Using Google Webmasters and Google Analytics To Find Your Next Blog Post

Ever get stuck in a rut because you can’t come up with a good article topic? Happens to me too, hell, I haven’t written anything new in over a week! But then, what should I do? And how can I write an article that’s meaningful and adds to the value of my site?

Use analytics. I’ve mentioned before that Google Analytics is your best friend when it comes to blogging and running a site. It’s an amazing toolset. Now, let’s integrate the knowledge of that tool and add Google Webmasters to the mix.

Our Goal

Our goal isn’t simply to write a post. Anyone can do that. And anyone can do that badly. What we want is a strong post that will:

  • help our SEO with relevant keywords
  • be easy to write on a topic we already know
  • bring traffic in by its popularity
  • bring traffic in by being searchable! :)
  • reinforce the rest of our site

Things are as easy as that to be honest. Well, other than writing the actual article, that’s entirely up to you!

Let’s Start With Google Analytics

First, let’s micro analyze your best articles and your best content. Log into your google analytics account, go to standard reporting and we’ll head from there.

Traffic Report

Neat graph you have there with your traffic. Let’s go to “content” on the left side, “site content” and finally “all pages”. Select a wide encompassing date for your information. I usually do past three or four months.

Yay, you get a little glimpse of what my traffic looks like. As always, that little hump on the left is the time my article took off on Hacker News. So the rest of my traffic looks like crap (though it’s really not). Let’s check out my top articles. First you see where it says “primary dimension”? Click on “page title” to get this:

 

It’s obvious which articles scored the best. I’ll take out some of the clues they give me:

  • bootstrap is a popular article of mine and scored really well. If I take into account hackernews (and delete it from my traffic), I’d still end up with the same top article. With two bootstrap articles in the top 5, it’s a good bet that another article discussing bootstrap (such as creating html templates for boostrap ;) ;) ) would do well. Let’s take down a note: bootstrap.
  • One shocking article that I didn’t expect to score well is the 10 Best Free Minimal WordPress Themes. People love wordpress themes and anything wordpress. Perhaps an article on creating your own minimal wordpress theme? Let’s take down a note: minimal and wordpress
  • There are some tips and tricks after that and I already know that Laravel is popular new technology and my “unemployed developer” article is the one I’m most proud of which kicked off my blog. Let’s write down a couple more notes: new tech tricks and useful tips for developers. This is further reinforced by two other articles on “comments” and “sensational” coders that worked well for me.

Great, some ideas are brewing in my head. Take a note of the titles as well. They will work for your benefit. The top articles are all tutorials with the words how included or customize included. A list article (in my opinion) is a bit cheap but they do well with traffic.

Traffic Sources

Okay, next up we’ll be checking out traffic sources, focusing mainly on search engines. Go to “traffic sources”, “overview”, and finally click “view full report” on the bottom right.

Errr. lots of bootstrap. And for a good reason (as always). Let’s see what the most common themes are:

  • not provided – because they’re logged in. Bummer. No wait, it’ll show up in webmasters!
  • bootstrap/twitter/themes – so I already know I rank well with these, and we wrote a note down that it’s a strong topic people are interested in and get on my site for. That articles still gets 300-400 people a day from google alone
  • minimal / wordpress / theme – so this is great. We’ve got a reaffirmation that the article wasn’t just a fluke as far as traffic goes
  • some others are “knockout js”, “windows 8″ and so on. Let’s see what we can come up with

Ideas so far:

  • bootstrap html themes – most people create bootstrap themes but I haven’t seen too many layouts out there. I think I’ll create a few fancy layouts and that could score well. I could incorporate most if not all of those high ranking keywords thus reaffirming my position as an authority over everything botstrap
  • minimal bootstrap wordpress theme – combining two strong topics. I’ve seen some great WP bootstrap themes and even use them for my sites. Perhaps an article on usage?
  • the weaker ideas would be “developer” and “tips” oriented. I don’t see them come up in the search list but I assume most devs would be logged into google.

Google Webmasters

Google Webmasters is a neat tool that tracks how your site was found, where it came in search, and conversion rates. This is great especially since it can track logged in users! Go to your webmaster tools dashboard, traffic, and search queries. Make sure you include as many months as possible.

