Wednesday, 15 November 2006

Google Analytics: exact referring URLs of blog visitors

Google Analytics has been free to all website/blog owners since August 2006. It tracks traffic to your blog or website, providing statistics, graphs etc on visits to your blog, and on your visitors.

The Google Analytics blog now gives a tip on how to set it so that you can see the exact pages from which your visitors clicked a link to get to your blog, not just (as is the default) the referring domain, by (as they put it) "cross-segmenting a referring source by Content". Don't worry about the jargon, they do provide a step by step in that blog post.

They also suggest you can use Google Analytics to monitor your blog in some other ways:
  • find out what posts readers liked the most by looking at daily visits and popularity of permalinks. (Knowing this can influence what you write about.)
  • see if you're keeping your readers by comparing new vs. returning visitors
  • find out how people exit your blog, as well as measure subscriptions to your feed using UrchinTracker on your links
  • see how long readers spend looking at your content by looking at average length of visits
  • monitor visitor activity after you make a post to see when daily visit levels taper off. (That means it's time to post again.)
There's no howto on those though. Maybe they think it's obvious but I for one have never felt entirely comfortable finding my way round Google Analytics, with its proliferation of marketing-speak and PR jargon.

I wonder when Google will fully integrate into Analytics the good stuff from Measure Map, which they acquired back in February 2006 (Valentine's Day, did they tempt them with flowers?). Or maybe they've done that already, but I just hadn't noticed... The Measure Map site certainly says they're "making improvements", I wonder if it will be kept separate?

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