Google Analytics

Beginner’s Guide to Getting Started With Google Analytics

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Leading your business to success requires you to take thousands of smaller steps — without error or delay. But that’s an impossible goal to set without any analytics or insights.

In today’s world, data optimization drives every business decision for big companies.

That’s why you need Google Analytics to improve your products and services.

In this post, you’ll learn everything beginners should know about Google Analytics. You’ll understand the importance of the tool, how it can help your business, and how to use it to grow your company.

Ready?

Let’s get to it.

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics (GA) is a free analytics tool developed by Google. It’s the most popular web analytics tool and one of the essential tools every business should use to build its online presence.
google analytics

As a webmaster, GA will give you the option to monitor your traffic and understand your visitors. It will also help you optimize your content and improve it to meet their expectations.

Do You Need Google Analytics to Grow Your Business?

The short answer is — absolutely.

Over 30 million companies are using Google Analytics. And that’s not because GA is a bandwagon everyone decided to jump on.

Google Analytics will bring you proven results.

Aside from it being free and super easy to use, the tool offers a variety of features that no other online tool can grant you.

For example, it will collect data from your website then generate detailed reports that you can access through your account.

That helps you know if your marketing efforts are working and decide on the type of content you should focus on.

Want to know the best part?

Unlike dozens of other tools online, the integration process is as easy as pie.

You can integrate GA to your website with a few clicks. Then, you’ll have the option to align it with other tools, such as Google AdWords and Search Console.

But before you can get access to all these great features, you must first set up an account.

How to Set up a Google Analytics Account

Go to Google Analytics sign up page, then click on “Set up for free”.

Getting started with Google Analytics

You must sign in to your Gmail account before you can continue with the registration process. If you don’t already have an account, you can create one in a few minutes.

Sign in to Google Analytics

The first step is to name your account — which isn’t that important. 

You can enter your name or the name of your business (if you have many websites). But keep in mind that one GA account can have multiple tracking IDs for different websites.

Choose an account name

Then, click “Next”.

Next, you have to select the property you’re going to measure. 

In our case, it’s a website. Select it, and click “Next”.

Select property type in Google Analytics

Now, enter your website’s name and URL. 

Be sure to select the right industry for your business. That allows Google to put you in the right category with your competitors. Therefore, it will give you more accurate data for comparison in the future.

Enter Google Analytics property details

Once done, click “Create”.

A small box will pop up, asking you to read and agree on the terms of service. When you finish, click “I accept”.

You’ve just finished creating your account!

Next, we’ll link your GA to your website.

How to Install Google Analytics on Your Website

Now that your account has been created, Google will give you a tracking code for your website.

In this step, you’ll use that “Tracking ID” to verify ownership of your property.
Google Analytics tracking ID

There are two ways you can verify your property. You can either: 

  • Use MonsterInsights plugin (if you use WordPress)
  • Add the tag manually to your header file

How to Link Google Analytics to WordPress

Login to your WordPress admin panel, then go to Plugins >> Add New.

Search for MonsterInsights, and click “Install”.

MonsterInsights plugin on WordPress

Once installed, click “Activate”, and you’ll be taken to the launching process.

Pick a category for your website, then click “Save and Continue”.

Now, you’ll connect the plugin with your Google Analytics account.

Select the Gmail account you used to create your GA account.

Then allow MonsterInsights to access your Google account.

Next, select the Google Analytics account that matches your website. (Remember that you can manage multiple sites with one GA account).Connect Monsterinsights to Google Analytics

Click on “Complete Connection,” and the authentication will be finalized within seconds.

On the next screen, you’ll see the plugin setup page. You have the option to make changes to the settings for your plugins.
Google Analytics recommended settings

Configure the settings as you want then click “Save and Continue”.

On the last page, you’ll get some recommended plugins with pro plans. But, the features offered there won’t make huge changes to your results. You can ignore them by moving to the last step.

Click on “Finish Setup & Exit Wizard”. 

Installation complete!

Your WordPress website is now successfully linked to your Google Analytics account. 

The plugin may take up to 24 hours to generate data and insights — especially if your GA account is new.

Linking Google Analytics to WordPress Using an HTML Code

You can also add the code manually to your header file inside the “<head>” tag.

We wouldn’t recommend this method if you’re a beginner. (Making a mistake can break the structure of your website.)

To get started, copy the Global Site Tag from the Website Tracking window.
Copy Site Tag

Then, go to Appearance >> Theme Editor.

Now, under Theme Files, click on Theme Header to get access to your header.php file.

Once there, paste your code between the two “<head>” and “</head>” tags, as shown in the picture.

When you’re done, click “Update File”.

Give it a few days, and you’ll start seeing data in your Google Analytics account.

How to Link Google Analytics to Any Website

The same technique applies to any other content management system you use.

All you have to do is get access to your header.php file. Then, paste the code with your Tracking ID inside the <head> tag.

Your GA account will be up and running within a few days.

Understanding Google Analytics Reports

Google Analytics will generate detailed reports for your website’s performance using lots of metrics and KPIs. That will help you gain valuable insights about your target audience and how you can improve.

For instance, you can see how many visitors came to your website and the average time they spend on each page.

Other examples of key metrics you’ll be able to track include:

  • Active Users
  • Bounce rate
  • Sessions
  • Pageviews
  • Conversions
  • Cart Abandonment

To get access to all these metrics, you must first understand the Reports dashboard and how to use it.

But don’t worry!

These reports are easy to read and understand for any beginner.

Google Analytics reports menu

In this section, we’ll cover the most essential three options.

Audience

The audience report gives you a detailed overview of your website traffic. It helps you learn crucial information about your website visitors.

Google Analytics audience reports

Aside from the general overview, you’ll also see:

Demographics: gives you percentages for age, gender, and interests of your users.

Geo: shows the locations and regions your visitors come from — as well as the languages they speak.

Mobile: helps you improve your user-experience by telling what devices your visitors utilize.

Acquisition

This allows you to understand how you’re acquiring new visitors and where your audience is coming from.
Acquistion reports on Google Analytics

You’ll learn which mediums work best for your audience and what marketing channels to focus your efforts on.

Your website traffic will be divided into four categories:

  • Organic
  • Direct
  • Referral
  • Social

Then, under each category, you’ll also get reports for sources and mediums. 

For example:

  • Google / (organic)
  • Facebook / (social)

By getting all this data, you can devote more time to focus on marketing on the mediums that are already working. 

You’ll also have the chance to revise your strategies and find new traffic sources.

Behavior

The Behavior report will provide you with essential details about how your users behave when browsing your website.

Google Analytics Behavior ReportFor example, you’ll get exact numbers for:

  • Pageviews
  • Bounce Rate
  • Exit Rate
  • Time on Page

By using all these metrics, the tool will sort out your top-performing pages and website sections. 

You may then use that listing to double down on your best pages and create more similar content.

Want something more interesting?

Go to Behavior >> Behavior Flow.

You’ll find a complete chart presenting how users are moving through your pages. And you can even display starting points using mediums, pages, sources, etc.

Using this graph, you can work on your internal linking structure and improve your user experience.

Wrapping it up

You’ve created a Google Analytics account and linked it to your website. And, you also learned some of the basics of GA and what it can be used for.

Give the tool time to gather more data while you keep creating and improving your content.

Now, the real work begins.

You must learn to understand what the metrics are telling you — then look for ways to implement that information into your SEO strategy.

Looking to grow business online with analytics and SEO? We’re happy to help!

Give us a call at 800-280-2749.

Last Updated: 4.23.20