GA Landing Pages vs. Start Pages: Here's the Difference

According to Google Analytics, a start page and landing page are not the same. Learn what makes them different so you correctly interpret the data provided.
By 

Rob Elgar

 on August 23, 2022. 
Reviewed by 

Michelle Meyer

According to Google Analytics, a landing page and start page are not the same:

  • A landing page is the first page a user lands on when they first enter a website.
  • A start page is the page users begin each session on and helps users explore a site by linking to appropriate pages.

Two Main Differences Between a GA Landing Page & Start Page

1. Start Page Is a Navigation Page

A start page primarily acts as a place from which users can navigate your site. A start page will include links to relevant pages, categories, and, in most cases, a navigation/search box. The purpose of a start page is to direct your users around your website, therefore this is most likely the page that repeat users return to and that each new session begins on.

2. Landing Page Can Be Any Page

The landing page is the first page a user lands on when they enter a website. The landing page can be different each time because it depends on how the user found your website. For example, the user inserted a specific query into a search engine and landed on one of your pages because it was one of the search results, or the user followed a link to one of your pages from another website. Therefore, a landing page could be a home page blog post, about us page, contact page, or the start of a sales funnel.

Using a Landing Page as a Start Page

If a user first enters your site through your intended start page (usually a home page), Google Analytics will track your start page and landing page as the same.

Using your home page as both your start page and landing page will reduce the number of steps in your marketing funnels.

Conclusion

It's important to understand that Google Analytics sees a landing page and a start page as two different items and therefore tracks them separately. Understanding the difference will help you to analyze and interpret the user metrics Google Analytics reports on, thereby adapting your business strategy effectively based on the data provided.

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