5 Basic Google Analytics Tracking And Researching Tips

Google Analytics is undoubtedly a great tracking tool but once you learn the basics, most webmasters are pretty much done with this tool. They never really venture out and explore Google Analytics’ potentials that are simply there right in front of our noses.

Though Google Analytics is extremely simple and very easy to use, (when you know a feature exists) unfortunately many features usually go unnoticed. However, with the right usage of these tools, you can make Google Analytics and tracking tool capable of doing much more beyond simply tracking data from your website.

First you must make sure you have the Google analytics code installed into your website so it can track your data and make it available for you. After a few days, then you should see some interesting statistics in Google Analytics.

Please note: I used to think that Google Analytics was very difficult to use until I looked at things in a different way. The problem is I was trying to learn from people that explain things in an unclear way. These instructions below might not be simple for you either, but if they are not do not give up, simply find some similar instructions that help you understand better.

Tip #1: Overview Comparison Charts

The overview comparison chart is an amazing Google Analytics tool that many webmasters do not know how to use properly. The report charts are not simply some numbers but with careful usage of information, you can make out a lot of things about the website from them.

If you click on the overview comparison chart, you can compare the information on any date you specify. It explains everything from unique visitors, the time they spend on your website, bounce rate and the exit rate!

Best of all, it compares data from different dates, saving you significant time. You can import the data to PDF and send it through e-mail to anyone you want.

Overview comparison charts is the best method to stay in touch with your team and update them about your website. But if you have not team yet, you can even get regular updates sent to yourself to help you with your SEO.

How to see a date comparison in Google Analytics

Just say you are investing a particular piece of content on your site. You will see a date range in the top right corner. Simply press on the small drop down arrow next to the date. Then you will see a check box next to “compared to past”. Tick this box and you will have the option to enter in another set of dates to compare with the previous date. See the screenshot below.

here is a screenshot of a comparison that I did in Google Analytics. It shows a dramatic drop in traffic when comparing two dates for the same piece of content. This is extremely valuable information and you can now research and compare all the data from those two different dates.

Tip #2: Regular Expressions Means Saving Time and Effective Search

Those who are familiar with using regular expressions certainly know how effective they are in filtering results. Beating out unwanted information is the major challenge for many developers and regular expressions can help you a lot.

There are quite a few of them but here are some worth knowing (Everything without quotes [“”]):

  • “.=” stands for matching any single character
  • “*=” stands for match – or previous
  • “|” logical OR
  • “$” means must occur at the end
  • “()” can match items while “[]” matches a list of items

They’re highly effective when it comes to generating the anticipated results and with the regular use of them, you will find it easier in securing all the data you want. To explain how to use Regular expressions I suggest you see this Free Report from Lunametrics. To tell the truth, this is even a bit difficult for me to explain to you and I wouldn’t blame you if you ignored regular expressions altogether. But unfortunately, this is the edge that successful Webmasters have.

Tip #3: Running a Ranking Report

Webmasters use Google Analytics to know the performance of their website and this is how you have to do it.

  • Go to ‘traffic sources’
  • Then ‘Sources’
  • Go to ‘Search’
  • Go to ‘Organic’

Here you will find a tab called conversion data and you can find many interesting features here. A noteworthy feature is sorting keywords and checking the conversion rate for each keyword.

You can also find the keywords that are driving traffic to the site and then use a tracking tool to check its ranking report.

Now you can use this option to see what the main keywords are for your site. But an even better option is to compare two dates as well.

See the screenshot below. In the first date range my keywords were bringing in 525 visits and in the second date range they brought one visit. Oh no! Now I can see what I need to work on.

Tip #4 Choosing the Number Of Rows

A lot of us have experienced with Google Analytics in one way or the other but there are many simple things that go unnoticed for us. They’re commonly found mistake among webmasters is customizing the Google Analytics interface to their best comfort.

For instance, you can choose the number of rows you want to display. You have a maximum option up to 500 and this is stressful for webmasters who run large websites. It’s ironic that many of them, even the highly experienced ones, often fail to use this amazing tool that can get all the info they want.

