The Google Analytics Dashboard can be scary and confusing. \u00a0I am going to break down how to use Google Analytics to tell where your traffic is coming from, and how to isolate one source from another to understand whether traffic from certain sources is growing. How to Use Google Analytics How to Get to Your Traffic Report When you log into Google Analytics, you see something like this. \u00a0Click \u201cTraffic Sources\u201d near the bottom on the left: That will expand the \u201cTraffic Sources\u201d accordion. Next Click \u201cOverview\u201d and you will get a screen that looks like this: Different Types of Traffic In the overview, you will see a pie chart that highlights 4 traffic sources:\u00a0Search Traffic, Referral Traffic, Direct Traffic and Campaigns. Search Traffic: Traffic that comes from a Web search. Referral Traffic: Traffic that comes from someone clicking a link to your site from another site. Direct Traffic: Traffic where the \u201creferrer is unknown,\u201d such as directly typing a URL into the navigation window or clicking on a link in an email newsletter. Campaigns: Traffic from an adwords campaign. Diving Deeper Into the Sources To dive deeper into a particular traffic source, click \u201cSources\u201d just under \u201cOverview:\u201d This will take you to another set of menus where you can take a closer look at a particular source. \u00a0You will see a chart that looks very much like the overview chart, except it will be a chart for only the traffic source you choose. In this case, I am going to click \u201cSearch Traffic... Overview:\u201d This gives me a closer look into my search traffic, how it is trending. \u00a0In this case, my traffic is bumping along with no major trend up or down. \u00a0If I were embarking on an SEO project for this site, this is where I would go to see the fruit of my labor. \u00a0After all, if I am optimizing for search, then my traffic from search should increase. Where to Look in Specific Scenarios The first few paragraphs were a basic overview of the structure of Google Analytics and where to go to see traffic breakdowns. \u00a0Now I am going to talk about specific scenarios related to web traffic and where you would go to see the associated traffic trends. Scenario 1: \u00a0I Just Guest Posted on a Popular Site When you guest post on a popular site, provided your profile/bio at the bottom of the post contains a link to your site, the expected increase is in the \u201cReferrals\u201d category. Scenario 2: \u00a0I Just Put Out a Press Release A press release is a wonderful way to get publicity for your company, product, or service. \u00a0It is also one of the best-kept secrets (if not controversial) of SEO. \u00a0When you distribute a press release over the wire, you should see an increase in the \u201cReferrals\u201d category. Scenario 3: \u00a0I just Spent $1M on Google Adwords If you have your customer lifetime value calculation down to a science, that is a good time to embark on a paid search campaign. \u00a0You can track the results of this campaign in the \u201cPaid Search\u201d section of Google Analytics. Scenario 4: \u00a0I Just Revamped my Content Strategy You just finished a refresh of the copy on your website and put together a load of new, exciting and insightful content on your blog based on long-tail keyword search terms. You should see an increase in the \u201cOrganic Search\u201d section of Google Analytics. Scenario 5: \u00a0I just Got Featured on Oprah Congratulations - Oprah is about to melt your servers. \u00a0Its a nice problem to have. When oprah says, \u201cGo to www DOT yourwebsite DOT com\u201d and 1 billion people hit your site at the same time, you will see an increase in the \u201cDirect Traffic\u201d section of your website. Google Analytics is a powerful tool that has become more useful and more complicated over the years. \u00a0For a free tool its awesome, but don\u2019t expect Google to hold your hand and explain to you how to use Google Analytics. Understanding, measuring and tracking your traffic sources should be a fundamental part of your SEO strategy and hopefully this guide on how to use Google Analytics gave you some help.