Anyone who has browsed through Google Analytics should have come across a whole lot of variables in the reporting stats. The reports consist of dimensions and metrics; Google Analytics calls these the building blocks of your reports. And if you want to create a custom report in Google Analytics or Google Data Studio, you have complete freedom in what dimensions and metrics you put in this report. But be careful, you might create a useless report. In this post, I’m going to explain what the difference is between dimensions and metrics. And what to look out for when combining these two yourselves.

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What are dimensions in Google Analytics?

All the data you see in Google Analytics, all variables in reports is either a dimension or a metric. Google explains dimensions as:

Dimensions are attributes of your data.

So in a way, a dimension is a description, a characteristic, a feature or aspect of your data. It’s not a quantitative variable but more a qualitative variable. Let me make this clear by giving you a couple of examples of metrics:

  • City
  • Device
  • Source/Medium
  • Campaign
  • Page
  • Goals
  • Products

Notice what they all have in common? They all consist of words, not numbers. Of course, some dimensions are expressed in numbers, like hour and date. But still, the dimension is an aspect or feature of the user itself, but not how or what the user is doing on your site. Dimensions describe the data that’s collected.

You can see dimensions in the first column of your reports.

dimensions in Google Analytics

The report also gives you clues on what other dimensions there are and there are sooooo many. If you’re curious on what other dimensions you can add to, in this example, the Acquisition: Source/Medium report, click on the Secondary dimension button.

Adding a secondary dimension in Google Analytics

When you click on ‘Display as alphabetical list’ you can browse through all dimensions you can add to this particular report. It’s an easy way for you to get familiar with dimensions.

For instance, you can add ‘User Type’ as a secondary dimension, to see which source drives more New visitors to your site. You can add ‘Page’ to your report, to check which pages people land on from a particular source. You can do a lot of cool things here, and quite easily as well. But before you go all out; what’s the question you’re trying to answer?

What are metrics in Google Analytics?

Metrics are the numbers you see in each dimension. Metrics show you what a user did on your site, expressed in numbers. For example, if we look at the Behavior – All Pages report:

Behavior report with page dimension in Google Analytics

The page is the dimension; it’s the variable in which specific metrics are collected. Pageviews and entrances and such are metrics; these variables show you numbers on what users did in this particular dimension.

Metrics need dimensions, for context, otherwise, it’s just numbers.

The standard Google Analytics doesn’t allow you to add a secondary metric, because not every metric is collected for every dimension. It might raise your eyebrows, and it’s a bit confusing. But it gets less complicated if you know how Google Analytics collects data.

What’s scope in Google Analytics?

Ever wondered why Google Analytics shows certain dimensions and metrics but leaves out other seemingly essential dimensions and metrics in their default reports? That’s because Google Analytics doesn’t want to combine these two, it would show incorrect data and will let you draw conclusions based on the wrong data. Now, why is that? Why does Google Analytics want to prevent you from combining this? It all has to do with how Google Analytics processes its data: Google Analytics scope. Each dimension and metric can only have one of the following scope-types:

  1. Hit
  2. Session
  3. User
  4. Product

Hit

You can see a hit as everytime a user (cookie) does something on your site, it will send data to Google Analytics. Every single action is stored. The hit scope is the lowest level of data storage. A page is a hit-level dimension, just like language and page title is. Pageviews, time on page, load time and total events are examples of metrics on hit-level.

Session

The session scope is more time-based and is one level higher than the hit-level. A session consists of hits that happen in just one session for the same user. Dimensions and metrics on session-level collect data about a session. Examples of dimensions on a session-level are Source/Medium, Landing Page, and Device Category. Examples of session-level metrics are sessions, bounce rate, exits, goals, and pageviews per session.

User

The user scope is the highest level in which data is organized. Users can have more sessions, and a session can have more hits. Examples of dimensions that belong to the user scope are user type, days since the last session, gender. Examples of user-level metrics are users, new sessions, and percentage of new sessions.

Product

The product-level scope has everything to do with data about a product.

