therapy-couch

OK, sometimes the things you write have issues. You know its true. Some of your articles and web pages are really good. You enjoyed writing them and people enjoy reading them. Other pages? …not so much.

Its time to look deep within your site and ask the tough questions. Its time to give your site a bit of Analytics therapy.

How Do You Know If The Page Is Any Good?

Simple. A good piece of content does three things well:

  • Its easy to find and brings traffic
  • Its useful to your readers and builds trust
  • Its relevant to your business and helps conversions

If its a blog post, you might know its good because it gets comments and shares. If its an email, you can see it in the open and clickthrough rates. But what if its neither? What if its just a page? Heres how to find those under-performing pages…

4 Steps For Finding Those Problem Pages In Analytics

Heres how to find it. In Analytics, take a look at:

  1. Go to Content > Site Content > All Pages. Now, youre seeing a list of pages in order of most pageviews to least.
  2. Click the Compare button at the top right of the page list. 
    compare_button
  3. Select Avg. Time on Page in the dropdown. 
    Site_Avg_Dropdown 
    ProTip: Google Analytics has trouble showing accurate times, so were looking for only general info about performance. Were dont expect (or need) super accurate data here.
  4. Click pageviews to reverse the order. Now youre seeing the least viewed pages at the top of the list. These are the pages that few people are finding. These pages need rehabilitation.

ProTip: If there are lots of strange URLs in here or multiple URLs for the same page, you might need to do a technical SEO audit and possibly some CMS therapy. There should be one URL per page!

Time To Let Go

If you see pages here that are old and out-of-date, low value or irrelevant, its time to say goodbye. Remove them from the site as soon as possible. Just be sure that when you purge, check to make sure that you didnt break any internal links.

Or Rehabilitate

But some of these may be worth saving.

  • If the pageviews AND the average time on page is low, ask yourself if the topic of the page is important. If not, remove it. If it is an important topic, its time for rehab. Rename it, move it or rewrite it.
    Resource: Web Content Checklist: 17 ways to publish better content
  • If the pageviews are low BUT the average time on page is high, youve got a different problem. The page might be good, but no one is finding it. You need to promote the page better. Make it more prominent in the navigation, create more links to it, or even feature it on the home page.
    Resource: Content Promotion Strategy: 33 ways to drive traffic

Analytics Therapy Example

Lets look at the least popular pages for an actual therapy and counseling website.

Screen shot 2012-06-30 at 12.35.16 AM 
Analysis: All of these are extremely low traffic pages. After deciding if they are important enough to keep, the should be rewritten to make them more compelling or moved/renamed to make them more prominent. But #8 is a page that a few visitors are spending a lot of time on. It may not need any rewriting at all. just need better content promotion.

Make Another Appointment

This kind of therapy should be repeated a few times per year. Also, keep in mind that all kinds of content may need therapy, not just web pages and blog posts. Videos and podcasts may also have issues. I know, its complicated.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy How To Find Pages Without Traffic 

Andy Crestodina

Andy Crestodina is the Strategic Director and co-founder of Orbit Media Studios, an award-winning 30-person Chicago web development company. You can find Andy on Google+ and Twitter. Over the past 12 years, Andy has provided web strategy and advice to more than 1000 businesses including how Google Authorship works. He’s kinda like the Bruce Willis of web marketing.

Orbit Media's Blog

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2 Responses to “Analytics Therapy: How To Find (And Deal With) The Really Crappy Stuff On Your Site”

  1. Manny says:

    Hello Andy,

    I do SEO every single day, but I have learned something new from your post :)

    when you said: "If you see pages here that are old and out-of-date, low value or irrelevant, its time to say goodbye. Remove them from the site as soon as possible. Just be sure that when you purge, check to make sure that you didnt break any internal links."

    Do you mean to do a 301 redirect? or completely eliminate that page? If you eliminate the page, don't you waste some PR juice?

    Thanks

    Manny

    • Hello, Manny.

      Yes, any time you remove something from your site (including images and PDFs) you need to make sure that nothing else was referring to it. So if you remove a page and there were links to it on other pages, you may have just broken a link. So always check other pages to make sure that after you remove a page, no links were broken.

      If the page wasn't ranking and there weren't any links to it, a 301 Redirect won't be necessary.

      Hope this helps!