Wednesday, April 28, 2010

GeoTraffic & GeoKeywords: Google Analytics custom reports for fun and profit

I've been using Google Analytics for 2 years to track the traffic on this blog. It's really interesting to see which posts receive more attention and what traffic sources and keywords generated how much traffic on any one day. This is specially important to me since the majority of the traffic to my blog comes from search engines a.k.a. google (organic).

However, when you really look into the traffic tracking thing, you'll find that the default reports which come out-of-the-box with Google Analytics don't help answer certain questions. This is more evident on a modest personal blog than it would be for a hot website like stackoverflow, for example. For your blog, you'd actually want to know who visited the blog. I mean, you'd like to push the limits of anonymity.

The main missing information in the default Analytics reports have to do with location. While you're able to know how many visits were generated from each country in addition to some useful statistics like the average time on website and pages/visit, there is still something missing.

I wanted to be able to answer these 2 critical questios:
1) Where does the direct traffic come from? and which pages are requested?
2) Who is searching for what?

Thanks to the Google Analytics team, we are now able to create our own custome reports to project the data whichever way we want. Once I found out, I created 2 custom reports to answer my 2 questions.

For the first question, the GeoTraffic report is the answer. The main dimension would be the Source. Next, we drill down towards: Country/Territory -> City -> Page. The main metric is Pageviews, then Pages/Visit and Avg. time on page.

For the second question, the GeoKeywords report is the answer. This time, the main dimension is the Country/Territory then we drill down to: Keyword -> City. For this report, I preferred the main metric to be Avg. time on page then Pages/Visit and Unique Visitors.

Now, I'm able to answer my questions, and I've been mainly interested in the first one: where the direct traffic comes from. The reason for that is that I've been waiting for something. I may talk about that later. I guess you're going to find it useful ;)