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Combining dimensions and metrics: do’s and don’ts

The session-level dimensions and metrics contain data about specific sessions. But hit-level dimensions and metrics don’t have data on session-level variables because they’re independent of sessions. So if you decide to combine pages with sessions in a custom report because you want to see how many sessions a page has gotten during a session, you’d be looking at something else than what you were expecting.

hit + session level report in Google Analytics

This report will show you something like this:

Pages and sessions in a custom report in Google Analytics

But if you think that page 1 was viewed in 1,199 sessions in total, then you’re wrong. What you are seeing is how many sessions began on page 1. because that’s the first hit of the session. There are a couple of common reporting fails described by LunaMetrics that explains this in more detail.

We just learned that you couldn’t combine dimensions and metrics that don’t share the same scope. Best practice is obviously to check whether or not the dimensions and metrics you want to combine, do share the same scope. But how can you find out? Google has a Dimensions and Metrics Explorer. On this page, you can find all dimensions and metrics. When I first saw this huge list and expanded a couple of items, I got confused. I couldn’t make sense of it.

Dimensions & Metrics Explorer of Google Analytics

But it helps if you use the UI Names, the names that you see in Google Analytics itself. And by expanding them all, you’ll have a nice overview. Don’t click on the dimension or metric, instead click on the checkbox. Some will turn to grey if you do that, then you’ll know you can’t use these in combination. Still, if you select ‘pageviews’, the ‘sessions’ metric doesn’t turn grey. And the list doesn’t show you on which scope every dimension or metric is processed. So this tool isn’t foolproof when it comes down to combining your dimensions and metrics in a custom report. Unfortunately, defining which scope it is, is something you have to do yourself.

Conclusion

When creating custom reports, segments or you’re going more advanced with custom dimensions and custom metrics, think about what you want to measure first. Think about on what level, or scope your dimensions and metrics are. And think about if it all makes sense. In general, if you want to add the Sessions metric to a custom report, make sure you stick to the Session-level scope! And don’t combine hit-level variables with session-level variables.

Read more: ‘How to guide: Tracking your SEO with Google Analytics’ »

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There are many occassions when you may want to put a PDF on your site. For example, when you’ve made an online magazine, when an article you wrote was featured in a book or magazine, or when you’ve written detailed instructions for a DIY project. So far, so good.

But things can get a bit more complicated when you also have the content from this PDF somewhere else on your site, or on another website. To avoid duplicate content, you need to set a canonical URL. But how do you do that for a PDF document? And what is the best way to do that? Let’s discuss in today’s Ask Yoast!

Karen Schousboe emailed us her question:

I plan to publish a PDF magazine under medieval.news. Some of the articles in each issue will also be freely available on a sister website. How should I handle that? Do I link canonical from the articles to the PDF magazine or from the magazine to the website?”

Watch the video or read the transcript further down the page for my answer!

Canonicalization and PDFs

“Well, you can have a canonical HTTP header and what I would suggest doing is canonicalizing from the PDF magazine to the sister website, because HTML pages just rank a lot better than PDFs, usually.

In fact, I would suggest publishing everything in HTML and not necessarily in PDF because PDF is just not very easy to land on from search. You can’t do any tracking, you can’t do a whole lot of things that you can do with HTML. So I would seriously consider doing all of it in HTML pages and then canonicalizing between them. Good luck.”

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Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast, we answer SEO questions from our readers. Have an SEO-related question? Maybe we can help you out! Send an email to ask@yoast.com.

Note: please check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question may already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about our plugin not working properly, we’d like to refer you to our support page.

Read more: ‘rel=canonical: the ultimate guide’ »

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In November 2017, Yoast Academy took a big leap forward. Switching to a different Learning Management system, called LearnDash, was a key factor in this. Leading up to the release of our free SEO for beginners course, Justin from LearnDash and I decided to take twenty minutes to really dive into the Academy and discuss the ins and outs of how we create courses at Yoast! 

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Key topics

In the webinar, we first discuss how Academy started out. Then, we go into our approach to education and learning principles: we want to create courses in which you can practice your skills and which foster long-term retention. We also explore our new free course: SEO for beginners, showing you exactly how our courses are structured. Then, we go into the assignments we check for you in the SEO copywriting course and the Yoast SEO for WordPress personal configuration review. Lastly, we discuss the nifty tool we built for those who want to buy courses for multiple people. This is great if you want to enroll several of your colleagues! You can very easily assign courses to other people in your MyYoast account. Just type in their email and they will be enrolled automatically!

