Google Analytics II – Visitor Behavior
Last week at my son’s karate class, the instructor asked him, “Why did God give us two ears and one mouth?” If you knew my son, you’d understand he was probably competing for class attention with his instructor.
This question confused my son, but provided a really great teaching moment.
His instructor softly responded, “Epictetus taught us that we have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”
That’s a great life lesson, but it is also a great business lesson. So often, organizations and businesses get tunnel vision and zone in on the information they assume is most important to communicate to their audience. But what about the information that the audience wants to hear
If your website is considered the cornerstone of your digital marketing strategy, then strong website content is its foundation. What is good content? That depends on the goal of your website. If you have an e-commerce site like Amazon, good site content is going to be completely different than if you have a news website like NPR or a non-profit site like The National Association of Community Health Centers. Regardless of the content structure of your specific site, though, one thing remains true:
Strong Content = Strong SEO
Often when we begin working with clients on a web project, they ask a lot of questions about implementing Search Engine Optimization, otherwise referred to as SEO. This website structuring process makes it easier for search engines (Google, Bing, etc,) to find and display a website’s URL in search results.
Solid SEO uses a combination of best-practice coding and content strategy to prove a website is relevant and informative — not just stacking keywords on website pages and in keyword metadata.
Strong search-engine optimization is rooted in compelling, current content. Using Google Analytics to understand what site visitors consider relevant and helpful, then using this information to build stronger content, provides a better user-experience that builds trust.
The behavior section provides detailed information related to how visitors move throughout a site, which pages are viewed, and how long visitors spend on each page. The overview page gives a quick ranking of specific pages viewed, the average length of time spent on each page and search terms on your site.
Page listing: This provides a ranking of the top 10 viewed pages on your site using the URL. Note that if you select the page title option, you will be able to see the actual title of the page. Additional information includes, the total number of views and percentage of views by page title and displays the number of views each page had during the time period.
Site search: Provides a list of the top search terms on your website. This is not a listing of search terms used in search engines to find your page.
Event category: This metric is a way to review the category name of tracking events you set up on your site. This feature is a little more advanced, allowing you to set up tracking for actions that aren’t tracked by default, like downloads and phone number clicks.
How to use this metric to create better content
There are two very important conversations happening on a website each time a visitor arrives — the one the organization wants to be having, and the one the visitor is searching for. If an organization knows, understands and serves its audience, these two things will align.
Ask yourself these questions:
What is the most important message your organization is trying to convey? Are visitors navigating to pages that convey that message?
What if visitors are only spending only a few seconds on the most viewed page on your site? Does this mean the content is irrelevant, poorly designed or something else?
What information does your audience seem most interested in? How can your organization better deliver this information or build up on it?
What items are people searching for on your site? Does this information exist? If so, is it too hard to locate in the navigation?
Strong, strategic content that gives visitors what they want and what organizations need them to know will strike the right balance. Asking questions and using the data at hand to measure how an effective a site is will make for a stronger brand, better user experience and improve SEO.
Last week, I began a three-part blog series on Google Analytics for newbies. In the first post, I explained some Google Analytics basics and the audience overview section. Hop on over there to catch up, and watch for installment three next week!