Exporting more rows of data in Google Analytics

Thanks to Engine Ready for their post on how to export more rows of data than is seemingly allowed using Google Analytics.

I now have approx 5,000 search terms to analyze rather than what I thought was a previous maximum of 500.

Note, that you may need to play around with this, trying different export formats and values within the query string and the number rows won’t show with the analytics dashboard (they’ll only show when you open the exported file).

Analysing search terms in Google analytics

Google analytics provides a useful method for analysing the effectiveness of your website’s search through its capture of the search terms used and their accompanying data.

Approx 15% of visits to our intranet involve search, with 10,000+ searches run on average a month. It is therefore important that the search results are working for users.

I carry out a monthly exercise to identify searches which aren’t performing as well as expected. By improving the keywords, structure, titling and language of any relevant content I try to improve the search results. A month later I come back to see if the changes have had the desired impact and to repeat the exercise.

Using the search terms tab within the site search section of the content report within Google analytics I identify the search terms with a high results pageviews per search (see the circled column within the image below). My thinking is that it is bad for a user to have to click to more than one results page for a search (I have always been taught that the majority of users won’t even look beyond the first results page).

Google analytics screenshot of the top 10 search terms used

Using the results pageviews/search column (circled) can assist in identifying terms which users are having trouble searching for

I tend to look for search terms with a value above 1.55 (the site average), giving greatest attention to the terms with the highest values (I have seen terms with values as high as 4.00). Alarms bells should ring if your site average is around the 2.00 mark. Terms with high values in comparison to those search terms with a similar frequency catch my attention more than infrequently used terms with a high value.

The impact of any changes take time to have a visible impact and our intranet searches seem fairly fluid, 50-60% of the top 10 terms used change monthly, meaning this is a valuable exercise to revisit monthly.

I also restrict the number of modifications to 10-15 terms each month, we have 6,000+ unique terms used each mothh, if I can get the most common used terms performing well the less common (but similar) terms should hopefully improve similarly.

There is a caveat to this work, you are working with one main assumption: that you know what content users are looking for when they search using a particular term. Revisiting the changes you have made after a month is important to ensure that the changes you have made have had the desired impact, suggesting your assumptions about the content being looked for were correct.

Government direct communication and the role of COI

Just had an initial read of, Permanent Secretary for Government Communication, Matt Tee’s review of Government direct communication and the role of COI.

A strategic theme based approach is something I’ve seen pushed at Departmental level before, where multi-faceted themes feel less obvious. It makes sense to also do this at the Government level.

It will be interesting to see what value for money and strengthened buying power can achieve.

Downloads (from Cabinet Office website).

Say what you mean

We’re considering renting out our home so I have been doing quite a bit of research about what kind of return we could get and what legal hoops we’ll need to jump through etc…

It was during a google search (other search engine are available!) that I landed on the following page on Lovemoney.com: How to rent out your home.

I was struck by the seventh paragraph, which reads:

“After all, over the long-term, property has proved a good investment. Sitting tight and seeing out this current dip in the market by letting your home could prove very Foolish indeed.”

I have emphasised the word foolish above, as it caused me some confusion. I read this to mean that letting out your home was a bad idea. After all the dictionary definition for foolish is:

  1. resulting from or showing a lack of sense; ill-considered; unwise: a foolish action, a foolish speech.
  2. lacking forethought or caution.
  3. trifling, insignificant, or paltry.

However, this sentence didn’t seem to make sense when read within the meaning of the whole article.

After double checking and re-reading the content it appears that lovemoney.com is actually produced by fool.co.uk, which is a well known web site offering financial/money advice.  It appears that within this context the term ‘Foolish’ actually means a good thing. Fool.co.uk have ‘branded’ the word foolish to mean the opposite of what it actually means!

There are two lessons to be learned from this: Don’t use branding when plain English will do and know where all your content is going to be published. Context in this situation is very important, as much as I wouldn’t have suggested they use this term on fool.co.uk it would probably make more sense than it does on lovemoney.com.