Google Analytics is Google’s free Web site traffic analytics program. It’s easy to use and provides a wealth of information about the visitors to your site, so don’t let its dry-as-dust name scare you away from using it. Detailed coverage of Google Analytics is in Chapter 14, including where to get the application and how to make it work with your Web site, but I thought you might like to know a little more about it right now.Google Analytics, which started life as Urchin Analytics a program that wasn’t free offers nearly 50 standardized analytics reports as well as reports that you can customize, all of which tell you about the visitors to your site.As a free program, it’s one way for you to find out more about your site visitors without having to spend a tidy sum on the insight that an audience research firm will cost you.
Broadly speaking, Google Analytics offers you reports in four different areas: Visitors, Traffic Sources, Content, and Goals. The neat thing about Analytics from an AdSense perspective is that it features reports that are AdWords-specific (very handy, that) and reports that apply very specifically to any SiteSearch capabilities enabled on your site (including those capabilities that you may have enabled through AdSense).
Installing and using Google Analytics is simple and doesn’t require a technology degree. It takes about an hour to set up an account and paste the provided code into the HTML on your Web site. After you place the code on your site,it should take a couple days to start seeing statistics.And after you collect statistics for about a month, you can begin seeing patterns in how your site visitors use your site.
Google Analytics may well be the secret weapon that you never knew you needed. At worst, it tells you more about your site visitors than you could ever gather with your AdSense reports alone. At best, you’ll find out enough about your users to begin understanding what they’re looking for and how you can provide it for them.