Customized Dashboards & Weighted Sort
Wow! It feels like forever since I last sat down to write. Sometimes a little vacation (which was planned) can be good. When you combine that vacation with an unexpected illness it is not so much. Anyway, it feels good to be back at the keyboard and I am looking forward to writing this week’s SEO Boot Camp installation.
Last time we covered 5 key metrics that every blogger should watch. While these are important, sometimes we want to dig a little deeper…get our hands a little dirty…and really find out what is going on in our little corner of the Webosphere (I totally should have been the name-er of the Internet J).
So bloggers, put on your work gloves and get ready to dig in! Today we are going to cover setting up custom dashboards and weighted sort in Google analytics.
What?! More analytics!
I know, I know. But SEO is not a set it and forget it thing and one of the biggest parts of search engine optimization is learning how to read analytics data and interpret it to provide great insights. Honestly, as a professional marketer most of my time is spent in analytics analyzing data so I can make the RIGHT changes to my websites.
If you want to improve your websites performance , learn to love analytics now.
You know what data you want to see from your analytics. And if you are like most of us you would like to see it NOW. The easiest way to do this is by creating a customized dashboard that will be the first thing you see when you log in to Google analytics.
Every custom dashboard will be unique depending on the needs of the user., so I am not going to go over specific data to use here – simply how to actually set it up. However, I will include 3 metrics that I feel are important – visits by source, visits vs. bounce rate, and top keywords.
First thing we need to do is create our custom dashboard template. We begin by going to the “Home” tab at the top of the analytics page, clicking on “Dashboards” in the left menu and then clicking on “New Dashboard. This Will bring up the “Create Dashboard” screen. Google provides the option of a starter dashboard and a blank canvas to work from. While the starter dashboard is great for getting general information, we want to dig a little deeper and get info people won’t normally see, so we are going to click on “Blank Canvas”.
Next we want to create a widget for our custom dashboard. The wizard allows us to choose between a pie graph, timeline and table (which is usually all you will need). Once you have chosen your graph, you then get to choose your metrics, filters and add a title. Once completed, simply click “Save”.
- Create a Pie Graph with ‘visits’ grouped by ‘source’.
- Create a timeline with ‘visits’ compared with ‘bounce rate’.
- Create a table for ‘keyword’ and added metrics of ‘visits’ and ‘bounces’.
After you have added all the widgets your heart desires you will have a customized analytics dashboard that will look something (and nothing) like the one below.
This will allow you to see all your important Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) immediately upon logging into your analytics account.
If you remember last time we covered bounce rates, which is basically a measure of people coming to your site and then leaving right away. This is a great way to determine if people are being turned off by something on your website (this could be an image, the color scheme, or an entire content). Analytics allows you to sort your data indifferent ways and we obviously want to know which pages have the highest bounce rates. The problem lies when they get sorted and we are shown a ton of pages with 100% bounce rates and only 1 or 2 visits. ß This is NOT helpful. This is where Weighted Sort comes in handy.
In our example below we are using the new analytics interface (if you are not using this yet, get there – the future is here). I am looking at organic traffic keywords under “Traffic Sources” on the left menu. We begin by sorting the data by bounce rate. This is done by hovering our mouse cursor over the Bounce Rate column heading and clicking on it until the down arrow is shown. Next, we go to the “Sort By” drop down menu above the Keywords column (as shown) and click on the “Weighted” option…voila!
This will sort our data by high bounce rates and weight it against the number of visits, meaning that all those pesky 1 or 2 visit sets will be pushed down and more meaningful data pushed up for us to see. We now have much better data that we can take action on! And the beauty is, weighted sort can be used for a ton of data sets, helping to make your life a whole lot easier and meaningful (from a blog standpoint, anyway) J.
Hope everyone has enjoyed this week’s installment of SEO Boot Camp and you have a couple new things to try out for your own blogs. If you have any questions, feel free to leave comments below and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Jeff Loquist is a search engine marketer with more than seven years’ experience creating search-friendly content and optimizing websites for the search engines. He runs Zen Search Marketing, a Baton Rouge SEO Consulting, PPC management and content development company. Outside of search, Jeff enjoys making soap (yeah, you heard right…soap) and writing poetry and short fiction. Mostly, Jeff enjoys a good Scotch, a fine cigar and great conversation; pretty much in that order.