Tracking: What is Google Analytics?

Tracking: What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a popular free service among webmasters. It can help them learn how to gain more visitors to their web sites and turn more of that traffic into sales and registrations. So exactly what is Google Analytics?

The Google Analytics service provides free information about how visitors locate and view a web site. It also provides advertisement tracking, which makes it easier to determine the effectiveness of banners, e-mail ads, and other types of promotion. For webmasters who use Google Adsense or Adwords to market their sites, Google Analytics integrates with these services and supplies a wide range of statistics on each campaign.

Google will provide both graphical as well as text-based representations of the data collected by the system. This then allows the webmasters to evaluate the information at a glance or in much more specific detail. Much of the data appears in multi-column tables, rectangular line graphs, and “motion charts”. Because of Google’s tracking technique, keep in mind that the information best reflects site visitors who have browsers with Javascript and “cookies” enabled.

The installation process involves creating an account, setting configuration options, placing the code on every page that requires tracking, and (optionally) putting tracking “tags” at the end of online advertising URLs. Third party services are available to help with the installation of Google Analytics for webmasters who have limited time or are not able to do this. The tracking code adds about 400 bytes to each page.

Stats generated by this system may be converted Excel spreadsheets or XLS, Comma Separated Values or CSV, and other formats available for offline viewing (or showing the data to someone else). Webmasters can determine exactly what information they want to appear in reports created by the system. This will enhance their ability to analyze the data and then determine what specific changes need to be made to improve web sites and online marketing strategies.

A wide variety of web sites utilize Google Analytics for user tracking, including state and local governments, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Boston Globe, Paramount Pictures, the University of San Diego, (individual stores), and many others. Some of the sites that use Google Analytics for tracking often mention and describe its function in their privacy policies.

Google is not the only company to offer a service of this type. Others include Yahoo! Web Analytics, Webtrends Analytics 9, Omniture Web Analytics, and Piwik, which is installed as a stand-alone system on each individual web site.

About the Author:

Chuck Aikens has been in Internet Marketing for over 10 years and is currently the President of Market Vertical Partners. is a Denver SEO & search marketing firm. Check out for information on Paid Search Management, Search Engine Optimization, and Link Building Services.

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Search Engine Specialist - 12 year veteran SEO with multiple top 20 ComScore properties publishing experience. Enterprise level across international, mobile, and social media spheres. Advisor to startups for pre-launch optimization and ongoing SEO consulting.

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