Explore why website reporting matters and how tracking viewer response can increase conversion and engagement. Learn the essentials of tracking while sharing an overview of Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools, all in under ten minutes.
Hello and welcome to another episode of Be Seen Blogging! I’m Jen Miller and today, on Episode #3, I’m excited to be discussing Does My Content Really Work? The Essentials of Tracking with you. I truly feel that measured results are critical to producing an effective blog.
You see you can write blog posts all day long and publish to your heart’s content and have it go no where. That’s right! I’ve had clients and personal friends that have written beautiful posts that are not being seen. It’s quite sad when you’ve poured yourself into a story or explanatory case study and then get no response. And yet it happens all too often. You can blog for years without defining topics and keywords but that is not going to get you seen in search engines. It is however a perfect way to start writing a book or journal your own thoughts. Some people choose to write this way and even set their websites to block engines and all of that works, if that is the end goal.
However, If you listened to episode 2 where we discussed How to Start Your Blog, you already know that there are very specific pieces that your posts need to be seen in search engines. Indicators, if you will, that help the search engines to find your specific post and topic, allowing traffic to come organically. My goal is to help you do that effectively – a message I share through my blog posts, my book, my course and this podcast.
So, to help you make that happen, the first thing you should do whenever you start a new website or blog is check to see that it is being indexed correctly in search engines. You see in some ways search engines are very similar to a paper rolodex file or the card catalogs that libraries used before everything moved to high tech.
Decades ago a person or team of people had to categorize those files, by company, title individual, name, subject or with an arbitrary internal numbering system. If the item was filed incorrectly or labeled as a miscellaneous file, it would not be able to be found when searched for. My hometown library in Seal Beach used to lose books regularly simply because something was misfiled. Companies often missed out on leads when a person’s name was remembered but their business card was filed in the company section rather than by name. Only the best of manual systems would cross reference and even those had issues. With the start of customer relationship management systems and databases, businesses were able to introduce automation that allowed multiple search fields. Libraries did the same as they embraced technology.
Well that principle – the idea of being found for multiple terms is how your website content works, too! You won’t always know what words to include so your client or reader can find your post, but with reporting you can actually see what phrases pulled them in. You can count how many times a topic was searched on your site and understand where your audience is located. You can see which posts and topics generated the most interest. Once you begin to see patterns, you can do more of what your audience likes.
Isn’t that awesome? Your audience is giving you feedback just because you started paying attention.
You can write more posts on related topics or create videos on the same subjects. You can compare post styles and study the differences in formatting, from calls to action and colors to word usage and images.
To see these statistics, you need a free tool called Google Analytics. You can read about it and sign up at www.google.com/analytics, and you can find that link in the show notes. You’ll need to set it up and wait a few days to get a true measure of what is happening on your website.
Don’t be afraid to click through the links on the righthand side. There is a wealth of information hidden there and you can’t mess anything up just by looking.
The Audience Overview section allows you to really look at your reader and follow their behaviors. You can see the number of people visiting your site, whether they are new or they have already been on the site before, what area they are located in,and the type of computer or device they are using.
One of my favorite methods of tracking organic viewers involves analyzing the Users flow in the audience section of the Analytics dashboard because it helps me understand who my reader is and what they like on the site. You can see how long they stay on your website and which pages and in what order they visit in the Users Flow section. You’ll even be able to see if they clicked through and completed a step (if you set up the funnels).
Basically a funnel helps you to see if they signed up for your newsletter or downloaded a document or completed a sale versus leaving the site or moving to a different post or page. Your reader’s actions may require you reworking your pages to ensure that your readers are being easily led through the path or sales funnel you have created. But, like I said before, we’ll be diving into the nuts and bolts of that in a later episode.
If you do have Google Analytics goals in place, the Acquisitions Overview shows how your website brings in leads. Organic Search records who is drawn in through search engines, Paid Search shows who is responding to any ads you have run and Direct site visitors are the people who have either bookmarked your site as a resource or typed your domain name in manually, meaning they remembered the name of your website or saw it somewhere. Referral and Social traffic both come from outside referrals to your website, whether it’s a website that linked to your post or page or a social media post that posted your url. Affiliate links would be found as referral sources.
You can also use the keyword report to see the keywords visitors are using to enter your site, if you have connected your account to an Adwords account. Also, many people don’t realize this, but you do not have to run ads to set up an Adwords account. You can have an inactive account.
If you haven’t set up an Adwords account and still want this information, you can use another tool I love: Google’s Webmaster Tools.
This interface breaks your site down so you can see it just like the search engines do. You can tell which of your posts and pages have been indexed, if there are links connected to your content, which of your keywords are most used, and how the traffic you have is getting to you. Use search queries to evaluate your keywords and search traffic. Here you will be able to see your top ranking pages and keywords which will help you to understand how to use each more effectively.
We’ll go into detail on what all of these mean in future episodes, but I believe that knowing you can explore these aspects and that each affect your overall website is a great way to make connections. Reviewing these reports and seeing even the most basic trends will assist you in delivering your content more effectively. Thank you for tuning in to Be Seen Blogging today. If you like what you hear, please leave me a review in iTunes. In our next episode we’ll be discussing Keys to Promoting Your Content so I hope to see you all back for that! You can always reach out to me, Jen Miller, on Twitter @jenblogs4u or on the web at NeedSomeoneTo or Needsomeonetoblog.com, too. Talk with you soon!