You can find this option at the bottom of every page. As you can see from the screenshot below, I have selected 25 rows to be shown.

The greatest advantage of using this tool is exporting your data efficiently to an Excel sheet. Though they are live versions of Microsoft Excel they do not support several rows. The modern versions come with this feature and making use of it is essential for your website.

You will see an export link at the top.

In the screenshot above I have chosen to download an export file as “CSV for Excel”.

Here is the great tool you can use to download more than 500 rows:

At the end of each URL, just add (without quotes) “&limit=3000”. The number given here is for reference but you can add any number, even 10,000 or more if you want!

The display won’t show you more than 500 rows but when you export the data to an Excel sheet, say that you entered 6,000; you will get the entire rows!

This tool is simply amazing and come handy for tracking results for your website. Hence, it is highly recommended.

So just say you have chosen to see 500 rows but this is not enough for you. All you have to do is go to the URL at the top of the screen and paste “&limit=3000″ on the end. Then when you export your file you will see 3000 rows of data.

Tip #5: Scheduling An Email Report

Ever wondered how to communicate effectively with your team or clients about the Google Analytics data you are collecting, or even better, sending the same to those who don’t have access to Google Analytics?

You can set the frequency of these e-mails that have to be sent and the “add to existing” feature ensures you can send multiple reports at a time rather than sending them in multiple e-mails. The best thing about the e-mail reporting tool is the data you provide is followed, and the next month, data of the same number of days you specified last time will be sent automatically!

There are different formats you can choose to send adapter such as PDF, CSV, XML and TSV. Oh, you can also choose which day of the week the data should be sent! Isn’t it simply awesome?

These are just five great Google Analytics tools that you can use to get the most out of this amazing tool provided by Google. However, there are many tips and tactics that can make your user experience even better.

These instructions are from Google Analytics help section:

To send reports immediately:
1. Click Email below the title of the report you want to send.
2. When the Setup Email screen appears, find the Send Now tab.
3. Enter a list of recipients in the To field.
4. Specify a format for the email (XML, PDF, CSV, or TSV).
5. Provide a subject and description.
6. Click Send.

To send on a regularly-scheduled basis:
1. Click Email below the title of the report you want to send.
2. When the Setup Email screen appears, find the Schedule tab.
3. Enter a list of recipients in the To field.
4. Specify a format for the email (XML, PDF, CSV, or TSV).
5. Provide a subject and description.
6. Select a schedule from the drop-down menu:

  • Daily reports are sent each day (beginning the next day) and report data for the previous day.
  • Weekly reports are sent each Monday (beginning the next Monday) and report data for the previous Monday through Sunday.
  • Monthly reports are sent on the first day of each month (beginning the first day of the next month) and report the previous month’s data.
  • Quarterly reports are sent on the first day of each quarter (i.e. January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1) and report the previous quarter’s data.

Note: Scheduling is based on timezones in the United States. The timing of scheduled reports for users outside of the United States varies due to timezone and may result in a significant schedule delay.

7. Click Schedule.

If you are having trouble finding the e-mail button, simply go to the top of your screen and revert back to the old version of Google Analytics. For some reason the e-mail button is missing in the new version but is meant to be coming soon.

The easiest way to learn more about this great tool is continuously using it. You will come across many interesting features that are essential for improving the quality and performance of your website and in the long run, you will create a custom checklist of data that works best for you.

Learning how to get the most out of Google Analytics is definitely a great idea to improve the performance of your website and learn how to bring more traffic to your website. Using Google Analytics tracking will also help you figure out which blog posts to promote by telling you which ones are the most successful. Therefore these Google Analytics tracking and researching tips will prove very valuable to any Webmaster out there.

Comments

  1. Christine says

    Thanks for making this stuff (sort of) easy to understand. Can’t tell how many hours I’ve spent trying to get to grips with GA. It’s appreciated!

