Improve Your Blog Using Google Analytics

How Google Analytics Can Improve Your Blog

There are so many ways to excel at content marketing. You could try to out-publish your competition, repurpose every new piece of content into other formats or create content types no one else does. Still, nothing beats the data-driven approach.

Developing a content strategy based on the data rather than intuition allows you to learn more about your target audience, find out what they want to hear from you about, what would connect them with you more, and even how to get them to notice your business in the first place.

Data you can extract from Google Analytics can help you:

  • Create more engaging content
  • Determine which topics and formats to focus on the most
  • Identify elements of your strategy you should change or drop altogether
  • Make more informed strategy decisions

According to the Content Marketing Institute, only 20% of your content attracts the majority of your traffic. These are most likely pages that rank high in search, get shared, are referenced by other writers and recommended by your audience. And Google Analytics’ Behavior reports can help you identify them on your site.

To assess your post’s popularity:

1. Navigate to the Behavior > Site content > All Pages tab.

2. If possible, filter results to show only blog posts. For example, if your site uses /blog/ URL prefix, display only URLs that start with /blog/

3. Sort visits by Unique Pageviews. Google Analytics will show a list of your blog posts sorted by traffic volume, and show you the most popular content on the site. Furthermore, by clicking on the Comparison icon, you can compare each page’s performance with the site’s average.

What you can do with this data:

  • Identify topics that engaged your audience the most.
  • Assess the top performing posts and see if you could update them (i.e. add more images, stats, graphs, videos, quotes or clear the formatting) to make them even more attractive to your audience.
  • Improve internal linking by referencing other relevant, yet less popular content on the site from those top posts.
  • Define the least popular content and try to assess the reason for its failure. And who knows, perhaps there are ways in which you could update it to make it more interesting for the audience.

2. Reveal The Most Popular Content Types

Another way is to take a broader view and assess what content categories, types, or tags engage the most. Google Analytics offers an option called Content Grouping that allows to group relevant content, be it by format, category or even a particular campaign you ran, and then see the aggregated data for the whole group and individual URLs it contains.

You could, for instance, group content by categories or tags to identify general topics areas your audience finds engaging. Or collect data about specific content types to measure their collective performance and its effect on your strategy.

What you can do with this data:

You could gain insights into the most interesting categories or content types and use that information to make future decisions about your strategy’s direction.

3. Find Which Posts Convert Best

Let’s face it, most likely, the purpose of your content is not just to educate the audience. You want to attract customers to your brand, position your company as expert and gain prospects’ trust, and convince people to start doing business with you.

And Google Analytics allows you to see what content helps you achieve those goals. To extract this data, though, you’ll first need to set up specific goals in Google Analytics.

Some examples of good content marketing goals include:

  • Visits to certain page
  • Sign up / conversion
  • Spending specific time on a page
  • Downloading a material or performing any other specific action
  • Playing a video and so on

In general, your goals should relate to objectives you want visitors to complete on a page. For example, if you want them to click on a banner and learn more about your product, then set it up as your goal.

If you want them to sign up for a newsletter, you should track visits to the signup page. And if your aim is to increase engagement,
then set goals to measure if they stay on a page long enough.

After The Analytics has accumulated some data on each post, go to Conversions > Goals and check the performance of each page.

What you can do with this data:

Analyzing goals allow you to see which content helps achieve website objectives. Coupled with this knowledge you can:

  • Decide to create more similar content
  • Test different methods to find ways to increase conversions on poor performing content
  • Use this data to plan the strategy forward

4. Learn Whether Your Content Is Optimized For Mobile Users

It’s not a secret: more people consume content on mobile devices than on desktops. For example, according to Smart Insights, mobile media time has already exceeded desktop and other media. But here’s the catch:

Mobile audiences don’t engage with the content the same way as people using desktops. And so, your task is to monitor if your mobile users are as engaged with your content as the desktop ones.

To check your mobile engagement, go to Audience > Mobile > Overview. Then, select the Performance view to get the data on any relevant metrics you want: number of new users, bounce rate, page views, session duration and even goal completions:

What you can do with this data:

By analyzing audience engagement, you can assess if you need to create more mobile-friendly content. The key to Google Analytics is to know what you need to measure, and how to find it.

Here are the most important KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) to measure for your blog traffic:

  • Social Media Traffic referral
  • Unique Visitors
  • Pageviews
  • Pages/ Visit
  • Average time on site
  • Bounce Rate

Let us discuss about what each of these KPI’s mean, and why you need to be tracking each of these metrics to improve your bottom line.

1. Social Media Traffic Referral

When you are measuring results from social media sources, your Social Media Traffic Referrals are the key metrics to watch. Google added social analytics in 2012, and it enables you to track all of your engagement levels from your social network referrals.

This is very cool, as you can set this up to track traffic from the sites you, as a company, are using to drive readers to your blog. You (or your tech team) can, for example, set up your Google analytics to track traffic from Facebook, Twitter, Google+ Reddit, Quora, and tons of other sites you want to use.

You can set it up to track your Pageviews, Pages/ Visit and Average times on site, for your traffic from each of your social networks.

2. Unique Visitors

Your Unique Visitors is the second best metric to measure your blog traffic. It’s the number of individual people who click on to your site. It does not count the same person if they visit your site the next day, for example. Most analytics measure this based on visitors’ IP addresses.

3. Pageviews

This can indicate which blog articles are getting the most traffic. Pageviews are the number of times a particular page on your site is viewed. This is cool to track, as you can tailor your future articles to be like your more popular ones.

4. Pages/Visit

This is an important measurement, as it tracks the number of pages each visitor is looking at on your site. Combine this with other metrics, like social media traffic, and you can measure what sites bring in the most interested readers (and potential
customers).

5. Average Time on Page

You also want to pay attention to the time spent on your site. More views on your pages for a longer time plays a role in your SEO. It also indicates what articles are getting the most reader attention, and what social sites you get the longest views from.

6. Bounce Rate

This is another key metric, particularly for tracking your sales funnel success. It’s related to your Pages/Visit, as the Bounce Rate gives you the percentage of visitors who only click on one page of your site. Basically, the higher your bounce rate, the worse it is.

A high bounce rate could be lowered with more interesting links to internal pages, more cool links on your site, or determining what demographic has a low bounce rate and reaching more of them!

7. Landing Pages: Putting your Social Metrics Together

You can track specific through Google analytics. This is yet another incredibly powerful measurement and it is the key measurement tool to use for tracking results in your social media marketing.

Landing page metrics are available for Social Referrals (i.e. traffic from social media). This means you can track all of your traffic coming from social sites, and what blog articles are generating the most success.

Use your landing page data to see your most popular blog articles, measure specifics on how long visitors stay on your site and their activity, and see where you’re getting your blog article traffic from.

Landing Page reports can measure:

  • Unique Visitors
  • Pageviews
  • Average Time on Page
  • Pages/ Visit

You can use this data to sharpen your inbound marketing tactics.

Conclusion of Improving Your Blog Using Google Analytics

There are many ways to excel at content. But to me, nothing beats developing strategy based on solid data about your users, their content preferences, and expectations.

And if you’re wondering where to get this data, take a peak at the Google Analytics reports. The platform offers a wealth of information you could use to give your strategy a boost.

 

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