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7 Google Analytics Reports That Show How Your Blog is Really Performing

This may be of some interest.

real time

When you log into Google Analytics, what do you look at?

Chances are you see something like the image above that shows you how many people are currently on your blog.

Well, that was easy to guess because that’s the report Google Analytics gives you once you log in. 😉

But which reports do you look at on a regular basis?

I bet you look at two main reports…

The “Audience Overview” report and the “Acquisition Overview” report.

audience overview

Sure, every once in a while, you may dive into your top pages or the specific organic keywords that drive your traffic. But even if you do that, what are you actually doing with the data?

Nothing, right?

Don’t beat yourself up over it because most content marketers just look at reports and numbers and do little to nothing with the data.

If you want to figure out how to grow your blog and, more importantly, your revenue from your blog, there are 7 reports that you need to start looking at on a regular basis.

Here they are and here is how you use them…

Report #1: Cohort Analysis

What do you think is easier to accomplish… get new visitors to your blog or getting your visitors to come back?

It’s easier to get people to come back to your blog, yet everyone focuses on new visitors.

I bet less than 99% of your blog readers turn into customers or revenue, so why not focus on getting those people back and eventually converting them?

Before we get into how to get people back to your blog, let’s look at how many people are returning to your blog.

Within the Google Analytics navigation, click on “Audience” and then “Cohort Analysis”.

Once you land on that report, you’ll see a graph that looks similar to this:

cohort graph

Under the “Cohort Size” drop-down menu, select “by week”. Under “Date Range”, select “Last 12 weeks”.

Once the data loads, you’ll see a table that looks something like this:

cohort table

What this table shows is the percentage of your visitors that come back each week.

On the very left it will always show 100%. Then in the columns to the right, you’ll see week 1, week 2, week 3, etc.

This shows the percentage of people who come back to your blog each and every week after their first visit.

For example, if this week you had 100 people visit your blog and in the week 1 column, it shows 17%. That means of the initial 100 people, 17 came back. Under week 2 if you see 8%, that means of the initial 100 people, 8 people came back in week 2.

Naturally, this number will keep getting smaller, but the goal is to get people back as often as possible. That increases trust, social shares, potential people linking to you, and it even increases the odds that the visitor will convert into a customer.

number of visits

The average blog reader needs to come back 3.15 times before they turn into a customer. That means that you need to retain readers.

Just think of it this way: If you get thousands of new people to your blog each and every single day but none of them ever come back, what do you think is going to happen to your sales?

Chances are, not much.

You need to look at your Cohort Report and continually try to improve the numbers and get people coming back.

So the real question is, how do you get people to come back?

There are 2 simple ways you can do this:

  1. Start collecting emails – through free tools like Hello Bar, you can turn your blog readers into email subscribers. Then as you publish more content, you can send an email blast and get people back to your blog.
  2. Push notifications – by using tools like Subscribers, people can subscribe to your blog through their browser. Then every time you release a new blog post, you can send out a push and people will come back to your blog.

These 2 strategies are simple and they work. Just look at how many people I continually get back to my blog through emails and push notifications.

repeat visits

Report #2: Benchmarking

Ever wonder how you are doing compared to your competition?

Sure, you can use tools like Ubersuggest, type in your competitors URL, and see all of the search terms they are generating traffic from.

ubersuggest neil patel

But what if you want more? Such as knowing what percentage of traffic your competitors are getting from each channel. What’s your bounce rate, average session duration, or even pageviews per channel?

bench marketing

Within Google Analytics navigation, click on “Audiences” then “Benchmarking” then “Channels”.

Once you do that, you’ll see a report that looks like the one above.

Although you won’t have specific data on a competing URL, Google Analytics will show you how you stack up to everyone else within your industry.

I love this report because it shows you where to focus your time.

If all of your competitors get way more social traffic or email traffic, it means that’s probably the lowest hanging fruit for you to go after.

On the flipside, if you have 10 times more search traffic than your competition, you’ll want to focus your efforts on where you are losing as that is what’ll probably drive your biggest gains.

The other reason you’ll want to look at the Benchmarking Report is that marketers tend to focus their efforts on channels that drive the most financial gain.

