How to Export Popular Pages from Google Analytics to Sheets (Excel) to WordPress Widget

How to Show Google Analytics Top Pages in Wordpress

For statistics of all my websites, I use Google Analytics. It is fast, reliable, free and comprehensive. Recently, on one of my website, I wanted to show the site’s visitors the popular posts and pages. The first option was to use a WordPress plugin. But, honestly speaking, I avoid such plugins.

All those plugins which store their queries into the database for each pageview are really memory hog. This is the main reason I avoid them. I don’t want to compromise on the speed of the site.

The other type of WordPress plugins is that which uses the third-party statistics, like Google analytics. These plugins extract the data from these sites and then show it in the sidebar as a widget or in a post/page. The main drawback of these types of plugins is that they are often not updated regularly or they may sniff the confidential data which don’t want to share otherwise.

To bypass all these hurdles, I finally decided to export the popular pages/posts from Google analytics and use them anywhere on my site.

This whole process looks very tedious and laborious, but in fact, it is very easy and straightforward. After about one month, or whenever I have time, I follow this simple steps, export the data and update my popular posts list.

If you also want to show the popular posts from Google analytics on your WordPress website on or any other site, just repeat these steps. After learning this simple how-to guide, you’ll repent why you never explored the Analytics stats this way.

How to Show Google Analytics Popular Pages in (WordPress) Sidebar as Widget or in any page?

Step 1: Sign into your Google Analytics account. From the left sidebar, select Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.

Pages-Analytics

Step 2: In the next step, select the date range accordingly. If you want to show the popular posts from last 30 days, choose that option.

select-date-range

Step 3: You will see the top 10 pages of your website. If you want to show more that 10 pages, click on “Show Rows” at the bottom of this page and select either 25, 50 or 100. By default, this tool shows only the page URLs. We also need Page titles. For this purpose, click on “Secondary dimension > Behavior”, scroll down and choose “Page title”.

page-titles

Step 4: The first part to show Google analytics popular pages in wordpress site without plugin is almost completed as you are now ready to export this data. By using the “Export” option, either transfer your data into Google Sheets or save locally as Excel file. Because I use Google Docs in Chrome, I will use this option. Google Docs is free and can be used offline too. You can install it from Chrome Store (Extensions) if it is not already available in your Chrome.

export-stats

Step 5: In Google Sheets, or in Microsoft Excel, delete all the rows and columns except the actual 10 Page URLS in Colum A and Page Titles in Colum B.

top-posts-spreadsheet

Step 6: The URLs are relative URLS which may cause problems when copy-pasting on the site. So, we need to add our site’s domain address prior to them. Highlight first row of Colum C and enter this formula in functions bar. Replace “www.mydomain.com” with your domain name address.

=CONCATENATE(“http://www.mydomain.com”, A1)

contanement-formula

Press Enter and drag down the first row of Colum C and you’ll get all the URLs with your domain name address.

Step 7: Now we want to convert these URL into clickable URLs with Link Labels. For this purpose, select the first row of Colum D and enter this formula into functions bar.

=HYPERLINK(C1, B1)

hyperlink-formula

As you did above, drag down the formula to get all the hyperlinks.

Step 8: Now copy only column D contents, open Google Document or Microsoft Work and paste there.

Step 9: Select the Table, go to Table > Merge Cells to remove all the formatting of Spread Sheets’ columns and rows.

merge-cells

Step 10: Now copy only the links and paste them wherever you want to show them.

Isn’t it great? You have successfully shown the Google Analytics Top Pages in your site’s sidebar widget or in any post/page without using WordPress plugin.

Tip: You can repeat these steps when you want to update your popular posts list. If only one article is gaining popularity, you can either include it manually without following this process or you can re-generate your data.

Bonus Tip: When we copy anything from Google’s Documents and paste it in WordPress Editor, we usually see some weird classes like “<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>” with each link or paragraph. To avoid it, if we make the text bold in Google Docs and after pasting in the WordPress editor, remove the boldness, these weird classes don’t show up.

Best and Free Genesis Child Themes for 2016 and 2017

Best and Free Genesis Child Themes

Are you looking for your first free and the best child theme for your recently purchased genesis framework? A child theme which should meet all your needs? And most importantly you’ll be definitely interested in that type of theme which looks equally adaptable for the coming years.

Or, if you are interested in redesigning your website and wanted to replace your old, boring and outdated genesis theme with the new, HTML5 compatible, CSS3 powered child theme, then we have collected some good quality and free genesis themes which would look amazing on all old and modern screens.

Why Should We Use a Genesis Child Theme?

Genesis is a complete framework. It is built by some top level developers who regularly update it according to the new changes introduced in every WordPress release.

As the developers spend a lot of time and effort in coding the new versions and keep them updated, they charge you some amount when you first buy Genesis Framework.

When we install this framework and make any change within the core files, the subsequent updates will override these changes and we’ll lose all our modifications.

But if we install a child theme, we are not only safe, we can also replace our child theme any time without worrying about our core framework.

High Quality Free Genesis Child Themes:

Should I use a Free Genesis Child Theme or Premium?

There is no doubt that the premium themes are usually more elegant and filled with tons of additional features which lack in free themes. But, if you are justing starting your blog, you don’t need to invest $40 – $100 in purchasing the premium quality genesis child theme right now. You can go with a simple free theme and then later when your website starts receiving more and more visitors, you can upgrade to any premium theme.

You can go with a simple free theme and then later when your website starts receiving more and more visitors, you can upgrade to any premium theme.

Here is the list of some top quality free genesis based WordPress themes for 2016 – 2017.

The download and demo links are also included with each theme for quick actions.

All these child themes require Genesis Framework installed in the themes main directory of wordpress blogging platform.