Check out the webinar!

What is LearnDash?

LearnDash is the Learning Management System (LMS) we use to power Yoast Academy. We have some awesome developers at Yoast, but setting up a solid courses platform is quite a challenge. Luckily, the folks at LearnDash have many years of experience doing exactly that. The fact that you can now practice writing code, the challenging sorting questions which help you memorize the steps you have to take, the clearer navigation setup we created, it’s all thanks to the LMS they provided us with. So check out that webinar to see how we can help you become the best SEO you can be. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to sign up for the free SEO for beginners course!

Read more: ‘Keyword research: the ultimate guide’ »

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We’ve added a free course to our curriculum of online SEO courses. It is an SEO course for beginners. If you’re an SEO-newbie or your SEO skills have become a bit rusty, then this is the course for you! Our free online SEO course offers lots and lots of training videos, reading material and challenging questions. We’ll really make you sweat for those right answers. That sounds amazing, right? Or is it too good to be true? Why do we offer a free SEO course? Is there a catch?

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There really isn’t any catch. I would even say that this course is the best course we’ve created so far. In this post, I’ll explain all about why we offer that free online SEO courses at Yoast.

SEO for everyone

The main reason why we decided to make a free SEO course is because of our mission. We offer a free plugin because we believe that everyone, even that small weblog with no money at all, should stand a chance in the search engines. Our plugin takes care of a lot of the important SEO stuff. But if you want to do more, if you want to understand more, you needed to read about it, for example on this blog. And our many articles will tell you everything you need to know in order to set up a successful SEO strategy. But the journey through these articles, the search to find the information you need to get started can be quite the hassle. Our SEO for beginners course helps you to make sense of all the information. We’ll talk you through the important aspects of SEO, step by step. After following our course, you know what it takes to set up a successful SEO strategy.

Get to know our courses

Another reason for offering a free online SEO course is because we are really proud of Yoast Academy. We want more people to experience our online courses. In the past year, we hired new people, set up our very own studio and really invested in developing the best learning materials. We now offer a very high-quality online training. We have many -mostly rather short- video’s in which a topic is explained and we offer reading material covering the same topic. But most importantly, we test whether or not you really understand the material. You’ll be challenged by our questions at the end of each lesson. In order to get the certificate, you’ll really need to master all of the topics we discuss.

Our free SEO for beginners course will offer you a real Yoast Academy experience. Of course, we hope people will get hooked and buy one of our other online courses as well. Lifelong learning it is ;-).

More free courses?

The SEO for beginners course is the first free online course Yoast offers. However, we are already thinking about making another one. The second free online course is planned to be released at the end of 2018 and will be a course covering the basics of the workings of the internet. We would like to address the question: how does the internet actually work? This might sound basic, but for an SEO it is really important to have a correct understanding of the workings of the internet.

Read more: ‘What is SEO?’ »

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Would you like to learn more about SEO? Do you want to learn from world-renowned experts? But can’t justify spending a lot of money on a training just yet? At Yoast, we understand that. And we want to help. That’s why today, we are releasing our first free course: SEO for beginners!  

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What will I learn?

In the Yoast SEO for beginners training, we will teach you what SEO is, what Google does, and how to rank in the search results. Do you know, for example, how Google reads your content and ranks it? Well, after this training you will! We’ll also tell you how to write your copy in such a way that Google knows exactly what you’re talking about. Moreover, we’ll tell you how you can make sure that Google can actually put your pages into the search results. And much more!

Could I benefit from this training?

The SEO for beginners course is valuable for everyone who is not already an SEO expert. Whether you are looking to start a career in SEO or are a small business owner with a website. Maybe you just want to join the discussion with your colleagues. It doesn’t matter. SEO is all about gaining an edge over your competition. You can now take the first step for free!

Do I have to use WordPress or the Yoast SEO plugin?

No, you don’t. The training is valuable for anyone, regardless of whether you use WordPress or the Yoast SEO plugin. Some lessons discuss how the plugin can help you with your SEO. Still, the majority of the information applies to anyone and any situation.

Why is the training free?