So, if all of your competition is generating the majority of their traffic from a specific channel, you can bet that channel is probably responsible for a good portion of their revenue, which means you should focus on it too.

Report #3: Location, location, location

Have you noticed that my blog is available in a handful of languages?

languages

Well, there is a reason for that.

I continually look at the location report. To get to it, click on “Audience” then “Geo” and then “Location”.

location

This report will tell you where the biggest growth opportunities are for your blog.

Now with your blog, you’ll naturally see the most popular countries being the ones where their primary language is the one you use on your blog.

For example, if you write in English, then countries like the United Kingdom and the United States will be some of your top countries.

What I want you to do with this report is look at the countries that are growing in popularity but the majority of their population speak a different language than what you are blogging on.

For me, Brazil was one of those countries. Eventually, I translated my content into Portuguese and now Brazil is the second most popular region where I get traffic from.

This strategy has helped me get from 1 million visitors a month to over 4 million. If you want step-by-step instructions on how to expand your blog content internationally, follow this guide.

Report #4: Assisted conversions

Have you heard marketers talk about how blog readers don’t convert into customers?

It’s actually the opposite.

conversions

Those visitors may not directly convert into a customer, but over time they will.

But hey, if you have a boss or you are spending your own money on content marketing, you’re not going to trust some stats and charts that you can read around the web. Especially if they only talk about long-term returns when you are spending money today.

You want hard facts. In other words, if you can’t experience it yourself, you won’t believe it.

That’s why I love the Assisted Conversions Report in Google Analytics.

In the navigation bar click on “Conversions” then “Multi-Channel Funnels” and then “Assisted Conversions”.

It’ll load up a report that looks like this:

assisted conversion

This report shows you all of the channels that help drive conversions. They weren’t the final channel in which someone came from but they did visit your blog from one of these channels.

In other words, if they didn’t visit or even find your blog from one of these sources, they may not have converted at all.

Now when your boss asks you if content marketing is worth it, you can show the Assisted Conversions Report to show how much revenue your blog helps drive.

The other beautiful part about this report is that it tells you where to focus your marketing efforts. You want to focus your efforts on all channels that drive conversions, both first and last touch.

Report #5: Users flow

What’s the number one action you want your blog readers to take?

I learned this concept from Facebook. One of the ways they grew so fast is they figured out the most important action that they want people to take and then they focused most of their efforts on that.

For you, it could be someone buying a product.

For me, it’s collecting a lead and that starts with a URL.

But I found that people interact with my blog differently based on the country they are coming from.

In other words, if I show the same page to a United States visitor and from someone in India or even the United Kingdom, they interact differently.

How did I figure that out?

I ran some heatmap tests, but, beyond that, I used the Users Flow Report in Google Analytics.

users flow

In your navigation click on “Audience” and then “Users Flow”.

Within the report, it will break down how people from each country interact with your blog and the flow they take.

I then used it to adjust certain pages on my blog. For example, here is the homepage that people in the United States see:

us home page

And here is the homepage that people from the United Kingdom see:

uk home page

The United Kingdom homepage is much shorter and doesn’t contain as much content and that’s helped me improve my conversions there.

And of course, in the United States, my audience prefers something else, hence the homepages are different.

The Users Flow Report is a great way to see how you should adjust your site based on each geographical region.

Report #6: Device overlap

Blog content can be read anywhere and on any device. From desktop devices to tablets to even mobile phones.

The way you know you have a loyal audience isn’t just by seeing how many of your readers continually come back, but how often are they reading your blog from multiple devices.

For example, you ideally want people to read your blog from their iPhone and laptop.

The more ways you can get people to consume your content, the stronger brand loyalty you’ll build, which will increase conversion.

Within the navigation, click on “Audience” then “Cross Device” and then “Device Overlap”.

device overlap

I’m in the B2B sector so my mobile traffic isn’t as high as most industries but it is climbing over time.

And what I’ve been doing is continually improving my mobile load times as well as my mobile experience to improve my adoption rates.

I’m also working on a mobile app.

By doing all of these things, people can consume content from NeilPatel.com anywhere, which builds stickiness, brand loyalty, and then causes more assisted conversions.

A good rule of thumb is if you can get the overlap to be over 6%, you’ll have a very sticky audience that is much easier to convert.

That’s at least what I can see with all of the Google Analytics accounts I have access to.

Report #7: User Explorer

To really understand what makes your blog readers tick, you need to get inside their mind and figure out what their goals are and how you can help them achieve each of those goals.

A great way to do this is through the User Explorer Report.

Click on “Audience” and then “User Explorer”. You’ll see a screen that looks like this:

user explorer

This shows you every user who visits your site and what they did. You can click on a client id to drill down and see what actions each user performed on your blog.

user explorer

From there, you can click on a time to see exactly what they did each time they visited:

user explorer

What I like to do with this report is to see how the most popular users engage with my blog. What are they reading? What pages are they spending the majority of their time on? What makes them continually come back? How did they first learn about my blog?

By comparing the most popular blog readers with the least popular, I am typically able to find patterns. For example, my most loyal blog readers typically find my site through organic traffic and then subscribe to my email list.

Then they keep coming back, but the key is to get them to opt into my email list.

That’s why I am so aggressive with my email captures. I know some people don’t like it, but I’ve found it to work well.

So I focus a lot of my efforts on building up my organic traffic over referral traffic and then collecting emails.

Look at the patterns that get your most popular users to keep coming back and then adjust your blog flow so that you can create that pattern more often.

Conclusion

Yes, you should look at your visitor count. But staring at that number doesn’t do much.

The 7 reports I describe above, on the other hand, will help you boost your brand loyalty, your repeat visits, and your revenue.

I know it can be overwhelming, so that’s why I tried to keep it to just 7 reports. And if you can continually improve your numbers in each of those reports, your blog will continually grow and eventually thrive.

So what Google Analytics reports do you look at on a regular basis?

The post 7 Google Analytics Reports That Show How Your Blog is Really Performing appeared first on Neil Patel.

Thank you for reading.

What Type of Links Does Google Really Prefer?

This may be of some interest.

links

We all know that links help rankings. And the more links you build the higher you’ll rank.

But does it really work that way?

Well, the short answer is links do help with rankings and I have the data to prove it.

But, you already know that.

The real question is what kind of links do you need to boost your rankings?

Is it rich anchor text links? Is it sitewide links? Or what happens when the same site links to you multiple times? Or when a site links to you and then decides to remove the link?

Well, I decided to test all of this out and then some.

Over the last 10 months, I decided to run an experiment with your help. The experiment took a bit longer than we wanted, but we all know link building isn’t easy, so the experiment took 6 months longer than was planned.

Roughly 10 months ago, I emailed a portion of my list and asked if they wanted to participate in a link building experiment.

The response was overwhelming… 3,919 people responded, but of course, it would be a bit too hard to build links to 3,919 sites.

And when I say build, I’m talking about manual outreach, leveraging relationships… in essence, doing hard work that wouldn’t break Google’s guidelines.

Now out of the 3,919 people who responded, we created a set of requirements to help us narrow down the number of sites to something more manageable:

  1. Low domain score – we wanted to run an experiment on sites with low domain scores. If a site had a domain score of greater than 20, we removed it. When a site has too much authority, they naturally rank for terms and it is harder to see the impact that a few links can have. (If you want to know your domain score you can put in your website URL here.)
  2. Low backlink count – similar to the one above, we wanted to see what happens with sites with little to no backlinks. So, if a site had more than 20 backlinks, it was also removed from the experiment.
  3. No subdomains – we wanted sites that weren’t a Tumblr.com or a WordPress.com site or subdomain. To be in this experiment, you had to have your own domain.
  4. English only sites – Google in English is more competitive than Google in Spanish, or Portuguese or many other languages. For that reason, we only selected sites that had their main market as the United States and the site had to be in English. This way, if something worked in the United States, we knew it would work in other countries as they tend to be less competitive.

We decided to cap the experiment to 200 sites. But eventually, many of the sites dropped off due to their busy schedule or they didn’t want to put in the work required. And as people dropped off, we replaced them with other sites who wanted to participate.

How the experiment worked

Similar to the on-page SEO experiment that we ran, we had people write content between 1,800 and 2,000 words.

Other than that we didn’t set any requirements. We just wanted there to be a minimum length as that way people naturally include keywords within their content. We did, however, include a maximum length as we didn’t want people to write 10,000-word blog posts as that would skew the data.

Websites had 2 weeks to publish their content. And after 30 days of it being live, we looked up the URLs within Ubersuggest to see how many keywords the article ranked for in the top 100, top 50 and top 10 spots.

Keep in mind that Ubersuggest has 1,459,103,429 keywords in its database from all around the world and in different languages. Most of the keywords have low search volume, such as 10 a month.

We then spent 3 months building links and then waited 2 months after the links were built to see what happened to the rankings.

The URLs were then entered back into the Ubersuggest database to see how many keywords they ranked for.

In addition to that, we performed this experiment in batches, we just didn’t have the manpower and time to do this for 200 sites all at once, hence it took roughly 10 months for this to complete.

We broke the sites down into 10 different groups. That’s 20 sites per group. Each group only leveraged 1 link tactic as we wanted to see how it impacted rankings.

Here’s each group:

  1. Control – with this group we did nothing but write content. We needed a baseline to compare everything to.
  2. Anchor text – the links built to the articles in this group contained rich anchor text but were from irrelevant pages. In other words, the link text contained a keyword, but the linking site wasn’t too relevant to the article. We built 3 anchor text links to each article.
  3. Sitewide links – they say search engines don’t care for sitewide links, especially ones in a footer… I wanted to test this out for myself. We built one sitewide link to each article.
  4. Content-based links – most links tend to happen within the content and that’s what we built here. We built 3 content-based links to each article.
  5. Multiple links from the same site – these weren’t sitewide links but imagine one site linking to you multiple times within their content. Does it really help compared to having just 1 link from a site? We built 3 links from the same site to each article.
  6. One link – in this scenario we built one link from a relevant site.
  7. Sidebar links – we built 3 links from the sidebar of 3 different sites.
  8. Nofollow links – does Google really ignore nofollow links? You are about to find out because we built 3 nofollow links to each article.
  9. High authority link – we built 1 link with a domain score of 70 or higher.
  10. Built and removed links – we built 3 links to articles in this group and then removed them 30 days after the links were picked up by Google.

Now before I share what we learned, keep in mind that we didn’t build the links to the domain’s homepage. We built the links to the article that was published. That way we could track to see if the links helped.

Control group

Do you really need links to rank your content? Especially if your site has a low domain score?

control

Based on the chart, the older your content gets, the higher you will rank. And based on the data even if you don’t do much, over a period of 6 months you can roughly rank for 5 times more keywords even without link building.

As they say, SEO is a long game and the data shows it… especially if you don’t build any links.

Anchor text

They say anchor text links really help boost rankings. That makes sense because the link text has a keyword.

But what if the anchor rich link comes from an irrelevant site. Does that help boost rankings?

anchor text

It looks like anchor text plays a huge part in Google’s rankings, even if the linking site isn’t too relevant to your article.

Now, I am not saying you should build spammy links and shove keywords in the link text, more so it’s worth keeping in mind anchor text matters.

So if you already haven’t, go put in your domain here to see who links to you. And look for all of the non-rich anchor text links and email each of those site owners.

Ask them if they will adjust the link and switch it to something that contains a keyword.

This strategy is much more effective when you ask people to switch backlinks that contain your brand name as the anchor text to something that is more keyword rich.

Sitewide Links

They say sitewide links are spammy… especially if they are shoved in the footer of a site.

We built one sitewide footer link to each article to test this out.

sitewide links

Although sites that leverage sitewide links showed more of an increase than the control group, the results weren’t amazing, especially for page 1 rankings.

Content-based links

Do relevance and the placement of the links impact rankings? We built 3 in-content links that were relevant to each article.

Now the links were not rich in anchor text.

content based links

Compared to the baseline, rankings moved up to a similar rate as the sites who built rich anchor text links from irrelevant sites.

Multiple site links

I always hear SEOs telling me that if you build multiple links from the same site, it doesn’t do anything. They say that Google only counts one link.

For that reason, I thought we would put this to the test.

