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How and WHY to Create Content Groups in Google Analytics

By Spencer Haws |

The weather is starting to improve and spring is definitely in the air around here.

I love that my family and I can go out in the backyard and enjoy playing games or just running around in the sun.

However, with all the good things that come with spring, weeds also come with spring. I hate weeds. Out in front of my house, I noticed weeds that started to form. I usually do a pretty good job of either pulling those out or spraying those. I have to keep up my nice polished appearance for my neighbors and my wife.

However, around the side of my house in one particular area no one ever sees and we don’t really go over there very much. I’m afraid to look there because I know when I do I’ll have a bunch of weeds that I need to pull.

I know you would love to hear me talk about weeds all day but the show must go on here. Actually, the reason I was thinking about weeds and why some areas of my yard perform so well versus other areas, has to do with my websites.

When you monitor and track certain aspects of your website on a regular basis, it tends to get cleared of any mistakes or weeds, as you might call it. It’s important to track and monitor those areas of your site that you want to grow.

However, I’ve sometimes found it difficult to track the progress of new content that I publish. I don’t just mean one or two articles. Pulling up one or two new articles is easy to see how much traffic they’re getting in Google Analytics.

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What if you want to pull up the last 10 articles or even 20 articles that you’ve published on Google Analytics and see how much traffic you are getting to just those 10 articles. It’s because it becomes either extremely difficult or extremely time consuming. Who wants to sit around and view the stats of 20 different articles one at a time in Google Analytics? That’s really not the best use of time.

Why You Should Create Content Groups in Google Analytics

First, let me give you the reason you might want to track a group of say 10, 15, or 20 articles separately from all your other content, then I’ll share the solution for doing it easily in Google Analytics.

There might be a few reasons why you might want to track a group of articles that you’ve published. One reason might be to track specific authors.

Let’s say that you have three or four different authors writing for your website and you want to track how much Bill, or Susan, or Nathan are doing. How well are there specific articles doing and so without jumping through some hoops, it can be really time consuming, right?

You might have to spend five or ten minutes figuring out, okay, here’s how much traffic the articles written by author one are getting.

Here’s how much traffic the articles from author two are getting et cetera, et cetera. One reason might be to track different authors. That’s the reason that I’ve done it, but there could be other reasons that you could do it as well.

You might want to track a new strategy.

For example, I recently created a video on doing question based keywords, and I shared that question based keywords are performing really well on Own The Yard. Maybe I want to track, okay, I’m going to try doing 20 question based articles and see how they perform.

Within Google Analytics, the old way would be you have to pull up those articles one at a time or remember all 20 articles and click on those and say, okay, that’s getting 10 visitors, or 20 visitors, etcetera, and add all those articles up. Well, there’s an easier way.

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You might have other strategies that you’re following, different on page optimization, or different types of keywords. You maybe want to track just all your review articles, or you want to track just your group of buying guides, or you want to track just your informational articles. There might be a lot of different strategies that you’re trying, but you want to track those individually.

Another reason you might do this is to track link building strategies. Maybe you’ve got a group of five articles, and you’re doing a specific type of outreach, or other link building and you want to see how the performance is. What traffic are you getting, how well are they doing?

As I mentioned, my initial reason for really wanting to figure out how I can track a group of articles was because I had a new author. I wanted to figure out how much traffic this new author was driving to my website through his content.

I did a ton of research on Google and I figured there’s got to be a way to do this in Google Analytics that makes it really easy. It took me quite a while, asked several people, and they didn’t really know how to do this. After doing a lot of googling and watching videos, I figured out how to do it.

There’s actually something called content groups in Google Analytics.

What these content groups allow you to do is exactly what I just mentioned, you can create a group of up to 20, there is a maximum limit that Google has set, I don’t know why, of 20 articles. You can track up to 20 articles, and then there’s a view in Google Analytics that you can look at and see, okay, these 20 articles have generated 100 visitors today, or 200 visitors, or whatever you want to look at.

how to create content groups

Let me tell you how you can set this up, and then we’ll look at some of the stats, how you can use it a little bit more.

Within Google Analytics, all you do is down at the bottom, there’s the little settings menu, the admin menu at the bottom. You click admin, and then you go under the views, you have the three columns, the account, the property, and the view, and then there is something called content grouping. It’s as easy as that, but from what I’ve heard, not a lot of people knew about this, and so then you can create a new content group, and you can actually call it whatever you want.

I named it after my author, right? I know it’s this author, this is his group of articles. You can do a lot of different things. You actually could create a tracking code, and you could add a tracking code to each individual article, or individual page, and that’s one interesting thing that you could do that could really come in handy is using a tracking code. There might be a lot of different reasons that you could do that.

You can set up an extraction group using extraction, and that could be a category, and so you can set a subfolder. Everything that’s in this sub folder will go to this particular content group. That doesn’t work particularly well for my use case, but what did work well is group using rule definitions. There’s lots of different rules that you can set. I set them as a page that contains, and you can do lots of different matching things. I set up a rule that contains and then I’m able to paste in the exact URL that I want to track.

You can just paste in the URL and you can do up to 20 of those. You click done and save, and then you’ve got a nice content group that you can view in Google Analytics and other areas. Once you’ve got that set up, it will only track the future stats for you. It’s not going to track in a group, the historical. You have to get it set up first, and then every day moving forward, it will show you all the traffic stats just like Google Analytics.

I come in here, you go to behavior, site content, then all pages. Under your standard graph, you’ll have a little content group that you can select, click on, and then it will populate. That group of articles that you have, it’s going to show the graph, it’s going to show you all the stats, the number of pageviews, average time on page, bounce rate, exit percent, page value, all of that. For me this was a huge time saver, a huge benefit to my business. Now, I can quickly go in and see my new author right now. I’m looking at the last 10 articles that this person has generated anywhere between 70 and 100 visitors per day, in the last week. I can just quickly see that. I’m not having to click on any individual articles. I’ve got that content group total.

Enjoy the Stats!

There’s a lot of different things that you can dive into, but that is pretty much it. I just wanted to let you know that the ability to set up a content group is there. It’s quite easy to do and it can really come in handy. It can allow you to see a variety of different things that you might be experimenting on, to give you a better idea of what you’re working on is working.

Are you getting the results?

It gives you the ability to monitor and better check your processes and your procedures. Those little weeds, those little problems that might have crept up if you weren’t able to monitor, those things don’t happen.

There you have it. There is a quick tip from me. I hope that you have enjoyed this episode of the Niche Pursuits Podcast, and if you have, please go ahead and subscribe wherever you like to subscribe to podcasts, and give a rating or a review.

Thank you so much for listening, and I hope that you continue to grow your business.

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By Spencer Haws

Spencer Haws is the founder of NichePursuits.com. After getting a degree in Business Finance from BYU (2002) and an MBA from ASU (2007) he worked for 8 years in Business Banking and Finance at both Merril Lynch and Wells Fargo Bank.

While consulting with other small business owners as a business banker, Spencer finally had the desire to start his own business. He successfully built a portfolio of niche sites using SEO and online marketing that allowed him to quit his job in 2011. Since then he's been involved in dozens of online business ventures including: creating and exiting Long Tail Pro, running an Amazon FBA business for over 3 years and selling that business, founding LinkWhisper.com, and co-founding MotionInvest.com. You can learn more about Spencer here.

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