What Are Google Analytics Content Groupings

Not long ago I was doing some analysis on an Ecommerce website in order to determine how visitors navigated through to checkout. The hardest part of this effort was pulling the all pages report out of Google Analytics and conducting some Excel wizardry to filter out just the Product Pages vs. the Product Category Pages. It was time consuming and incredibly monotonous.

Another client was confident about the fact that their Photo Gallery was a top viewed page because it was constantly in the top ten on Google Analytics’ all pages report. They made the usability decision to feature this page front and center on nearly every page on the website. What they overlooked was the fact that they had hundreds of Events Pages and Business Detail Pages that were getting small numbers individually, but in aggregate were the top page types viewed on the site.

What Are Content Groupings?

Google Analytics’ Content Groupings are a way to group similar pages into buckets in order to see user behavior at a more aggregate level. In our Ecommerce example above it allowed us to group all of the Product Pages together in order to see how visitors navigated after seeing any product page. In our second example we were able to determine that the most desirable content was not Photos, but instead Events and Businesses.

How to Set Up Content Groupings

It is super simple to create content groupings. Head on over to your Google Analytics Admin and select the appropriate View. Then select Content Groupings and start creating up to five different content grouping sets. Note that you have three ways to target different content groups:

  1. Tracking Code
  2. Extraction
  3. Rule Definitions

More information on these groups can be found here, but I find that Rule Definitions are pretty robust and fairly easy to implement. Just target pages using Include and Exclude filters the same way that you do when you create Advanced Segments.

You do need to consider the different groupings you may wish to create and also note that groupings don’t talk to each other, so you’ll need to define all pages in each content grouping you create. Below are a few different types of groups we have created fro clients:

  • Products Grouping that identifies Downloadable vs. Hard Copy products
  • Site Sections Grouping that shows us how visitors navigate between Main section pages vs. Sub section pages
  • Listing Pages vs. Detail Pages to see how visitors interact with the main Listing Pages and flow through to the particular Detail Pages

We could list several more, but it really depends on your website. Ask yourself, do you have a lot of a particular type of page (eg: maybe Blog Articles) that individually are very difficult to report on but in aggregate it would make your life easier? If you have any questions about how you might set up content gropings send us an email and lets chat about it!

The Chicken vs. Egg Strategy Approach

Not too long ago we were redesigning a website for a large hospital chain client. During the research phase of the project we reviewed the analytics to find that the ‘Locations’ page was nowhere to be found. We further dug into the numbers and saw that site searches for ‘locations’, ‘hours’, and ‘directions’ were quite high. In the qualitative research phase we talked with customer support specialists and determined that ‘locations’ type questions get asked a lot. Needless to say, when we created the user experience there was a ‘Locations’ link front and center!

Chicken Theory

“That’s just the way it’s always been done!”
This is often a tough one to overcome, especially in a large organization. Web analytics can help sway opinions, but you may have to do some digging. We would not have convinced the CEOs about putting such prominence of the ‘Locations’ link had we not dug deeper into the data. UX can, and should, drive user behavior. But bad UX can drive an undesired behavior and could lead you to make incorrect design decisions. Dig into your data and don’t just settle on the quantitative side. If something doesn’t make sense go deeper and collect more data sets. A developer once told me that he approaches things like a 5-year-old… just keep asking “Why?” until you reach a point where an answer emerges.

Egg Theory

“Hey, let’s bolt this feature on!”
Don’t do this! A strategy is a plan, and a failure to plan is a plan to fail. Bolting on feature sets without understanding how it fits within the larger digital strategy can be immensely harmful to user behavior. It can also wreck havoc on your analytics if it isn’t implemented properly nor tagged, as we discussed in our example. When new features are discussed they must be wireframed and discussed, determining how a real life user would actually use the feature. Oh, and obviously the big one… how will we track their behavior with this feature?

So which is it?

Well, it’s a combination of the two. It is important to think through new features and undertand how they fit into your site’s overall architecture and user experience (The Egg). However, it is just as important to learn from past behavior by asking the right questions and letting a mature site give you UX direction (The Chicken).

3 Free High Quality Stock Video Sites We Love

Using online video has become the rage over the last few years whether you’re looking to add some excitement to your homepage, social or search campaigns.

Yet, one of the biggest hurdles in creating video content compared to image and text content is the heavy-lifting required to either create or purchase high-quality video content.



Pros: Mazwai offers a long list of short-duration high-definition stock videos ranging from aerial landscape to city life which are organized in a stunning and modern layout.  The majority of videos Mazwai offers have a modern and non-typical cinematography compared to other more typical, corporate stock video catalogs.

Cons: Currently, Mazwai lacks a search component making it difficult to find videos by keyword.

Pexels Videos


Pros: A large catalog of high quality stock video that hits on nearly every keyword and theme possible.

Cons: Their search results intermingle paid Shutterstock videos and can be confusing when trying to find free stock videos using their search.



Pros: These videos are specifically designed to act as background videos for your homepage or landing page and while they can be used for other purposes, Coverr is a great resource if you’re looking for a high quality background video.

Cons: With new videos every week, it can be a bit difficult to find specific video themes due to a lack of search function.

What are you favorite free stock video sites?

As more marketers begin to rely on video for their content while struggling to increase their content budgets, there seems to be wave of free stock video sites trying to fill that gap.

What are some of your favorite stock video sites or resources?  Do you rely more on in-house video creation or have you found a better way to make quick video content on the fly?


The SEO Value of Breadcrumb Navigation

Website navigation gets a lot of attention when it comes to usability and SEO.

If my own experience with hundreds of websites is any indication, that fourth one likely stands out for some of you.

Do Breadcrumbs impact SEO?

Yes.  As with most on-page content, when breadcrumbs are properly optimized they can improve the overall SEO health and usability of your site in a few ways:

  • Breadcrumbs influence triggering site hierarchy in your search results
  • Improves a Search Engine’s ability of crawl your site
  • Improves a Search Engine’s ability to attribute links more efficiently based on site hierarchy
  • Improves and supplements the usability of your complex navigation

How do I optimize my Breadcrumbs for SEO?


  1. Ensure that your breadcrumbs are accurately displaying across your site with an accurate category hierarchy
  2. Add structured markup to your breadcrumbs using the BreadcrumbList schema
  3. Follow Google’s guidelines on Breadcrumb optimization.

Matt Cutts also provided some insight into why, if you already have Breadcrumbs on your site, why it may not be showing in search results: