What You Need to Know About Google Analytics
Part 4 - Traffic Sources Overview
This overview allows you to see how your traffic is getting to your website. A pie chart allows you to see the break-down of traffic sources graphically. Next to it is the same information in table format displaying percentages of traffic coming from a particular source.
There are 4 main traffic sources tracked by Google Analytics: Direct, Referring, Search Engines and Other. Let's dig into these traffic sources a tad more.
This is traffic that goes immediately to your website from a user's browser. In other words, the user has entered your URL directly into their browser and clicked enter. Remember that if anyone bookmarks your website, this is also Direct traffic.
When someone clicks on a link to your website on another website, that is Referring Traffic. Examples of this include social bookmarks (Digg, StumbledUpon, etc), social networks (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc), Link Directories and all other websites that display your link.
Search Engine Traffic
Pretty self-explanatory - this is traffic that comes when someone receives a search engine result and they click on a link to your website. You can see what keywords people use to find your site by looking into your Search Engine Traffic results.
Any traffic that Google Analytics cannot determine its source will be listed on Other. This is generally a very low number.
Below the graph and table mentioned above is Top Traffic Sources. This displays the top 5 sources of traffic and the top 5 keywords used to find your website.
The top 5 sources displays the top ways people are coming to your website. Click the "view full report" link below the list to see indepth results - this opens a report of all your traffic sources. By drilling into your traffic sources you are given a wealth of information about how people are finding you and provide you with clues on how to grow your traffic numbers.
Also displayed in Top Traffic Sources are the top 5 keywords used to find you. This is one of those hidden treasures in Google Analytics. You need to dig into this a bit but the effort is rewarding. By knowing what terms people are using to find your site, you can see if your plans are working - or if you need to improve your content to better match what people are seeking. Click the "view full report" link located below the list to dig in.
Traffic Sources Overview: What you need to know
Knowing where your traffic comes from helps you determine what you should concentrate on to grow. Keywords used to find your site are especially important to review and track. Take the time to drill in and learn all you can about how your users are finding you.
The next post in the Google Analytics Series: