Google Analytics 101 For Therapists: Part 1

google Analytics 101

This is an introductory training for therapists that want to learn how to use Google Analytics to track their site’s marketing performance.

How Does It Work?

Google Analytics is a free resource from Google that uses JavaScript code to collect information about your site’s performance. It measures “hits” or “interactions” on your site. A “hit” measures each time your site is viewed.

In simpler terms, Google Analytics is a tool that allows you to see how many people are visiting your therapy website.

Getting Started and the Basics

First, login to your Google Analytics account using your regular Gmail username and password here. In your account, you can evaluate several aspects of your site and marketing, including where your traffic is coming from, if users are engaged with your content, if your marketing is improving and attracting quality traffic overtime, and which of your referral sources deliver the highest quality (interactive) users. Knowing this information can help you determine where marketing costs are well spent, and where you should cut or improve services that are not working.

Google Analytics can also be configured to alert you if something terrible happens to your site. For example, if your traffic drops significantly that may be a sign that you’ve been hacked or that your web hosting or domain have expired. So, Google Analytics can also be free insurance for your practice.

How to Interpret Google Analytics Data  

When you login, notice that your main page displays primary data for that month. Google Analytics defaults to the last 30 days for tracking, but you can change this in the upper right hand corner of your screen by selecting the calendar and changing the date range. On your home screen, you will see the following:

  • Sessions: A group of interactions that take place on your website within a given time frame. A single session can contain multiple screen or page views, events, social interactions, optins, and purchase transactions.
  • Users: Number of users that landed on your site. If the session number is higher than the user number that means some users have come to the site multiple times.
  • Pageviews: The total number of pages users visited on your site.
  • Pages per Session: The average number of pages viewed during a session.
  • Average Session Duration: The average amount of time spent on your site. Longer sessions indicate that users are engaged with your content.
  • Bounce Rate: The percentage of visitors who navigate away from your site after only viewing one page. Ideally, you want the bounce rate to be below 60 percent. A high bounce rate indicates that people are leaving because they aren’t finding what they’re looking for.
  • Percent of New Sessions: an average percentage of first-time visitors on your website. Ideally, a good website will have a solid mix of new and returning visitors.

Please note that some of the data above is slightly inaccurate and may not look very strong. When we get into How To Use Google Analytics 102 and 103, we will set up filters so that your data doesn’t get skewed by referral or ghost spam.

One way to tell if your data is coming from spam is under the Acquisitions tab, which allows you to see where your traffic is coming from. To access your Acquisitions tab, please follow the instructions below.

  1. Select the “Acquisition” tab on the left navigation bar.
  2. Select the “Overview” tab.
  3. Adjust the date range in the top right corner based on your preferences.
  4. Hit “Apply.”

Understanding Your Main Traffic Sources

Traffic Sources includes very important information. For newer websites, you’ll likely only see four sources under traffic:

  • Direct Traffic: Visitors who arrive at your website by typing your URL into their browser, via a bookmark or a direct link from another page. When users know where they are going, average time duration tends to be higher, and bounce rate tends to be lower. Here, you can see which pages are the most popular.
  • Organic Traffic: Visitors who arrive at your website from a search engine. Here, you can see which keywords most successfully bring traffic to your site.
  • Referral Traffic: Visitors who find your website from another website that is linked to yours. If you are receiving heavy referral traffic, this may be a sign that you are being spammed. If you subscribe to Psychology Today or other online promotion sites, this can also let you know which services are working and which you should stop using.
  • Social Traffic: Visitors who reach your site from a social media network, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, etc. Note that traffic from Facebook tends to have a high bounce rate. This is because people on Facebook are looking at what their friends are up to, they may see an article that catches their eye, but they don’t tend to spend a lot of time reading those articles.

You should hope that your traffic and numbers are all improving overtime. You can track changes overtime by changing the date range in the upper corner:

When you’re reviewing your data, you may notice dramatic shifts in the graph, which often indicate that your promotion was successful. Whenever you’re doing something that you think may affect traffic – a new page, a new blog post, a new Facebook advertisement — add an event on your timeline. This allows you to better track the success and failures of your promotions.

Action: Install Google Analytics Today

You can find step by step instructions to install Google Analytics here.

Or, if this seems too technical, Counseling Wise can install it for you! Simply go to Technical Work at and click on the “Click Here Start Now” function. You can type in “Install Google Analytics for Me” in the form after you purchase the first hour of work. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me at the Counseling Wise Contact Page. Best of luck with your marketing!

View the full video above.

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