Google Analytics provides users with five different categories of metrics that users can use to analyze the performance of their websites: Visitors, Advertising, Traffic Sources, Content, and Conversions. In his article on Search Engine Land, Matties Otter takes a look at the Content category and explores some of the options available.
Overview gives you a quick, high-level look at your content, displaying metrics such as pageviews (total and unique), bounce rate, and average time spent on each page. There’s a date range option in the upper right corner that you can use to look at your numbers over a span of time, or to compare current numbers to past dates. You can generate summary reports based on pages, page titles, search terms, event categories, or even AdSense pages, and bring up a full report by clicking the “View full report” link in the lower right corner.
There are four reports available under the Site Content option: Pages, Content Drilldown, Landing Pages, and Exit Pages. Otter discusses two of them in his article.
This report is great for determining which pages get the most visits on your website. You can view total pageviews, unique pageviews, average time spent, bounce rate, and exit percentage metrics for each individual page.
The Pages report also offers several view options: Data (the standard view), Percentage, Performance, Comparison, and Pivot. All have their uses, but Otter admits to being partial to the Comparison view “because it’s easy to compare page performance against the site average.”
This report will let you see which landing pages are most popular on your site, as well as the sources that are directing traffic to them. You can click on each page to bring up a variety of filtering options. This report includes e-commerce data, so you can use it to see which pages are bringing in transactions and revenue.
The Site Speed option was just added to Google Analytics in May. By adding the snippet _trackPageLoadTime(); to your tracking code, you can keep track of how quickly your pages are loading. Since Google has officially confirmed that site speed plays a factor in their ranking algorithms, this is one metric that’s definitely worth keeping an eye on.
If you have a search interface on your site that allows users to search your content, the four Site Search reports will help you track its usage.
Overview provides an idea of overall search engine usage on your site by comparing the percentage of visitors who use the feature with the percentage of those who don’t. This Overview report also provides additional metrics, such as search exit percentage, search refinement percentage, time spent on site after search, and search depth.
Like the Overview report, the Usage report shows you the percentage of visitors to your site who use the search feature, as well as those who don’t. However, this report gives you more options for filtering data, or to view by Data, Percentage, Performance, Comparison or Pivot. There’s also an E-commerce that provides data for transactions, revenue, and conversion rates.
This report lets you see what words visitors are typing into the interface to search your site. It’s a handy way to see what your users are searching for, and just how well your site search is working for them. The search exit percentage, search refinement percentage, time after search, and search depth metrics are broken down for each search term.
Otter recommends using this report to analyze your top search terms. “For example, you can compare the % search exits for a particular search term to site average. If it’s very high, maybe your search engine is not giving the best results for the query.”
If you don’t have event tracking enabled, you won’t be able to take advantage of these reports. However, with event tracking, you can measure a wide variety of activities on your website, including how often your visitors print pages, download PDFs, watch videos or slideshows, etc. The sheer number of event tracking metrics available is a bit overwhelming, so you should probably have a good idea ahead of time of just which events you want to track. This will help ensure that the report you generate in Google Analytics is clear and concise, without any extraneous data.