Using Analytics Behavior Reports to Optimize Content
For many years, the gauge for website success has been how many visitors have arrived at the site. This is not only an archaic methodology, but also falls well short of understanding the effectiveness of a website and the message it is trying to convey.
Knowing how visitors move through a website and interact with the content lets you optimize a website’s performance and, more importantly, conversions.
Do you want to know what content performs best on your website?
Have you heard of Behavior reports in Google Analytics?
If you aren’t using Google Analytics or some analytics reporting method, you are certainly missing the boat on understanding the effectiveness of your website. How Google Analytics Behavior reports let you assess the performance of your content and the actions visitors take on your website is an important tool for website development.
Google Analytics Behavior Reports
If you’re like most people we work with at PTC Computer Solutions, you will have very little experience with Google Analytics or other analytic reporting software. At PTC Computer Solutions, we ensure every one of our website clients has analytic software installed for the optimum understanding of the psychographics of website visitors. If you need help with installing, understanding, or managing your analytics, contact us for assistance. If you are comfortable with working in Google Analytics, find the Behavior section to reveal what visitors do on your website. Specifically, the reports reveal what pages visitors engage and what actions are taken during a visit to the website.
The Overview Report
The Behavior Overview Report provides information in the form of a graph showing the amount of traffic a website receives as well as additional metrics. There are some key metrics in the Behavior Overview Report to understand for improving website results. Several of these are defined here:
- Pageviews—The total number of pages viewed. This number includes repeated views of a single page. In other words, a single person may view the same page several times and each view is counted as a pageview.
- Unique Pageviews—The number of individual people who have viewed a specific page at least once during a visit. For example, if a single user views a page more than once during the same visit, only the original view is counted (whereas general Pageviews count each visit). The Unique Pageviews metric counts each page URL + Page Title combination.
- Time on Page—The average amount of time users spend viewing a specific page or screen, or set of pages or screens.
- Bounce Rate—The percentage of single-page visits or the number of visits in which people left your website from the same page they entered on. For example, if you visit a single article or page on a website and then leave, that’s counted as a bounce and is factored into the Bounce Rate.
- % Exit—The percentage of users who exit from a page or set of pages.
Behavior Flow Report
The Behavior Flow Report provides a visual path visitors commonly take through a website—from the first page viewed through the last page visited before leaving the site. This report gives a visual guide to how long visitors stay on a website and where those visitors end up leaving. This report is important in understanding what people are interested in and whether they are being guided as anticipated in the development of the site.
Site Content Report
The Site Content Report section contains a series of reports regarding how visitors engage with pages on a website.
All Pages Report
The All Pages Report can be utilized to quickly analyze top content on the website along with the average amount of revenue each page generates. This report helps determine what content performs best on a website. The All Pages Report displays the top pages on the website based on traffic, as well the number of pageviews on each page, unique pageviews, average time on page, entrances, bounce rate, % exit and page value. Page value is the Transaction Revenue + Total Goal Value divided by Unique Pageviews for the page or set of pages.
Content Drilldown Report
The Content Drilldown Report is helpful for websites that have subfolders such as ptccomputersolutions.com/blog/ and parkerassociates.com/blog/ or something similar. This report allows you to see the top folders of content on your website and the top content within that folder. While similar to the All Pages report, this report is distinguished by the ability to see top content sections instead of just top content pages.
Landing Pages Report
The Landing Pages Report reveals the top pages visitors have entered the website. Metrics for this Landing Pages Report include Acquisition (sessions, % new sessions and new users), Behavior (bounce rate, pages per session and average session duration) and Conversions based on website goals. With this data you can determine which pages on your website are most likely to convert visitors into leads or sales.
