Chapter 1 – Introduction to Google Analytics and account set up.
After you get a website your first aim is to optimize it so that it is visible to the world, but how do you measure how successful you are in in optimizing your website in search engines or to say how successful is your SEO strategy. If this is your question then welcome to the world of Google Analytics.
Google analytics is a free service provided by Google to measure your website traffic and provides you with data related to search traffic. So basically it is a measurement tool which tells you how well is your SEO working.
Before we get started, let us first clear a confusion which generally crops out in the mind of a person who is familiar with Google webmaster tools and has just started using its analytic account. Looking at both the accounts sometimes leads to think both have almost the same data so why do we have two tools. Actually, some of the data type provided are same, but both the accounts do not provide the same data.
Let us first see what is the difference. GWT gives you data which can help you improve your visibility in search engines. It also provides data which is useful in maintaining your website. On the other hand Google Analytics account provides data about traffic or related to traffic to your website.
Some data in GWT and GA account may look similar, for example keyword data however they are not exactly the same data. They differ in purpose and the way they are collected. Keyword data in GWT sole purpose is to tell what keyword are bringing traffic to your website and what are the relevant keyword which Google found on your website. However, keyword data in GA give you keyword data in terms of traffic generated by it.
Hence, both the accounts are equally important one helps you to maintain and optimize your website other helps you to measure the performance of your website.
Now lets get started with how to use Google Analytics account.
Once you are logged in, you will see the home page with main menu and dashboard where all your website will be listed with some data about them if you have a website added to your account.
Now we will add a website to GA account. Adding website in GA account is also called creating an account. So lets see the steps to create a website account in GA.
1. Click Admin in the menu bar at the top of the page.
2. In the ACCOUNT column, select Create new account from the drop down menu.
3. You will get a form to fill up details about the account you want to create. Click Web site or Mobile app based on what you are adding, and complete the form. This account can also be used to track traffic for mobile app so if you have one you can track it from here.
4. Under the section called Setting up your Account, enter an Account Name. You can choose any name to identify this website and could differentiate between other account in case if you want to another.
5. Under the section called Setting up your property, enter the Website or App Name. This is helpful in case if you have a website and app for the same website and you want to track them in same account for reporting purposes. So you can add two or more properties under the same account. So you can have one property which, if for website and one for app under the same account name. Also make sure you choose a property name which is can help you identify what it is just by looking at it.
6. Enter the URL of the website which you want to track in this GA account. If you are tracking app leave it blank. Make sure you enter the website URL exactly how it appears in address back when you open your website. So make sure to keep these things in mind while entering the URL (http:// or https://, www.example.com, not example.com/). If you do not enter correct format you will not be able to track the website properly.
7. Select an Industry Category based on what you think, what accurately represent your website.
8. Select the Reporting Time Zone. This time zone is only to show the reports in time zone format you have selected. It has nothing to do with when Google collects data.
9. Under the Data Sharing Settings section, select the settings you want. In this option you choose what data you want to share with Google.
1o. Once you are done with filling the form, click on “Get Tracking ID”.
11. It will give you user license agreement which you need to agree and then you get Tracking ID
Now you need to add this tracking ID to your website. There re various ways to do it. The first way to do it is by putting it in code of your website and it gives you the code which you can copy a paste in your website code. This should not be a problem if you are a coder.
For people who are using WordPress or other CMS it is even simpler there are several plugin which you can use and you can put in your tracking ID in this plugin and you are done.
Now that you have a Tracking ID added to your website you can start tracking your website traffic. In the next chapter we will see what all data we get about our traffic and how to use them.