How do you feel about Google Analytics Reports? Hello You! It feels like it has been forever since my last blog post about getting to 100k views on Pinterest.
There is so much hype about tracking your statistics as a blogger so I wanted to take time today to talk about 5 Google Analytics reports that will give you some artificial intelligence about your blog.
As you probably already know one of the key ways to track the activity of the visitors to your blog is to ensure that you have installed Google Analytics.
You also need to set up your site on the Google Search Console. There are two camps when it comes to blog analytics.
Some gurus believe that you should not use Google Analytics reports at all and that you should stay well clear of it altogether and use paid programs to track analytics on your blog.
Others believe that Google Analytics is very powerful and free so why not take advantage of what is readily available and easy to install rather than paying a 3rd party for this service.
Here is a Neil Patel advice on how to use Google Analytics to boost eCommerce sales.
The real issue is that the vast majority of people don’t know how to use Google Analytics reports and therefore have no idea how to take it and use it to their advantage.
The objective of this blog post is to get you comfortable enough to look at the statistics and use them to fine-tune your blogging efforts.
5 Common Google Analytics Report Terms
- Pageview – Anytime a page or post on your blog is loaded or viewed this is referred to as a pageview.
- Sessions – When a user visits your site then views a few pages and clicks a few links then leaves then that is called a session. That same user can come back another day and start a new session.
- Bounce Rate – A good bounce rate is when a user comes to your blog then stays there engaging with your content for 60+ seconds and visits other pages this leads to a low bounce rate. However, if a user visits your blog and clicks the back button within 5 seconds this behaviour contributes to a high bounce rate.
- User – a visitor to your blog normally coded by a unique IP address.
- Session Duration – the amount of time a user spends per session on your blog.
5 Popular Google Analytics Reports You May Know
Average Time On Page
As the name suggests this report gives you the blogger a high-level overview of the average amount of time users or visitors are spending on your page over a given period of time. Here is an example of that report.
This report is important because you want to ensure that you are giving your visitors value for the length of time they spend on your blog. If they spend more than a minute it means that they are engaging with your content.
The goal is to increase the length of time each visitor spends on your site. This will indicate that your content is relevant and it will increase your rankings in the search engines as well as your visibility in the Pinterest smart feed.
2. Average Session Duration
This goes hand in hand with the average time on the page because even if you have shorter posts with a lot of good content encouraging the user to visit other parts of your blog then you are still encouraging engagement.
Take a look at this example of the Google Analytics Report.
3. Total Bounce Rate
As the name suggests this report shows the total bounce rate across your entire blog over a specified period of time.
As I already mentioned above the bounce rate is essentially the amount of time a user spends on your site before clicking the back button especially if that time is less than 60 seconds.
The goal for us as bloggers is to fine-tune our blog to the point that our bounce rate is below 50% as this will be an indication that our content is meeting the needs of our audience. Here is an example report below.
4. Top Sources
It is imperative as a blogger to know where your traffic is coming from because depending on the traffic you can create your content to match the platform they are coming from.
In other words, one of the way to reduce your bounce rate is to give the user a seamless experience on their journey from a social media platform to your blog or from a search engine to your blog.
The message from one platform to the next must be consistent and congruent to keep the user engaged. Here is a screenshot of the top sources Google Analytics report.
As you can see I have traffic coming from 10 different places. It is very easy to get confused about this because one platform like Facebook can be broken down into subchannels.
The positive thing about this report is that my traffic is not coming from a single source which is good news. Diversity in traffic sources is the key to consistent and sustained growth.
Every blogger is concerned about the demographics of their audience. By demographics, I mean their age and gender.
If as a blogger your content is catering to female entrepreneurs the last thing you would expect is that your users consist of 90% males.
Conversely, if you pull a report of traffic statistics only to realise that the vast majority of your readers are actually 13-17-year-old teens that will be very disappointing if your focus is female entrepreneurs.
Here is an example of a Google Analytics age report.
A large percentage of these visitors are between the ages of 25-34 which is great with a good number falling above and below the target audience.
