19th August 2019
Why publishers NEED to be using Google Analytics
According to a recent study, 91% of content does not get any search traffic at all! So with new content being added to the web constantly, how can you ensure that YOUR content is in the 9% of pages being clicked on? The simple answer is DATA! You need to create data-driven content about topics your readers are interested in, which has been statistically proven drive relevant and engaged traffic, and which is optimised to rank for your keywords.
Fortunately, Google Analytics is a free online tracking tool that allows website owners to gather and review data about their site’s visitors and their onsite behaviour and interactions. This is particularly useful for content creators such as publishers, who can then use this insight to create informed and well-focused content strategies that will help their editorial content to perform better.
Why use Google Analytics?
Google Analytics can provide publishers with a wealth of information about both their audience and their current content, and can also be used as a tool for content discovery.
Understand your audience:
Everybody knows that the key to creating well-performing content is to ensure that the content is relevant to the topics that your readers are looking for. For online publishing, this means writing content that answers the questions and targets the keywords that web users are searching for on search engines such as Google.
Whilst it would be impossible to ask each individual reader about themselves, their locations, what topics they like to read about, what kinds of keywords they search for etc., the information collected by Google Analytics about the visitors to your website can provide you with an invaluable insight into the answers of some of these questions.
For example, you can find out the demographics of your readers; are they mainly UK based? And if not, how can you amend your content to ensure it is relevant to countries where you have a large readership? Google also collects data on the devices your readers are using to view your content. Are the majority of your audience reading on smartphones? If so, are your articles too long for your readers on mobile as they are unlikely to scroll a long way down a page?
As well as providing information on your audience, Google Analytics can identify the keywords being searched by users to get to your site, and also what users are searching on internal search functions within your website. This information is particularly valuable, as it provides you with a list of words and phrases that visitors were hoping to find content about on your site. It is likely that they have used the search bar whilst browsing, as they have not been able to find the content they were looking for, therefore highlighting a gap in your content.
Review existing content:
In order to write great content, you must constantly review previous content to learn about what works well and what could be improved. Collecting and reporting on the performance of previous content is Google Analytics really excels. Not only does it generate standard reports outlining the most viewed pages, performance of an article over time, the length of time a user spends on a particular piece of content and so on, but you can also set up your own content groupings, segments and filters so that you can determine which content and content types work well. This could be reviewing the success of videos compared to infographics, or could be examining the best and worst performing categories, topics or authors.
Once you have identified your good and bad content measured against your site’s KPIs, you can begin to look at why one group is performing better or worst. Your learnings from this analysis can be used to both update existing content that is not working well, and is also invaluable when writing new content that will work harder for your site.
The insights you gain from reviewing Google Analytics as outlined above (analysing your audience, their searches, and your existing content) can be fed into creating an optimised and targeted content strategy, using data to help you decide which content to produce. Analytics’ powerful statistics provide publishers with the knowledge needed to create relevant and focuses content worthy of being in the 9% of viewed content on the web.
If you would like more information on how you can use Google Analytics to improve your content, contact the experts at Varn. We also offer training courses for publishers on how to use Google Analytics.