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Understanding and using analytics to drive traffic


Students will review a presentation to understand the important data included in a Google Analytics report. Students will then make judgments based on analysis of their own analytics and apply those ideas to their own website.


  • Students will learn how to read a Google Analytics report
  • Students will understand the significance of the data included
  • Students will make judgments about their own website based on the data.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language of a court opinion differs from that of a newspaper).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9-10 texts and topics.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.2.F Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).


50 minutes


Google Analytics account (free)

Slideshow: Using analytics to drive traffic

Handout: Using analytics to drive traffic

Rubric: Analytics analysis

Your own analytics data

Lesson step-by-step

1. Lesson Preparation — 10-15 minutes

Before beginning, the instructor should have access to the analytics data for their site. You can sign up free at this link.

  • Go to the Admin Tab.
  • Click under the Account column.
  • Select “Create new account” at the bottom.
  • Type in the Account Name (which can be whatever you want), the website name, and paste the url of the website, leaving out the “http://” part of it.
  • You may also select the industry category and reporting time zone.
  • You may also select various Data Sharing Settings. They mostly give info to Google and do not necessarily affect the data you will see on your site.
  • You can then add your Google Tracking ID to WordPress site via a plugin, using the header.php, or functions.php

2. Warm Up — 5 minutes

Ask students how many visitors they think their website received over that past month. Ask what was the most-read story. After they’ve guessed, reveal the numbers from your own data.

3. Slideshow — 15 minutes

Have students take notes while you present the slideshow, “Using analytics to drive traffic.” An optional handout accompanies the slideshow in the resources above.

4. Discussion — 10 minutes 

At the end of the presentation, lead the class in a discussion based on the Think, Write, Pair Share on slide 17:

  • What key information do you want to see from the Analytics?
  • Why is knowing this important?

5. Application — 10 minutes

After the discussion, reveal your own Analytics Data; either print copies for the class or step through different reports using a Smartboard or projector.

6. Analysis — 10 minutes

 Ask the students to write the following responses and submit as an exit ticket:

  1. What is going well?
  2. What key takeaways do you see?
  3. What changes to your website might you make?
  4. What changes to your coverage might you make?

Collect these responses and assess using the Analytics Analysis rubric.

7. Extension

These responses may be shared with the website editors to allow them to use these insights and guide future coverage and strategy.


Advanced students or web editors can lead this session and gather responses.

Guided notes can be used during the presentation.

Web managers or advanced students can look more deeply into reports.