Exit Pages Report
The Exit Pages Report shows the last page a visitor has viewed prior to exiting the site. These are important pages to look at as they tend to reveal when the visitor has become no longer interested in the content of the site. The longer they are there, the more likely they are to be interested in what is being offered. The best way to keep visitors on a site is to add more links to other pages on the website. If the pages are good exit points, then ensure that these top listed exit pages have clear subscription or contact options so visitors can be contacted or will receive emails or easily follow the business on social media.
Site Speed is Critical
Knowing how a website performs in terms of speed is of critical importance? Fortunately, the Site Speed Section has crucial reports to identify areas of the website that may be in need of optimization.
Site Speed Overview
The Site Speed Overview report displays a graph of the average load time of all pages throughout a website. The Site Speed Overview Report has a number of metrics under the Site Speed Graph. Namely, they are as follows:
- Page Load Time—The average amount of time (in seconds) it takes for pages to load from initiation of the pageview (e.g., a visitor clicks on a page link) to load completion in the browser.
- Redirection Time—The average amount of time (in seconds) spent in redirects before fetching a page.
- Domain Lookup Time—The average amount of time (in seconds) spent in DNS lookup for a page.
- Server Connection Time—The average amount of time (in seconds) spent in establishing TCP connection for a page.
- Server Response Time—The average amount of time (in seconds) your server takes to respond to a user request, including the network time from the user’s location to your server.
- Page Download Time—The average amount of time (in seconds) to download a page.
With these metrics, the ability to work toward improving page load time and page download time by optimizing the content of the website should be the main objective. A few improvements for optimization include reducing the size of images, reducing the number of add-ons (widgets, plugins, etc.) used on a page, as well as many others. Under the Site Speed metrics, you’ll see quick reports on load times based on the browser the visitor uses, the location of the visitor (country) and the page the visitor lands on.
Page Timings Report
The Page Timings Report displays how long your most-visited pages take to load compared to the overall average load time for your website. Review pages with a higher-than-average load time to see what optimization options can be explored.
Speed Suggestions Report
The Speed Suggestions Report provides detailed advice from Google on how to optimize specific pages on the website including steps for each suggestion. Depending on the number of pages on the website, it may seem impossible to fix every load time issues. It is suggested that you start with the highest-traffic pages and work your way down the list.
User Timings Report
With the User Timings Report there is a measurement of how fast specific elements on a page load and subsequently determine whether it affects the user experience. In order to utilize the User Timings Reports, custom code will be necessary on the website.
In recent years, Google has dropped the analytics data regarding the organic keyword search. Fortunately, there is still the ability to capture some valuable keyword data using Site Search. Setting up Site Search Metrics for a website is not difficult. Use your website’s search box to perform a search on your website, and then follow the steps in Google Analytics Help to configure Site Search in your website’s Analytics profile. You will then be able to use the following reports.
Site Search Overview Report
The Site Search Overview Report displays the overall metrics for visitors who use the search box on the website. Beneath these metrics, you can view quick reports for the terms searched, categories and the pages where visitors initiated a search.
Site Usage Report
The Site Usage Report breaks down the number of visits where someone used the search box on within the website in comparison to the number of visits where the search box was not utilized. This will readily reveal whether having a search box increases or decreases factors like bounce rate, average time visiting the website as well as conversions. Metrics for the pages users land on as a result of their search include Acquisition (sessions, % new sessions and new users), Behavior (bounce rate, pages per session and average session duration) and Conversions based on website goals.
Search Terms Report
The Search Terms Report displays the keywords entered into the website’s search box. Along with the terms, there will be metrics for the total number of searches, % search exits and additional details about visits related to a search term.
The Pages Report displays the same metrics mentioned above for search terms, but in this case the metrics are focused on pages where searches originated.
The Events section in Google Analytics provides for the ability to track specific interactions on a website, including such revealing diametric data as clicks on external links, file downloads and video plays. To use Events reporting, some customized event tracking code will be needed on the website. Once set up, you’ll be able to use the following reports.
