Do you find yourself running out of content ideas for your website or blog? Or maybe you are wondering how to make sure your current content gets as much traction as possible? Google Analytics contains a wealth of information that can help you get the most out of your content. This post will walk you through how to use Google Analytics on WordPress to optimize your content and come up with new content ideas.
First things first: Where can I find this info in Google Analytics (GA)?
Your main source of content data within GA will be under ‘Behavior’ and ‘Site Content’ (although we will dig into Site Search a bit below as well). This section basically tells you exactly which content drives the most traffic, pageviews and even conversions (assuming you have conversion tracking set up).
Google Analytics is an extremely robust tool for tracking the performance of your content. While there are many more nuggets of data you can glean from it, this post will look at 4 of the most effective ways to use GA to optimize your content.
1. Find your most popular content (and then create spin-off content).
To find your most popular and engaging content, go to ‘Site Content’, and then ‘All Pages’. This will show you a list of each page and post on your site, and how well each performs. Metrics provided include:
- Unique pageviews: If someone visits the same page more than once, those additional visits won’t be counted here
- Average time on page
- Entrances: The # of times people entered your site through this page
- Bounce rate: The % of single-page visits; you should be aiming for low bounce rates
- Exits: % of visitors who leave your site via this page
- Page Value: Revenue + Goal value / Unique pageviews. In other words, this shows you the dollar value of each page on your site.
Depending on your goals for your site (pageviews, visitors, conversions, etc.), you can sort the columns to show your most effective content. For instance, if I am aiming for pageviews, I will sort the pageview column to show the content with the highest number of views.
Take a look through the report to see which content received the most views. You may also want to scroll through to see if you can find any trends or themes you can capitalize on. For instance, if you notice that many of your most popular posts are tutorials, you can focus more of your efforts on this type of content.
2. Use Site Search to find missed content opportunities.
One of the best features of Google Analytics is Site Search. When visitors come to your site, they can type in a search query to find what they are looking for. To learn how to set up site search, see Google’s help page.
While this is an extremely helpful feature for your visitors, it's perhaps even more valuable to you, as the site owner. If you go to ‘Behavior’, ‘Site Search’ and then ‘Search Terms’, you can find out exactly what visitors are HOPING to find on your site.
Looking through this data can help you determine:
- Which terms were searched for most often
- Which terms resulted in the most conversions
- Which queries had poor results
This data is priceless in terms of figuring out what type of content to add to your site. It can help you add content that people are actually looking for and that actually drives conversions. It’s like a crystal ball for your content strategy!
3. Find out which content is driving people OFF your site.
It’s important to find your most popular content, but it is also critical that you know which pages or posts are underperforming. To see which pages your visitors are exiting from, go to ‘Behavior’, ‘Site Content’, and then ‘Exit Pages’. Sort the ‘Exits’ column from ascending to descending to see which content is resulting in the most ‘leaks’.
Once you have this data, there are steps you can take to minimize the damage:
- Add a call to action on your highest ‘Exit’ pages to direct visitors to other relevant content
- Add a ‘Related Posts’ widget to these pages to entice visitors to stay on the site
- Edit or add to these pages to offer supplementary or more in-depth content
4. View your most popular landing pages.
Your landing pages are the pages people use to actually enter your site. This data can be found under ‘Behavior’, ‘Site Content’, and ‘Landing Pages’. This information can show you which content is driving the most traffic to your site via organic search, social media, referrals from other sites, etc.
To find out where your landing page visitors are coming from, you will need to add a Secondary Dimension within your Landing Page report. To do this, simply click on ‘Secondary dimension’ at the top of your page, then ‘Acquisition’, then ‘Source/Medium’.
You should now be able to see not only your most popular landing pages, but also how visitors found your site. This can help you can figure out exactly where to increase your efforts (SEO, referral traffic, paid traffic, etc.)
Google Analytics is an extremely powerful tool to use as part of your content marketing strategy. Not only can it help you optimize your current content, it can help you figure out new content ideas that your audience is actually looking for.
How do you use Google Analytics to optimize your content? Share below!