You can use Google Analytics to fine-tune your help center. This article covers two common maintenance tasks:
This is the fourth article in a series. The series outlines how to use Google Analytics to answer questions you may have as a Guide admin responsible for providing an effective self-service support option to your customers. The series covers the following topics:
- Part 1 - Asking the right questions
- Part 2 - Measuring the effectiveness of search
- Part 3 - Tracking customers' actions
- Part 4 - Fine-tuning your help center - YOU ARE HERE
- Part 5 - Capturing help center user data
If you haven't already done so, enable Google Analytics for your help center. See Enabling Google Analytics.
Finding broken links to deleted pages
Over time, you'll add new articles and retire old ones from your help center. Deleting content can break links, giving customers a "page doesn't exist" error message like the following:
It’s good practice to scrub for links to deleted or missing pages on a regular basis.
To find links to deleted pages
- In the Google Analytics dashboard, go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.
- Change the primary dimension of the report to Page Title.
- Enter "The page you were looking for doesn't exist" in the search bar.
This gives you every instance of a customer getting the error message. Some instances can be legitimate, such as somebody making a typo when entering the URL. We only care about instances where the customer followed a link to a page that doesnt' exist anymore. You can find these instances with a secondary dimension, as follows.
- In the Secondary Dimension field, select Behavior > Page.
This breaks out the page views by page URL. Example:
The example lists two URLs that gave customers the error message. The first is /hc/en-us/articles/201607853-deleted-article, which received four page views. Confirm that the link is broken by clicking the icon next to the URL.
The next URL, /hc/hc/en-us, received one page view. The URL looks like someone typed "hc" one too many times, so it probably isn’t a link to deleted content.
Now that you know what URL leads to a dead end, the next step is to identify all the pages that contain the link so that you can fix or delete the link.
To find the pages that contain the broken links
- Make Page the primary dimension.
- Click the edit link next to the Advanced Filter field, and add the broken link URL to the
- Click Apply.
- In the Secondary Dimension field, select Behavior > Previous Page
This displays the URLs that customers visited before they attempted to visit the missing page.
The example shows that users visited the article, /hc/en-us/articles/201023637-this-article-will-reference-a-deleted-article, before attempting to visit the missing page. Click the button to jump to the page. Find and delete the broken link.
Filtering agent traffic out of your metrics
If you followed this series, you're probably tracking tons of metrics in Google Analytics. It's good practice to filter out your own agents' activity to get the most accurate results. The most frequent users of your help center may often be your own agents, who are curating content and looking for the right articles to send to customers. If you want your metrics to reflect only your customers’ activity and behavior, you’ll want to filter out agent traffic.
To filter out agent traffic
- In the Google Analytics dashboard, go to Settings > Edit > Add Filter.
- Enter any of your known office IP addresses.
The filter removes any traffic that comes from your agents when they access your help center from any of the specified IP addresses.
It's very cumbersome to check for broken links with Google Analytics. Is there a better way?
There's a third-party tool in our apps marketplace that's designed to help with this: Help Center Export
Thanks Dave, will review it with my team soon.
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