More Google Analytics Reports For Publishers

More Google Analytics Reports For Publishers

Last time I talked at length about the specific Google Analytics information can offer to digital publishers that many often miss. Specifically, I talked about using Goals and Site Search features to get more insight into how pages relate to certain visitors and whatever other goals you set to learn what people seek when they get to your site.

google analytics reports for publishers

This time I want to look at a couple of additional lesser known features of Google Analytics to help Web publishers. Demographics and Engagement, both critically important to ensure that your targeting works and to confirm that you’re producing compelling content that people want to share with friends and colleagues.

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Publishers Are Fighting To Stay Ahead of These Trends

Publishers Are Fighting To Stay Ahead of These Trends

Digital publishers and online content creators are always adapting. Few industries have more moving parts than the publishing space, yet the rewards of a $70 billion dollar ad industry, with 20% year over year growth, provides more than enough incentive to stay current with all the variables in the field.

data-driven publishers

The biggest buzzwords and trends in the digital publishing space right now are “artificial intelligence” and “data science”. A quick analysis of popular industry conference topics will instantly highlight just how popular these terms have become for publishers recently. However, the rise of these subjects underlines something even more important… the vast importance of data and what publishers should be doing with it.

Below, I’ll deliver some of the key points I recently discussed at Pubtelligence — which was hosted at Google. I’ll highlight key trends in the digital publishing space and show where I think the most successful publishers will be headed in the next 5 years.

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Setting up Google Analytics for Digital Publishers

Setting up Google Analytics for Digital Publishers

Oh sure, you’ve added the Google Analytics code to your site and check your stats to see what’s going on. But as a publisher,  have you configured Google Analytics to best deliver important insights to your goals and objectives? To misquote Janet Jackson, “what has Analytics done for you lately”?

configure google analytics publisher

Let’s have a look at a couple of features in Google Analytics you should have enabled and be analyzing on a weekly basis to better understand your traffic and visitors.

Setting the right goals in Google Analytics

To start, we need to delve into the world of “Goals”. In the world of Google Analytics, it turns out that just about anything can be set as a goal. These are of tantamount importance because it’s how Analytics tracks conversions, and, well, conversions is how you can track valuable actions by visitors.

goals in google analytics

Let’s say that like me, you’ve decided that one important criteria for your site success is newsletter signups. That’s a goal: getting signups. While you’re at it, perhaps time on site is a goal too: every visitor who spends more than 90 seconds on your site is a win. Or, heck, you might also set another goal related to pages viewed per visit.

Three great goals and all valid even if you don’t have a whiff of commerce on your site. Publishers often gloss over goals in Google Analytics because they think they are only for B2B sites or e-commerce businesses. But, all publishers are doing themselves a disservice by not tracking events that are important to them.

goals google analytics

To set up goals, go to the Goals section in Analytics and specify your target URL, target time on site, the target number of pages or similar. Give it a name like “newsletter signups” and add any specific pages or URLs involved in the sequence. For a newsletter signup, for example, that can be measured by the number of people who get to the thank-you.html page.

Now give it a few days and go back to see how you’re doing.

Learning from site search behavior

Do you have a Web site search engine hooked up so that visitors can search your site for specific content? Oh, that’s a gold mine of information and should be studied closely on a regular basis: it’s your visitors telling you exactly what they want to find on your site! It can also help you fine-tune keywords on your site too, of course, if you use one name for a product but your customers are focused on something else.

Did you know that Google Analytics can help you track these site searches? In the Admin area, go to Profile Settings and you’ll find Site Search Settings (below).

google analytics site search digital publishers

As with all Analytics data, now’s the time to go work on other aspects of your site for a week, then go back and check out all the great data you’re now collecting. I always try to answer two questions when I analyze this data on my own AskDaveTaylor site:

  1. What are the most popular searches
  2. What are people searching for that they can’t find?

In both cases, take the data, do those exact searches yourself, then ask yourself “is this right? is this optimal?” You’ll find that you can tweak titles to better match user searches and that there’ll be entire categories of information you could add to your site that you’ve never really thought about. Add ‘em!

Looking closely at visitor engagement

One of the most valuable and important things to measure if you’re a digital publisher is visitor engagement. This is a topic we have researched and discussed a lot recently.