We want SEO to be for everyone. That is our company mission. Sure, we need to make some money and we have a collection of great products which helps us do that. But not everyone is able to afford them or justify the investment. We want to be there for you as well. There are more reasons, which Marieke has written an entire article about!

How can I get this course?

Getting a Yoast training has never been easier. If you already have a MyYoast account, the course is already available to you here. If you don’t have a MyYoast account yet, you can just create one here. You will receive an email with a link to the course. Enjoy!

 

Read on: ‘Yoast’s mission: SEO for everyone!’ »

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Again it was a month packed with great conferences we were lucky enough to attend. Some Yoasters – of course – went to WordCamps like Torino, London and Vienna. In addition to that, others went to Playgrounds blend, React and TYPO3 UX. To top it off, I was given the opportunity to do a digital detox in Iceland. All of those events are worth mentioning, but it’ll take too long to discuss all of them in here, so here’s a selection. Read about the Yoast adventures on WordCamp Torino, Playgrounds Blend and my personal digital detox! 

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WordCamp Torino (April 6-7)

Beginning of April our Community superhero Karin went to Turin in Italy to mingle with the hospitable Italian WordPress community. There she also met with our accessibility expert Andrea. Apart from having a great time with the friendly Italians and eating delicious pizza and ice cream, she particularly enjoyed the talk of Carole Olinger, who told about her journey in the WordPress Community so far. Karin could really relate to this:


By the way, if you want to hear Karin’s story, about her journey in the WordPress community check out this video.

She was also really curious to see Alessia Pizzi talk about our own Yoast SEO plugin:

One of the lightning talks during the morning session was about the Yoast plugin. In Italian. I thought I would go there, just to see if I could understand what Alessia Pizzi, was talking about.

Well, I didn’t!

But the room was jam-packed with people, and she loved to see Alessia talk so  passionately about our plugin. All in all she had a blast in Torino and hopes to be back some day. 

Playgrounds Blend (April 13)

Playgrounds is an annual conference where the most talented and innovative creative professionals in animation, game & interactive design, robotics and creative technology come to show and tell about their work. Erwin, Tim and Luc, representing the creatives at Yoast went there to “get their creative juices flowing” as Luc eloquently put it. Here are some of the takeaways:

Studio Moniker presented us with their system of ‘conditional design’. Instead of designing towards a finished product, they only produce the concept and ground rules of a design. They then enable the public to participate in the design process which leads to very random and unique designs. We saw some cool examples of this form of open source design. It was funny to see there are always people who try to bend, break or ignore the rules of a project.

example of a post cardMr Bingo’s presentation was fast, funny and relentless. His story about how he got to send insulting postcards to people all over the world, after one drunken tweet, was the funniest thing we heard that day.

Until he told the story how he decided to produce a rap to introduce his Kickstarter that is:

The most interesting talk of the conference, according to Erwin, was the one from David OReilly. He made one of the most bonkers animations he’s ever seen, so he was very intrigued by what he had to say.

Oreilly builds digital worlds but from a different standpoint than most others. Instead of trying to simulate the physical world in a 3d environment he lets the limitations of the programs he works with determine the look of the worlds he creates. As long as the used design aesthetic is coherent, the brain of the viewer will accept the design as equivalent to the real world. In other words: if you give the world you design the same overall look or style, your public will believe a clownfish can talk. Or that a man can fly and shoot laser-beams from his eyes.

He then showed his most recent projects that incorporate these ideas; a game about a floating tree, that’s somehow very popular in China, and the game Everything. In this last game, the player can play as any element that is present in the game. From the tiniest microbe, to trees, guitars, clouds, islands, planets and even galaxies. With every change of “character” the view of the world and how you experience it changes too. Making you think about how your position in the world determines how you think about the world. This way everything becomes equally important and unimportant at the same time.

Just take a look at this launch trailer how overwhelming this idea is:

Digital detox in Iceland

The last “conference” I’ll highlight is the digital detox I went to. On April 18, I stepped on a plane to Iceland, without really knowing what was ahead of me. I signed up for a ‘digital detox’ organized by GeekAdventures.org. Mendel Kurland, the head geek, promised a couple of days hiking in Iceland with awesome people in the tech industry.

