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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.

The Right Link Text Will Get You Ahead

Recent research by Nielsen Norman Group gives great advice on the best link labels.  To get the most clicks, write specific links that set sincere expectations, are substantial enough to stand alone, and are as succinct as possible.

As people scan your site, they look for links to get them to the information you want. Keep these four elements in mind to create links.

A link’s primary purpose is to communicate to users what they’ll find when they click. Vague or repetitive language fails that purpose. “Learn more” and “Click here” are not effective links.

What makes a great link? These four elements:

  • Specific: Make the link text specific, so the user knows exactly what they’ll get.
  • Sincere: Link text must set expectations that will be instantly met when the user clicks . When links set expectations that aren’t met, the user’s trust in the site and the organization it represents is reduced.
  • Substantial: Most users scan rather than read online. Links draw attention. The link text needs to give the user enough information to decide to click.
  • Succinct: Get to the point as quickly as possible, to increase the likelihood that users will quickly understand the link.