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The Top Google Analytics Metrics for Small Businesses to Look At

Most small businesses do not bother looking at Google Analytics metrics, let alone installing it on their website. The reasons vary, from not knowing how to use it, to being strapped for time. However, if you’re not paying attention to Google Analytics, you could be losing opportunities, unintentionally hurting your business and wasting marketing dollars.

If you spend 10 or 15 minutes with it once a month, Google Analytics will tell you how many people are visiting your website, where they’re coming from and what they’re doing once they get there.

Ask your web developer if Google Analytics is installed on your site. If it’s not, ask him or her to install it – and then ask them to send you the link. Bookmark it.

Here are the top Google Analytics metrics to look at


What it is: Your dashboard.

Note that the default date range is 7 days; I like to change the view to 28 days. (As you move through the different sections below, you’ll need to keep changing the view to the date range you prefer.)

Why it’s important: It straight-up tells you how your website is doing, without having to do any digging.

What to look for: First you’ll see a general overview. Are your number of users, sessions, bounce rate, and session duration increasing or decreasing over the selected date range?

Now look at the next row of data – referral traffic (aka, what platforms are pushing traffic to your site?). GA will tell you what referral traffic is performing particularly well or poorly. You can then adjust your marketing, if say, Twitter is performing worse than other referral traffic.

Audience > Overview > New Users

What it is: This is simply the number of new visitors to your website.

Why it’s important: It shows that your marketing is reaching new people.

What to look for: A steady increase in new users.

Audience > Overview > Bounce Rate

What it is: The number of one-page visits on your website.

Why it’s important: You want people to get pulled into your website to learn more, not just visit one page.

What to look for: A bounce rate between 40% and 70% is considered average. If your bounce rate is higher than 70%, ask your web developer or SEO person for ways to improve it.

Audience > Overview > Active Users

What it is: Exactly what it sounds like.

Why it’s important: You can clearly see if your marketing efforts are pushing people to your website.

What to look for: Spikes in active users on days you send out your email newsletter or run a social media campaign.

Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium

What it is: This tells you how visitors are reaching your website: organic search, referral partners, social media, etc.

Why it’s important: You’ll know what marketing channels are working. Is Facebook pushing people to your site, but Instagram isn’t? It may be time to tweak your Instagram strategy.

What to look for: I look at bounce rate and session duration here. That will tell you if the referral sources are good or not. If they’re good, you’ll have a bounce rate between 40% and 70% and a decent session duration (at least a minute). If they’re not, you could see a bounce rate of 100% and session durations of zero minutes.

Behavior > Site Content > All Pages

What it is: What pages people are visiting on your website.

Why it’s important: You’ll know what information people are interested in.

What to look for: What pages are people spending the most time on – and the least time on. If you have a blog, be especially mindful of what blog posts people are reading. This will clue you in to what topics are the most engaging for your audience. (FYI the page named “/” is your home page.)

Need help interpreting your Google Analytics metrics?

We are not SEO experts, but we know enough to be dangerous. Shoot us a note, and we’ll set up a time to walk through your Google Analytics metrics.

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