How to Finally Use Google Analytics Data to Get More Blog Readers and Subscribers

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google_analytics_logoI’m sorry.

For three years I’ve been telling you to blog by the numbers. I’ve insisted that Google Analytics is your most important tool for growing your blog.

But I’ve never been specific about what to do with your Google Analytics information. Specifically, how do you use that yummy info to write better blog posts and attract more readers?

We’ll correct that today.

A Few Google Analytics Prerequisites

If you haven’t already, install Google Analytics on your blog. I prefer the Google Analyticator WordPress plugin.

This post will be most helpful after you’ve let Google Analytics track your data for 2–3 months. You can still use my recommendations if you just started today just be careful about making assumptions with a few days of data.

Last, keep it simple. Google Analytics serves up a treasure trove of data. It’s easy to get lost in the data or get stalled by analysis paralysis. I’ll help you avoid this by focusing on several key metrics.

Mining Organic (Search) Data

How to find the info in Google Analytics

    1. Click the “Reporting” tab at the top and go to “Traffic Sources”
    2. Drill down to the Sources -> Search -> Organic
    3. Look at the last 6 months of data

I prefer to look at 6 months of data to get a view of the consistent top performing keywords. I go back to 30 days of data when I want to search for “outlier” keywords that have performed well.

What You’re Looking For

Review your top 10 list of keywords that visitors used to find your blog.

Pay attention to:

Top Terms by Number of Visits

It’s likely that your blog name (or a variation) will be at the top of the list. But look for keyword phrases around specific topics. Plug these phrases into Google and see where you’re blog is ranked. Most times your blog is on the 1st or 2nd page of results.

% New Visits

Look for terms that have driven new visitors to your site. These terms are valuable since they are growth-oriented. Creating content around your top growth-oriented terms leverages your strengths and positions you to get more 1st time reader traffic.

Action Item

Identify your top growth-oriented keyword phrases and brainstorm 12 new blog posts for each term. Plug these posts into your editorial calendar. Make it a priority to write these posts since they are likely to contribute new readers, subscribers, and buyers.

Analyze Your Top Blog Posts for

How to find the info in Google Analytics

  1. Click the “Reporting” tab at the top and go to “Content”
  2. Drill down to Overview
  3. Select the Page Title option from the Site Content Options
  4. Look at the last 6 months of data for strong performers. Switch the date range to the last 3 days to identify outliers.

What You’re Looking For

  • Which post received the most pageviews?
  • Look for a match between your top keywords and your top blog 10 posts. Which keywords consistently show up in your top performing post headlines?
  • Which old posts are still getting traffic?
  • Do posts in the top 10 share a theme?

Action Item

Pay special attention to high performing blog posts focused around a specific theme. This is an excellent opportunity to write long-form content (i.e. special reports, video courses, email courses) targeting the theme. Use the long-form content to grow your email list

Analyze Your Conversions

Prerequisite:

You’ll need to set goals for Google to track. Google offers a simple tutorial for setting up your goals here.

I’ve found the following goals to be the most useful:

  • Comments: Tracks how many people comment on
  • Engagement: How many people have read more than 2 minutes
  • Blog Update Subscriptions: How man people requested email notifications about new posts
  • Special Report / Course Signups: How many people registered for one of my courses or reports

Each of these goals track with the overall objectives of the blog. Consider setting up similar goals for blog until you get comfortable with the process of evaluating your blog’s performance.

How to find the info in Google Analytics

  1. Click the “Reporting” tab at the top and go to Go to “Conversions”
  2. Drill down to Goals -> Overview
  3. Look the last 6 months of data

What You’re Looking For

  • Which blog posts are contributing the most goal conversions?
  • Which blog post types get people to convert?

Action Item

Look for you top-performing conversion generating post. Now double-down on this post type and/or topic.

For example, a review of one of my client accounts showed that they were generating almost 80% of their conversions from List posts targeting a very specific keyword. We doubled-down by brainstorming 12 new monthly posts, creating an infographic, writing a special report, and creating an email course around the topic.

Day 14 of the 30 Day / 30 Blog Challenge

You can join and start your 30 Day / 30 Blog Post journey at any time – just count out 30 days, note the final day on your calendar and start writing!

About Stan

Stan Smith is the Managing Director of Pushing Social a content marketing consultancy for aggressive, results-focused organizations.

6 thoughts on “How to Finally Use Google Analytics Data to Get More Blog Readers and Subscribers

  1. Ellen Clark

    Thank you. I got more out of this post than many whole books I have read on blogging. I have had Google Analytics for years set up but really didn’t use it that much. I never did any of the steps you mentioned above. I would just randomly look how many more visits I had from a month or year ago. Now I have identified my main keywords which remarkably were right there in my page titles. Your step by step guide was useful for a novice such as myself. And I will next look into conversions as I have never done that either.

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  3. Jake Posey

    This was a great post. It is very useful. I have a question for you. One of the largest drivers to my blog is the movie monsters University. I wrote a blog post about The movie and setting goals. Do you have any thoughts on how I can capitalize off of those nonrelated keywords?

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