The first evening, even before the event had officially started, I met up with Hari to explore Reykjavik. We walked for over two hours through the different parts of the city. With Google Maps on our phones not to get lost (hey, our detox hadn’t started yet!), we eventually found our way to another group of adventurous geeks. After drinks and a good meal, it was time to head back to our hotels and prep for the next morning.

Do you know that awkward silence when you first meet a group of new people? Well, we didn’t have much of that. After 4 hours on a 4×4 bus, visiting a stunningly beautiful waterfall and staring at a glacier together, we only needed lunch, a quick intro-game and a bit of ‘free time’ to open up.

digital detox in Iceland

There are so many stories to tell from just four days with this bunch of new-found friends, and I’ll happily share all of them over drinks, but in this recap want to focus on what touched me the most.

Thanks to Yoast, I’m used to going to conferences, hanging out with people from all over the world and having good conversations about work. At those events, I’m Taco from Yoast, all day long. This event was different. Because of the small group and because we all came with the ‘digital detox’ mindset, it was really personal. No-one had to be “[name] from [insert company]”. We could all be ourselves. Even when discussing Yoast SEO, Beaver Builder or Ninja forms, we were friends talking. And that was amazing!

If you ever have a chance to visit Iceland, you should. It’s wonderful, beautiful and magical. But if you ever have the chance to go on a digital detox, you’d be a fool to miss out!

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To increase your reach, it could be worth your while to post some of your content on sites with more authority and more visitors than your own site. But it’s a good idea to think about how to do that. You may think ‘If many people see my post on a site like medium.com, they’ll automatically head over to my site to check out that post, increasing my traffic.’ But is that really the case?

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You probably don’t want to end up with duplicate content, and it also isn’t in your best interest to be competing with high authority sites. So, how can you use these platforms, like Medium, to your advantage? Let me tell you what I think in today’s Ask Yoast!

Tsahi Levent-Levin emailed us a question on crossposting content on Medium:

There seems to be a trend of placing a post on a blog and then republishing the exact same content on medium.com. As there’s no ability to control the canonical tag, how do you view this practice? Does it increase reach and discoverability or does it dilute ranking due to duplicate content?

Rectification: It appears that you can set a canonical link on Medium! So please add it and prevent duplicate content by doing so.

 

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast, we answer SEO questions from our readers. Have an SEO-related question? Maybe we can help you out! Send an email to ask@yoast.com.

Note: please check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question may already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about our plugin not working properly, we’d like to refer you to our support page.

Read more: ‘What to do if the traffic on your blog is decreasing?’ »

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A little over a month ago I started looking at my Pinterest profile more seriously in regards to my blog. I didn’t use Pinterest for my blog yet and never even thought of pinning my blog posts to Pinterest. I used the website to keep my wishlist up to date and had tons of hidden boards full of inspiration for future projects that I would probably never do.

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Facebook is my biggest source of traffic currently, but with Facebook’s announcement on the new algorithm, I want to rely less on Facebook. Or spread my traffic source at least. At the end of March, I received a newsletter from a blogger I follow. She claimed she receives over 15,000 visitors from Pinterest every month. She started blogging last year and hasn’t written a new blog post since January. Yet her blog is ever growing, and so is her bank account. 15k for a website that’s not regularly updated raised one main question with me: HOW?

We emailed for a while and she explained she started to treat Pinterest as a search engine instead of a social medium. People are not on Pinterest to see what their friends like, they are looking for a solution for a problem they have. The difference with Google? You have a personal feed when you open Pinterest. And it is visual.

Skepticism

I was skeptical. I don’t like promoting my website, due to my inner critic who thinks it’s necessary to tell me no one wants to read my blog posts and I should not be bothering them on Facebook or anywhere else. Also, I dislike scheduling my social media to promote my blog and I definitely do not like to make the graphics for my blog. I am a writer, but as a blogger you have to be all-round, unless you’re as lucky as me and you can blog for Yoast where there’s an entire team who will create graphics and do the promotion for you. Unfortunately, they won’t do promotion for my personal blog. I should’ve negotiated that at the beginning of my contract.

