How to Use Google Analytics to Guide Your Content Strategy

How to Use Google Analytics to Guide Your Content Strategy

Updated January 4, 2018

How to Use Google Analytics as a Blogger

 

Google Analytics (GA) is definitely not the end-all-be-all, but it should be a large part of your life as a blogger.

Google Analytics tells you so many key insights into what your audience is doing.

It can be really confusing, but I’m going to simplify it into a few main elements that can really really add value to your content strategy.

Specifically, Google Analytics should be guiding your content strategy.

If you’re trying to be strategic about your blogging and turn it into a real side income or even possibly full-time, you should be looking at your user behavior in Google Analytics to guide your content.  

1. What pages are getting the most views?

Audience –> Overview

google analytics for bloggers

This is the basic view of your Google Analytics.

The goal is to keep readers on-site and engaging with your pages.

This means you need enough content to keep them interested, and you need to be building on that content every week to keep them coming back.

Behavior –> Overview

google analytics for bloggers

Now, you can drill down to exactly how many pageviews individual pieces of content are getting.

Basically, your top performing content.

So, look at your highest performing content on site.

2. What pages are readers spending the most time on?

google analytics for bloggers

google analytics for bloggers

The above screenshot is breaking down where readers are on Slightly Savvy – basically, my top performing content.

Almost 80% of my blog traffic is from Pinterest – Pinterest has been AMAZING for growing my traffic + audience.

You can also see exactly what posts get the most engagement – and build related content off that specific topic.

Related Reading: How to Work with Brands as a Blogger: Roadmap + Checklist –> here

 

3. What pages are they exiting quickly?

Behavior –> Site Content –> All Pages

Exit values are on the far right of this screenshot.

google analytics for bloggers

 

4. What does your bounce rate look like overall?

Audience –> Overview

google analytics for bloggers

If your bounce rate is high, be aware of where you’re promoting your content.

It might not be the right place to reach your target audience.

For example, let’s talk interest group boards. I’m a huge fan of them. However, I think it’s important to be careful.

If you’re only pinning your pins to really general group board, chances are people are clicking on your content when they aren’t really your target audience.

Join some niche Pinterest group board.

For example, if you’re a self-care blogger, I’ve seen tons of self-care group boards, natural remedy group boards, essential oils group boards, etc.

These people are going to be WAY more interested in your targeted self-care content.

5. What does your user flow look like?

Behavior –> Behavior Flow

What are your users doing when they finish a blog post?

Are they leaving your blog?

Are they clicking on another page?

Are they going to your homepage?

google analytics for bloggers

 

Related Reading: 2 PR Ways to Growth Hack Your Audience –> here

6. Are your outbound links being clicked?

WordPress admin page –> Jetpack –> Site Stats –> Clicks (bottom right)

google analytics for bloggers

This is a great way to tell if your readers are really interested and if they see you as an authority on the subject. You can use bit.ly links to track clicks on your outbound links, or there’s a widget through WordPress that shows you. 

Especially if you are using affiliate links to monetize your blog, you need to know if they’re working or not.

♡ tips for outbound links

1. People were definitely clicking the 3rd party, organic advice I was linking to – other fave bloggers, other posts on the topic, etc. – not only does this bring value to your readers, but it helps your own SEO ranking

2. For those outbound posts I was linking to, I decided to let the other bloggers know I was linking to their content….a quick email or twitter DM with the below message never hurts. 80% of the time, people are more happy to give you a quick retweet or shout out – especially if you are driving more traffic to THEIR blog (give them value FIRST, ask for something SECOND)

Hey girl! Loved your post on 25 smart ways to drive traffic via Pinterest – I tried out tip #3 and it really helped! I wrote a blog post about building your Pinterest following, and I linked out to your post. Would love if you wanted to share/retweet! <3 [link to your blog post]

7. Where are your users coming from?

Acquisition –> Overview 

google analytics for bloggers

♡ your to do

1. Get down into your traffic acquisition – are users coming from Pinterest staying on site longer? Do people coming from Facebook bounce?

2. This can tell you how to allocate your time + energy as a blogger…

Is your Facebook traffic low-quality?

