Note: There is now an updated version of this post: 8 key Google Analytics reports for SEO
Now that we’ve entered the age of Hummingbird, there’s no room for marketing hunches and gut feelings.
Successful digital marketing campaigns are now data-driven.
The biggest problem isn’t acquiring data. In fact, many people are suffering from paralysis of analysis and going nowhere. The tricky part is extracting the most useful data in a meaningful way.
Thanks to Google Analytics, we have all the data necessary to formulate a successful campaign and measure its impact. The ability to create custom reports, allows us to parse that data in a user-friendly format.
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If you’re tempted to stop reading now, due to custom report phobia, relax. All of the reports that I’m sharing today are pre-built and just two clicks are needed to add these powerful reports to your own analytics account. No technical skills are required.
Each one of these reports and many more are available by searching The Google Analytics Solutions Gallery and Custom Report Sharing. The generosity exhibited by the members of these communities, in sharing their hard work, is appreciated.
Simply follow these steps to add custom reports to your own GA account:
- Log into Google Analytics.
- Come back here.
- Click on the link in the title of each report below. It will open in Google Analytics.
- Click on the Create Report button and it will save it in your account.
Here are my picks for the elite eight.
1. SEO Insights for Google Organic “(not provided)”
This report displays landing page URLs along with the page titles providing a general keyword theme for searches driving traffic to a given page.
Pro tip: Place the landing page URL into a keyword density analyzer for additional insights.
2. Content Efficiency Analysis Report
A single report designed as a starting point for page analysis.
Source: Occam’s Razor
This report summarizes:
- How often a page acts as a landing page (point of entry) and how engaging it is (bounces).
- How the content is consumed: Unique visitors, page views generated, and which content held visitors attention more/less.
- What value was created? Because setting up goals takes some extra effort, most people skip the one step which can quantify what they are demanding – ROI. Don’t be “that guy.”
3. Acquisition Efficiency Analysis Report
A single report designed to measure efficiency and performance across all streams of traffic to a website.
Source: Occam’s Razor
This report summarizes:
- All traffic sources: Organic, paid, direct traffic, Twitter, Facebook, Facebook display ads, email marketing, etc.
- Visitors: Number of visits; how many unique, how many existing, how many new?
- Engagement: Are people engaging in a way that adds value?
- Outcome: In the example above, the disparity between AdWords and organic conversions is pretty breathtaking.
4. Who’s Linking to Your Content
This report identifies which content is getting referral traffic.
Source: Custom Report Sharing
Click on any landing page URL to see the links that are bringing you traffic.
5. Linked-to 404 Pages
This report provides an overview of all 404 error pages on your site (assuming your 404 error page has the term ‘404’ in its page title).
Click on the 404 page to see the full referral of the site that links to the 404 page. Now, you can easily find links that need to be 301 redirected to a live page.
6. Mobile Performance Analysis
This report identifies which mobile operating systems and devices are being used to view your website.
Everyone has heard that mobile is the future – this report helps to benchmark your mobile audience, today.
7. Browser Report
This report shows how different browsers are performing on your site.
You’ll see which browsers are performing well and which may be problematic. In this example, Chrome and Internet Explorer seem to be doing OK but Safari has a noticeably higher bounce rate, so you might want to look into the reasons why that might be.
8. Behavior: Social Sharing
This four tab report reveals social engagement with your website’s content.
Includes shared content trend, top shared content by network, socially engaged visitors, outcomes, and conversions.
If you aren’t already using custom reports, this is a great selection to start with. If you are an avid reports user, please feel free to share your favorites in the comments.