Google Analytics has a lot to offer, but there is also a lot to learn and digest. Here's a quick overview of common terms and what they mean.
A pageview is recorded every time a page is viewed. If a user clicks refresh after reaching the page, this is counted as an additional pageview. If a user navigates to a different page and then returns to the original page, a second pageview is recorded. As an example, a single user loading the same page 5 times in a single session will generate 5 pageviews.
A unique pageview aggregates pageviews that are generated by the same user during the same session. In other words, unique pageviews are calculated on a session basis, meaning if the same user loads a page 5 times in a given session, it’s only calculated as 1 unique pageview. This is why pageviews will always outnumber unique pageviews.
Average Time on Page
The amount of time users spent viewing this page or a set of pages. This is measured by subtracting the time a visitor accessed a page from the time they hit the next page. Note: this is calculated in minutes.
Something to Consider: If your site is light on content and is used by visitors to quickly grab contact information for example, your time on page will not be very long.
The number of entries by visitors into the pages of your website.
The bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits to your site. This is calculated by dividing bounces into entrances. Ex: If you have a 60% bounce rate, 60% of your entrances left your site on the same page they entered from. In other words, they did not view another page.
General rule of thumb: A bounce rate in the range of 26-40% is considered excellent. Higher percentages are considered average to poor, and anything above 70% is considered disappointing.
Something to Consider: If your website is based around a blog (or similar to) and your blog posts are on your homepage, your bounce rate will be VERY high (around 80%), and that’s fine. In situations like these, visitors come to read the latest post, and then leave.
The Exit Rate is the percentage of site exits from your site. This is calculated by dividing the total number of exits into pageviews.
Unique Visitors vs. Visits
Unique visitors refer to the number of visitors to your site. This number is not duplicated. So if Sally visits your site 100 times, she will only count as 1 unique visitor.
Visits are the number of visits. So, in the example above, Sally’s activity would count as 100 visits.
This refers to the page that your visitors arrive at first.
Something to Consider: The homepage is the most obvious, and usual landing page.
The origin of your traffic, such as a search engine (for example, Google) or a domain (example.com).
The general category of the source, for example, organic search (organic), cost-per-click paid search (cpc), web referral (referral).
Visits to your website where the visitor types your URL (web address) into their browser’s address bar or uses a bookmark to get to your website. Direct traffic tells you what percentage of your visitors know your brand and website URL versus finding your website through a search engine or another website.
(Used to be called “visits.”) The full timespan that a user spends on a particular website, starting when the first web page of that site is loaded in the browser and ending when the user either leaves the website, closes their browser, or the session times out after 30 minutes of inactivity.
Click-Through Rate (CTR)
The number of clicks your website receives in search engine results pages divided by the number of impressions (how many times it is seen) your listings get.
(Also called Users) People who have not previously or recently visited your site are considered new visitors. If the person has previously visited your website by deleted cookies, cleared their browser history, or visited in private browsing mode, that user will be counted as a new visitor.
These are the words that visitors used to find your website when using a search engine. This information shows you what searchers are actually looking for when they find you. This also helps you to determine potential new keywords to target.
The ‘keyword’ (not set) simply identifies traffic that doesn’t arrive via a particular keyword and hence may not come via any search at all. This includes traffic coming from email, referral sites, or even things like Google Images. The latter might be confusing, but it helps to know that visitors coming from Google Images and Google Maps are classified under referrals with the source google.com, not organic search.
(Not provided), however, presents more of a conundrum. The keyword (not provided) describes organic searches that are being hidden from your view, to provide a measure of privacy for users. In 2011, Google began encrypting results from SSL searches (secure searches from users who are logged in to their Google Accounts or using the Firefox search bar).