Good, relevant topics to create content for your audience to consume can come from many places, and finding great ideas can sometimes be as easy as shouting into the room “does anyone have a topic they’d like me to write about, today?” However, there are times when you just don’t know what to write about. Also, there are times when your resources are tight, and you need to make sure that every moment you spend creating content for your target audience will be worth as much as possible. Similarly, you could be faced with having to justify to those in control of the budget why a topic is worthwhile.
Utilizing your site’s web analytics platform can help. Google Analytics, in particular, can be used in a few ways to give you great topics to cover, as well as providing some insight into the possible value of a topic.
The two items I’ll cover, today, are going to be on using the Site Search feature and finding the topics that your audience values content for, even when it’s not about your industry or offering.
This feature within Google Analytics allows you to record the search queries that visitors put into your site’s search box (if you have one). From there, you can see whether they found what they were looking for, if they were more likely to convert on given desired topics, or if there is a need that some extra content could fill. For this article, we will start with the assumption that the feature is already enabled. If this is not the case, please feel free to reach out via email.
To find the basic statistics on what visitors are searching for on your site, (NOTE: if someone is performing a search in your site’s search box, that’s a strong indication that they already don’t see what they are looking for based on the navigation options that are provided)
- Navigate into the Google Analytics reporting section
- Proceed to the “Behavior” section
- Then into “Site Search”
- Finally, select “Search Terms”
From here, you will see the essential site usage statistics. Make note of the “% Search Refinements”, as a high percentage in this column for high traffic search terms may indicate a keyword variation to an existing topic, that can quickly have copy reworked to satisfy your visitors and to help pull in more organic traffic.
Other useful views in this feature are either the Goal (1 – 4) and the eCommerce tabs, depending on how your company has defined what the valuable actions on the site are. In the eCommerce view, you can see how much revenue, how many transactions, the average order value, conversion rate, and, what I find particularly helpful, the per search value of each query. By focusing on the high “Per Search Value”, high search volume queries for your next round of content, you can help to maximize the efficiency of your content creation efforts. Also, these metrics can help to draft a rough estimate of return on investment for growing more content assets around a topic, given your SEO or social media experts estimates on how much incremental traffic can be attained.
There are some fascinating pieces of information now being fed into Google Analytics, assuming that your implementation for Google Analytics has been set up to allow the “Display Advertiser Features”. If not, please feel free to reach out to us for help on this.
Interest reports within Google Analytics show the statistics on things such as what topics does your audience generally consume content for on other sites, what might they have been in the market to buy before they visited your site, and, roughly speaking, what are their hobbies and interests.
To find this information, start by navigating to the “Audience” section of the Google Analytics reporting interface. From here there are several sections that one may navigate to, but the one I’d like to focus on, now, is the “Other Categories” section. This view provides some of the more detailed breakdowns of the topics your audience tends to enjoy consuming content around, as well as how each of those segments of users tends to behave on your site.
Within the default view, here, the metrics I find the most useful for guiding content creation decisions are the ones around how many new users came in that liked a particular topic (for example, seeing that those who like reading about hair care, even though my product may be a video game, make up the second largest segment to bring new users to my site). Also, taking into consideration the behavior statistics, such as average session duration, I might be able to see which segments were likely to engage more intently with what my site has to offer.
From here, you might like to change the view to focus on eCommerce, instead of the summary view. Here, you’ll see which of your audiences generate the most revenue (or other defined value) for your company. For example, you might find out that your site focused on cosmetics tends to resonate well with those who enjoy baseball, which may trigger some ideas around articles to write on how to look great when one finds themselves featured on the Jumbotron while at the game.
Finding the overlap in high return interest segments, which also bring in new users, can help to prioritize content creation resources. Providing the numbers on historical performance for these segments to those who control the budgets may also help to increase the available resources that your content team can use to grow and succeed.