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Understanding Google Analytics Key Terms Continued

Google Analytics is an analytics program that provides data and information on website traffic and efficiency. Understanding all the terms and tools within the program can make the program a lot more useful without knowing the definitions on the key terms used, it is hard to make the most of Google Analytics. You can also view the first part of this blog post here, where we explain the most widely used Google Analytics terms.

Traffic Sources: Direct vs. Referral

Traffic sources show you how users got to your site, and in Google Analytics are split into direct and referral traffic.

Direct traffic is made up of visitors that type a URL directly into the address bar, select an auto-complete option when typing the URL, or click on a bookmark to get to your site (however, instances when Google Analytics cannot determine a source also get automatically assigned as direct).

Referral traffic is when a user has landed on your site by clicking on a link from somewhere else; this could be another site, a social media profile, or a search engine.

Search Traffic: Organic vs. Paid

Google Analytics also lets you see what percentage of your traffic came from search engines, and this is further broken down into organic and paid search.

Organic search shows the users who came to your site by clicking on the organic links on the search engine results page (SERP); these results appear below that adverts and are determined by how well the page is optimised for search engines.

The paid search results show users who clicked on one of your paid search engine adverts; these typically appear at the top and side of the SERPs and are managed via an advertising account such as Google AdWords or Bing Ads.

Keyword/Keyword Phrase

For both organic and paid search channels, Google Analytics records the keyword: the word or phrase a user entered into the search box that led them to click on one of your links.


Events can be set up within Google Analytics to help you measure activity that may not otherwise be recorded by the tracking code; these may include when a user plays a video, downloads a fact sheet, uses an embedded tool, or other on-site interactions.


For critical site objectives, such as getting users to fill in a contact form, complete an online transaction or spend a certain amount of time engaging with your site, goals can be set up to monitor the conversion rate of these activities. There are four types of goals available in Google Analytics: URL Destination, Visit Duration, Pages (or Screens)/Visit and goals tied to existing events. You can also assign a monetary value to each goal completion, to help determine the return on investment from your website or application.

If you have any further questions about Google Analytics and want to find out more on how it can be used to track your website’s traffic, leave a comment below and one of our digital marketing guru’s will be in touch.

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