Events Overview Report
The Events Overview Report displays a summary of visitor interactions. Values are calculated based on the event value specified in the event tracking code. Under these metrics, there are quick reports showing the number of events based on category, action and label (all of which are specified in the customized event tracking code).
Top Events Report
The Top Events Report displays the events with the most visitor interaction. For example, if you’re tracking outbound link clicks using this piece of event tracking code, then it can be seen the number of Outgoing Links from this report to reveal the specific links that visitors are clicking on when they leave the website. Tracking outbound link clicks helps reveal what resources visitors are most interested in. This information is especially helpful for those sites utilizing blogging tools such as all those sites managed by PTC Computer Solutions. For instance, if a post on content marketing is published, any links out can be added. If it’s noted that a lot of people are clicking on a particular link, it might be a good idea to follow up with a post on something involved with that link. Top Events Reporting is also valuable for businesses with online portfolios, such as web designers or bloggers. Seeing what example links people click on most would disclose the work prospects are most interested in. If a particular item is not getting clicks, either remove it or rework it to see if a different approach might work better.
The Pages Report is important in showing the top pages where visitors interact with the events being tracked. Recalling the previous example of a business with a portfolio, if there are several portfolio pages with outbound link tracking, it is apparent which portfolio pages not only receive traffic, but also get the most clicks.
Events Flow Report
The Events Flow Report displays the path visitors take through a website from initial arrival through interaction with an event. The default view shows event interactions from visitors in particular countries. This can be altered to show event interaction flow from landing pages and other dimensions offered in the menu.
Many websites use Google AdSense to generate income from visitors who click on ads published by Google AdWords advertisers. In order to utilize this section, an AdSense account must be previously registered and subsequently linked to the Google Analytics account. This will allow for the use of the following reports.
AdSense Overview Report
The AdSense Overview Report displays the revenue generated from Google AdSense on the website along with additional metrics including click-through rates, revenue per thousand impressions and overall impressions.
AdSense Pages Report
The AdSense Pages Report displays the top pages on a website that generate the most AdSense revenue. Additional metrics show the number of ads clicked, click-through rates, revenue per thousand impressions and overall impressions per page.
AdSense Referrers Report
The AdSense Referrers Report displays the referring URLs driving visitors to a specific website location as well as whom it is that has clicked on an AdSense ad. If the website is a revenue generating site through ad clicks, this report helps determine what traffic sources to focus on for increased earnings.
Experiments in Google Analytics allow you to conduct simple A/B testing to see which landing page variations perform best at meeting specific conversion goals. If you want to optimize for conversion goals such as increased subscribers, leads and sales, then Experiments can help you perfect your landing pages to convert more visitors.
The final component of the Behavior section, In-Page Analytics, provides an excellent view of the web pages on a website along with Google Analytics data. To use this feature, it is necessitated that the Page Analytics Google Chrome extension be installed. In addition to the metrics shown at the top of the page, there are percentages next to each link on the page. This view of the website reveals which areas get the most attention. If it’s noticed that a particular area gets more clicks than other areas, look to include links that aid in conversion goals for the business.
Google Analytics reveals a lot of data about how visitors engage with a website’s content. The Behavior reports provide insights into top pages and top event interactions as well as the ability to improve conversion rates with Experiments and In-Page Analytics.
Do you check your Behavior reports regularly?
What insights do you get from the reports?
If you need any help with Website Analytics, call PTC at 904-992-9888 or email email@example.com for all your web, Internet, and Marketing needs.
Online marketing is an incredibly dynamic environment with many moving parts. It is a constantly changing environment as well. Keeping involved and staying ahead of the latest improvements is what we do at PTC Computer Solutions. If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan.
PTC can plan a full marketing strategy and budget for your company and complete any web marketing efforts you wish to achieve in order to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects. Contact David W. B. Parker (when you think of “W. B.” think of WeB) at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to our web site at www.ptccomputersolutions.com for more information.
By David W. B. Parker
PTC Computer Solutions