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Google Analytics for Content Marketing

The Content Marketing team here at Elephate is always seeking opportunities to expand its knowledge. We were interested in improving our knowledge regarding users from organic traffic sources and their behavior when reaching our articles. This piece is meant to introduce reports that can improve this analysis using Google Analytics, which can be useful for content writers who want to learn more about the SEO traffic on their websites, or – as in our case – for writers publishing their content on our client’s websites.

Our approach here is detail oriented, designed for Content Marketing rather than Technical SEO, allowing us to focus more on individual articles rather than an analysis of an entire service directory. 

Let’s get started!

Pages Found by Google Users

It’s important to remember that users finding their way to your website from Google aren’t always entering through the main page.  The first page users see when they get to your page is referred to as the landing page. If you want to optimize and understand how users will behave with your content and website as a whole, you need to start from the beginning of the user’s journey.

Open Google Analytics and click Behavior, then Site Content and choose Landing Pages. Use Advanced Filter to check how many sessions started with the pages indicated in the filters – it can be an entire section of the website, as shown in the example above, or a specific URL.

You can use the options available in Advanced Filter, such as:

  • Include/Exclude – which lets you narrow your results
  • Containing/Exactly matching/MatchingRegExp/Begins With/Ends With/ –  these let you select the URLs containing only a specific sequence of characters

If you’re interested really narrowing down what you’re looking for, you can find out more information about regular expressions in “Principles of Regular Expressions for an SEO”. 

On the same page, you will find Pages/Session:

 

Pages/Session indicates the users’ involvement on our website. The bigger the value an article has, the more pageviews it generates for other pages of your website. This means this article has an impact on the increase in traffic for the entire website and encourages users to view other sections as well.

Goals

If there is an area on your website where you are particularly interested in and want to investigate whether the content marketing activities are encouraging users to reach this area, you can use an inbuilt function of Google Analytics called Goals.

Google describes a goal as “a completed activity, called a conversion, that contributes to the success of your business.  The goal can be, for example, a specific page or an offers directory. It can also be another event made by users which you want to analyze and they are important for the website owner from a business point of view, such as:

  • Sending a filled form
  • Spending 4 minutes on our page
  • Making 5 pageviews

To access Goals will require administrator permissions on your Google Analytics account.

Let’s see how you can configure a goal based on a specific page where the user arrives. For this purpose, choose Destination and in the next step we will be able to specify which address or group of addresses we want to analyze as a goal:

Thanks to this configuration, we can check our goals under the Conversions columns, located on the right side of the report we had discussed at the beginning.  This will allow you to see which articles are best suited to achieve the chosen goal:

PRACTICAL EXAMPLE

You have a website with advertisements for nannies offering childcare services. You also have a blog on this website where you publish articles. Now you want to check whether users reach the individual nanny profiles by means of the article like “How to Check the Work of a Nanny?” or “Working as a Nanny Abroad”. To do this, you will need to configure your goals. Simply set the destination containing, e.g */profile/* for all of the profile pages. Then, this configuration can be used in different reports, like the Landing pages report mentioned earlier.

More Information about Our Website’s Users

The next step will be looking at the Demographics and Interests reports (located under Audience) in Google Analytics. By analyzing demographic data, we can get an understanding of who the average user of your website is and what their “persona” is like. With so much information about your average user available, you can try to find a topic they will be interested in.

PRACTICAL EXAMPLE

You publish content in the blog section on a website with real estate adverts. As a result of your analysis, it turns out that the average user is a woman aged 20-30 who is primarily interested in real estate (of course!) and then home & garden. Since there’s room for improvement with the latter category, it would probably be better to have an article on “5 Ways to Save Electricity at Home” instead of “Large-scale Residential Developments from A to Z”.

Content Analysis for Authors

It is important to analyze the publications of specific authors in the case of a website where multiple authors are publishing articles. However, with Google Analytics’ default settings, it is not possible.

The most common URLs are built in the scheme: example.com/title-of-the-article. They may contain IDs or categories, but there is no place for a writer’s name, which could be used for analysis.

It might be helpful to use custom variables, but they require administrator access and code modification. This way you could mark the author, type of content (post, gallery, etc.), length e.g. in the range of characters (1,000-2,000, 2,000-3,000), etc. Then, using Secondary dimension, you are able to analyze traffic with regard to the previously defined dimension (author, type, etc.). Secondary dimension appears in the drop-down menu in most reports:

Custom Reports

Customized reports allow you to create adjusted reports that suit your needs. They provide access to the data of our choice. For the purpose of this article, we will present a custom report of our blog’s Landing Page and Bounce Rate, which will show the distribution of the bounce rate on our blog posts and it will provide us with the opportunity to draw conclusions from it:

The result of this setting is a report that looks like this:

This information allows us to optimize the bounce rate in order to reduce it. The question is why it is high in some cases – whether the user found enough information and therefore left our website, or it was not particularly engaging and therefore decided to leave.

In creating custom reports, you are limited only by your imagination and needs. It all depends on your SEO strategy and what you want to analyze. The good news is that you can name and save custom reports so that you can return to them at any time.

Google Analytics + Google Search Console

The possibility of getting a (not provided) in the Organic keywords report is something SEOs have been dealing with since it was implemented in Google Analytics in 2010. While users still use keywords to find your page, Google withholds this information from us in the interest of protecting the users’ privacy.  

This means that you need to find another way to get this information.

Here’s a way to replace the Organic keywords report, in which the not provided keywords can now reach 100%.

We are talking about Queries which is located under the Acquisition section in Google Search Console. It is worth presenting this here because of the content optimizing ideas you can discover.

To generate a report, you need to connect your Google Analytics account with your Google Search Console account.

This is where the data is downloaded to tell you what keywords your users utilized to find and click your website.

This provides a great opportunity for optimizing content – from selecting the most popular topics and picking new ones related to them to optimizing existing content with keywords that it doesn’t contain.

Wrapping Up

Google Analytics offers a lot of possibilities for data analysis. The most important thing is to set clear goals in the analysis and in your business – what you want to analyze, what kind of metrics you will pay attention to, and what you really want to find out about your users and website. We hope that the examples above will allow you to better analyze your content marketing activities and draw conclusions from it.

Published
  • 12 April 2018
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Klaudia

See all articles by Klaudia Drogowska-Kwaśnik

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