  2. says

    Here you share about the google analytic tools which is very helpful for any blog or any website. Actually the website analytic tool r very effective when experienced internet marketing personnel review and interpret the collected data. Any experienced man can easily misuse ur data and then do any thing negative changes 2 your website…..
    Smith recently posted..Scary Movie 5

  3. mark says

    Really informative post here Mitz,

    I DEFINATLY think scheduling an email is a really useful tool in analytics which is not used anywhere near as much as it should be. It makes things really organised for the team seeing how the account is performing every month. Google also has introduced warning emails if a certian area of a campaign is underperforming which i am going to look into.
    mark recently posted..Loud Questions over the ’silent killer’ – Carbon Monoxide – in Holidays!

    • mitz says

      I agree that setting up the email option is a great idea. I often forget to look at my stats and this really helps me stay on top of SEO.

  4. John Allmand says

    great tips regarding the analytics, it is easy but really very useful for keep tracking your user’s. Thanks for explaining useful information in such a good way.

  5. Mj says

    Awesome article , I had just left using Google analytics due to lack of interest in it but after checking this article it has made me to immediately switch back to it as i never knew i could do so much good to my website with it ! Thanks again , Google rocks !

  6. Angel Collins says

    Great post, I totally agree that Google is the best, all the things that you need to know is here.

  7. says

    As you have said, I find GA difficult to learn. The interface gives me no confidence that I can learn it. Comparision charts are quite simple to understand. Thanks for the tips and the free report. Email report and organic reports are interesting. I still have to work more with GA.
    Nirmal recently posted..Anirudh Ravichander Profile and Biography

  8. Pierro says

    Thanks for the blogroll and shoutout. You’re on my reading list as you provide great info and you blog regularly. Keep on bloggin’Thanks for this list. I was just looking for that kind of information.

  9. says

    I have only recently began to use Google Analytics unfortunately, but from the few weeks I have been using it, it really has provided me with some invaluable information. I am a novice user with Google Analytics, and this post has really simplified and taught me insightful techniques. So, thank you for the great post!

  10. Jeo says

    Main problem is that most users block Google Analytics. I used GA for almost a year until I realized that its statistics were plain wrong. It said one time 1,000 users but my web server log file said the truth: 2,500 users. Anyway, in my opinion using GA is like fooling the customer. One day a customer wrote me if I would be so nice to delete his history from my logs and it was awful to tell her that I have no access to the log files because Google saves them all. Then I moved to eTracker. At least they have TOS and are able to delete log files. Worth every dollar.

  11. says

    You already know what I am going to say…I will say it anyway…You Are Right! I read a couple comments also here about how “Googles Analytics is wrong” O~M~G~ I am laughing soooo hard right now.
    I would ask this: “Which one is more accurate than Google”? Clearly Google has haters, I know I have haters, in both of my niches.
    I have Google alerts set up through my email to inform me when my “keywords” are used somewhere. This has been a very beneficial tool for article writing, along with more LEARNING!

    YOU ARE A TRUE INSPIRATION!…Have I said this toooo much?
    Bryan Ring recently posted..Traffic To Your Website Requires Savvy Business Blogging

  12. Zvi says

    A big part of really making web analytics work for you is to set clear goals and then decide upon specific metrics to track those goals. The first thing you must do in any data analysis is establish a baseline of data to compare future data to. You do this so you can positively identify what the impact of various communications campaigns on traffic to your website. Once you have a data set recorded, you can do some preliminary analysis of your site visitors and make educated guesses.

  13. says

    that’s very useful tips for google analytics. especially the command, that’s my first time to know the command using in google analytics.

  14. katherin says

    Pretty good post..
    some of the tips are new to me…thanks for sharing..
    i will try your tips in my website..

  15. Peter says

    Hey Mitz,

    That was a really helpfull tutorial about Google Analytics especially for begginers such as myself.I found the tip about regularly-scheduled reports really usefull.I appreciate your help!

  16. Renny says

    Google analytics has been very effective for my business till date. But I think the way you have depicted Google Analytics in your post has helped me to see it from a different level. I think if I will start using GA in this way, I will be able to get my business to a desired position in the market. Thanks!

