5 Must-Have Google Analytics Metrics
I have clients tell me all the time, “Cheryl, I love this blog you have written for me and I know my content is great. But how can I really know it is working?”
I totally get it, and I appreciate them asking that question. So many clients don’t. In fact, I get a lot of clients who are so excited to see their stories published online that they forget the whole point is to bring in ROI. To get more clients in the door.
But believe it or not, you can measure the effectiveness of your content. If you couldn’t I probably wouldn’t have a job.
And if content is King, then analytics is surely its Queen.
While you might not ever want to venture into the dark, twisty world of Google Analytics, there are some things it does for you that you MUST know if you are doing any content marketing – whether with an agency or for yourself.
Here they are:
1. Page Views
The metric Page Views tells you literally how many times a specific page was viewed. The first dashboard you see in Google Analytics will show you the TOTAL Page Views for your site. Dig deeper to get the numbers specific to each landing page, contact page or blog page you have published.
Below is the main dashboard with Page Views for a local lawn service provider. You can see they received 867 total Page Views for the given time span.
Also, when you look at one of their individual service pages, you can see that their “Landscape Design” page received 61 Page Views out of that 867 total. Meanwhile, their “Contact Us” Page (not shown in the graph below) received 200 Page Views and the remaining 606 Page Views were spread across their other pages.
2. Unique Page Views
While Page Views tells you the exact number of times a page was viewed, Unique Page Views tells you how many people viewed each page. How is this number different? One person can view a page multiple times. For example, after you publish a post, you might view it yourself 3 or 4 times just to make sure you got everything right. Similarly, your mom, family or best friend might view a page a few times just to share it with their own friends or colleagues.
Google has an algorithm that allows it to identify exactly which computers a page was viewed from. With this data, they can tell you how many times a page was viewed by a new, or unique, user. When analyzing your content, Unique Page Views should mean a lot more to you than total Page Views.
For example, the blog post below for a local pool leak detection service, shows a blog with 60 Page Views but 45 Unique Page Views. This is pretty normal.
However, a blog we wrote for a medical weight loss clinic shows that almost all Page Views were unique – 90% to be exact.
3. Time on Page
Another key figure is the Average Time on Page. Just because someone visits your blog post doesn’t mean the content was any good at keeping them on your site. A lot of times it just means the headline caught their eye.
For example, I worked with a medical weight loss client who also performs The Vampire Facelift and other beauty and health procedures. We wrote blogs catering to both niches to test which ones performed better. The blog below received 2727 total Page Views but look at how long people stayed on the page. 11 seconds. That’s pretty bad. And it was enough information for me to know never to write about Hollywood trends for this client again.
However, a blog we wrote about Juvederm and removing wrinkles showed some pretty great results! The Average Time on Page was 7 minutes, which means these blog visitors are a lot more likely to convert and become customers.
4. Bounce Rate
Just like Winnie the Pooh’s Tigger bounces away on his springy tail, the bounce rate on your site measures how many people bounce, or leave, without looking at a 2nd page. These visitors have made it to your site somehow (good SEO, Social Media or Paid Ad promotions, etc..) but are not very interested in what you have to offer at this time.
It’s one of the very first numbers that pops up on your screen and an important figure to pay attention to. Below is a screenshot of the Analytics dashboard of a local family practice I serve. You can see the number 69.95% at the bottom left. That means almost 70% of people leave his site after visiting only one page.
Now, this is for his ENTIRE site. Looking at a site’s overall Bounce Rate is not helpful in measuring content because it includes people who just visit the homepage, get the number of the practice and call to make an appointment.
Below is the Analytics screen that shows the results for his blog page only (the page that includes all of his blogs ever published). Notice a difference here? His Bounce Rate is 25.53%. That means 75% of people who land on this page visit AT LEAST 2 pages on his site. That’s pretty good if you ask me, especially since most of the people who land here have also visited at least one other page.
Want to know exactly how many people were drawn into your site from a specific blog post? The Entrances data will give you this information. How is this different from Page Views? With Page Views, you’re seeing the TOTAL number of people who viewed your post – whether they found it while already on your site or in Google or Bing’s search results page.
To find out if your blogs are bringing in new clients or traffic, Entrances is the best number to look at. For example, the Analytics graph below shows the data for a blog post of a local plumber in Orlando, FL. This blog, about what to NOT put down your garbage disposal, earned 25 total Page Views but only 11 Entrances. This means 25 people read the post but only 11 were drawn to the site after finding the post online. The other 14 found the blog after already landing on the site.