OK, so now you have accomplished the above tasks – now what? How will you ever know if your hard work is paying off? And if it is paying off – how will you keep the momentum going? And if it’s not what are you going to do about it?
During the blog analysis stage you are essentially working through a discovery process. You will use basic fact finding skills to gather relevant data, analytical skills to help you understand the data and implementation skills to use the data to your advantage.
There are typically 3 Steps you will want to follow during this process including:
- Gather The Data
- Analyze The Data
- Use The Data
Step 1: Gather The Data
The types of data you are looking to discover information about include:
- Information about how Google crawls and indexes your blog.
- Information about the visitors that come to your blog.
- Information about the content you post.
Tip: Install Handy Browser Tools & Add ons
Consider installing a few browser tools that will make the process very easy:
- Install the Google toolbar.
- Install the Google PageRank Display Button on the new toolbar. (scroll down on this page until you see PageRank Display Button – then click install) onto the Google Toolbar.
- Install the Alexa Sparky add-on and watch your ranking over time.
Take note of your page rank and watch it over time.
Once these tools are installed you will be able to use them on a regular basis to get a quick snapshot of your blogs stats.
Next, you will take advantage of the tools I talked about setting up earlier in this post series. Remember your Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools and Alexa accounts? These tools have been working behind the scenes to track the key information that you need for this phase!
Gather Key Pieces of Analytical Data:
- Analyze the data in your Google Analytics account.
- Analyze the data in your Google Webmaster Tools Account.
- View and track your Alexa data.
- Perform a free Hubspot marketing grader report.
Step 2: Analyze The Data
Analyze the data in your Google Analytics account.
- Visitors: Watch your unique visitors.
- Traffic: Look at where your visitors are coming from.
- Traffic: Traffic Sources, Keywords: See what keywords visitors are using to land on your content.
- Content: See what content is doing well or not.
Analyze the data in your Google Webmaster Tools Account.
- Site Configuration, Sitemaps: verify your site status is OK. View your sitemap.
- Site Configuration, Crawler Access: verify that the Google Bots are indeed able to crawl your site – watch for errors.
- Diagnostics, Crawl Errors: insure that all your links are reachable.
- Your site on the web, Search Queries: view keywords in which visitors are getting to your site from.
- Follow the Google Webmaster Tools’ YouTube Channel – it’s an invaluable resource.
Analyze your Hubspot Marketing Report Details:
Understand your Alexa Data.
Let’s take a look at how you can elicit valuable information for the data and use this going forward.
Step 3: Use The Data
Let’s take a peek at how you can use this newly discovered data to further enhance your blog and your content creation going forward.
Remember earlier when I mentioned there are 3 types of data in which you want to discover information about? Now it’s time to learn how you will be able to use the information you gathered during the discovery process to maintain your blogs health and improve your search results going forward.
How you can use the information you discovered about Google’s ability to craw and index your blog:
For bloggers it’s imperative to learn how to monitor your blogs “Googability”. For this task, I asked you to go into your Google Webmaster Tools account and analyze the data. As a newbie at all of this were you able to navigate through and peek at all the data?
- Is Google able to crawl your blog successfully? Or, perhaps there was an error message? If there was simply do a Google Search to find a similar instance and use the tips to figure out a solution. View Health, Crawl Errors.
- Are the pages in your XML Sitemap being indexed? Were there any pages that were not found? Did you click through the handy links that Google provided embedded within the error code to learn more? View Optimization, Sitemaps.
- Has Google recommend any HTML Improvements for you blog. View Optimization, HTML Improvements.
- How much Googlebot activity has your blog been getting? View Health, Crawl Stats.
- Has Google detected any Malware on your blog? View Health, Malware.
From a technical standpoint these are a few of the questions you want to ask yourself when performing regular check ups on your blog. Even though today everything may check out OK, things happen and your data can be subject to change.
How can you use the information about your blog visitors?
By using Google Webmaster tools you can find out all sorts of neat snippets of information about your blog visitors. Your goal here is to maximize the results that benefit your SEO while taking note of the results that may not matter as much. Comb through the data and see if you are able to answer the following questions:
- What are the top search queries used by visitors to land on my blog? View Traffic, Search Queries.
- Are these top search queries relevant to my blog topic/niche?
- Do I feel really excited that people are finding my blog for these queries?
- Or are these search queries off topic and irrelevant?
How you action the results of these questions will vary depending on your answer. If you are excited about the search queries that people are using to find your blog then use this to your utmost advance. What article did you post that contains those keywords and/or keyword phrases? Are you able to showcase this post on your sidebar? Perhaps you could you expand upon the topic and write more relevant posts in a series?
If the search query results seem to be irrelevant to your blogs focus then this is OK too. Use these queries to bench mark your progress and learn how people are discovering your content.
Keep in mind that typically the top search queries are usually questions people are typing into the Google Search box. Think about it… If they are looking for an answer to a question in which you can provide a knowledgeable answer to then consider this to be your Golden opportunity.
Insights into peoples search habits, especially when relevant to your content is key!
- What sites are linking to my blog? View Traffic, Links to your Site.
- What site is linking the most to your blog?
- Are social networking sites linking back to your blog?
- What is your most linked to content? Why? Are you able to create more content like this? Obviously people are liking it!
- How is your content being linked?
- Are you linking internally to your own content? It’s a great idea!
- Are people using your Google +1 Button to share your content?
Understanding how visitors are using your blog is another key factor to become knowledgable about. Keep in mind that you can also use the data inside your Google Analytics account to answer more valuable questions like:
- What are my visitors demographics?
- What type of technology are they using to read my blog?
- What are they doing once they land on my blog? How long do they stay? What do they read? Do they come back?
How can you use the information you gathered about the content you post?
In viewing the data inside your Google Analytics account under the content section, see if you can find answers to the following questions:
- What pages on my blog are getting the most views? The least views and why?
- How much time are people spending reading my stuff?
- What content do people land on to enter my site? How did they find that content?
- What does your visitors click pattern look like?
- What can you learn from the “In Page Analytics” report? Is there a certain type of content visitors are gravitating towards?
- What is your bounce rate? What page do people seem to be leave your blog from most often?
- Are you tracking your blogs internal search box? What terms are people searching for the most while on your blog?
By now you should have a good overview of the type of data you want to analyze on your blog. As your blog differs from mine so will the data that you will want to keep a close eye on. As you follow this process on a regular basis it will become easier and the results will become richer. As time goes on the data captured by your analytical tools will accumulate giving you the opportunity to really benchmark your progress.
Is there a particular technique or tip you have developed that would help a blogger become an Analytics Rockstar?