users leave your site after viewing only one page), which might help you determine which of your ad campaigns is the most effective.


You can also utilize Google Ads statistics to observe how users acted once they arrived on your site. Where does your bought traffic go after they arrive at your website. 

Go to Acquisition >Google Ads > Campaigns and pick the relevant period range to produce a Google Ads Traffic report.


Step 12: Review Social Media Performance & Trends

Google Analytics offers a number of reports that will assist you in tracking and optimizing your social media marketing activities. You can examine how visitors from all social media engage with your website, or you can focus on individual channels' trends and data, such as Facebook or Twitter.

Because social media exposure does not always pay off immediately, Google Analytics tracks both immediate and delayed conversions.  


A Last Interaction Social Conversion is a visitor that arrives at your website from Facebook and makes a purchase during the same session. If a visitor leaves your site but later returns to make a purchase, that visitor is classified as an Assisted Social Conversion. When analysing, both sorts of conversions must be considered.

Go to Acquisition >Social > Network Referrals to get the Network Referrals social media report.  This analysis will show you which social networks are driving traffic to your website. You may also discover which of your pages are most frequently shared on social media networks.


At this point, you should have your Google Analytics account properly set up and understand how to run the most crucial reports to track your digital marketing activities.  

We hope you found this step-by-step guide  helpful!


What is Google Analytics, and why is it important for beginners?

Google Analytics is a powerful web analytics tool provided by Google that helps you track and analyze website traffic and user behavior. For beginners, it is essential as it provides valuable insights into your website's performance, visitor demographics, popular content, and much more, enabling you to make data-driven decisions to enhance your online presence.

Is Google Analytics free to use for beginners?

Yes, Google Analytics offers a free version that is suitable for beginners and small to medium-sized websites. It provides a wide range of features that can help you understand your audience and optimize your website effectively.

How do I set up Google Analytics for my website?

Setting up Google Analytics for your website is straightforward. First, create a Google Analytics account and obtain a tracking code. Then, integrate this tracking code into your website's HTML code. Once installed, Google Analytics will start gathering data about your website's visitors and their activities.

How can I use Google Analytics to measure website performance?

Beginners can measure website performance in Google Analytics by analyzing metrics like the bounce rate, average session duration, conversion rate, and goal completions. These metrics give you an understanding of how engaging your content is and whether visitors are taking the desired actions on your site.

Does Google Analytics provide real-time data?

Yes, Google Analytics offers real-time data, allowing beginners to see immediate updates on website activity and monitor the impact of recent changes or marketing campaigns in real-time.

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