Your Guide to Confusing Google Analytics Terms

Are you using Google Analytics on your organization’s website? It can be a great way to track visits, pageviews and what people are interested in most. However, it can also be filled with confusing terms — and trying to read up on how to use the site may leave you more confused than when you started.

If your Google Analytics Dashboard looks like it's in another language, this post is for you. Photo credit: Cloudflare.

If your Google Analytics Dashboard looks like it’s in another language, this post is for you. Photo credit: Cloudflare.

To help, Search Engine Watch put together a glossary of Google Analytics terms. You can see the full list here and check out some especially important terms below:

Bounce Rate

“The bounce rate of your site is the percentage of visitors who leave the site after only interacting with one page. This could be because they lost interest, were confused, or had already found the information they were looking for.

Individual pages have bounce rates as well as the site as a whole. A bounce rate for a page is based on all sessions that begin with that page and end without the user navigating to any other pages on the site.

A high bounce rate can be an indicator of problems, or it can indicate that for whatever reason, visitors aren’t finding anything on the site that entices them to stay longer, read more, or search for more content. A site that people spend a long time visiting and interacting with is often referred to as ‘sticky.’

Page Views

Page Views (also called screen views for mobile) are the total count of how many times any user lands on an individual page on your website. This includes repeatedly landing on the same page during one session, so if a user refreshes the page, this counts as an additional page view on your site.

‘Unique page views’ is a number that will tell you how many times a page was accessed at least once during a session. In other words, it doesn’t count multiple views of a page by the same user in the same session, instead treating them as a single view.

Pages per session, also called Average Page Depth, is the average number of pages viewed by each user during one session. On Google Analytics, this metric includes repeated views of a single page by the same user.

Users, Visitors or Traffic?

These three terms are all ways of referring to the people who access your site. Google uses the words user and visitor interchangeably in different places, both to refer to an individual person who comes to your site. A new visitor is someone who comes to your site without having been there before, while a returning visitor is someone who has been to your site previously.

Traffic is an overall term to refer to the volume of users accessing your website. A traffic source is any place from which people are directed to your site, such as a search engine, social network or other website.”

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