Data and Analytics

Use popular keywords

Search engines are where most users start their search for information. If they can’t find your page, they won’t get to your content. If you use their vocabulary, starting with your page title, summary, and first paragraph, users will be more likely to find it.

Google analytics basics

You can request Web Services can give you access to Google Analytics so you can run your own reports. We also generate reports for each site and email them out to site managers twice per semester.

Understanding basic reports

A quick way to see how your pages are doing is by mapping them against some key metrics and analyzing how those metrics relate to each other.

You can get this by going into Behavior > Site Content > All Pages in the Google Analytics interface and then searching for the URLs of pages you want.

Here’s what each metric means:

Unique pageviews

This represents the number of visits in which that page was viewed. So, if a user visits a page 5 times during their browsing session, it will show up as one unique pageview in Google Analytics.

Pageviews

This is a count of every time that page was viewed.

For example, if someone visits page X, then goes to page Y and then page X again, then page X will be shown having 2 pageviews (and one unique pageview).

Entrances

This is the number of times that page was the first page on the site viewed by users.

Entrances/pageviews

A simple calculation showing entrances to the page as a percentage of the pageviews.

Bounce rate

The percentage of ‘single-page sessions’ – that is, users who viewed only this page and then left csumb.edu.

Average time on page

How long users view the page for on average. However, treat this metric with caution – see below.

Exit

The percentage of exits that were made from the page (calculated as number of exits/number of pageviews).

How to use the data

Find out what is the most (and least) popular content

The Unique Pageviews column will show you your most visited pages. Clicking on the down arrow at the top of the column will show the reverse order, ie the least visited pages.

Note that Google Analytics will only show URLs that were visited in the time period (ie, it won’t show up pages which weren’t visited at all). All iterations of URLs will appear as well.

Find potential navigation issues

Dividing the Pageviews metric by Unique Pageviews will show on average how many times a page was viewed during users’ sessions.

A high ratio (above 1.4) indicates that users have to come back to that page within their session. This should be a primer for you to investigate the navigation from that page further to identify any issues.

You’ll need to work this out yourself by exporting the data to a spreadsheet. Unfortunately Google doesn’t do this for you.

Identify pages that need to be better optimized

If the Entrances/Pageviews percentage metric is low on pages getting a reasonable amount of traffic, then it suggests that users have a need for the page. However, most are having to navigate their way to get to it so better optimization for search may be needed.

What high bounce rates suggest

Bounce rates should only be viewed against the Entrances metric and not with Pageviews.

A high bounce rate on navigation pages reveals a problem, as it indicates users are not engaging with the page. Changes should be made and the page measured again.

However, a high bounce rate on content pages is not necessarily a bad thing as users could have found the information they came for and didn’t need to go any further.

Length of time spent on a page

The Average Time on Page metric provides a guide to how engaged users are with your page.

However, treat with caution. This is because it excludes data from sessions in which the page was the last one visited on csumb.edu (eg, it doesn’t include single page sessions).

So for pages with high bounce rates (such as news pages), the dwell time displayed by Google may be very wide of the mark. As a general rule, the lower the % Exits rate, the more representative the average time on the page will be.

User feedback

Every page has an "Info" view that shows you feedback users leave on the "Is there something wrong with this page" form.

If your page was reviewed by Web Services, we also may leave you feedback on how to improve the page.