Google provides a free analytics solution designed to give you a complete view of every aspect of activity on your website. Possessing the ability to properly analyze and understand all the various data Google provides to you will give you an edge over the competition in terms of your SEO strategy. Additionally, Google Analytics gives you the high level view of your traffic as well as detail about the way in which your users interact with the site. This allows you to analyze the various sources of traffic coming to your site. Once armed with this information you can improve your overall traffic generation strategy for: PPC, SEO, and affiliate marketing or other sources.
Google Analytics is easy to install and is available at no cost. The most important detail during installation is to ensure that the tracking code is installed properly on every page of your site. Without proper installation, your reporting will be inaccurate and thus, useless. Once installed, Google Analytics will report that it is receiving data. Within a day or so you will be able to begin to analyze your data in a number of ways. Looking at your traffic sources will let you know what keywords and websites are sending you traffic.
Another way you can use Google Analytics is to set and track goals as a measurement of conversion. For instance, if your site tracks shopping cart orders or leads by way of subscription, submit, etc., goal tracking will allow you to evaluate the number of transactions that took place and the keyword or keywords responsible for the conversion. This is especially useful when targeting keywords for your SEO strategy. Google Analytics also lets you track the traffic leaving your site by way of an external click. This can be useful if you are promoting affiliate offers or trading traffic from your site.
Lastly, an important benefit of Google Analytics is that you can send yourself or associates e-mail reports. You can also provide direct access at a full or restricted level. Reports can be downloaded and sent in many different formats making it easy to share data with others across offline platforms.