Simple Steps to Website Navigation Analysis

Using the best practices is necessary, but it doesn't guarantee results. Getting the most out of your bespoke design requires regular testing and optimisation. After discovering the state-of-the-art navigation practices in our case study of Disney's websites, we want you to learn these simple steps to benchmark your navigation in Google Analytics.

Article by Dawid Zimny
I am particularly interested in web analytics. Knowing the way your visitors browse your website will help you improve their browsing experience and is crucial for converting them into clients.

Our quick guide will teach you how to discover the percentage of visitors that abandon any page on your website, where did they come from and where do they go next.

We’ll show you a few not so obvious Google Analytics reports and filters that will help you optimise your customer journey and navigation for both desktops and mobile devices.

How to find out where your visitors come from?

The user experience and navigation on your site start even before the visitor lands on one of your pages. Breaking down the traffic sources and types will help you estimate the performance of the metadata, PPC campaigns and get a better idea about the referrers.

Here are the steps to finding relevant reports for your landing page traffic.

  • Navigate to “Behaviour”, then expand the “Site Content” element and click on “Landing Pages”.
Navigating to Behaviour, then Site Content, then Landing Pages in Google Analytics.
  • Click on the “Secondary dimension”, then expand “Acquisition” and select one of the relevant filters: “Traffic Type”, “Source”, “Medium” or “Source/Medium” (we explain the differences below).
Setting a secondary dimension in Behaviour, Site Content, Landing Pages report in Google Analytics.
  • Click on “advanced” next to the search box and input your filter conditions, then click “Apply” to organise the results.
Advanced filters in Google Analytics.

Depending on the secondary dimension you picked your report will now look like that:

Secondary dimensions for landing page traffic

Traffic type

In the above case, we have selected “Traffic type” as the secondary dimension. The traffic types are:

  • social – links clicked on social media
  • organic – visits from various search engines
  • paid – visits from various pay-per-click campaigns
  • referral – other websites linking to your landing page
  • direct – directly inputting the specific URL in the browser, using the browser history or bookmarks

Medium

Choosing “Medium” shows the same categories, minus “social”, with a few different names and one major advantage. It saves “Paid” traffic as “cpc” (cost per click, paid search) and direct traffic has a medium of “none”.

The advantage is being able to specify the medium type in UTM parameters of your URLs. For example, going to the main page of our blog from the following URL will display the medium as “navigationblog” in Analytics – https://nerdcow.co.uk/blog/?utm_medium=navigationblog.

Source

The “Source” dimension provides a more detailed look at the domains of your referrals. Search engines will still display as simply “google” or “bing”. However, you will start seeing URLs of the referring domains, such as “facebook.com”, linkedin.com” or even their shortened versions like “linked.in”.

Best of both worlds – Source/Medium

We display data in a comprehensive, yet easy-to-read manner. It’s crucial in B2B communication and for our internal operations. The “Source/Medium” splits the traffic according to the categories of both individual groups and displays them right next to each other.

This helps you understand how each source drives traffic to your site. When all the other filters could only show that X amounts of visits were paid traffic, or Y came from Google, the “Source/Medium” shows exactly how much of your paid traffic came from Google and how different search engines contribute to the organic visits.

How to find the previous page the user visited?

Google Analytics provides a number of way to browse the behaviour flow of your visitors. The more advanced ones aren’t obvious to navigate, but thankfully there is a way to quickly check the most common previous (and next) steps for any given page.

  • Once again navigate to “Behaviour” and “Site Content”, but this time select “All Pages”.
Navigating to Behaviour, then Site Content and All Pages in Google Analytics.
  • Click on the “Navigation Summary” tab above the graph.

A new report will appear under the graph:

You can use it to track the performance of any page – expanding the “Current Selection” will give you a list with some of your pages and a search box to help you quickly find the page you are looking for. In this case “/” means the home page.

On top of showing the “Previous Page Path” and “Next Page Path”, the report contains a few key statistics, such as exit percentage for your page.

The path reports allow you to easily see whether your page is directing visitors to an appropriate place on your website. Our example from Tweet Wheel shows that /pricing/, /checkout/ and /login/ are among the most popular steps after visiting a home page, which is good. You can use these results to evaluate whether visitors follow your intended customer journey.

Testing your mobile navigation

You can test the navigation on mobile, desktop or specific mobile devices without leaving the above report. First, click on the “All Users” segment above the graph, as pictured below.

Changing the data segment in Google Analytics

This will expand a segment selection navigation. Like in many other places in Google Analytics, it includes a search box. You can easily search for queries like “tablet” and add another data set to your report. Make sure to uncheck “All Users” first if you want to see the data for a specific segment rather than comparing multiple of them.

Selecting a data segment in Google Analytics

You can also remove a segment by clicking on it, then on an arrow in the upper-right corner of the box and selecting “Remove”.

Removing a data segment in Analytics

Closing words

Even though Google Analytics makes a good job at making key metrics easily accessible, there are some useful reports that aren’t easy to find. We hope our quick guide helped you perform the basic analysis of your website navigation and customer journey.

Did you find our guide useful? Is there something we should add to it? Please leave any questions and suggestions in the comments section below or contact our experts. We’ll make sure to reply to all your enquiries.

If you’re looking for detailed analytics reports, website optimisation or security maintenance, see our bespoke Web Maintenance services for more information.

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