Still skeptical about Pinterest, I walked into Joost’s office last month and asked him what he knew about Pinterest. He explained to me that there are mom blogs, especially in the US, that get ten thousands of visitors through Pinterest. The statistics can get bizarre. He told me I was definitely in the right niche to grow through Pinterest and should give it a go.

That night I sat down and started creating graphics for my blog. Pinterest suggests vertical pins instead of the horizontal scaled images for Facebook.

What Pinterest did to my statistics

I would love to say that I woke up the next morning, opened Pinterest and saw that my pins went viral. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. Your exposure will slowly climb and the more active you are on Pinterest, the faster you will get rewarded.

If you have a business account with Pinterest, you can look at your statistics. I saw that one of my pins had been shown over 400 times in just a few days. So I squealed and told everyone how amazing Pinterest was. I then showed my statistics to everyone who wanted to see, and even those who didn’t know they wanted to see.

But out of those 400 impressions on Pinterest, not one person had repinned my pin. And no one had clicked the link. Facebook advertising sounded a lot more appealing right now. And less work. And easier to understand.

It took me a week to understand and find the mix that started getting me visitors. I can now say that after one month, 10% of my traffic to my blog is Pinterest. 10% in just one month! My stats are surprising me each and every day and I actually love looking at Google Analytics and my Pinterest statistics. I’ve created a board for my blog and created boards that are close to my niche. I’ve repinned pins from others and pinned my own blog posts.

How you can start to grow

To start growing, the first important step is that your image should be appealing and of high quality. Pins with the message in bold letters across the image, work wonders. People want to know what your post is about in one glance. Writing compelling titles is already important for SEO, so dust up those skills and get them to use for Pinterest!

Another important factor of getting seen is collaborating with others in group boards. By pinning your content to group boards, your content will be seen by the others who contribute to the board.

But balance is key: don’t just pin from your own website. Repin as well. Don’t be afraid to repin a blog post from a competitor if it fits one of your boards. For example: one of my best performing boards is about self-care. I have only written two blog posts on this subject yet, but funny enough, these two blog posts generate the most traffic to my blog.

There’s no easy fix to gain visitors fast. It’s much like Google, Facebook or your other sources of traffic: you need to solve a problem for you visitor by creating content your visitors are looking for.

Read more: ‘Blogging: the ultimate guide’ »

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When browsing through the ‘Behavior’ section in Google Analytics, you’ll come across the term ‘pageviews’ a lot. And you might think that the more pageviews a page has, the better. But is that actually true? What’s a pageview exactly and can pageviews help you understand your site and audience better? Find out in this post!

What are pageviews in Google Analytics?

Google Analytics has this handy feature that explains what a certain metric or dimension is when you hover over the question mark icon. According to Google Analytics, the definition of a pageview is:

definition of pageviews in Google Analytics

Pageviews is the total number of pages viewed. Repeated views of a single page are counted.

According to Google’s Google Analytics support site, a pageview is:

A pageview (or pageview hit, page tracking hit) is an instance of a page being loaded (or reloaded) in a browser. Pageviews is a metric defined as the total number of pages viewed.

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Now that’s a pretty straightforward explanation. So, let’s say you have a page about a Basic SEO course: pageviews will show you the number of times that page is viewed for a given period. The metric itself says nothing about how many visitors saw that page or how many times the page was viewed per session. It’s just the total number of pageviews per page. This means that one visitor can be responsible for a lot of pageviews, and that a page can be viewed multiple times per session.

Pageviews in combination with other metrics

Pageviews can give an indication of how popular a post or page is. But having a high number of pageviews for a post doesn’t necessarily mean it is popular. Is it a good thing that you have a lot of pageviews per visit? Does it mean that people like to read a lot of pages on your site? Or does it mean that they can’t find what they’re looking for? A good data analyst is critical of his or her data at all times. A single metric doesn’t tell you a lot; it’s the context that provides the information you can use.

