This method for finding the most important pages on your website isn’t something I discovered on my own. I first heard about it from Chase Reeves on the Fizzle blog. I highly advise you check out the original article.
You’ll need to have a Google Analytics account to make this work. The longer you’ve had Google Analytics, the better.
What’s great about this report is it doesn’t just rely on what pages get the most most traffic, but what pages get the most engagement. There are only four steps, and once you learn them, this only takes a minute to get this information.
Why You Need This Information
Like Chase explains in his article, traffic doesn’t always mean people are reading or caring about the pages they are landing on. Every site has high traffic pages that aren’t doing their job as well as they could. This helps us separate the pages that are effective and holding people’s attention, from the ones that aren’t.
The pages we want to create more of are ones that are both high traffic and highly engaging.
Log in to your Google Analytics account. Find the website you want to analyze. Set a long date range for analysis. We are looking for the best material on your site, no matter when it was published. If we set the range too narrow, we might miss our best pages.
On the left hand navigation, find Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. Go ahead and click that.
This is the trickiest part, but you’ve got this. You’ll see the first drop-down — that shoud already be set to “Pageviews”
Next, you’ll see some icons to the right of the Search box and the Advanced link. Select the 4th one from the left (pointed out in the figure below). When you hover on it, a title tag should appear that says “Comparison”.
You’ll see a second drop-down with the label, “(compared to site average)”. Set that drop-down to Avg. Time On Page.
The green bars mean those pages are performing well against your site average. People are staying on those pages longer than other pages. Try to see what you are doing right on these pages, and do more of it in the future.
The red bars are pages that underperform against the site average. For whatever reason, visitors aren’t spending as much time on these pages compared to the average page on your website. Try to see what things can be improved on these pages.
The pages are ranked from top to bottom by raw traffic. They are then graded by how much time people are spending on each page.
What I Learned From This Exercise
Most of the pages that generate traffic also have high engagement. A few pages that I expected to do well are actually underperforming. Figuring out what brings people to your website is sometimes different from what keeps them on your website. Every day is a learning process.
Measuring things is important. It confirms things we might have known, and reveals things we didn’t know.
What gets measured, gets done. Now you’ve got one more thing you can measure your success by.