12 Most Astute Reports in Google Analtyics for Content Strategy

12 Most Astute Reports in Google Analtyics for Content Strategy

My day job is copywriting for the web. One of the tools of my trade is Google Analytics. Its diverse options are what makes it stand out as my go-to choice. It is far from perfect (missing keywords!), but it will get the job done.

The following are 12 reports that I look at when developing my content strategies. These steps allow me to see the strengths of my content and what needs improvement.

1. Location

If you are optimizing for local search use the this option. Choose Map Overlay on the right window. Now, click on the map to see a more specific view of that data. You can go all the way down to the level of a city by continuing to click on the area of interest.

2. Engagement

I love this one because it lets me see how long people stay with the website. If the majority are bouncing before the one minute mark, I know I need to make improvements to my content strategy.

3. Engagement: non-bounce rate

If you want to know what content works, then you need to know how engaged your visitors are that stay. You can get this report by going to Engagement and then in the right window clicking on Advanced Segment. Also, check the Page Depth option to see how many pages they visit on average.

4. Mobile devices

This is a hidden gem. This will give you an overview of how your website works with the iPad/iPhone/Kindle/Android devices — a pretty important metric for Google. This mode also has a Map Overlay option to look at localized traffic.

5. Visitor flow

Visitor Flow will show you how people go through your website. You can isolate segments by left clicking on the boxes and selecting “view only this segment.” When you hover over a box it will show you how many people continue to other pages and how many drop off (leave the website). Use this to find bottlenecks. Why do people choose not to continue?

6. Visitor flow: city

You can also look at your local traffic with this option. Click on that little green box above the flow map, and choose City. Now you can isolate what actions your target customers take. There are a lot of options in that green box to explore.

7. Visitor flow: search traffic/keyword

I love playing with the Visitor Flow option. To get this report, look to the top of the right window and click Advanced Segment. Choose Search Traffic. In the green drop down choose Traffic Sources —>Keyword.

8. Landing pages

These are your top pages according to traffic patterns. This will give you the most insight into what really is working for your strategy. Also look at engagement time. If people are bouncing quickly then you may need to change some things to keep people on the website longer.

9. Landing pages: source

Another dimension I look at is the source that brings people to those landing pages. This will tell you what social network or search engine is bringing you traffic, along with the pages people are landing on. The Source option is found under the Secondary Dimension drop down box above the numbers.

10. Landing pages: visits; time duration vs. bounce rate

I am pretty sure that you can see this graph in many other ways. I am sticking it in this section because that is where we are at currently. At the top of the right panel is a graph — to change what it measures, click Advanced Segment and make sure you have all visits checked. Next, click on the drop boxes above the graph. On the left choose Average Visit Duration. On the right choose Bounce Rate. Now you can see what days have the longest engagement and the lowest bounce rate. I then use this info to see what I posted around that date. Then I can see what content is really performing well.

11. Advanced segments

Just a note on Advanced Segments. If you want to compare them on any metric you can click multiple boxes. You will be able to view the information for several segments at once in a side-by-side comparison.

12. Social flow

I don’t need to go into much detail here. It is the same as visitor flow from the above, but only features social network traffic. This way I can see what happens when someone clicks from Twitter or Facebook. Follow the same guidelines for visitor flow to really dig in deep.

These metrics are going to vary from website to website. A high bounce rate does not mean you did something wrong. Think of the context of your content and pay attention to dates — this can usually explain any extreme peaks or valleys.

What analytic tools do you use? Do you have any tips to share on setting content strategy?

Featured image courtesy of chefranden licensed via Creative Commons.

Susan Silver


Susan is a copywriter who crafts content strategies that rank. She is also the community manager for Gygax Magazine. She shares information on business, social media, and writing.

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I need to use Google Analytics a lot more. Right now, I generally focus on #2, #8-#10


A great article and I'm sharing it with a few of my blogging groups. There are always folks who ask about Google Analytics.



Thank you for this! I have been hearing a lot of buzz about the utility of Google Analytics in supporting content strategy. This is the best summary I've seen, though!