Originally at https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/04/11/google-analytics-a-guide-to-confusing-terms/

Google Analytics is a hugely useful and in-depth tool for measuring and monitoring your website’s performance, as long as you can learn its language.

After setting up Google Analytics on your site for the first time, it can be hard work to navigate your way through all the different terms referring to parts of your site or the activities users carry out on it – especially when so many of them sound similar.

What’s the difference between a ‘session’ and a ‘pageview’? Are ‘users’ and ‘visitors’ the same thing? How does your site’s ‘bounce rate’ differ from its ‘exit rate’? Does ‘time on page’ really reflect what it says it does?

If you’ve wondered something like this at any point while staring down a mass of analytics for your site, worry not.

We’ve put together a handy guide to break down the meanings and uses of some key but confusing terms on Google Analytics, and how they differ from each other.

Quick Links

Bounce Rate

Sticky content


Clickthrough Rate (CTR)

Exit Page
Exit Rate (% Exit)
Landing or Entrance Page
Page Views

Unique Page Views
Pages/Session or Average Page Depth


Average Session Duration

Time on Page
Users, Visitors or Traffic?

New Visitor
Returning Visitor
Traffic Source

Types of Traffic

Direct Traffic
Organic Search Traffic

Organic Search Keywords

Paid Search Traffic
Referral Traffic

Bounce Rate

The bounce rate of your site is the percentage of visitors who leave the site after only interacting with one page. This could be because they lost interest, were confused, or had already found the information they were looking for.

Individual pages have bounce rates as well as the site as a whole. A bounce rate for a page is based on all sessions that begin with that page and end without the user navigating to any other pages on the site.

A high bounce rate can be an indicator of problems, or it c…

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