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August 2010

Google Analytics

Google Analytics Dashboard for
ABOVE: A Google Analytics "Dashboard" overview of traffic at during July, 2010.

by Durant Imboden, Europe for Visitors

Google Analytics is a free traffic-measurement tool that quickly became an industry standard after its introduction in November, 2005. A Wikipedia article claims that Google Analytics "is the most widely used website statistics service, currently in use at around 57% of the 10,000 most popular websites."

Unlike logfile-analysis software, which counts and interprets "server hits," Google Analytics measures only "human views" of Web pages by tracking a snippet of JavaScript code on each page. To view your statistics, you simply log into your Google Analytics account and click around screens such as:

  • The "Dashboard," which gives a quick overview of traffic by the day, week, month, year, or whatever period you choose.
  • Traffic by city, country, continent, etc., with a "Map Overlay" for easier interpretation.
  • Page views, with a "Content Drilldown" feature that helps you identify the most popular topics and articles on your site.
  • Traffic sources, including search engines, referring sites, and the keywords that bring searchers to your pages.

Note: Google Analytics data is private, and prospective advertisers, PR people, and other travel-site owners won't be able to view your reports unless you share the data with them.

Adding Google Analytics to your site 

Getting started with Google Analytics requires a little effort, but it isn't too complicated:

  • Register on the Google Analytics sign-up page. (If you already have a Google account, you can use it to sign up for GA.)
  • Add a "new account" for your site under Google Analytics. (This shouldn't be confused with your personal Google account; it simply means that you enter the name of your site.)
  • Insert the Google Analytics tracking code on each page. (If your pages use include files, shared borders, master templates, etc., you can insert the code once instead of having to place it manually on each page. Blogging platforms and Content Management Systems often let you enter your Google tracking ID in a form for easier implementation.) 
  • Upload or republish your pages.


After your site has a reasonable amount of traffic, you might want to consider saving a Google Analytics "Dashboard" screen and publishing it on a page like the "Audience (Traffic and Demographics)" page at Europe for Visitors. This will help you market your site to prospective advertisers, and to public-relations staff at tourist offices, CVBs, cruise lines, and other travel businesses or organizations.

Next article: "Logfile analysis"