I've chatted with a lot of bloggers who use analytics for little more than pageviews. For many the idea of using GA to research post topics seems backwards. However, there's a lot of topic research opportunities in your analytics data, and here I'm going to explain a couple of my favourites.
The report I use most is a combination of goal and visit metrics by keyword.
So what can you find out with this?
Posts you should be following up on
How often are visitors coming to your site, finding one piece of content that they like, reading it, then leaving? Well, if they're coming from a search engine straight to a post, reading it, then leaving then they are counting as a bounce (and either way they count as an exit, which you can add to the report above), and you can get an idea about who is coming, not finding more information about their query (or in some cases not finding enough information about their query) and leaving.
Back in the old days (like three weeks ago) I used to use this with some filters to remove low visit pages and then sort by bounce rate. However, thanks to the new weighted sort feature you can just click on bounce rate and…
There you have keywords by bounce and visit, meaning that you're looking at stuff that your blog is already ranking for.
Keywords that Convert
Following up on posts is a great idea, but what about chasing down the keywords that are converting traffic? Try total goal completions to get an idea of what keywords are doing well, then start looking at individual goals.
Sacre bleux! Is that an analytics problem? 100% of comments coming from page “not set”? Well, ignore that for now.
You'll also want to filter out brand keywords, which is pretty easy in our case. Just put in VKI as an exclude and maybe add a “visits > 10” rule (which alone takes us from 48k keywords to 373).
And at our top…
Best Google analytics reports? That's awfully meta.
Finding the landing page
Now this is all fine and dandy, but what about when you want to find the landing page for each keyword? This is a bit wrap around since you, apparently, can't have landing pages and visits together (not entirely sure why, but I bet Brian could tell us).
Well, not unless you're clever.
This solution is a little wrap around for each keyword and so I don't suggest it unless you're really curious. There's this other great new GA data presentation tool called “Pivot” that you can find at the far right of the screen (near all those buttons for different graph displays). Hit that and select “pivot by” landing page.
The result can be hard to read, as it seems to break GA's interface, so what you have to do is sort by total goal conversion (or if you're just looking at one particular goal, the total conversion for that) then take the particular keyword you want to know the landing pages for, and put that keyword in as a filter.
edit: Or you could do it the easy way and just click on a keyword, then select “landing page” in the drop down.