How Does Google Analytics Work?

There is a reason why Google Analytics is so popular (and not just because it’s free.) Google Analytics is a tool that helps you learn how users find and use your website. But how does Google Analytics work? In this Google Analytics overview, we’ll discuss how Google Analytics works, what GA offers, and how it collects information from your website’s visitors.

Google analytics

Google Analytics

First, let’s discuss what Google Analytics is. Have you ever wished for a Google website analysis? Or wondered how to check how many hits a website gets? Google Analytics is your answer. Google Analytics is a free tool offered by the search engine that helps you analyze your website and users to help you monitor the performance of your marketing, content, products, and more. It provides analytics reports that show you data like your website traffic and traffic sources. It helps you identify trends and patterns in how users engage with your website.

You can use Google Analytics to set goals, like destination goals, duration goals, page/screens per session goals, and event goals. If you want to learn more about your site’s user behavior or bounce rate in real time, you can use its analytics data to help you.

Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4

It is important to know that on July 1, 2023, Universal Analytics will be switching to Google Analytics 4.

What Google Analytics Does

GA offers information and data about user behavior on your website that can help you make decisions about your business. It can provide some information on who is visiting your website via the Network Report. It does not, however, just give you a list of every user on your site.

Here are some of the ways you can use Google Analytics:

  • Measure your website’s performance
  • See if your marketing strategies are working
  • Decide which type of content is working for your site
  • Divide users into different segments (for example, age, country, device, time zone, etc.)
  • Optimize web pages to boost your conversion rate
  • Average page loading time
  • View your keyword rankings
  • Show you how customers are arriving at your website (for example, using search terms, landing pages, or social media)
  • Integrate with other Google products, including Google Ads

How to Use Google Analytics

Now, it’s time to set up Google Analytics on your website.

Sign Up for an Account

The first step is to sign up for a Google Analytics account.

Add a Tracking Code to Your Website and Properties

Your Google Analytics tracking ID is a unique identifier GA assigns to an analytics property (like a website, blog, or app.) Then, you’ll need to add some code to each web page in order to track your metrics.

Use Google Analytics Reports

Now, it’s time to see what you can do with Google Analytics. The home page will give you a quick overview of your website is performing. You can see users, sessions, bounce rate, session duration, and how many active users are currently on your website.

There are also options for various reports to give you more in-depth data. The five reporting options are: Realtime, Audience, Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversions.

how does Google analytics work

How Does Google Analytics Gather Data? 

The way Google Analytics works is by gathering data about visitors to your website. It provides you with information about the people who visit your website and collects this data quickly. For example, it can tell you where your site traffic is coming from and how many page views you are receiving in a given period of time.


But how does Google Analytics gather this data? It uses Javascript. Javascript, a nearly universal computer language that allows coders and website developers to make websites more interactive, passes data about your site visitors to Google’s servers.

When you look at a site, the content you are seeing is saved in HTML, which is the standard language for documents meant to be displayed in a web browser. If this is too technical, imagine the HTML as a Google Doc you might use to write a paper. The HTML file, like a Google Doc, tells the computer what text to show, where to include images, and how to format it.

However, dissimilarly to a Google Doc, HTML pages are read-only. This means that without a language like Javascript, the HTML page is not interactive. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to make changes or communicate with the server.

Javascript, however, is interactive because it is a standardized language. This means that most web browsers can read Javascript’s instructions. The popup windows we all know and love? Those exist because of Javascript.

Javascript and Google Analytics

But what does this have to do with Google Analytics? Well, Javascript lets your computer communicate with other computers that are also online. When you look at a website that is utilizing Google Analytics, that site will ask your computer to download some Javascript instructions from Google Analytics. Those instructions ask your browser to send information back to Google. This information might be the web page that you are looking at, the way you found the page, or how you moved around the site once you arrived.

As many as 30 to 50 million websites use Google Analytics. Chances are, any time you are looking at a given website, your data is being sent to Google. While this might be disturbing news to you, don’t worry: Google makes sure that the data collected is anonymous. So, anyone checking Google Analytics won’t see your name specifically. They will simply see that someone, using a certain keyword found their site and visited it six times.

Benefits of Google Analytics for Business

While GA has many benefits for any website, it is even more beneficial for online businesses. It can help predict customer behavior, target your marketing efforts to a more specific audience, and help you determine which type of content to invest in.

how does Google analytics gather data

Drawbacks to Google Analytics

So, why does this information matter? If you are just starting out with Google Analytics, it is helpful to know how it works for two reasons.

Number one, you should know that some people who visit your site will not show up in Google Analytics (or GA.) This is because some viewers do not have Javascript capability on their computers, or because they choose to turn off Javascript on their browsers. Most computers, tablets, and phones these days have Javascript by default. However, older devices do not use Javascript. So, those users will not show up in your Google Analytics dashboard.

By the same token, some extremely advanced techies choose to prevent Javascript from ever being used on their computer. This might be for privacy reasons or because it affects their performance.

If you need to know exactly how many times your site has been seen, Google Analytics will not work for this reason. If your audience is extremely high-tech and might have Javascript enabled, or is on the other end of the spectrum and only utilizes old-school technology and devices, it is best to utilize another tool to track the visitors to your website.

Additionally, because Google Analytics uses anonymous tracking, you can’t track user-level interaction that deeply. There are other tools available that can help you track users on your site between devices.

Google Analytics for SEO

SEO and Google Analytics go hand in hand. You can create SEO dashboards in your GA account to measure the success of your SEO efforts.

What About the Google Search Console?

The Google Search Console is another free Google tool that allows you to monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your website’s presence in the Google Search results. For example, you can use it to see how many impressions your website has received month over month, or figure out why a low-traffic blog post is suddenly performing well.

Google Analytics Reporting Tool

If you need additional help with web SEO analytics, you can try a reporting tool like DashThis.

Google Analytics Services at SEO Design Chicago

If you are wondering how to work with Google Analytics, you might need some help. For help setting up and understanding your own Google Analytics account, contact SEO Design Chicago today. GA is more than just a Google statistics tool. It is also important to understand the reports and translate them into actionable information. We offer Google Analytics services to help make sure your business is meeting your goals and getting your desired results. Our team will begin with a Google site analysis and help you set up Google tracking website tools. Contact us today!

what is Google analytics


  • What is Google Analytics?
  • What can Google Analytics tell you?
  • How do I create a Google Analytics account?
  • Can Google Analytics tell you who is visiting your site?
  • Which reports are available in Google Analytics?

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