We built 3 links to each article, but we did something a bit different compared to the other groups. Each link came from the same site, although we did leverage 3 different web pages.

For example, if 3 different editors from Forbes link to your article from different web pages on Forbes, in theory, you have picked up 3 links from the same site.

samesite links

Even if the same site links to you multiple times, it can help boost your rankings.

One link 

Is more really better? How does one relevant link compare to 3 irrelevant links?

one link

It’s not as effective as building multiple links. Sure, it is better than building no links but the articles that built 3 relevant backlinks instead of 1 had roughly 75% more keyword placements in the top 100 positions of Google.

So if you have a choice when it comes to link building, more is better.

Sidebar links

Similar to how we tested footer links, I was curious to see how much placement of a link impacts rankings.

We looked at in-content links, footer links, and now sidebar links.

sidebar links

Shockingly, they have a significant impact in rankings. Now in order of effectiveness, in-content links help the most, then sidebar links, and then sitewide footer when it comes to placement.

I wish I tested creating 3 sitewide footer links to each article instead of 1 as that would have given me a more accurate conclusion for what placements Google prefers.

Maybe I will be able to run that next time. 🙁

Nofollow links

Do nofollow links help with rankings?

Is Google pulling our leg when they say they ignore them?

nofollow

From what it looks like, they tend to not count nofollow links. Based on the chart above, you can see that rankings did improve over time, but so did almost every other chart, including the control group.

But here’s what’s funny: the control group had a bigger percentage gain in keyword rankings even though no links were built.

Now, I am not saying that nofollow links hurt your rankings, instead, I am saying they have no impact.

High authority link

Which one do you think is better:

Having one link from a high domain site (70 or higher)?

OR

Having 3 links from sites with an average or low domain score?

high authority

Even though the link from the authority site wasn’t rich in anchor text and we only built 1 per site in this group… it still had a bigger impact than the sites in the other group.

That means high authority links have more weight than irrelevant links that contain rich anchor text or even 3 links from sites with a low domain score.

If you are going to spend time link building, this is where your biggest ROI will be.

Build and removed links

This was the most interesting group, at least that is what the data showed.

I always felt that if you built links and got decent rankings you wouldn’t have to worry too much when you lost links.

After all, Google looks at user signals, right?

remove links

This one was shocking. At least for sites that have a low domain score, if you gain a few links and then lose them fairly quickly, your rankings can tank to lower than what they originally were.

I didn’t expect this one and if I had to guess, maybe Google has something programmed in their algorithm that if a site loses a large portion of their links fast that people don’t find value in the site and that it shouldn’t rank.

Or that the site purchased links and then stopped purchasing the links…

Whatever it may be, you should consider tracking how many links you lose on a regular basis and focus on making sure the net number is increasing each month.

Conclusion

I wish I had put more people behind this experiment as that would have enabled me to increase the number of sites that I included in this experiment.

My overall sample size for each group is a bit too small, which could skew the data. But I do believe it is directionally accurate, in which building links from high domain score sites have the biggest impact.

Then shoot for rich anchor text links that are from relevant sites and are placed within the content.

I wouldn’t have all of your link text rich in anchor text and if you are using white hat link building practices it naturally won’t be and you won’t have to worry much about this.

But if you combine all of that together you should see a bigger impact in your rankings, especially if you are a new site.

So, what do you think about the data? Has it helped you figure out what types of links Google prefers?

The post What Type of Links Does Google Really Prefer? appeared first on Neil Patel.

Thank you for reading.

How to Build a Google Data Studio Dashboard

This may be of some interest.

Looking for a faster way to visualize and make sense of your marketing metrics? Have you heard of Google Data Studio? In this article, you’ll learn how to build a reusable report in Google Data Studio. Why Use Google Data Studio to Simplify Marketing Measurement Analysis When you’re a small business with a limited marketing […]

The post How to Build a Google Data Studio Dashboard appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Genius accuses Google of stealing song lyrics from its site

This may be of some interest.

TwitterFacebook

Using Morse code, the music site claimed to have discovered over 100 counts of Google taking its content. However, Google claims the lyrics on their search bar are from licensed partners. Read more…

More about Entertainment, Google, Music, Mashable Video, and Genius

Thank you for reading.