At first glance, you can see we are sorting by impressions but honestly, that’s not a good tactic. I’ve seen sites that have a crazy high impression, low clicks, and bad avg. position. Let’s sort by Clicks since CTR will most likely give us a slew of 100% CTR for low searched terms.

That’s better. So, as you can see our former top is now lower, and has a pretty bad CTR (2%) as compared to others. Honestly, just these queries alone could make up the titles and content of your article but let’s review them:

  • “best free wordpress themes” has a killer CTR and with a good avg position, this could pretty much be my next article. Writing about the topic again, linking to my old article, and popularizing it, will help me create stable search engine traffic.
  • “customize bootstrap” comes up next with a 38% CTR, 600 clicks on only 1,600 impressions. This is amazing.

The rest follow a similar pattern. Let’s reverse a few things and see if we can find less searched but strong topics by clicking on “filter” on the top left and selecting “not containing” and filling out “bootstrap “, we already know about this article, and then going to “traffic” and selecting “queries with 10+ impressions/clicks”. For your own purposes, add the word that seems to continuously repeat. For me, it’s definitely bootstrap and wordpress. I’ll exclude only bootstrap right now:

Sweet, even a better list. We can ignore the countless “wordpress” mentions and see what else is there:

  • laravel, laravel tutorial and laravel pagination got a few hits and from previous research, it was a good article to go with. The CTR isn’t that great but it’s something we can improve upon
  • knockout js pops up a couple of times so that’s another good topics.

When I got to the next page, I find a few more mentions of laravel and knockout. This tells me that the topic can become my next “wordpress” and “bootstrap” in popularity. If I go to “top pages” up top, I’ll just see something similar to what I’ve seen on google analytics that gives me a good idea of what I have and what I need to do.

Putting All This Together

We’ve analyzed my strengths and potential strengths so here’s what I got from it:

  • Top 10 List of Best Free WordPress Themes - very generic but could go a long way if I make it STAND OUT.
  • Top Free Bootstrap WordPress Themes - another generic but less so. How many articles discussing bootstrap wordpress themes have YOU seen? This contains my greatest strengths
  • Build Your Own Bootstrap WordPress Theme - this one is getting special. I saw that I ranked somewhere for “build your own blog”, so how about catching this one?
  • Create A Custom Bootstrap Theme Layout - I’ve been planning on this. To incorporate it in my series of bootstrap articles, i can create an article on creating bootstrap theme layouts. I, to be honest, have not
  • Essential Knowledge For Laravel Developers - possibly a flop, but possibly a great success. Similar to my last article, I could stress the importance of snippets, basic tricks that help laravel devs, and so on. I’ve already accumulated a lot of those. It would also play nicely with my laravel keywords and be searchable for code. Extra points here
  • Using KnockoutJS Alongside Bootstrap - that sounds like a killer, using my best article and keyword to help my other.

Now, before you kill me for my logic of “helping” my articles and so on, listen to this:

  • Past strong articles give you a good indication as to what’s popular and what people want to see.
  • Getting good traffic for a past article can lead to good traffic for a new one if you link to it up top like so “Check out my new article on using Bootstrap with Knockout JS”
  • Getting good traffic on a new article can lead to good traffic on an older one via the same method
  • So far, whenever I release similar articles (in keywords), they both benefit from renewed traffic and search engine traffic
  • People that have read one, will most likely read the other. Posting about creating a bootstrap theme on a forum and getting great response will likely lead to a great response to a new article
  • Interlinking of articles may lead to better SEO

There’s some other logic behind it but I hope this works well for you! :)

 

PS. If you use any of the article ideas that I’ve posted, let me know, I’d love to read it or even link to it. I’m okay with sharing ideas and content. It’s not like a “Top 10 List of Best Free WordPress Themes” is original ;)

Comments

  1. Hans Kolbeek says:

    Great walkthrough! I love how your posts are so thorough and explanatory. It shows how decisions can be made based on facts and data rather than just gut feelings. Bookmarked your GA tutorial for future reference.

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