Google Analytics Glossary of Terms

When you start to use Google Analytics there’s a chance that you might not understand the terminology used. It might be that your web developer or Digital Marketing Professional will start using terms and language that you don’t understand or unfamiliar with. Sometimes it’s unintentional and occasionally it’s because they want to deliberately cause confusion and convince you of their expertise because that can speak the “lingo”.

I prefer not to do that, to use simple English and “translate” any and all of the acronyms in to easily understood English and the purpose of this page is to help put an end to the confusion caused by Google Analytics terminology.

Google Analytics TermsExplanation
Bounce RateThe percentage of people who leave your site from the page they landed on, without navigating anywhere else.

It could be because

  • They lost interest
  • Were confused by the content/navigation
  • Visited because an expectation had been set and the site failed to meet it
  • The site was slow to load and they gave up waiting
  • They found what they wanted

A Bounce Rate over about 45% sends out warning signs and should be investigated and one below about 15% either indicates a phenomenal website or a problem with the tracking code and is worth taking a look

ClicksThis data comes from the Google Search Console and records the number of people who have clicked on your site when they found it in Google’s search results

The Click Thru Rate (CTR) is a number calculated by dividing the number of Clicks by the number of Impressions (The number of times your site was seen in the Search Results Page

EntrancesThis is recording the first page that people land on when visiting your website.

Hint: With a well optimised site, it won’t always be your Home Page

EventsA standard install of Google Analytics can’t measure clicks on buttons (Subscription buttons, video views, PDF downloads etc). A Google Analytics Event is a bit of code that’s attached to the button which enables each click to be counted and measured.
Exit PageThe Exit Page is the last page a visitor to your website looks at before they end their session and leave your site.

Can help to highlight problem pages (broken navigation, poor quality content, slow page loading etc.)

Exit RateShown on Google Analytics as % Exit.

This shows the percentage of people who leave your site after viewing a particular page. It’s calculated by dividing the number of “exits” from a page by the number of visits to that specific page

HitsA “Hit” is when a visitor on your website does something, clicks a link, opens an image etc. A “Session” is simply a collection of hits and is used by Google to determine how and when a visitor is interacting with a web page. No hits could mean that the visitor is inactive.

So, if someone visits your page and goes for a coffee, Google Analytics will count their session as “ended” after 30 minutes

ImpressionsImpressions record how many times your site showed up in Google’s Search Results Pages.
Landing / Entrance Page Landing and Entrance Pages are the same thing – the first page that a visitor to your site lands on. The Landing Pages section of Google Analytics shows you where users are starting their visit to your website.

Although your Home Page may be the most popular Landing Page, it wont be the only one. Understanding this will help you understand how people are finding your website.

Page ViewsThe total count of visits that each individual page on your website receives.

Unique Page Views” counts the number of people who visited a page and stops counting. So, if someone goes to the same page more than once during a visit, it only counts as a single “Unique View”

Pages per Session is the average number of pages viewed by a visitor to your site.

There is no right or wrong Pages per Session, it depends on how many pages a user has to visit to carry out the action you’d like them to carry out. A single page website will only have a Average Pages per Session of 1, for example.

Session (s)A session is simply the amount of time a visitor spends on your website doing things.

After 30 minutes of inactivity, Analytics deems the Session to have ended

Average Session Duration calculates the average length of each visit to your website.

There is no right or wrong time, it depends on how long it takes for a visitor to carry out the action you’d like them to carry out. A single page website will have a short Average Duration, for example

Users, Visitors, TrafficConfusingly, Google uses the terms User and Visitor interchangeably. Both refer to an individual who visits your website.

A New Visitor is someone who’s never visited your site before whilst a Returning Visitor is someone coming back to your site

Traffic is the term used to describe the volume of users visiting your website.

Types of Traffic

  • Direct Traffic – Visits from Users who know your URL (they may have heard/seen and advert and typed your web address directly in their browser or could have your site bookmarked – for example
  • Organic Search Traffic – Users who find your site in the free search results (any search engine) and click through to visit
  • Paid Search Traffic – traffic from your Google Ads campaigns
  • Referral Traffic – visits from users who have seen a link to your website published elsewhere on the internet

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