Have you ever wondered how much web traffic websites get or how popular they are? Google Analytics is a great tool that will give you extensive data and tracking info about a website, but can you view this data for any website?
Many people wonder if they see Google Analytics for any website. It is not possible to see Google Analytics for other websites unless that site owner shares reports or account access. However, there are tools that estimate a websites’ traffic and search volume, but these tools are not 100% accurate.
I wanted to learn which sites were popular, who to compare my site too and learn what these high traffic sites were doing correctly, so I started researching. This article was created from my notes to explain if you can use Google Analytics to see traffic reports for any website, and if not how can you get more information about traffic for other websites.
Table of Contents
Can I see Google Analytics for any website?
You can not see the Google Analytics data for any website without the website owner sharing the reports or access to their Google Analytics account with you.
Outside of Google Analytics, there are tools that you estimate web traffic and searches, but they are not 100% accurate.
Whether Google Analytics will work on any type of website such as WordPress, Squarespace, or similar content management system needs further explaining.
I will also explain other methods for estimating how much traffic a website gets. So, read on to discover the answers to these questions.
Will Google Analytics work on any website?
Google Analytics will work on any website as long as you install the code snippet on it. Whether your website is an old and crusty one from 2010, or whether you make it yourself using one of the most popular and new website builders.
All websites are made out of code. Part of this code is the Google Analytics snippet. This snippet edited to include your unique Google Analytics UA-Identifier.
Working with code historically was tricky, because you had to do it the old way through the back end, which was a lot of trial and error.
How do I add Google Analytics to my site?
Over the past 5 or so years it has become very easy to install code snippets and test them. Largely in part to the small improvements, coders and developers have made to website technology over the years.
Now, nearly all popular web building software have an option to add a Google Analytics code that is a list of letters and numbers. Generally the code has some instructions to tell the Google bot what the code does.
But, with the website builders such as Wix, Squarespace, and the most popular WordPress, this information is kept in the background and you only need the unique Google Analytics key.
If you are a new web developer and have some understanding of HTML and CSS, it is important to note that Google provides you a code snippet as well. That you can copy and paste into the tag of each page.
Before getting the code snippet you need to first register the website with your Google Analytics account. When you do this Google provides exact instructions on how to do it. But, you just copy and paste the snippet they give you onto each page.
How do I see Google Analytics for other sites?
You can not directly and reliably see this analytic data for other websites. Without the person who owns the website giving you access to their Google Analytics dashboard, so if you do not have access you are out of luck.
Perhaps there are some underhanded ways that a hacker could insert some code onto a website temporarily. But, they will eventually get found out. In my years and years of programming experience I have never seen or heard of a way to do this without taking illegal actions.
There are websites and tracking sites out there that claim to give you and estimate of web traffic volume. Let me be clear, this is just an estimate. It is impossible from a technical standpoint for another website or tracking tool to see how much traffic you get without direct access to your website or web server.
You can get a pretty close estimate by looking at search volume in the Google Analytics tool. Looking at population data, and thinking about how many people would actually be looking on Google for this type of product. They can also look at the historic ranking position for all the pages of a website. But, it is also not that accurate.
Many tools and software claim to be able to do this, but, the key thing to remember is that without them installing some code on a website, with the website owners permission there is no way they can get that data for you.
How to estimate a competitors' website traffic?
You could look at the demographics of countries. For example, you can take the population of the English-speaking countries -USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand- and figure out what percentage of these people would likely search for the topic of their website.
So, if the website was about how to grow your own organic garden, most people who search this would have finished high school. So, they would be roughly over the age of 18 roughly. Then only a certain percentage of these people would be interested in this particular topic. You would have to do a rough estimate and there is no way to get it that accurate.
Other website traffic metrics
You can look at how many likes and followers Facebook pages on your topic gets. That will tell you how many people are interested in your niche or topic. As well as, how many views YouTube videos on the topic get.
Just pull up Youtube and search for big topics in your category. For example if you are thinking about building a website in insurance, search YouTube for “what are the different types of insurance”, and “how does insurance work”.
These are very big topics in your niche, so they would give you a good look at how popular this topic is. In so doing, let you know how much traffic a competitors’ website on this topic is likely getting.
Because you can see how old the video is and how many views it gets. It will tell you how many website videos per year, per month, and per day a website on this topic would get.
You can install and see Google Analytics on any website, and be able to see how many visitors they get. You can also see what pages they went to and how long they spent on your website. You can’t see Google Analytics data for another website unless the person who owns the website gives you access, or shows it to you.
To get an estimate of how many visitors a website you don’t own gets, you can look at other metrics. Such as:
- How many likes and follows their Facebook page gets
- How many views their YouTube videos got, and over how long
- Estimating how many people would look for this information based on the population.
Steven Johnson, a WP Hosting Reviews senior editor, works from Atlanta and covers all things related to WordPress and Hosting.
He graduated from Georgia Tech in Chemical Engineering, has managed hosting companies and now builds WordPress and Joomla Websites for small to medium companies full time.