Posted on: October 26, 2015
Your website content is important for so many reasons: it communicates your brand message, it tells visitors why you exist; it helps inform, teach, and guide; and last but not least, the quality of your Web content matters a great deal to Google and can determine how easily you will be found when someone searches for your company, services, or products.
Google is challenging companies to continually produce quality content for their websites. Therefore, analyzing your content every six months or so becomes very important. Whether you are posting blog articles, archiving e-newsletters, or creating new pages of information on your site, you need to understand how effective that content is at reaching your intended audience, engaging users on your site, and achieving the goals you’ve set for your business. Routine analysis of site content accomplishes three things:
- It provides visibility into areas of the site that may have issues or deficiencies.
- It tells you how effective your content is at achieving the goals you have set.
- It identifies areas of opportunity for new content.
Google Analytics, which is a free Web traffic tracking program, offers a variety of tools and data points to help you determine how well your Web content is performing.
All Pages Report (Behavior > Site Content > All Pages)
This report lists all the pages on the site in descending order by pageviews. It lets you know which pages of content are most popular on your site. While primary and secondary navigation pages tend to get the most traffic, you will clearly be able to identify deeper pages that get a lot of attention.
Landing Pages Report (Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages)
The Landing Pages report is an excellent tool that tells you where folks who do an organic search are landing on your site. This provides some insight into how well the page content, as well as the page title and description, are optimized for search engines in addition to how relevant your Web page was to the user’s search.
Behavior Flow (Behavior > Behavior Flow)
This is a more complicated report that details how visitors entered your site and then gives you a visual flow of what pages they next visited on this site. This report is particularly useful when you narrow it down to a specific marketing effort that was done or when you want to identify a certain path that users take on the site.
Content Grouping Report
This is a little gem in Analytics that is often overlooked. Analytics allows you to define groups of content so that you can see how different sections of your site are performing. For example, if you have a blog on your site it might be helpful to group all those pages into a consolidated row of information, or if you have a how-to section, or a services section, etc., those pages can be grouped. When you define content groups you will see an option to view “Content Grouping” in the primary dimension field row on most content report areas of Analytics.
Build a Custom Report
Analytics comes chock full of different ways to view your Web data, but there are times when you want specific metrics all on one page that don’t come on one of Google’s default report formats. This can be an easier path rather than switching between different report views to see the information you care about. Here are some examples:
- Internal Site Search & Keyword Search Reports: custom report that shows internal site search results – what your visitors are looking for on the site; great for identifying new content opportunities
- Engagement Report: look at specific engagement metrics by page or landing page: avg. time on site, bounce rate, exit pages, goals or conversions
Metrics That Matter
Now that we know what reports to use in Analytics, which metrics matter and why? These are the top metrics that come to my mind when I think of content:
- Pageviews – how many total views (repeat and new) were there?
- Unique pageviews – individual pageviews by user; defined by IP address
- Pages/session – how many pages of the site were visited during an average user session?
- Avg. time on page – how long did a person stay on a page? Measure of relevance and/or usefulness
- Bounce rate – did a user land on a page and then immediately leave? Measure of relevance and/or usefulness
- Avg. page load time – lets you know if you may be losing traffic due to load time issues; can provide direction on web usability
- Exit pages – from which pages do most of your visitors leave the site? Can identify areas of weak call to action or places on the site where the user experiences trouble
- Conversion metrics (goals, purchases, social actions, events, etc.) – tells you how effective a page is at getting your visitors to take action
Understanding how your Web content is performing for your business puts a lot of power in your busy hands. Not only does accurate, useful and relevant content help your business maintain a good reputation, it puts your company in a position as an information authority, it provides your customers with a sense of security and dependability, and, it helps improve your search engine rankings.
Though you could probably sort through this copious information on your own, it really is a good idea to hire a professional marketing company to sift through the numbers and provide you with the best bottom line recommendations for continually creating new content for your site. Marshall Communications assists many of its clients with interpreting what the data in Analytics means and we can produce the quality content your customers want to see on your site. Give us a call at (207) 623-4177 today and tell us what we can assist you with.