Google Analytics can tell you a complete story of site users if used correctly.
Dealing with hundreds of data in Google Analytics can be a little tricky for many content marketers.
So, it’s important to prioritize Google analytics data to understand the requirement and behavior of users to create content marketing strategies backed with data.
In this guide, you’ll learn 5 features of Google analytics that every content marketer should use.
Most probably your site already has a search box in the navigation bar or somewhere else. So, whenever any user types any search term in the search box, you’ll get notified using this feature.
In short, the site search feature in Google Analytics tells you what your visitors are trying to find out on your site.
Other important reasons for using site search are:
- You’ll get lots of content ideas that your users are trying to find on your site.
- Which search terms are causing most number of user exits from your site (mostly because they haven’t found what they were looking for)
- Tracking the performance of navigation links (If you find any search term that is searched by many of your users, then you may consider adding that term in the navigation links for better UX)
Here’s how to integrate site search:
- Go to your ‘Admin’ section in Google analytics.
- Click on ‘View Setting.’
- Enable the ‘Site Search Tracking’
Once you enable the site search, you’ll see a section called ‘Query Parameter’.
To find the query parameter for your site, you need to go to the search box of your site and type any word (example: Sample) into the search box.
Once you click enter and visit a new page, you need to look into the URL of that page to find the query parameter.
Here’s an example:
Here, the query parameter is ‘s’ (just after the ‘?’ mark).
Next, add ‘s’ into Google analytic.
That’s all to set up your site search.
Now, every time a visitor type any search term on your site, you’ll get to see that report into ‘Behaviour- Site search- Search’ term section.
Tracking navigation performance
The navigation bar of any site provides a better user-experience to the users. Usually, each navigation bar contains the most important pages.
For example, the navigation bar of a B2B brand may have pages like:
- About us
- Get a quote
- Contact us
But what if you find out that your users are not clicking on your ‘Testimonials link (example)’. That means your users aren’t interested to visit the testimonials page. As a result, you may redesign the navigation bar or change the text from ‘testimonials’ to ‘Our clients’.
This is how powerful this feature is for every content marketer.
It makes your web-design and content hierarchy much more effective with a data-driven approach.
Learn how to get to see the performance of Navigation tabs in GA.
Go to the Behaviour section in GA and then you’ll ‘All pages’ under the ‘site content’.
Along with the performance of your navigation, you’ll see the previous page and next page after a user clicks on any items of the navigation.
Driving traffic from SEO isn’t enough to generate more sales. You need to find a way to track the behaviour and user flow on the site.
So you can optimize each of your pages for better conversion rate.
This is where Goal conversion plays an important role in SEO and conversion as well.
Goal conversion is one of the most important features of GA that every content marketer should leverage. Usually, you’ll find many multi-steps processes on your site.
Multi-step process for an eCom could be:
Product page- cart-checkout-payment page.
Also, for newsletter signup, the multi-step process may look like this:
Blog page- Newsletter landing page- Thank you page (after signup).
So, Goal conversion will help you find out which of the desired steps is causing the highest percentage of user exits.
If you find that out of 1000 users only 10 users come to the cart from a specific product page, then you may need to scrutinize the product page.
Maybe the product is irrelevant, or there is a technical issue to add that product into the cart or even pricing issue.
That means it will be easier for you to identify the weak pages that are causing users to leave the site.
To set a new goal in your GA, you need to follow the path:
Admin- View- Goals- Add a new goal
Now, to analyze the data, first, you need to select a date range to have enough data to measure.
Then, go to conversion- Goals- Overview.
Another benefit of this is you can actually visualize the process, your users are following to complete each step. [Make sure you enable the Funnel visualization in GA]
From the above image, you can see how far your users (%) are going within your desire process.
Also, have an eye on the entrance and exit pages as these pages tell you where your start and end their journey on your site.
Annotation is often ignored by the marketers but this simple trick can save you a lot of time in tracking your past performances.
Annotation is a type of short notes that you can add along with a specific date. You can add annotations after every major change in your content strategy or web design.
That way, you’ll know which changes to your site have made a positive or even negative impact.
For example: Consider you’ve redesigned your site and for that, you added an annotation saying, “Entire web redesign (2nd Jan 2020)”.
Now, chances are you may see sudden changes in your search visibility due to the change in design and UI.
Since you’ve added short notes on specific dates (annotation), you can clearly understand what was the reason for this sudden change.
It is more useful when you try to look back in your web analytics.
Other reasons (some) for suing annotations are:
- Tracking paid campaign
- Seasonal changes in sale
- Impact of promoting a blog post, etc.
To add annotation, simply go to the Audience- Overview.
Then click ‘Add annotation’.
- Analyzing Exit Rates
Exit rates (%) in GA denotes the ratio of the number of exits to the number of pageviews.
That means if the exit rate of a specific page is above the average, then most of your users are leaving your site after visiting the page.
So, if you want to dive into the weak pages (pages with most exits and low page views) of your site, then studying the exit rates will help you a lot.
First of all, you need to ‘Behaviour’- ‘site content’- ‘exit pages’.
Analyzing the exit rates
Now, to measure the performance of web pages, you need to look for the pages that have above the average exit rates.
For example, if the average exit rate is 50%, then pages with 80% exit rates need some serious consideration.
Also to narrow down the result, you can export the data to Google sheets.
Then look for the pages with higher exit rates and lower page views.
These are the pages that are failing to satisfy your users’ search intent.
Also, one important point to consider is that not every page with high exit rates is bad.
For example, ‘Payment page’ or ‘Thank you page’ of your site are intended to have more exit rates and lower page views.
So, it is always necessary to manually check for the pages before making changes into them.
Content marketing isn’t just about creating lots of high-quality content but also to determine which content pieces aren’t working well.
That way, you’ll have a more focused content strategy since you already know the poor performing pages of your site.
And to be effective in content marketing, you just cannot ignore Google analytics.
Sk Rafiqul Islam is a content marketing strategist helping businesses grow and build a loyal audience. Rand Fishkin praised him for one of his review articles on a content marketing tool. He also runs a blog at iamrafiqul.com, where he shares content marketing reports, strategies, & case studies.