• Learn SEO

The Basics of Google Analytics

  • Felix Rose-Collins
  • 4 min read


You’ve likely heard of Google Analytics before, but many people throw the term around without actually understanding the inner workings of it. While this won’t necessarily go into the nitty gritty details of Google Analytics, we’re going to give you a general overview of what Google Analytics are and what they do.

What is Google Analytics?

As you may have guessed from its name, Google Analytics is an analytics tool that was created by Google. One of the main things that makes Google Analytics so popular is that it is entirely free, and Google actively maintains it, making it one of the more sophisticated analytics tools available.

If you’ve never used an analytics tool before, you may be wondering how much of an impact this one thing can have on your business, but getting the proper analytics can be crucial. Accurate analytics are like intelligence in warfare, allowing you to plan out your next move without making a crucial mistake.

With the growing presence of the internet in business and the growing importance of maintaining a proper online presence, Google Analytics is more useful than ever. Getting to know how to use Google Analytics will allow you to excel and plan out your strategy with care, though it takes time and experience to properly analyze the data you get from the tool.

There are nearly 60 million sites that have Google Analytics integrated, and getting it up and running for your site is not a challenge at all. Simply visit the “analytics help” page on Google’s support site, and you’ll be guided through every step of integrating Google Analytics into your site.

The Inner Workings of Google Analytics

Google Analytics works relatively simply, by injecting some code into your site. This code allows Analytics to track what happens on your site, presenting it in a way that’s easy for you to digest. But what exactly does the code track in the first place? Google Analytics can keep track of what people do when they visit your site.

Along with tracking the actions of your site’s visitors, Google Analytics also logs info about the people who come to your site. This includes info about your visitors’ age, gender, and even what they’re interested in. As soon as the visitor leaves your site, that info will be sent over to the Google Analytics server and logged.

There are four levels of information that Google Analytics can provide you, starting with the user level, which is based on the actions that users perform. The next level is the session level, which logs each visit. After that, you have the pageview level, which goes over the pages a visitor goes to. Finally, the event level tracks what people interact with on each page (clicks, views, and more).

Google Analytics Metrics vs. Dimensions

Google Analytics provides you with info in the form of metrics and dimensions, and many beginners have trouble making a distinction between the two. To put it simply, metrics consist of the raw information that you receive from Google Analytics, and dimensions are how you segment the data.

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To give you an example, it’s not really useful to know the raw number of people who are coming to your site unless you’re tracking that over time to see growth or loss. That’s where dimensions come into play. If we’re still talking about visitors, dimensions can tell you more about the people coming to your site.

For example, you can segment your info about visitors based on their age and where they live. This means that dimensions can tell you that the vast majority of people who visit your site are 40-year old men who live in the southeast of the country. This can make it easier for you to target specific people with ads, for example.

You can choose the dimensions that you want to use to analyse the data that you have at your disposal so that you can answer the questions that are relevant to your business. Since every business is different, Google Analytics gives you the freedom to analyse the info as you see fit instead of trying to create some kind of one-size-fits-all formula (which would be impossible).

Google Analytics Data Types

There are two main forms of data that you can gather from Google Analytics, and they can both be helpful depending on what you’re trying to do. The first type is user acquisition data, while the second is user behavior data. Here’s what you need to know about both of them:

User Acquisition Data

User Acquisition Data is the info that Google Analytics can give you about the people visiting your site before they even arrive. For example, this info can tell you more about a person, including their gender, age, and what they’re interested in, which can all be key marketing info.

However, along with data about the person visiting your site, user acquisition data can also tell you more about where someone is coming from. For example, if you have a huge influx of users from a site like Facebook, then you’ll know where to focus your marketing efforts in the future.

This is where you’ll gather a lot of the information that you’ll be using to determine your digital marketing strategies and further refining your lead generation pipeline.

User Behavior Data

User behavior data consists of the things that you learn about a person once they’ve reached your website in the first place. For example, if someone comes to your site and watches a particular video, that will be logged in user behavior data. If you notice that this is true for the vast majority of your visitors, you’ll know to focus on producing more video content.

One of the most useful things that you can do with user behavior data is determining where users lose interest in your site. If you notice that people get stuck in a particular place, this will give you an idea of where you need to make some changes.

Felix Rose-Collins

Felix Rose-Collins


is the Co-founder of Ranktracker, With over 10 years SEO Experience. He's in charge of all content on the SEO Guide & Blog, you will also find him managing the support chat on the Ranktracker App.

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