opinion

Google Analytics

Stephen Yagielowicz
Ya gotta love Google: not only do they provide market-leading search tools, but also free, high-quality traffic to our websites and a wide array of tools for webmasters to profit by. The latest of these tools that I’m in the process of trying out is a free, feature-laden stats package called Google Analytics.

Based on the Urchin stats package (a package that I use on one of my mainstream servers), Google Analytics doesn’t come at the cost of a traffic leak like typical “button”-based free counters (buttons often featuring hardcore images, subject to 2257 requirements).

With a simple snippet of code added to each page you wish to track, Google Analytics provides you with detailed graphs showing the total number of visits and pageviews your site received, the average number of pageviews per visit, the number of visits and pageviews over time, the number of first-time visits and returning visits, the cities from which the most visitors come to your site, your top referral sources and more.

This is all pretty basic – but very necessary to have – visitor information that most stats programs convey to one degree or another. What separates Google Analytics from other programs is its high-level of integration and specialized tools for AdWords clients and others seeking information about their search engine marketing campaigns, such as CPC Analysis; AdWords Analysis and Keyword Positions; Overall Keyword Conversion; CPC vs. Organic Conversion; Keyword Considerations; Content and Navigation Optimization tools and much more.

I won’t get into all of the tools and options offered by Google Analytics but will say that for some operations, especially those that offer direct advertising, the ability to set up user access accounts to allow others to see your stats is quite handy. Although I won’t be trading in my trusty WebLog Expert server-based stats anytime soon, Google Analytics at the very least provides a nice “second opinion” on your traffic and at its very best, can make the difference between success and failure with your search engine campaigns. Give it a try and see if it works for you!