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In Google Analytics Essential Training, Corey Koberg shows how to use the Google web analytics platform to generate and evaluate information about the visitors to a web site, including data on site traffic, user behavior, and marketing effectiveness. This course covers the out-of-the-box functionality, from account creation to reporting fundamentals, and explains how to glean insights from the vast array of data available.
Ultimately, publishing a web site is about publishing content, and understanding how that content is used and consumed is a principal goal of any analytics package. Before we launch into the most important content report, the Pages report, it's worth discussing the terminology used in Google Analytics to refer to the parts of the URL. Now most old-school Internet folks may take issue with this naming convention not being 100% accurate, but for the purposes of using Google Analytics, it's important to know what they're referring to when they use these terms, so let's take a look. First, we have this beginning part here, the protocol. The protocol is going to be your http:// that we see at the beginning of a URL.
By and large, a protocol does not matter to Google Analytics. Google Analytics takes care of all this for you, and we don't care at all what the protocol is so http, https, whatever. It doesn't matter. The next part here is the hostname. The hostname here is anything that starts with a www, essentially right after the protocol, all the way through to the end of the .com, .net, .org, whatever this final top-level domain is. All this in between here is going to be referred to as the hostname, and it's what's you are going to find in the hostname dimension of the network report, in the visitor's reports. But as far as the content reports go, we don't care about this either; the only thing we care about in the content reports is this last part, starting with a slash and including a slash all the way to the end.
While, the URL is this whole thing, we are calling this last part the URI or the request URI, and this is what's going to populate all of our content reports. This is what's going to be used for our page, our directories, and everything that we see, as far as the URI is concerned. Now switch into the Pages report we have here in Content > Site Content > Pages. We can see just that. We see those URIs starting with a slash and everything after. The Pages report orders these based on the most popular in terms of the number of Pagesviews by default, as we are sorting by this metric here, and this can be any page in the site.
It doesn't necessarily go down by directories or pages or alphabetical or whatever content has loaded up in the browser; it's just about how many times these pages are viewed. I am going to sort it by Default. Now I can sort these by any of these other metrics that we have over here. We'll look at those in just a second. The small box here with the arrow pointing out is a link that will allow you to see just what this content is. So if you are not sure what this particular link is, I can click on this arrow and it's going to launch a new browser window that's going to show me that exact content. Looking back at these metrics, we now have a couple of new metrics in our table, things like Unique Pageviews and Average Time on Page.
Now what's really interesting is when we look at things like Bounce Rate. We've seen this metric before, but it wasn't actionable. If you see that your entire site has a Bounce Rate of 90%, what are you going to do about it? Just hope that your visitors stop bouncing? Jut now we are getting to a point where we can actually take some action on that Bounce Rate because then people come to a particular page when they bounce, the biggest thing we can do to fix that is to change the page itself. And so here, I can easily identify which pages have a high Bounce Rate, which pages have a low Bounce Rate. From there, I can look at the keywords that brought people.
I can look at the sources of traffic, I can look at what countries and cities they are coming from, all because I know which page causef the Bounce Rate. Percentage of Exit is the percentage of those who will leave the site from this particular page. We'll look at that metric in more detail later when we look at that individual report. One of the things we can do in the Pages report is filter which of these pages get included in the data table. For example, if I want to see only the pages and directories that have to do with analytics, I simply go to this filter, type in analytics, hit Enter--and the Pages report is a very popular report as it's important to know what the most commonly viewed pages of the site are.
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