Analytics 101 – Best Post Per Year

The Permalink structure from your blog does matter as it can help you making your life easier pulling the right stats out of Google Analytics using the Advanced segments functionality. Let me explain with the example of my Dutch blog: The Next Corner.

The URL structure of my blog, which is still running on typepad where I have plans for a long time already to migrate to WordPress, has the year and month in the URL structure as directories. Just check out one or two of the URL’s of my site:

  1. http://www.thenextcorner.com/2007/01/trojan_horse_ve.html
  2. http://www.thenextcorner.com/2009/09/gratis-virus-verwijderen.html

The two URL’s displayed above give the year and month in which these were published.

Not coincidence I use these two, as these will be used in further analysis in some later posts. Just make sure you either sign up for the RSS feed to follow the posts here, or follow me on @Thenextcorner.

The year which is displayed in the URL can be used for advanced reporting. If you have this kind of URL setup, I will show you in this post how to set up custom segments to report on exactly the traffic which came from which year/month using advanced segments in Google Analytics.

More insights from Analytics

To track which posts are delivering the most traffic to your site, you can use the advanced segments function to drill down even further down. By splitting up the total traffic reported into the years it was created, you can gain insightful knowledge and learning's how your writing and choice of subjects have evolved.

All we be more clear as soon as i show you the results of the advanced segments I have set up. First, let me show you the total visitors numbers graphs on my Dutch blog sine Jan 1st 2007, until Dec 31st 2009, which is three years. Graph is by month:

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Wouldn’t you like to see in one graph which posts are delivering the most traffic? Wouldn’t you like to know if your writing is improving through engaging your readers more? Wouldn’t you like to know how much traffic content can drive if it matures? Just keep on reading and you will see…

Setting up Advanced Segments

First step is to set up the advanced segments in Google Analytics to report on. This relies off course on the right URL structure for your site, as you will need to have the year/month displayed in your URL!

Navigate to the Advanced Segments link in the left side navigation menu in your Google Analytics account. Click on the link at the right top, +Create new custom segment.

Here you drag the dimension Page into the first box. After that you choose from the drop down the  Matches regular expression choice. The last set up is to type the year you would like to report on in the value box, as shown here in the picture below /2007/, which will report all posts from the year 2007, as these have the /2007/ in the URL defined as a directory.

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The longer your blog is in business, the more years you would have to set up as user custom segments.

Reporting on Year posts

The reporting on posts per year becomes very easy after you have set up all the custom segments. All you have to do is click the drop down of the segments, and check the boxes of those years you would like the posts to be reporting on:

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After you have clicked the years, you can now see which year you have been cranking out the most interesting blog posts, or which content has matured in a nice SEO friendly way that drives traffic. Here is my graph for the last three years:

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Cleary, my best posts are from 2007.

Now, I just have one post from 2007 that is bringing in most of the traffic on my Dutch blog, but I’m sure you can see the value of playing around with the Advanced Segments in Google Analytics to find new ways of slicing and dicing the data which is available.

It makes me wonder how my 2008 & 2009 content will do in a couple of years, as it matures the way the 2007 content has matured. I still doubt that the 2008 nor the 2009 will bring in the same amount of traffic as 2007 posts are doing at the moment. I just had some lucky shots in 2007 which are still ranking #1 for reasonable popular keywords.

More on Analytics later!