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Use Google Analytics to Fix Bad Website Pages and Links

Google Analytics can be used to find bad pages and links at your website. Here are the steps to get information about these issues so you can correct them and improve the user experience at your website.

Find Bad URLs and Broken Pages

Behavior > Site Content > Page Title dimension, filter for “Page Not Found”

If a visitor goes to a bad URL (a page that doesn’t exist) they arrive at the “404 Page Not Found” landing page. Visits to these bad URLs appear in the Site Content report as they all have different URLs. But they all have the same Page Title.

In Analytics, go to the Behavior > Site Content report. Switch to the Page Title dimension. Add the title of your 404 page into the filter box. You should now see a report with just one row: your page not found page.

Click on it to drill-down to see all the URLs that have resulted in a 404 error at your site. To fix the issues, redirect traffic from these pages to the most relevant page or create content using these URLs.

Next Find the Bad Links

Behavior > Site Content > Page Title dimension, filter for “Page Not Found” > Drill down > Navigation Summary, Previous Page Path

Using the 404 report, click on the “Navigation Summary” tab to see how people are getting to the bad page. The pages in the “Previous Page Path” list are pages with broken internal links. You’ll want to remove the link or update it to point to another page.

What Google Analytics Can Tell You About Your Business

You have a website, but how is it used? You add information, but what do users value most? These and many other marketing questions can be answered with Google Analytics. GA tracks a range of key stats and insights related to your website performance. It provides essential intel to help you target your marketing.

Data Available from Google Analytics

Google Analytics gathers a lot of data. What matters most to you depends on your type of business and your goals.

  • Where visitors are located
  • Visitor interests
  • Browsers and devices used
  • Age and gender

GA tells you what people do at your site:

  • Pages viewed
  • Links clicked
  • Time on page
  • Actions taken

You also get great intel on where people come from, whether it is social media, a search or  another website.

From Data to Insights

Data is nice, but insights are better. The default Analytics dashboard will give you great info which may or may not tell you what you need to know. Usually, you have to look deeper into the data to give you the info you need to guide your marketing.

Here are some common insights you can get from your Google Analytics Data.

  • Pages viewed tells you what’s most interesting at your site. You learn what people want more of and what they don’t care about.
  • Traffic sources tells you what marketing channels are sending traffic to your site. There’s no sense in investing more effort with channels that don’t get people to your website.
  • Devices tells you just how much effort you need to put into an excellent mobile experience. If half or more of your visitors are using their cell phones, you must make sure your site functions well on the small screen. You must.

Look at your online marketing goals and explore how Google Analytics can give you actionable data to measure progress as well as understand what to do next.

 

Cutting Through the Google Analytics Data Clutter

Google continues to add complexity to the Google Analytics tool. It is great to be able to take a deep dive, but Google Analytics data can also be overwhelming. Here’s a guide to getting the insight from analytics that you most often need.

Page Level Analysis

Google analytics data can tell you how popular a page is and if it’s worth the effort to spend time and resources on the page. Go to the All pages report in Google Analytics: Behavior> Site content and search for the page

  • Note the overall position among all pages
  • Note how often the first page or “entrance page” is visited

Click on the page name to see the metrics of that page. Try to understand what the metrics are saying and how it compares to the site’s average.

Trend Analysis

Look at the page over time by expanding the date range of the data. Does the page perform best during certain days, weeks or months of the year?

Session Level Analysis

In the Sessions area, go to landing pages and look at the All Pages report. The number of pages per session, the bounce rate and the number of new users can all be insightful.

Google Search Console Analysis

In addition to Google Analytics data, take a look at Google Search Console to find information about the keywords that your site ranks for. Go to your Google Search Console account and click on Search results. You can look at data for your entire website or filter to look at a specific page.

Listen to the Data

Analytics and search data can help you get the most from your efforts to market online. Pick a few data views that are most meaningful to you and take time to review them periodically.  Also, look for other sources for great data to inform your digital marketing.