Ashley Agee

9 Basic Google Analytic Terms You Should Know

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After a few client meetings, I realized that some of our clients don’t know the basic “GA lingo” that we use in our reports. It seemed like I was having to explain certain terms over and over, which to me seemed odd but then again I do this for a living so I’m supposed to know them. I realize that people who don’t study web analytics won’t know what each term is and that my reports probably looks/sounds like a foreign language. So to help clear up some common questions, I’ve listed below the Top 9 Common Google Analytic terms and their definitions.
  1. Conversions – This is the completion of a goal on the website. Ex: Filling out an online form, Signing up for a newsletter, Contacting someone by email, etc.
  2. Website Traffic – The number of visits to your site and how they got there.
    • Organic Traffic – Visits that came from someone who found us in the search engine results. (Google, Yahoo, Bing, Aol, etc.)
    • Referral Traffic – These are visitors that originated on another site but clicked on a link that brought them to our site. It could be a link in the content, a banner image, blogroll, etc. However, referral traffic can also be search engine traffic if it’s a small engine. The way GA filters our search from referral is from a list google specifies.
    • Direct Traffic – These are visitors who typed your domains url into the address bar and came directly to the site. It also includes visits that come via a bookmark.
  3. Time on Site – This is the AVERAGE time visitors spend on your site. On a sidenote, I read a report from CBS news that the average time spent on a page is 33 seconds.
  4. Bounce Rate – This is the percent of people that come to a page and don’t visit any other page on the site.
  5. Unique Visitors – This is number of people who came to the site.
  6. Visits – This refers to the number of times the site was visited. This number is always higher than the number of unique visitors because a visitor can visit the site more than once. Does that make sense?

So there you have it. I hope those help to clear up any questions you have about terms we use when talking about web analytics. Feel free to leave us any other questions you have in the comment section and we’ll be sure to answer those as well!