Who sent all those people to my web page?

I’ve been running a Google Analytics report for a few clients recently which has been quite revealing. It’s quite simple: it looks at the sources of all the website visits which reached a certain page. All you want to know is: “without certain sources of traffic, how many people would have seen this page?”

So, for example, you might have launched a new product or written a new case study a few months ago, and now you want to see the number of visits to that web page, and where they came from. In this case, you’re probably not concerned about whether the visitors came straight to the page or found their way through from a different landing page, such as the home page. You just want to know which sources of traffic were important in getting people to read that item.

Start by setting a date range starting some time before the page went live. Then go to Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages and click on your page. This will show you the number of views of that page so far. Then, under “Secondary Dimension”, start typing in “Source” and select “Source/Medium”. There you have it.

Google Analytics screenshot of traffic sources to a page

In the example above, an article I’d written got a couple of hundred clickthroughs from the daily email. But it then started ranking in Google, and since then has had several times as many visits from the search engine.

A common finding is that an advertising campaign (such as Google AdWords) has provided almost all of the visits to an important page. This can be quite a surprise, but it happens because the page has not managed to get any traction in Google search results, and the path to the page has not been made apparent to casual website visitors. So the only people who’ve seen it were those sent to it directly by the advertising.

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