Sep 06, 2011

Website Analytics: Tracking User Navigation

When it comes to website tracking there are a plethora of metrics at our disposal. If we’re talking user engagement, we might look at the bounce rate, average time on site, or average page views per visit. If we are interested in organic search, we might look at the number of organic visits, top organic keywords, and others. Then there’s content — which web pages are most popular? Which web pages do users most often enter the site through?

But have you ever wondered how users move through your website? In other words, from any given page of your site, what pages do users most often go to next? Google Analytics offers a simple yet effective solution to this inquiry called the Navigation Summary. Pick any page of your site and the Navigation Summary gives you a list of the previous pages and a list of the next pages. For example, let’s say we picked the Contact Us page of the LEAP website. We might then see that the Who We Are page was most often the previous page and that the Request for Information page was most often the next page.

The lists of previous pages and next pages are ranked based on the number of clicks to and from the page in view, which, in our example above, would be the Contact Us page. In addition to previous and next pages, we also see how often the Contact Us page was a landing page and how often it was an exit page.

Navigation Summaries allow us to see if users are moving through the site the way we think they should. One important note is that the Navigation Summary does not allow us to track individual users as they move through the site. For this, you will need to consider programs such as Clicky or Woopra. Happy tracking!


[Contributed by Ben Hill]