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Anyone with a website has probably heard that Google Analytics should be used to monitor site traffic. That’s because Google Analytics is a free performance measurement tool which provides access to in-depth data that explains important information about your site traffic.

So what can Google Analytics do for you? What do the numbers actually mean? How can understanding these numbers help you reach your marketing goals? Let us explain.

Use Google Analytics to Check Site Visitor Information

One of the most important pieces of information you’ll glean from Analytics is the number of visitors to your website’s various pages. Traffic is the lifeblood of your website; without it, your website can’t bring in customers. The number of visitors, however, doesn’t mean that those visitors are doing anything other than simply visiting or window-shopping briefly before moving on.

If a visitor arrives at your site and quickly leaves without reading or interacting, this means they have “bounced” off of your page, and this measurment is called the bounce rate. When you have a high bounce rate, it means either your website doesn’t meet visitors’ initial expectations, or it doesn’t keep their attention.

User Activity

Aside from bounce rate, another important piece of data is site usage, which lets you know what visitors are doing when they are visiting your website. Site usage tells you which links visitors are clicking and how much time they spend on each page. Google Analytics will even sort your site’s pages based on the number of views each page has received within a specific timeframe.
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Traffic Sources

Another vital piece of data Google Analytics provides is traffic sources, or where visitors to your website are coming from. This data can be derived from information provided by visits from pay-per-click advertising, traffic from search engines, or referral traffic, which is visitors that reach your site via links from other websites.

Analytics has a user dashboard that provides you with an overview of those four key pieces of data. When viewed individually, these numbers are exactly that – numbers. You will need to decide what traffic volume you desire, what bounce rate is acceptable, and what pages or links within your website should be among the most viewed.

Once you have set baselines and expectations for your website traffic, evaluate the data to determine where you need to make improvements. If your website isn’t performing as successfully as you’d like, it’s often due to a low traffic volume or to undesirable user behavior on your site. Traffic-driving efforts can improve visitor volume, but the actual content of your site may require improvements to convert visitors into leads.