There are a number of companies and services which offer information on the number of visitors to a website, Google Analytics is one such service. Web traffic is the amount of data sent and received by visitors to a website. Traffic is a key indicator of how well a website is ranking in search engines with sites ranking well drawing the most traffic as well as quantifying potential customers.
Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool offered by Google that tracks and reports a complete view of website interaction, including website traffic, user experience, user behaviour, device functionality, online content and audience demographics among other useful information.
It is a service that helps website owners to better track and understand the users of their website through data collected by a tracking code placed on each page of the website. This tag runs in the web browser of each visitor, collecting data including a range of activities performed by the site’s visitors, along with the demographics of those users, and sends it to one of Google’s data collection servers to be displayed when requested via the Google Analytics dashboard.
Unlike other companies that rely on third-party data which may not be reliable, Google Analytics draws its data from a tracking code on the website itself, allowing it to report data from actual real interactions on the site. This means that as a website owner you have real data available to you showing how your site is performing and you can quickly identify areas for improvement for future success.
Despite rumours, Google has stated that it does not use Google Analytics data for ranking purposes and there is no evidence to support the idea that Google uses analytics for penalising sites or ranking sites better.