Google Analytics Guide 2017

While there are many analytics guides available, our short guide includes updated instructions and screenshots so you may have your questions answered more quickly and easily. You can also start at the beginning to learn how to set your analytics account up for creating and tracking your website goals, finding important reports and applying filters.

Setting Goals

What are your marketing conversion goals? What did you build your website to help the user do or learn? How effective is your website and your marketing campaign? Where is your traffic coming from?

Think about how you might count a conversion on your website. Now that the user is aware of your business, you’ve got to persuade them that your product or service is what they need and make them feel good about trusting you with their valuable time, attention and patronage. Setting and measuring goals helps you monitor the steps through your sales funnel so you can better adjust your tactics for improved leads, conversions and satisfaction throughout the customer relationship.

A conversion can be a series of actions, or just one action, like visiting a page, submitting a form, viewing multiple pages, or spending enough time to read your post or article. You might also choose to monitor search queries conducted so you may add easier access to a commonly searched term.

To create your Goals, click the Gear Icon and select Goals under the VIEW menu.

Analytics Goals

Then, click new goal button

First, you’ll want to name your goal, so we will walk through an example of setting a Mobile ClicktoCall link to track calls through your website from mobile devices.

  1. Goal description
    1. Name: Mobile ClicktoCall
    2. Type: Event
    3. Click continue button
  2. Goal details
    1. Category goal details button Mobile
    2. Action goal details button ClicktoCall
    3. Click save button
  3. Install the Tracking Code on your website
    1. In your HTML, to make a phone call link, add tel: to the href
       <a href="tel:8007775555">(800) 777-5555</a>
    2. To add the tracking code to your link, add the onclick action, onclick=”_gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘Mobile’, ‘ClicktoCall’])”
       <a href="tel: 8007775555" onclick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Mobile', 'ClicktoCall'])"> (800) 777-5555</a>

You can now add Event tracking to almost any link. Google also offers Goal Types for Key traffic elements such as Duration and Pages/Session. You may set the Goal Value in the Goal details step, based on the stage in your Sales funnel process and how much the sale is worth at that stage.

Monitoring your website analytics becomes even more important when you invest in advertising campaigns – you want to track the reach and level of success and make adjustments along the way, or plan the next campaign accordingly.


With over 50 reports and options available in Google Analytics, we will cover some of the basics here, but for more training, you can visit the Google Analytics Academy and dive into one of the free courses offered.

At the top of the page, you’ll see the Audience Overview, to the right is the date range filter.

date range filter

You’ll see a line graph with metrics beneath; hovering the metrics will give you a pop up definition of that metric.

audience overview

Beneath the metrics on the Audience Overview page, you will find links to view the top ten of the following reports, which link to detailed report views:


  • Language
  • Country
  • City


  • Browser
  • Operating System
  • Service Provider


  • Operating System
  • Service Provider
  • Screen Resolution


Google offers the following report sections in the left-hand navigation:

REAL-TIME Shows the number of people on your site now (within a few seconds), their location, keywords and referring websites, the pages they are viewing, and conversions. We find this feature most helpful when adding traffic Filters to remove your own visits from the results.

AUDIENCE Reports provide insight into audience demographics, new and returning visitors and their engagement levels, and networks, browsers or mobile devices they are using to access your site. Who are your website users?

ACQUISITION This section allows you to evaluate campaigns and referrals to compare traffic sources, site engagement such as bounce rate, pages/session and avg. Session duration, and conversion metrics that you set up in your Analytics Goals. What drove visitors to your site?

BEHAVIOR Reports on your website content, performance, search-ability and interactivity. You’ll want to review site speed, site search and events where applicable. What are the top pages of your website? How can you make your website faster?

CONVERSIONS Offers 4 sub-sections: Goals, Ecommerce, Multi-Channel Funnels and Attribution. For the sake of this short tutorial, most small business will only need to track Goals. Goals reports measure how well your website meets business objectives through conversion tracking, using the Goals you set up earlier.

When learning how to utilize Google Analytics, if you are looking for help, just click the Analytics University icon to pop up the guide for that section.

analytics university screenshot

You should explore the reports and when you find one that you will want to check regularly, click the shortcut link to add it to your menu, or use the email link to send it to a team member.

analytics tab menu

Some of the key reports we highlight for our customers include

  • A month-to-month comparison of Users, Avg. Session Duration, Pages/Session and Bounce Rate. Just select the Date range button, set the date range to Previous month, select the Compare checkbox and select the Previous period. You may need to adjust the Comparison date range to get a full month comparison, depending on number of days in the month.
  • Current month traffic performance snapshot. This is the default audience overview.
  • Key elements by source: Avg. Session Duration, Bounce Rate, Conversion Rate, Pages/Session. To generate these reports, visit ACQUISITION > All Traffic > Source/Medium (or Referrals). This will show you all of the results in a table below the line graph.
  • Conversion Goals Overview by source. To view per session goal values, select ACQUISITION > All Traffic > Source/Medium and navigate to one of the Goals in the Explorer tab.

Explorer tab: Goals

  • Key elements and Conversions by keyword and ad (from linked Google AdWords accounts and Search Console property)
  • Referring websites. Go to ACQUISITION > All Traffic > Referrals
  • A month-to-month comparison of Social conversions by source. Go to ACQUISITION > Social > Overview and set the Date ranges for Comparison.
  • We also periodically review seasonal trends and quarterly comparisons year-by-year, particularly around website redesigns.


There are a few reasons you may want to use Filters:

  1. Stop ghost/spam traffic from reflecting in your analytics
    1. One filter you might want to use is to filter by country, if you know you do not have any customers outside of the country, or do not want to track that traffic.
      1. Click ± Add Filter
      2. Name your filter, like “US/CA Traffic Only”
      3. Filter Type: Custom Include
      4. Filter Field: Country
      5. Filter Pattern: United States|Canada
      6. Verify and Save your filter
    2. Another filter which may help clean up your analytics is to include only your website hostnames, this also helps track and separate traffic by alias domain names.
      1. Click ± Add Filter
      2. Filter Name: Include Hostnames
      3. Filter Type: Custom Include
      4. Filter Field: Hostname
      5. Filter Pattern (for multiple domain names): (www\.)?(ourwebsite?|ourlocalwebsite|ourotherwebsite?|ouroldwebsite)(\.com)
      6. Tip: Always use a regular expression testbed, like before testing and applying Filters.
  1. Stop your own traffic from reflecting in your analytics
    1. Find your ip address if you don’t know it by asking Google search ‘what is my ip?’
    2. Click ± Add Filter
    3. Filter Name: Exclude my IP
    4. Filter Type: Predefined Exclude
    5. Exclude what? Traffic from the IP address that are equal to
    6. IP address: enter your IP address
    7. Verify and Save your filter

There are other guides to filtering ghost and spam traffic, if you find yourself subject to the likes of the notoriously violating SEMALT crawler, but we recommend blocking traffic from those sources in your htaccess file before hiding the traffic from analytics, which may save bandwidth and block potential DDOS attacks.

For more tips, visit the Moz Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics.

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