Google Analytics is a powerful tool but the data provided on the default dashboards only provides a top level overview of your website’s performance. With Google advanced segments, you can filter your data into easy to manage segments to identify problem pages and increase website performance. Take control of your analytics data with 6 ways to use advanced segments.
I was using Google Analytics for a year before I started using advanced segments, once I started, I found the process of analysing data was much quicker. I still use excel but advanced segments take out a lot of filtering steps. In this post, I will introduce you to some simple advanced segments for identifying and solving website problems.
What are advanced segments, why do I need to use them?
Google Analytics is a powerful tool but without advanced segments, it’s like using a NASA spec computer for word processing; standard reports don’t give you the meaningful data you need to properly identify problems. Creating an advanced segments is easy, but using them to give you a better insight into your website requires some planning.
When you create an advanced segment, you can use it to filter new and old data, as well as share them between profiles and provide a sharing URL so anyone can add your segment to their analytics profile.
Google Analytics comes pre-loaded with a selection of segments that are compatible with pretty much all websites. These include; Organic traffic, paid traffic, and non bounce visits. You can select up to 3 segments at a time; If you select 3 segments, you will be given 3 sets of data which can be used for correlation. The standard segments can all be useful but to get the most out advanced segments you should use the custom feature.
Custom advanced segments for quick access to focussed data
When you create a custom segment in Google Analytics, it can be used for old data just like default segments. Once you have applied your segment, you can go about viewing the standard data tabs, audience, traffic sources, content etc. This means that you have instant access to your filterered data in all the standard and custom reports sections.
This is a section of data showing organic search visits excluding “(not provided)”. When you filter your data using segments, you can see what percentage of all website visits your segmented data represents.
This segmant is made up of two filters, entry medium and keyword; Include all traffic with a medium exactly matching Organic and exclude traffic that entered with the term Not Provided.
You can create much more detailed reports. eg Social traffic that landed on a particular page, triggered a function and went on to complete a goal. You really can be that specific.
Ways to use advanced segments for SEO
If one of your websites experiences a drop in traffic or conversions, you can use advanced segments to pinpoint problems. Here are 6 ways to use advanced segments (available to add to your dashboard at the bottom of the page);
1. Organic non branded visits excluding not provided includes tutorial.
This segment will provide a report with all non branded visits, excluding not provided. First, we will exclude your branded terms and “not provided”.
We will create three statements. A statement tells Google to include or exclude data that matches your criteria. To exclude branded traffic, we create a filter for traffic driven by keywords that match a simple regex command; brand|name. See the image below;
In the regex field, enter your brand keywords seperated as shown. If you brand contains your product r service keywords, you may want to create more than one statement for excluding brand keywords.
Let’s say that your business name is tamsins tasty truffles you might want to rank for tasty truffles location or otherkeyword tasty truffles.
- Exclude full brand – enter tamsins tasty truffles in the regex field of an exclude statement.
- Exclude brand part – enter tamsins into the regex field of an exclude statement.
The next step is to include the organic traffic. To do this, create an and statement to include the traffic medium exactly matching organic.
When you have completed this step, test or save your segment and have a look at your newly filtered data. You can export to .csv just as you can with standard reporting.
2. View mobile and tablet visits by operating system
Create a segment to view only mobile and tablet visits. Mobile and tablet view figures have rocketed in 2012, you might be surprised by how many people visit your site on mobile and tablet devices.
3. Filter traffic by number of keywords
Segment long and shot tail keywords. This can be used for analysing keyword performance and streamlining your target keyword list. You could exclude not provided too if a large percentage of your organic traffic does not have a keyword.
4. Filter highly engaged traffic, view by landing page
View traffic that did not bounce with a visit duration over 180 seconds. These are people who are more likely to be engaged with your content, in my experience, these customers account for the lion share of organic visit conversions.
5. Monitor bounced traffic by page loading time
Create a report of bounced traffic and use the standard reporting tools to vies page load time and landing page. This can point to speed issues or irrelevant content to the keyword.
6. Article and blog visits time on page
Were you visitors to your article pages go after reading? Do they engage with the page and bounce or does your article or blog lead to further page views and conversions? If your article pages are underperforming you can consider adding related links to sales pages on your blog and article posts.
6 Segments for your Google Analytics profile
3 Word kewwords (change number in regex string to change number of keywords)
Engaged traffic – Non bounce visits over 180 seconds
And there you have it, 6 ways to use advanced segments to identify problems on your website. Have a play with advanced segments, each website is unique and it will take some testing to find the best segments for you.