SEO and Google Analytics: how and what data to interpret?


Want to know what the most important metrics are and how to read Google Analytics data? Here’s everything you need to know for an effective SEO strategy.

Most of you will already know this valuable free tool provided by Google to analyze the traffic, goals and audience of an online business and get to know users more closely.

For those who are still wondering what Google Analytics is , we will start with a brief overview of its many functions and potential and then go into detail and suggest which data to keep more into consideration.



What is Google Analytics and why is it a necessary tool

Google Analytics is a free web analytics service that provides detailed statistics on the performance of a site and the characteristics of visitors. It is a tool that you cannot do without, especially if you run a blog or a marketplace, because it offers a huge amount of valuable data to shape your online marketing strategy and improve optimization. Including:

  • Demographics
  • Location
  • New users
  • Traffic channels
  • Search terms

Although it is a rather intuitive and easy to use platform, due to the large amount of information that Google Analytics is able to provide, you need to know how to read the data and how to interpret the available metrics.

Keep in mind that, first of all, you will need to register on Google Analytics with a Google account, configure your account and enter the tracking code on each page of the website , so as to allow the collection and storage of data.


How to read Google Analytics data 

We will start by giving an overview of the data that can be found directly on the Home page of the tool, already sufficient to have an overview of the site’s progress in a customizable period of time and also in real time. Let’s see some metrics in detail:

  • Users: this indicator represents the number of unique visitors to your website, i.e. those users who have never visited it before.
  • Sessions: indicates the number of users who have visited the site. A session A Google Analytics session expires when the time elapsed between one interaction and the next exceeds thirty minutes. That is: the session expires if there is no user activity for thirty minutes.
  • Bounce rate: expresses the percentage of users who left the site after visiting a single page. This figure should never be too high, especially for ecommerce sites, as it ties into a low conversion rate .
  • Session duration: Estimates an average duration of user sessions on the site. Be careful, however, to consider that Analytics calculates the time that passes from the first action (ie the first page view) to the last action: if a user leaves the site without having performed any activity, the estimated time will be 0. The sessions have also an expiration time which is midnight. If a user is browsing the site from 11:45 pm, their session will end at 11:59:59 pm even if they continue to interact with the website. A new session will therefore start at 00:00:00.

On the Google Analytics Home page you will also be able to view a concise overview of other information, for example relating to the device from which users are visiting your website or from which location and also which pages are most visited.  

Analysis of the target: the reports on the public

From the Audience tab of Google Analytics you will have an overall view of the characteristics and behaviors of your audience. From the overview you get an overview of demographics and session metrics, but from the drop-down menu we can focus on each of these data to get a deeper understanding of the metrics.

In particular, the reports “demographic data”, “geographic data”, “mobile devices” are the most consulted: if the former are rather intuitive, the latter concern information on users who visit your site from the geographical areas selected as the target of the advertising, but also obtain information about users in other geographic areas who have a natural interest in your products. Information on mobile devices allows us to have data on mobile devices that are used to interact with content.

Measuring the Effectiveness of Multi-Channel Communication: Acquisition Reports

In this section it is possible to have information on the means and sources from which user visits come, then identify where the traffic comes from most and where to intervene. Sources indicate the origin of the traffic, for example a search engine (like google) or a domain. The means are the generic categories of the source, for example organic traffic(organic), paid search based on cost per click ( cpc ), a web referral ( referral ).

The channels of origin are divided into:

  • Organic : traffic deriving from searches on engines;
  • Paid traffic : generated by paid campaigns, for example on Google Ads;
  • Referral : traffic from links to your site on other sites;
  • E-mail : traffic generated by e-mail marketing techniques;
  • Direct : referring to users who land on the site directly by typing the URL into the search engine;
  • Social: traffic from social channels.


Behavior Reports

This tab presents you with a series of information relating to the behavior of users on your site, therefore the pages viewed, the contents of the site, the speed and searches. Among the elements we find in this section, one of the most interesting is the flow of behavior. This is represented by a flowchart that shows the paths of the traffic, the “nodes” where it is transferred as well as the pages where it stops.

A page where the flow is interrupted frequently will certainly need measures to improve the user experience and increase the time spent on the site, therefore also the conversions.


In the Conversions section it is possible to analyze the trend of your e-commerce, keeping under control revenue, conversion rate and average order value. Some metrics can be tracked with Google Analytics advanced ecommerce tracking , others can be found on tables and setting them to custom events.


Purchase / detail ratio

This metric is derived from unique purchases divided by product detail page views (Advanced Ecommerce). It can be found under:  Ecommerce -> Product Performance Report
This metric can help you answer the question:

“Which products are users most likely to convert / purchase for after looking at the details?”

Adding products to the cart

This is a key metric as it shows the number of times shoppers have added products to their carts. It can be tracked as part of advanced ecommerce tracking or by setting up tracking of the event associated with user clicks on add to cart buttons.

When using advanced ecommerce tracking this metric is available under: Ecommerce-> Purchase Analysis-> Product Listing Performance


Installing this metric gives you the ability to analyze not only how many times products are added to the cart but also why some products have higher conversion rates than others.

Removing products from the cart

This metric shows the number of times the products have been removed from the cart. It can be tracked as part of the advanced ecommerce tracking or it can be set as an event in the event tracking that specifically track the removal of products from the cart. You should look for products that are added to the cart then removed more often than others.

Product payments

Similar to “adding products to cart”, the Product Payments report shows the number of times products have been included in the cart. The Product Payments Tracking can be set up with the Advanced Ecommerce Tracking or with the Event Tracking by clicking on the “Checkout” button.

Cost per Acquisition (CPA)

This is an essential metric that should be calculated and measured from two perspectives:

  1. Which CPA can you afford, which at the same time allows your business to stay afloat?
  2. What’s your current CPA after average traffic costs?

Percentage of repeat purchases

This ratio is linked to the aforementioned CLV (Customer Value over Time) metric and is calculated as purchases from repeat customers divided by all purchases on the site for a given range of dates. It simply allows for more opportunities from a media planning perspective.

Revenue per session

This is a key metric to measure and monitor, as it allows you to correctly identify and set your store’s Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA) and Cost-Per-Click (CPC) when launching a CPC-based traffic acquisition campaign. / CPA.

While having more data is of course always better than having less, a huge amount of data can frustrate and confuse even the most experienced analysts. Aligning your goal on specific performance metrics is the only way to extract the most relevant information that truly affects and drives business value.

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