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3 ways to use Google Analytics for content strategies

If you use Google Analytics for your site or blog, I have 3 quick tips on how you can use it to enhance your content strategy. This is a very new blog, so I like to check in and see what my visitors are interested in. I’ll show you how I go through that process using Google Analytics.

The goal is to figure out what content is being read the most and to create new content or enhance existing content to retain visitors and attract new people. So let’s take a look.

If you have an Analytics account, log in and follow along.

Once you’re logged in, you’ll see a list of sites that you have enabled analytics for, which should look something like this:

google analytics for socialeers

If you see this, click on “view report” for the site that you would like to create your content strategy for. That takes you into the dashboard for that site. In the menu to the left, you’ll see a list of links – “Dashboard”, “Intelligence”, “Visitors”, etc. You want to click on the “Content” link.

This will give you a content overview for your site including page views, unique views, bounce rate and more. This is where the first tip comes in.

1. Navigation Summary

This is a pretty cool feature that let’s you really mine a lot of data about your content. The Navigation summary was created to show you how visitors find your content.

Click the Navigation Summary link to the right (looks like this):

Google analytics navigation summary

This takes you to the navigation summary for your entire site. If you’ve followed along exactly, the report should start off with the index page of your site. There are 2 columns that you want to look at.

The left column shows the percentage of Entrances and Previous Pages. The right column shows the percentage of Exits and Next Pages. Something like this:

The entrance percentage refers to how commonly the page is found as the entrance into your site. How common it is being used as a landing page. As you can see from the image, the home page of this blog is the most common landing page. So I get mostly direct traffic.

The exit percentage is how many people leave your site from that page. The higher it is, the more you may need to work on that page. So, it looks like I need to do some optimization :) .

If you look at the image above, or if you’re following along, look at the list of links in the content box in the left column. These links are the most popular pages on your site. This leads us into tip #2.

2. Top Content

Go back over to the menu on the left and click the “Top Content” link. This will pull up a summary of page visits for your site in order of highest to lowest visits. It should look something like this:

using google analytics to measure page visits

As you can see, I don’t get much traffic :) Hey, this is a brand new blog. Actually, this is a great way to see what types of content your visitors are most likely to engage with. In the list above, I can see that the most viewed (aside from the home page) post is this one I did on trend blogging sources.

What I didn’t include in the screenshot is another important piece of information – Avg. Time on Page. The average time that people spent on the trend blogging post is close to 6 minutes. Taking that amount of time, I can assume that people are actually reading the post and getting some sort of value from it.

So, I can assume that if I put together another list of valuable resources, my visitors might be more likely to engage with that type of post. To back that up, the third most popular page on the list above is a post that I did to let my visitors know that a resource that I put up on SlideShare, which extended that initial list of 20 trend sources to 80, was featured on the DIY section for a while.

So my visitors like lists it seems. They are one of the most popular types of blog posts. So it makes sense to write up some more. If you have any you want me to put together, leave a comment.

Now I want to look at another pretty cool analytics features.

3. In Page Analytics

This one is still in beta but it’s a very cool feature. I may need to use it to see why so many people bounce from my home page :)

So, go back to the content menu to the left and click overview. Over to the right, you’ll see a section titled Click Patterns:

In Page analytics with Google analytics

Click the link that says “In-Page Analytics”. This takes you to a page with a frame with your site inside. There is a cool overlay that shows you the percentage of clicks on that specific page on your site. It should look something like this:

I had to reduce my resolution to get a screenshot that would fit but you get the idea. This overlay shows how many the percentage of clicks and where they take place on your page. It also shows the percentage that scroll down past the fold and click and it changes as you scroll down the page.

With a blog it’s a little bit tricky to optimize based on these clicks but if you’re optimizing a landing page or a business site, you can use this to optimize the performance of your pages.

Scrolling down while using this tool, I found a post that seems to be getting some heavy clicks on the title. I could use this information to maybe make that post a sticky post that stays at the top of the home page. I’m sure you can come up with some other uses for this data.

So, how do we use these tips?

I am going to use them as follows:

  1. Take the exit percentage from Tip 1 and optimize my blog’s appearance and content to make it more engaging. If you have any suggestions, leave a comment and let me know. Maybe I’m not pretty enough to look at for long periods :)
  2. I’m going to take the top content list from Tip 2 and create more resource lists for my readers. Again, if you have suggestions, let me know.
  3. I’m going to go through my top content pages using the In Page Analytics tool, take a look at the hot spots and make some adjustments on link placements and such. I may kick the idea of sticky posts around some more.

I would love to hear how you use analytics to improve your content strategy. Leave me a comment and let me know what else we can do with analytics.

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Related posts:

  1. I found the coolest site for landing page testing (AB testing)
  2. YouTube content marketing tips
  3. Skull Set – A lesson in keyword researched content.
  4. Treat each page as a landing page…because it is.

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