Google Analytics is not the only way to track your web traffic statistics, but it’s free, it connects with other Google services, and the support material that exists is so much more extensive than any other platform. So, unless you have some personal vendetta against Google, Google Analytics is where you go to check out your web traffic and all of its behavior on your site.
Located in the top right of the screen in almost every view is the Date Range, defining the time period over which the data that you are looking at occurred. I know this seems obvious, but you will use it for pretty much every report and view, so I thought it worth a mention.
The first concrete statistic that you should notice is your overall traffic. For SEO campaigns, you are more focused on the traffic that is coming solely from search engines, but you need to be able to understand the bigger picture, and this is exactly that. This view should also show a graph over the time period of what your total visits are looking like (pictured below), as well as general stats about new visits, bounce rate, and time-on-site.
Different websites have completely different goals, but they can almost all be added into Google Analytics and tracked over time. This particular view shows you where the traffic is coming from that is converting and displays how a specific user arrived at your site each time before they filled out a contact form (shown below).
If you’re running Google Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads and you’ve synched your AdWords account to Google Analytics, you have access to valuable keyword data. Not long ago, keyword data was available from organic search traffic, but now, AdWords keywords are pretty much all we have to work with. So looking through your AdWords keyword data will give you valuable insights into how that traffic interacts with your site.
This tab requires that your Google Analytics account be synched with your Google Webmaster Tools account . This tab displays statistics related to the search queries you are ranking for, the pages that are showing up most in Google results, and where most of your search traffic is coming from, even if your pages are not getting clicks. This data can help drive your ongoing content strategy, bolstering keywords that you are not getting clicks for and promoting content that is already successful.
This tab will actually load your website with an overlay that shows what links people are clicking on the most on your site. This visual aid can help ensure that your website is delivering the best possible user experience.
Google Analytics is literally a treasure trove of information, not just for SEO, but for all the aspects of your website. What I have mentioned above barely scratches the surface, but it’s a good starting point if you are just getting to know the ropes.