Essentially, the takeaway with much of the research has been that session duration, bounce rate, and pageviews per visit are some of the best user experience metrics that publishers currently have; however, they are easily corrupted. You can track all of these stats currently in Google Analytics in about every way imaginable (by landing page, etc.).

seo and bounce rate

What’s been discovered is that digging deeper into each of those metrics and looking at why a session may be long, or why a user might be visiting multiple pages, can be paramount to understanding the value that visitor has to advertisers. This means that improving traditional user experience metrics in Google Analytics might not be valuable or beneficial on it’s own. Affecting things like navigation bounces, engaged pageviews, and engagement time have a much stronger correlation with higher session revenue and things like SEO.

Getting outside the box

There’s so much more you can do with Google Analytics, but we’ll break some of this information into two parts. If you’d like more information about analyzing visitor engagement, check out Ezoic advanced reporting. Otherwise, stay tuned for more analytics insights next week.

How To Stop Bad Ads From Showing On Your Website

How To Stop Bad Ads From Showing On Your Website

Tired of seeing bad ads appearing on your website? All publishers hate seeing spammy ads or malicious downloads appearing on their web properties. This subjects visitors to material that the publisher almost always would rather them never see. Unfortunately, bad actors are always finding ways to game the system.

How To Stop Bad Ads From Showing website

Below, I’ll explain exactly why these types of ads show on publisher sites. I’ll discuss why even the most popular sites in the world still deal with these problems, and what you can do to safeguard against their impact on your visitors.

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Risks For Independent Web Publishers In The Next 5 Years

Risks For Independent Web Publishers In The Next 5 Years

By: Dave Taylor (

I can’t decide. Is the future so bright that I’ve gotta’ wear shades, or is there an impending apocalyptic nightmare of global warming and civil unrest just over the horizon? This obviously matters to me and my family, but it also matters to my business, and since my web publishing business is the lion’s share of my income, it’s pretty important to plan ahead and avoid future risks.

web publisher risks five years

So what’s likely to happen in the next few years and what can I do about it proactively?

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How To Monitor Your Website Day To Day

How To Monitor Your Website Day To Day

Once you’re done deploying a design and getting everything set up with a hosting company, running a Web site can move into maintenance mode. That’s when you’re focused on the content, not your infrastructure, and that’s good because we all know the mantra content is king.

monitor website

But if you’re not paying attention to the underlying technology that powers your publishing site you could be headed towards disaster, whether it’s a Google or Facebook penalty dropping your site traffic to a trickle, changes in your audience interest, choke-points in your hosting plan, or even hackers sneaking onto your site and wreaking havoc.

As a result, it’s beneficial to get a reminder of what you should be watching on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, so that’s what I’m going to cover in this article. 

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Copy/Paste Per Visit – A Website Engagement Signal You Should Measure?

Copy/Paste Per Visit – A Website Engagement Signal You Should Measure?

We’ve been talking about the Fake UX phenomenon a lot recently. The idea that website engagement is so closely tied to ad revenue and SEO is pretty eye-opening if you’re a digital publisher. This has a lot of publishers scrambling to better understand how visitors engage with their content and what website elements can help them increase engagement and lengthen the user session the most.

copy/paste per visit user experience engagement

Being able to identify problems like Navigation Bounces are important. And, being able to understand what may by affecting Engagement Time in positive and negative ways is critical as well; however, Copy/Paste Per Visit is an interesting new metric that is also surprisingly connected to website engagement.

What’s more, website owners and webmasters may be surprised just how many users are copy/pasting content from their sites, and just how much this may be benefiting them financially and with search engines like, Google…

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Should Websites Delete Comments, Ignore, or Reply?

Should Websites Delete Comments, Ignore, or Reply?

Seems like such a basic question if you’re running a Web site: do you allow comments, and if so, do you approve them all for publishing or filter them? There are lots of nuances in this area, however, and it’s worth spending some time considering all of your options and how they might affect both your success online and the impression visitors get when they come to your site.

website delete comments

I’ve been at this a while and can share with you some precise criteria for how you should go about handling comments on your site. Below, I’ll highlight when visitor comments make sense, and when they might now.

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