Now that you know what the common Google Analytics reports that you can find in let’s look at the ones that very few people talk about.
According to Search Engine Watch here are the top 8 Google Analytics reports for managing organic SEO.
5 Uncommon Google Analytics Reports
1. Behaviour Flow
As the name suggests behaviour flow looks at how users come to your site and what the do next in terms of page visits.
For example, someone can visit the home page of your blog then they leave and go to another site.
Another example is that they can come to a blog post (as the first point of entry) then visit the about us page then a sales page then leave.
The purpose of this report is to see what you can do as a blogger to encourage your visitors to stay longer.
They all have to leave at some point but it would be better for all the algorithms if they stayed for 5 minutes rather than 90 seconds.
One way to improve their engagement is to include videos in your content. Here is a Behaviour Flow, one of the Google Analytics Reports.
It looks like a ‘spaghetti junction’ with traffic going all over the place. What I learned from this is that visitors to my blog can go all over the place.
It is therefore important that I give them a reason to follow paths that are related to what they are reading or interested in.
I am glad to see that all the traffic did not disappear after the first page but that some visitors went as far at 7-8 pages before they left.
2. Affinity Categories
Under ‘audience’ in your Google Analytics dashboard, you will see a section called ‘affinity category’ when you click on it you will see a whole lot of categories with percentages.
If you understand the terms top of the funnel, middle of funnel and bottom of funnel then these are the people at the top of a buying funnel.
If you are not familiar with these terms it just means that these people are in the browsing stages and are only beginning their search for a product or service.
It is good to have a funnel full of people who are in all the different stages of your buying cycle so that you can never run out of leads and sales.
3. InMarket Segment
It may sound very sophisticated but these are people lower down the funnel that has an interest in the segments listed and they are closer to buying compared to those in the affinity categories.
In the screenshot below showing the In-Market segment, Google Analytics reports you will notice that many of them are in the home and garden segment with quite a number of them in business services.
It is so easy for us to forget that the visitors to our site are real people with real interest, feelings and passions and these two reports are a gentle reminder to let us know that these can be people we know or friends of friends.
One way to take advantage of these reports is to fine-tune our content to match the interest of the audience.
4. Benchmarking – Channels
This can be a bit more complex compared to all the other reports so far and essentially it is a report showing you how your site compares to other sites in your industry.
If you ever heard the name benchmarking before you know that it is the control in a laboratory experiment or the accepted norm.
Everything else is compared to what is normal for the size, vertical and the location. Here is a screenshot of what benchmarking Google Analytics reports it looks like.
As a blogger you will probably ask the question many times, ‘so what is normal for a blog like mine in terms of performance?’ Benchmarking is an attempt to answer this question.
You can see in the screenshot that my blog outperformed many other properties in certain areas and underperformed in other areas.
5. PageSpeed Suggestions
You can always rely on Google to suggest page speed improvements for your blog since they are the ones ranking each page for SEO efficiencies.
It seems that the moment you optimize your blog perfectly something else occurs to slow things down.
The most important thing is that you don’t ignore the speed of your site.
My motor is always be optimizing. I am always looking for ways to improve the speed of my blog.
I am not obsessed with it but every month I do one thing to improve the speed.
In February I moved to a new hosting provider and in March I spent some time to implement my caching plugin properly.
However, it never seems to be sufficient to get a speed score of 80 and above.
Here is an example of what the page speed suggestions report will look like for you.
If you click on the links you will get a list of suggested fixes. Images seem to slow everything down and a post without images is very boring so it can seem difficult to get that balance right.
If your blog is not yet getting a lot of traffic and you would like to grow your blog traffic take a look at the post I wrote earlier this month.
You can subscribe to our podcasts to get notified when more success stories become available. In case you missed it check out my 15-minute video mini training about how I went from zero to over 21,000 views in 30 days on Pinterest.
If you need help setting up your profile on Pinterest or you need someone to manage your Pinterest account on a monthly basis you can work with me here.