Entrance Paths and segmentation in Google Analytics

Have you looked at Entrance Paths in Google Analytics recently? It’s a great report, particularly if used in conjunction with segmentation.

I was asked a pretty straightforward question: “What are the most valuable links in terms of revenue on my homepage?”

The homepage is the most important page on your site so you should pay close attention to the internal links you put on it. You also don’t want to have too many links on your homepage as this dilutes the PageRank passed to those pages.

Here is what the normal report looks like. Start in Content > Top Content and click on your homepage. Then choose Entrance Paths in the Analyze dropdown:

This data already tells me that almost 16% of visitors who landed on the homepage then clicked on the link to pageA.html. Furthermore, the top four pages account for almost 50% of all clicks. What is strange however is that there seem to be 2,102 different links from the homepage! That’s a lot of links…It turns out that many visitors use site search after landing on the homepage, which generates unique URLs.

Not a problem as we can use advanced segments to filter those out:

There are 488 real links that were clicked on the homepage – still quite a bit. But the real piece of information I am looking for is how many of these links drive revenue. Here is the advanced segment, which reads something like: “just include visits that resulted in a transaction and those without pages containing the parameter used for site search.”

(note: query is the parameter found in site search URLs for a typical Yahoo! Store).

Lets look at the same report with this segment applied:

Amazing! Out of 488 links, all the revenue goes through a paltry 70 links! Just the top link alone accounts for a third of it.

Here is the takeaway. Maybe we can reduce the number of links on the homepage and focus on the ones that drive revenue. By taking out some non-performing links, you could link to another high-revenue page that deserves a chance to get on the homepage, particularly if that page could rank a bit better.