Google Analytics is one of the most powerful tools available for monitoring and analyzing site traffic, audience behavior, and other important key metrics. This tool is filled with endless amounts of data which can make it incredibly overwhelming. Even if you understand the data, you may not understand what you can do with it.
So, before you dive into the ocean of data that is Google Analytics, start with a plan. Ask yourself, what do I want to do with the data I’m collecting? If you can’t answer that question, maybe start with these three ways to use your analytics to improve your content strategy.
As content marketers, we sometimes struggle with producing engaging content, consistently producing content, or adding a variety of topics to our content library. These are some of the biggest challenges we face when creating a successful inbound campaign. Google Analytics can play a crucial role in finding a solution to all three of these challenges.
Step 1: Go to Google Analytics, then to Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages.
Step 2: Select the Secondary dimension drop-down menu, and select Source/Medium under Acquisition.
Step 3: You will now see your most popular pages. Pay attention to your traffic coming from direct search, organic search, and referrals.
After analyzing this data, you can see what content resonates with your audience and drives the most traffic. If your most popular content is about “pumpkin spice lattes” then write more about pumpkin spice lattes—maybe while drinking them. If your referral traffic from Twitter links to posts on “how to make a pumpkin spice latte” then create more content on this topic, and share it to Twitter.
Get creative and take an alternative route. Present an opposing viewpoint on pumpkin spice lattes—which is better, Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks? Create different types of media such as a video, blog post or infographic. All of these ideas can inspire you to try something new and improve your content creation strategy.
Before you decide on a topic, make sure to check the bounce rate and the average session metrics. These metrics both indicate just how interested your users are on this particular topic. If the bounce rate is high and the average time on page is very low, this is not the type of content that needs elaboration. Focus on the pages your users view the most, and let them inspire you to create more.
Add To Your Editorial Calendar
Now that you’ve been inspired to create more content, how do you organize the data and schedule for the coming weeks, months or year?
Step 1: In the right top corner of your Google Analytics page, you should see the date range. Change the date range to various points of the year, and examine what content is most popular during that time.
Step 2: Take a look at the holiday season, the summer months, or the full year.
Step 3: Analyze the trends of the year and create your content around the peak popularity months for your website.
Increase Your Referral Traffic
Referral traffic tracks visits that came to your site from sources outside of its search engine. When a user clicks a link on a website or social network and that link takes them to your site, that is considered referral traffic. This is great for both your website and the outside source. So how do you find these referrals?
Step 1: Go to your Google Analytics, then to Acquisition > All traffic > Referrals.
Step 2: Click each web page to view the exact page that your link appears on. This will give you more insight into what topic and content the link is referring to.
Step 3: Identify the websites with the most traffic referrals and reach out to them. Suggest a guest post or contributing an article to connect and engage.
Step 4: Also consider commenting on blogs, leveraging social media, and publishing your content on review websites. Utilizing any of these tactics provide an opportunity to drive referral traffic to your website.
So, those are the three easiest and effective ways to use Google Analytics to see which content you should create. Hopefully, you find that there is enough data to inspire you to take action—whether that’s drinking or boycotting pumpkin lattes.
In what other ways does Google Analytics help you create content? Share your knowledge and experience in the comments below.