How to Find Zero-Traffic Pages in Google Analytics

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Most web analytics concentrate on finding out how visitors are interacting with a site through metrics like traffic, events, and conversions. This shows you how well a particular page or feature is performing. However, this approach neglects pages that are performing poorly and ignores entirely pages that are going unseen.

Why Does Zero-Traffic Matter?

Pages that are receiving zero-traffic were a waste of time to create and add to the options in your navigation without providing any value to visitors. Furthermore, such pages may be a sign that there is something wrong with your site as a whole, such as ineffective SEO, poor usability, or something broken on a deeper level. These pages could contribute to your rankings and conversions, often after just a simple fix.

A major problem to overcome is that Google Analytics only presents data about pages that are receiving traffic. You can find the fewest visits by selecting “Top content” and then click “Pageviews” to see pages organized by the lowest number first, but Google Analytics will start with pages that received at least one pageview. You can only see zero-traffic by looking at pages individually.

Zero Pageviews in the Last Month

The simplest way to find pages with zero pageviews is to head to “Behavior” and then “Site Content.” Here, you can receive an “All Pages” report. Create one from the last month and then sort pageviews in ascending order. Any page that has just one pageview received zero pageviews every day but one in the past month.

This method will show you most of your worst performing pages, but it is unable to show you any that never received a view, either in the last month or in a lifetime. For this reason, although this is the fastest option, it may be insufficient.

Crawl and Export

A longer, though more accurate, method is to crawl your site using a website crawler tool. Depending on the tool you use, you may be able to change the settings for crawling your site. For instance, you may be able to speed up crawl time by stopping the tool from checking images, CSS, JavaScript, nofollow and noindex pages, SWF, and external links.google-analytics-explained-zero-traffic-pages-google-analytics2.png

After you’ve crawled your site, export the data as a CSV file.

Next, you need to compare the list of crawled pages to the pages that appear in Google Analytics as receiving pageviews. In Google Analytics, head to “Content” and then “Site Content” to find “All Pages.” Pick the data range you want and export the data to a CSV file as well.

Combine the two lists into a single spreadsheet in Excel and create a pivot chart to remove duplications. You’ll see a list of all the content and its activity data (or lack thereof).

Some tools, like Screaming Frog SEO Spider, gather the Google Analytics data for you and eliminate the need to compare two lists. In Screaming Frog, for example, you head to “Configuration” and find “API Access.” You’ll see the option “Google Analytics.” Under “User Account,” connect to your Google Analytics account.google-analytics-explained-zero-traffic-pages-google-analytics3.png

Pick the Google Analytics view with no filter to receive all your website traffic data. Choose the date range you want and click “OK.” Input your website URL and click “Start” to begin crawling. When the crawl is complete, you will be able to access the data in the “Analytics” tab. Under the “Filter” menu, you’ll see the option “No GA Data.” Export this as a CSV file.

Examining the Data

Whatever tool you use, you’ll end up with a list of pages that are crawled but fail to appear in Google Analytics. Some of these could be pages with a 301 status code, URLs that are not webpages, URLs with strange query parameters, or URLs with server-side issues. Filter out all the irrelevant URLs by looking just at pages with a 200 status code. You’ll be left with a list of pages that may require attention.

When looking at pages with zero pageviews, you must consider your date range. If you have seasonal content, you may expect zero pageviews in a short timeframe. Any pages that you would expect to receive views, however, require further examination.

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