  17. liz says

    REALLY great information here! I’ve been looking for a straightforward explanation to help decipher my analytics data. Your explanations are easy to understand and implement, so thank you for taking the time to inform the rest of us!
    liz recently posted..Your Questions Our Answers

  18. Rizwan Sultan says

    Hey Mitz
    That One is great post for tracking the traffic because traffic is really need too monitor for being a successful blogs.
    Rizwan Sultan recently posted..IBS Breakthrough

  19. Sanjeev says

    Google Analytics is my preferred tracking tool, I have uninstalled many tracking code because of this. The new interface is really easy to hold on and get the things done. Thanks for the nice explanation.
    Sanjeev recently posted..Get 10GB Cloud Storage for Free

  20. Ferb says

    Thanks for your, you reminded me to check my site analytics, luckily, it has some improvement on it. If there are some more happen in the future I think I gotta do something for you.

    However, I don’t want to look to close too the result because people visits blog on different time, there might be low and hight tmr or the opposite. I recommenced take 6 – 7 days off it and comeback to monitor the result closely.
    Ferb recently posted..5 killer ways to Write a Magnificent Copy

  21. Amanda says

    Google Analytics became very popular all over the Internet, because it gives its users an opportunity to know about all site statistics and so on. But still I found some new information in your article.
    Amanda recently posted..Business WordPress Themes

  22. Kevin says

    Even I find Google Analytics very useful tool for my business. But the way you have explained it’s variety of other uses, I think it is a must tool for business owners. Even I was not aware of some of the features which you have listed out. I think now I will be looking it in a different way to use it for my business. Thanks for sharing this!

  23. Rick Castro says

    Already familiar with the tool! :) Logical operators are very useful. When I need to filter and exclude the traffic sources and come up with the organic searches I used the “OR” operator. So instead of inserting the websites to the filter box which i guess is up to 10 filter only, I used “OR”. Like this.. “samplewebsite.com|sample.com|website.com|samples.com”.. a lot more easier to filter traffic data! Oh well did I make sense? what you think Mitz?

  24. doug_eike says

    I’m already using the comparison tool, but some of the other functions you mention in your article look interesting and useful. Thanks for the insight!
    doug_eike recently posted..Fire

  25. Anne says

    This is a very simple explanation of Google Analytics, Mitz. Yours is always slightly different from mine, but I’ll have to return to search for the terms you’ve highlighted when I have more time. You’re right, there are so many features in GA. Some of which I’ve never used. I think that if we just play around and click on things we’ll find a lot to keep us busy for days. Sometimes I have to stop myself from just messing around when I’m looking at my GA. :-)
    Anne recently posted..Turn a Room Into a Stress Free Sanctuary

  26. Andersson says

    Well, this is quite helpful. I’ve never given Google Analytics much thought until recently so it’s great to learn fundamental knowledge.
    Andersson recently posted..Revalidering og SU

  27. jan says

    Hi Mitz
    Thanks for the great article, I think most of us take one look at Google Analytics and do a back flip put it in the “too hard” basket! At least I can now find which key words are being used to find my site after your last post! Although some of this is still over my head, will have to come back and revisit it and try to digest it.
    jan recently posted..What is an electronic book reader part 1?

  28. Becca says

    The first time i use google analytic i am really amaze how this tool work to monitor
    my sites. It is a nice feeling to see how sites improve from search engine.

  29. says

    Thanks, this is a really good overview of the tools that Google Analytics offer. Google have definatley done a lot of tools recently and its great that they’re all free as well and this means that Google are probably going to take over the world eventually!
    Harriet recently posted..Sony Ericsson Xperia X8

  30. Emilia says

    Such a great and useful article! Thanks for sharing it, it will be very useful for me. I had been thinking about using Google Analytics for a while when I came to your blog. Now I’m sure this one’s a really useful thing, and I want to get in the SEO things so it is necessary for me to can handle it.
    Emilia recently posted..dental implants

  31. says

    This is a great overview of some basic things for any beginner to learn. Anyone running a blog or website definitely needs to learn the basics of a good analytics program such as Google Analytics. You can get extremely valuable insight into your traffic levels, demographics and how they interact with your site. When you have access to such a useful free service, it pays a lot to take advantage.
    Jeremy recently posted..Watch Movies At Home To Avoid The Gouging

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