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SEO Blog

An introduction to Google Analytics [Part 3]

13th April 2016

In the previous two blog posts we have introduced you to Google Analytics and talked you through viewing your analytics. This time we want to look at referrals from other sites and also your social media activity.

It is really important when looking at your website activity to understand how people have arrived at your site. This is where not only your SEO comes into play, but also any PPC campaigns or Adwords that you have currently underway. Also, you may have external links on other sites which are directing people to your site, so it is good to have an understanding of all of this. You can therefore optimise this by using promotions in other places, or expanding on relationships or collaborators to build on that reach.

So this is where you look at your Acquisition on your analytics dashboard. You can then see where people have found you. What does this tell you – do you need to work on anything, or is there one dominating referral site?

What are the sources?

  • Direct – your website address typed into a search bar
  • Referral – visitors have clicked on a link
  • Organic – a key word or term has been typed into a search engine
  • Social – visitors have clicked on a link from social media
  • Other

It is good to have a balance of each of the referral sources, unless your strategy is for one specific route. Try not to have too much direct traffic, this can be a worry as it means that no-one knows about you outside of your customers and you are hard to find.

If they have come from social, look at what posts you put out that day – what worked in directing people to your site? Was it a link to a blog post or was it a product or special offer that you promoted. This will help you get an understanding of what your social followers are interesting in seeing.

If they have clicked on a link, you can find out which of your external links are directing people to your site. Where is that link and what does it say? Who are the businesses or people that are sending people your way? Do you already have a good relationship with them or can you build on that? Are there any directories that you could be looking at to include your details on? More and more links into your site from other quality sites will not only improve your analytics but it will massively help your SEO.

Your organic referral is where it gets a little trickier as many of those search terms are hidden from google because of people’s privacy settings, and so you can’t see which terms people are typing in. Google webmaster tools can help you discover some of the keywords people are searching but it still doesn’t show you everything. The key here is to keep an eye on your SEO and keyword search terms separately.

Another way of understanding your customers is by monitoring your social media analytics.

Facebook and Twitter have great insights into your visitors and by exploring these you can get a really solid idea of which posts are working for you and getting the most engagement. You can then compare this to clicks to your website to see if those posts are not only getting people involved, but also getting a good ROI with regards to website activity. Do the popular posts correlate with sales? Do clicks from social correlate with time spent on your site? Are the engaging posts saying the right thing to encourage people to buy? There are lots of questions to ask here, but the key is finding the right answers so you can concentrate on putting out the best possible posts throughout your social channels.


It is easy to see how many followers or likers you have on your social media, but let’s look deeper into that and, like google, check out the demographics of your followers. Are you surprised at what you see? Are you aiming your content correctly?

Which posts are getting the most engagement? Is it what you expected? And if not, how can you change that?

You can also find out when your followers are online, and post accordingly to achieve maximum reach for your posts.

Also, are they curious about you or have they just clicked ‘like’ on your page out of habit? Are they clicking on any of your ‘about’ links in your bio? Do they want to find out more about who you are and where they can buy from you?

By going back to your ‘flow’ on Google analytics you can see which social platform they came from and how long they stayed on your site. What links have you put on Facebook to hook them in, for example?

It may seem that we are asking you more questions than you are asking yourself, but what we want is for you to understand how important it is to get a true picture of your customer. Through analytics you can find out how your customer found you, what they responded well to, who they are and where they live. And through these discoveries you can focus your marketing strategy on how to attract others just like them, and how to retain them.

If you have any questions about your analytics or would like us to support you in setting up your analytics accounts please get in touch with us.


All three parts of this Analytics introduction are available here and as a complete downloadable PDF document.

Download Full Guide to Analytics PDF.