Then, make your FB posting automated via Hootsuite or Buffer, and spend time on your Pinterest traffic – following people, joining group boards, pinning from those boards, leaving comments on pins, etc.

For me, I have a Goal set up in GA for people who spend more than 5 min on site.

Readers coming from Pinterest were 9X more likely to spend more than 5 minutes on Slightly Savvy.

google analytics for bloggers

 

Other Key Stats From Google Analytics 

mobile vs desktop – Audience –> Mobile –> Overview 

google analytics for bloggers

I believe in mobile-only, especially once I actually looked at my actual traffic breakdown.

♡ how to better format your posts for mobile

1. Pay attention to formatting – use bold, use big headers, short paragraphs, center text…make it easier for people to read on mobile.

2. Pay attention to photos – are most of your photos horizontal? If so, then you’re already putting yourself at a disadvantage. Those photos are probably going to take up a ton of space on mobile and create a lot of white space for your reader

3. End of content – what is at the end of your blog post? On mobile, readers aren’t going to have a sidebar to look at.

Make an incredibly clear call to action + bold it in the center.

 

♡ Goals – Conversions –> Goals –> Overview

Goals are one of the best things on Google Analytics.

You can set up events you WANT people to do and track how many of them do it.

For me, my goal is longevity – I want people staying and engaging on my site for longer than average.

I can see what posts are encouraging people to spend that 4+ minutes on my blog.

♡ your to do

1. Set up a goal (5 min on site, sign up for a newsletter, follow you on Instagram, etc)

2. See exactly what posts are encouraging people to complete that goal – rinse and repeat on your other posts

google analytics for bloggers

Final Thoughts on Using Google Analytics to Guide Your Content

Sooo let’s wrap it up. Basically, peep your Google Analytics and focus on these categories.

behavior

acquisition

Google Analytics can be overwhelming, but if you focus on HOW you are getting readers and WHAT they’re doing once they arrive, you can dumb it down.

For more blogging tips like this, drop your email in the bar below join the PR newsletter where every week you get some fun, exclusive tips from a PR perspective.

Follow:
  • Girl, I love this post! I don’t really refer to Google Analytics all too often because I do notttt understand it (haha). But you broke down its features so well that I’m going to go through and use it to assess my future blog strategy.

    BTW I love love love how you are so aware of the mobile viewers’ experience. I didn’t really think about it until I started reading articles on your blog.

    xoxo,
    Krista

    • Katherine

      Ah love that you loved it! It’s super hard to understand at first. But if you can just focus on some basics, it’s really handy. And you’re 100% right about mobile – I wasn’t paying attention to it really either until I saw at least 60% of traffic was consistently from mobile AND that traffic was bouncing higher than normal!

  • SUCH helpful tips!! Can’t wait to start diving deeper into my analytics!

    http://www.mollyonthemoveblog.com

  • Saving this for future reference because this is one thing I desperately need to learn, haha.

    http://www.wonderlandsam.com

  • Oh my gosh, this is amazing! Google Analytics was sooo complicated to me when I first started using it, this guide is amazing and I wish I had seen it when I first set my account up!

    -Mackenzie
    http://www.kenzywho.com

  • Thanks for this post! I know this was written a couple of months ago now, but I’ve only discovered your blog today and I’m so happy I have! I’ve been avoiding using Goals in GA for my blog for a while now – I had no idea what it meant or that it could be that useful! Off to set it up right now! xx

    Janah | http://www.littlelifechanger.com

    • Katrina

      Yes, I agree Janah! I have never used goals in GA! But, Katherine inspired me ✨

  • Katrina

    Love the detail in this post Katherine! I actually had never clicked on the Behavior Flow in my GA. Wow! So much value in this!! Using that tool could be it’s own post lol – so many ways to use it! Thanks for taking the time to make this such a great post girl 💖

    Katrina TaTaé 💪🏼 katrinatatae.com

    • Wow girl this makes my heart so happy! Behavior flow is so fun to play around with – GA is frightening at first, but if you kind of figure out the basics and just focus on what’s actually valuable, it is so helpful!

      xoxo