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Using Your Website’s Google Analytics Data to Improve Content

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By Townes Haas   |    December 12, 2014   |    1:15 PM

Google Analytics is the best free tool for analyzing your website’s data

If you aren’t using Google Analytics to monitor your business’s website, you’re missing out on a goldmine of helpful data. Creating a fantastic, useful website that your customers want to visit is all about trial and error. There’s no better way to see what’s working and what isn’t than with Google Analytics.

All of the information that Google gives you can be a bit overwhelming. You don’t need to scrutinize every single metric – just use this helpful starter guide to evaluate how your site is performing. 

Monitor your referral traffic to see your most popular posts and pages

First, let’s start off by looking at your website’s Traffic Sources. You’ll notice that there are several different types of traffic from both sources and from searches.

Traffic from direct and referral sources

Direct traffic comes from visitors who typed your website’s URL straight into their web browser. A high number of visits from direct traffic can point to brand awareness amongst your customers – and that’s a good thing! This can also help you design your homepage. If people tend to come directly to that page, include the links that you want people to click through to, like your site’s blog, or product pages.

Referral traffic comes from other domains like social media and links from other websites. This can help you see if you get traffic from Twitter or Facebook, or maybe from another website in your industry. Knowing where the traffic comes from can help you shape your content, because each platform responds to different content.

Traffic from searches

Next, take a look at your search traffic. If you’re using paid search, you definitely want to be monitoring those numbers to see if the terms you’ve chosen are well aligned with visitor intent. If you’re paying for search terms that aren’t netting much traffic then it’s time to rethink your strategy.

Now, move on to organic search. This category tells you what keywords people are searching for before they end up on your website. Use this data to shape your content by creating blog posts with these terms or even by creating a landing page specifically for the most widely searched on keywords.

What does a high bounce rate mean, and how can you fix it?

To put it simply, you want your website’s bounce rate to be as low as possible, because this number is the percentage of sessions where a person left your site from the entrance page, without clicking another link or interacting with the page at all. You want a website where users are highly engaged.

Reasons for a high bounce rate

There are many factors that can influence your bounce rate. If you have a single page site your bounce rate will likely be higher, which is okay if users are finding all of the information that they need on one page. However, consider researching some other ways to track how your content is performing.

Site design can also contribute to a high bounce rate in other ways. If your site looks unprofessional it’s unlikely that people will want to stick around. Try redesigning your homepage or rewriting your website copy to make it more attention-grabbing. You could also add a blog to your website, which is great for traffic.

Finally, you could also have the Google Analytics tracking code implemented incorrectly. Make sure that you have your tracking code added to all of your pages.

How to use Google Analytics data to create great content in the future

You could spend weeks learning how to interpret all of the data that Google Analytics provides, but traffic sources and bounce rates are a great place to start.

When you look at your data try to get inside your customers’ heads. Think about the type of content that will help them. What problems do they want to solve? What are they searching for? Your web metrics are only useful if you aim to truly understand your target demographics and their needs. Google can’t get you completely inside their heads (yet) but it can certainly help.

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