Why I am not giving up on Google Analytics (Part 1)
Or should I call this ‘Getting the best out of Google Analytics without going crazy.’ I have seen a number of bloggers say that they have given up on Google Analytics. They are just not going to bother with it anymore, they are tired of them changing algorithms that keep changing the rules.
I can sure understand where they are coming from. Maybe life would be better without looking at Google Analytics and riding the highs and the lows.
I did not want just to throw it out as too hard without taking an objective look at the pros and cons. Looking at what is the best practice for my blog/website.
To evaluate, I needed to ask myself what my blogging purposes were.
Q. Why do I blog? A. I do enjoy writing. This blog is a lifestyle blog and I enjoy researching subjects and learning myself. I like being a help to others. I love making up recipes and sharing them. It is so interesting getting to know others, reading and discovering new things from their blogs.
Q. Do I want or need to monetize my blog? A. Yes, to both of those questions. I would like the blog to pay for itself and a little extra would be nice.
Q. How do I aim to make money from the blog? A. At this time, it is mainly through Google ads and an affiliate.
Q. Where does most of my traffic come from? A. Two-thirds of all traffic come from Pinterest. The remainder from Blog parties and various other places. I am starting to get more traffic from search engines, mainly Google.
I don’t know how you would answer these questions, if your answers are similar to mine, let’s take a look at Google Analytics.
Taking a look at Google Analytics
1. It can be a lot of work, and the requirements keep changing. It could send a person crazy if they took it too seriously.
2. Finding the right keywords can be too hard it is easier just to guess.
1.An SEO plugin can minimize the hard work and needing to know the ever-changing algorithms. I use the free plugin, SEO by Yoast. It gives direction on page optimization, and if it is not optimized well, I get reminded what needs attention. This is such a big help. Yoast uses a light system so you can see at a glance if you have optimized your page or not.
Yoast SEO also has a very helpful page that assists with making your post readable, it gives ideas of how to improve the readability.
2. Keywords: I used to guess my keywords until recently I have been using Googles Keyword Planner. I won’t go into that now. A quicker way to check your keywords is to do a Google search with what you think is a good name for your post. Now you can see what the keywords are that others have put in their heading for the same subject. Then scroll to the bottom of the list and you will see related searches. You will see keyword combinations for your subject there.
3. Traffic: It is to our advantage to know how much and where traffic is coming from. Sometimes the truth hurts, use it as motivation to find ways to improve.
4. Simple Analytics It is not too hard to read some of the simple analytics that gives nuggets of insight into individual pages and the website as a whole.
Habits of visitors
Pinterest is a fantastic traffic source. The pins get followed to the blog post, the visitor may read the post or just be doing a quick check that the source is accurate. Then most Pinterest traffic leave.
Pinterest traffic knows why they are going to a blog, that is to view a particular post, and then they leave to click on the next pin that interests them. Very few stay to read more pages or become a subscriber.
Traffic from other social media often has the same habits.
Search Engine Traffic could be a main income stream
Optimized pages will get search engine traffic. When search engine traffic comes, the visitors are often not sure that this site has what they are looking for. With a quick look at the page, if it does not grab their attention they will leave.
Quite often because they are surfing and searching for something, they will leave via a Google or other ad that magically knows what they are searching for. You probably have noticed how after you search for an item it then pops up in the ads. These searchers could also be attracted to an affiliate link they see on the page.
So realistically, search engine traffic could become a main income stream. That is one reason why I am not giving up on Google Analytics.Google Analytics help. Search Engine Traffic could be a main income stream Click To Tweet
Why I am not giving up on Google Analytics
It is a wise practice not to have all our eggs in one basket. If most traffic comes from Pinterest or other social media, it is a bonus to have another traffic source from search engines. Once a habit is formed of optimizing posts, in time the traffic will come. This traffic becomes a passive flow to the blog, and it could become a source of passive income. That is, once things are in place, it just happens without your constant attention. It does not crave new content in the same way a blog does; it uses what is already available.
Relying on one main source of traffic leaves one vulnerable to the changes social media make to their algorithms. An example is how Facebook has tried to clip our wings so that we will pay for post reach and traffic.
Keeping Google Analytics Simple
Google Analytics can be complicated and marketers love the knowledge they can get from it.
For now as bloggers, apart from the overall number of visitors and sessions, we can just pay attention to three uncomplicated categories, and these three are connected to each other.
The Bounce Rate, the Number of Pages visited, and the Average Session Duration
1. The Bounce rate – this is when a visitor comes to a certain page on a site and leaves from that same page. A higher rate around 75% to 80% and above could indicate to Google that people are just not into this content, or they would have stayed to go to another page.
A high bounce rate will result in these pages dropping down the priority list. Not nice when so much effort goes into the good content. A high bounce rate is an indication that the content needs tweaking to make it more engaging. (We will look more into bounce rate below as we knit these three categories together).
2. The Number of Pages visited – If visitors engage with more than one page it will lower the Bounce rate % and send a positive message about the site.
3. The average session duration – Google analytics is not an exact science. I first started to wonder about this when I would get a visit via a Link Party. The time credit for this visit was 00.00.00 Then I noticed on my post that the person had left a comment, so how could the time be 00.00.00?
Google analytics – leaving from a second page
I came across an excellent article by Ian Cleary from Razor Social. Ian explains that Google knows when a person gets to a page, but, Google does not know when they leave. So the Google default is only to give a time credit between 0-10 seconds even if they stayed for 20 minutes. That does not seem fair!
If after a time on the first page they go to a second page – Google can now give credit with a correct timing for the first page. As they measure the time between landing on the first page and landing on the second page.
Visiting more than one page is a win-win outcome. #1 a decrease in the bounce rate %. #2 an increase in the number of pages visited. #3 an increase in the average session duration. Positive vibes are going out that this is a site that engages with its readers.
These pages become more important to Google, who wants to please the searcher’s experience. That is their business as a search engine. Google wants to find the right content and good content to please the searcher, and there are multi-millions and out there searching.
Let’s not just say it is too hard and dismiss it. We can work to take full advantage of these search engines, it takes time. An optimized page won’t suddenly hit the top of the search engine pages. As with all aspects of blogging, it takes persistence, and regular consistent attention as new pages are added.
Don’t give up on Google Analytics
Join our Blog Party that gives blogs a boost in all the above statistics. Fridays Blogger’s Pit Stop, don’t miss out on this, leave your name below and I will send you an email when the party is live. I can’t wait to see you there.
A number of bloggers have said that they are new to Linky Parties and are not sure how they operate. Here is a link to a full tutorial on how to join a Linky Party.
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Go to Google Analytics |Not Giving Up (Part 2)
If you missed the post – Google Analytics for Beginners click on it below.