Since my last post on SEO for Sex Bloggers elicited such a positive reaction, I thought I’d turn it into a little series! There are a lot of things involved in search engine optimization, and it’s easiest to break it down into separate sections. So on Saturdays, expect some new SEO knowledge; take it or leave it!
Edit: 2/27/17 Since learning that lots of my blogger friends have Google Analytics installed but find it to be overwhelming, I’ve created a quick Dashboard to install on your own GA property. It will display where your users are coming from, how they search for you, and your most popular pages. No sifting required!
I love Google Analytics. Love it. I’m a self-identified data nerd, and I think analyzing website data is one of my absolute favorite parts of my day job. So naturally, when I started this blog, I set up GA immediately.
Analytics can be a really powerful tool if you know what you’re looking at. It can tell you where your most valuable traffic is coming from so you can nurture that channel. It can tell you what your users are interested in outside of your blog so you can cultivate beneficial partnerships with companies or other bloggers. It can tell you which keywords people are using to find your site, which pages are most interesting to users, and even what needs improvement. There are a couple specific reports that are worth mentioning:
If you have a search bar set up on your site, it can be really illuminating to see what people are actually searching for. If you have content for that, great! If not… you know what you could be working on since there’s obviously a demand for it.
There will be drop off users at every point in their journey, that’s just how traffic works. But if you see one page that’s a particular outlier, with an incredibly high exit rate, it may be worth looking at that page. Is something broken on that page? Or is it just the end of an action? Thank You pages after a user signs up for a newsletter, or something similar, can have troublingly high exit rates, but it’s because they’ve just completed their action. Other pages, like contact forms, may have a high exit rate because a link or button is broken on that particular page. It’s always worth checking into.
Similar to the Channel Acquisition report, Referrals tell you where your traffic is coming from in a more granular way than Channel Acquisition. Channel Acquisition will tell you whether your traffic came from an organic source, and email source, or direct traffic. Referrals will tell you precisely which website is sending you traffic. For example, if you see that you’re getting a ton of traffic from Reddit, click into your Reddit line item. You’ll see which pages people are visiting your site from. If there’s one page that stands out, maybe your website has a mention on that page, and it’s something that you should comment on. Maybe not, but it’s worth a cursory glance at least!
While this isn’t a report, I find Annotations to be invaluable. I can write a note about important events on specific dates and not have to try and wrack my brain months down the road when I’m wondering what caused a big traffic fluctuation. Things I frequently include are major site updates, some significant mention around the web that garnered a lot of referral traffic, analytics profile changes, even a particularly impactful Google algorithm update. It’s like taking notes on your site without ever needing to leave your Analytics interface.
Finally, as a last note, if you haven’t excluded your own IP address from your Google Analytics profile, it might be a good idea. This is mostly important for big businesses, but for smaller blogs with minimal traffic (like mine), accuracy is better! There’s a handy how-to guide here. Just scroll down to the bit about excluding a single IP address.
There is so much information in Google Analytics that it can be overwhelming, but if you have the time and patience to sift, you can find some truly interesting little gems.
On Wednesdays, we wear pink. On Saturdays, we talk about SEO for Sex Bloggers. Find me on Twitter for the latest updates!