Speaking of context, you might think: “Why don’t I see ‘sessions’, ‘pageviews’ and ‘users’ in one grid table in Google Analytics?” There’s a reason why Google Analytics doesn’t let you see pageviews in combination with sessions and users by default. And that has everything to do with the way Google Analytics collects its data. The Google Analytics data is organized based on scopes. You can see these four different scopes if you want to add a Custom Dimension:

Scope in Google Analytics

Lunametrics wrote a blog post on understanding scope in Google Analytics, which explains why you can’t combine metrics from different scopes. In short, they say: never combine hit- and session-level metrics. So if you create a custom report that shows pageviews and sessions per page, then you get a report that doesn’t make any sense. Because sessions have hits, but hits don’t have sessions.

Adding context to pageviews

So if you can’t combine user and session metrics to pageviews, what can you do to add more context to the pageviews metric?

Unique Pageviews

First of all, you can look at the number of unique pageviews compared to pageviews. According to the question mark in Google Analytics:

Unique Pageviews in Google Analytics

Unique Pageviews is the number of sessions during which the specified page was viewed at least once. A unique pageview is counted for each page URL + page Title combination.

I think this definition needs some more explanation. Let’s say a visitor visits a page about a Basic SEO course, then reads a basic SEO article and then visits the page about Basic SEO course again. During this session, the Basic SEO course page is viewed two times. These two pageviews in this single session will be added to the total number of pageviews for that page. But only one unique pageview will be added to the total number of unique pageviews for that page during a single session.

In fact, if you want to see the number of sessions for a page, the best way is to look at the unique pageviews metric. And if you divide the number of pageviews by the number of unique pageviews, you get the average number of times a particular page was viewed per session. It’s a good idea to check the pages for which the number of pageviews differs a lot from the number of unique pageviews. This means that visitors viewed this page a couple of times during a single session. That may indicate that the page is confusing people. But there are other explanations for this as well. Our knowledge base articles, for instance, have a lot of pageviews compared to the number of unique pageviews. People refer to those articles a couple of times during a single session to follow the steps listed in these articles.

Creating segments

You can also look at the number of pageviews per visit and create a segment. That lets you compare groups of users and see where they differ from each other. For instance, visits with more than three pageviews against visits with less than three pageviews.

creating a page depth segment in Google Analytics

Are these two groups coming from different sources? Do they read different articles? Do they buy things or not? Comparing groups will help you understand your audience better.

Conclusion

There you have it; an understanding of pageviews in Google Analytics. All in all, pageviews probably isn’t the most spectacular metric you can use in your analysis. And if you do consider it one of the most important metrics in your reports, please reconsider because there are more valuable metrics out there. What do you want to know? And is pageviews the way to get that information? Probably not.

Read more: ‘Analytics basics: Which posts and pages perform best?’ »

The post Annelieke’s Analytics: What are pageviews in Google Analytics? appeared first on Yoast.

This past month saw a lot of preparation for upcoming events and releases across the WordPress project. Read on to find out more about these plans, and everything else that happened around the community in April.


The WordPress 15th Anniversary is Coming

On May 27 2018, WordPress will turn 15 years old — this is a huge milestone for the project, or, indeed, for any open-source platform. The Community Team has been hard at work helping communities around the world plan local anniversary parties.

Check the central anniversary website to see if there’s already a party being planned near you. These parties are all organized by local communities — if there’s no local community in your area, you can start one today and host a party yourself.

Work has Started on a Gutenberg Migration Guide

With Gutenberg, the upcoming WordPress content editor, in rapid development, a lot of people have been wondering how they will convert their existing plugins to work with the new features. To mitigate the issues here and help people overcome any migration hurdles, a Gutenberg Migration Guide is underway to assist developers with making their code Gutenberg-compatible.

If you’d like to contribute to this guide, you can review the existing documentation on GitHub and open a new issue if you find something to add.

Theme Review Team Launches Trusted Authors Program

Reviews of themes submitted to the Theme Directory can take quite a while to complete. In order to combat this issue and to make the theme submission process smoother for everyone, the Theme Review Team is introducing a Trusted Authors Program.

This program will allow frequent and reliable theme authors to apply for trusted status, allowing them to upload themes more frequently and to have their themes automatically approved. This will allow more high-quality themes to be added to the directory, as well as recognize the hard work that authors put in to build their themes.

If you would like to get involved with reviewing themes, you can read their getting started guide, follow the team blog and join the #themereview channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.


Further Reading:

If you have a story we should consider including in the next “Month in WordPress” post, please submit it here.