Understanding your website's key performance metrics sliced by page and section is critical to informing your optimization efforts. Whether you are looking to invest in SEO, AB testing, or personalization - it is vital to not only look at performance at an aggregate level - but to also break things down so that your tactics are tailored to the problems that are unique to each experience your users are exposed to.

How Content Data is Parsed

The Google Analytics javascript code will be loaded into browsers interpreter and the code will automatically look at the URL on the web page, parse the hostname and path and send that information over to Google as a single hit in a session.


This amounts to tons and tons of data about how users are moving throughout your site, as well as the ability to aggregate overall behavior by site section. Below are some example reports of how this will show up in your Analytics interface.


Top Landing Pages (the first page viewed in a session)

Landing page reports can be useful for understanding your website at an atomic level, however frequently the data can be too granular to answer the big questions (“is this site section’s conversion rate up? How does it compare to other site sections?). If someone was asking for data on the homepage then single page reporting is fine, but if stakeholders are interested in all traffic to all of the different content types (home page, category page, product page, search pages, etc) then you would need to create a separate filter for each of these patterns and either create a dashboard or mash up the data in a spreadsheet to get the final report. In this case the The content drilldown report can potentially sidestep a lot of work here.


Content Drilldown (Using the first level of the page path)


The content drilldown report aggregates all of the data for all of the pages that fall under a folder structure. So if your website URL structure is clear, logical and consistent then you would be able to see the larger blocks of your site by traffic and performance metrics. The limitation here is that content is being grouped at the file structure level. If your organization is married to their current information architecture then this breakdown of content data won’t really help. That brings us to our final solution for mapping your user's experience to your Google Analytics account in a meaningful way regardless of how well your website's URL structure was designed.


Landmarks (using your page markup to identify the type of page being viewed)

This is a technique is reliant on JavaScript’s ability to examine the content on website for a specific class, ID, or selector that is unique to that page template. By creating a simple script to look for this element and returning a value for amount of times it appears on the page you can create all of the logic necessary to determine if a page is the type you are looking for.


Example Site:  https://enhancedecommerce.appspot.com/


The above store is a fake application that Google uses to communicate how enhanced ecommerce works, but we are going to use it as an example of a category page that is not classified in the URL.



So let’s say we had GTM (Google Tag Manager) installed on this page, we could create a custom javascript variable to pass the category page type into the Google Analytics pageview as a custom dimension when it fires.


The custom javascript variable in GTM for checking for this code would look something like this in jQuery.


Function() {

catVar = $("#GA-homepage-9bdd2-1").length


if(catVar > 0)

{pType = "category"}


{pType = "other" }


Return pType;



All that is left is to build out the logic for the landmarks on all of the other page types, then integrate it with your GTM pageview tag as a custom dimension. To learn more about custom dimensions and how they work check out our old blog post on pushing data into Google Analytics.


If you would like to learn more about SEO, web analytics, or user experience as it regards to your website and Truvisibility you can learn more at http://www.truvisibility.com/en/blog. If you are interested in trying Truvisibility out today simply go to truvisibility.com and press the “Get Started” button, it is free and easy.