1. Genesis Sample Theme

Genesis-Framework-Supports-HTML5-Responsive-Design

This is one of my favorite starter themes. It is coded by the developers of Genesis Framework. It is regularly updated. If you don’t find any suitable free theme, I’ll highly recommend you to install this them and modify it according to your needs and requirements.

Demo | Download Info

2. Fremedy

Fremedy

It is a great simple looking child theme. It comes with a dedicated landing page. By using the portfolio custom post type, you can show off your best work. One the front page, you can set your favorite posts in the form of a slideshow.

Demo | Download Info

3. Diligent


Diligent

Diligent comes with powerful theme options which let you choose a custom background and menu. It is packed with six different types of color styles. Four types of page layout are extras. Font Awesome integrations is an added feature.

Demo | Download Info

4. Equilibre

Equilibre

If you are running a small business and want to present a nice looking introduction of your website on a page with the contact details, this is a great template. Keeping in mind the minimalism, the theme comes with four page layouts.

Demo | Download Link

To reduce the page length of this post, we decided to provide only the name and the link to the download page for more genesis child themes.

5. Mobile First Adaptation – Demo & Download

mobile-first-adaptation1

6. Alpha Aero – Demo & Download

7. Amazing Times – Demo & Download
8. Aurobahn – Demo & Download
9. Bigg – Demo & Download
10. BloggingCase – Demo & Download
11. Bootstrap Genesis Theme – Demo & Download
12. BreakPoint – Demo & Download
13. Charisma – Demo & Download
14. Center – Demo & Download
15. Code Chirps – Demo & Download
16. Concise – Demo & Download
17. El Blog – Demo & Download
18. Engage – Demo & Download
19. FlipBlog – Demo & Download
20. Genesis CRM – Demo & Download
21. In The Beginning – Demo & Download
22. Jemma – Demo & Download
23. Just Read – Demo & Download
24. Latitude – Demo & Download
25. Minimal – Demo & Download
26. Mobile First – Demo & Download
27. Muse – Demo & Download
28. Nominal – Demo & Download
29. Novo – Demo & Download

Novo Child Theme for Genesis30. One-Pager – Demo & Download
31. Persevero – Demo & Download
32. Personify – Demo & Download
33. Segue – Demo & Download
34. Simplux – Demo & Download
35. Sinatra – Demo & Download
36. Tea Box – Demo & Download
37. Trestle – Demo & Download
38. Twenty of Time – Demo & Download
39. FreePro – Demo & Download
40. Jano – Demo & Download
41. Freeze – Demo & Download

Note: If you’re a developer and want to get your child theme included in this list, please leave the demo and download information links in the comments section below. We’ll check the working links and update this list.

Categories Or Tags? How to Use them for Best SEO Results

tags-vs-categories-for-best-SEO-results

Do you think your categories or tags are not optimized for best SEO results? Here is everything you need to know.

Whenever a new blogger enters the world of blogosphere and uses “WordPress” as his first software to present his writings, videos, podcasts, articles etc, he is trapped into a situation where he can’t decide how to use this software to get the high rankings in google in order to bring more and more visitors to his site.

One key area where he looks confused is the use of categories or tags. Many questions come into his mind like:

  1. How many categories should I use on my blog?
  2. How many tags can I use on my site?
  3. How many categories and tags can I assign to one post / article?
  4. Which is better for SEO, category or tag?
  5. Should I let Google index my archives pages esp categories and tags?
  6. How to optimize the categories and tags for search engines and for visitors?

We will try to answer all the questions below.

Every content management system and publishing tool provide the authors and writers a set of tools to assign their work in different folders which are called “archives” in the terms of blogging.

Types of Archives:

There are different types of archives like:

1. Author’s archives
2. Category archives
3. Tag archives
4. Date archives
5. Post format archives (if your theme supports it)
6. Search archives

The purpose of all these archives is to provide the visitors and search engine bots different ways to find the related content easily, without going deep into the site.

If your content is accessible through few mouse clicks, it is not only helpful to the visitors but also to the crawling bots.

When the content gets buried deep into the archives, it is not visited by Google so often, unless it is very popular and has got a lot of backlinks. Less crawling means the page is not refreshed in the Google cached database and after some time it starts losing its ranking.

Categories and Tags Archives:

Categories and Tags are also called as Taxonomies in WordPress terminology. They offer up the opportunities for increased engagement and to sort the content for easy searching.

Categories are like “Table of Contents” of a book, whereas tags are like “Index”.

Should I use Both Categories and Tags on My Blog?

This question is very tricky. In fact, it all depends on your site.

If the posts you publish revolve around 3-5 topics only, you can rely on only categories. But if it is a multi-niched blog, then you should definitely use the tags too to provide another option to users to reach the desired information quickly and precisely.

Bonus Tip: Even if you don’t want to use the Tags on your site, don’t forget to create the relevant tags at the editor’s section. You may change your mind in future and then you won’t need to re-write the tags on all the previously published posts. Moreover, tags are also used by many plugins which show the related articles on the post.

How Many Categories or Tags Should I Use?

There are different views by different experts on this topic.

Those who prefer users over search engine say that the post should contain multiple categories and tags for better engagement.

The other group of experts say that we shouldn’t ignore the search engine totally. We should not assign the post to more than two categories and 3-4 tags.

There is no doubt that every archives, whether it is category archives, tag archives or any other type of archives, it is mere the duplication of the original content until you take some necessary steps to minimize the effects of duplication.

If you assign one post to many categories and tags, you are duplicating your content. Though Google doesn’t penalize the site due to in-house duplication, but it has got many other disadvantages.

How Categories and Tags Are Against SEO Best Practices?

If a so-called SEO expert tells you that Categories and Tags don’t create duplicate content, don’t listen to him. He doesn’t know how Google bot works and how the content ranks in the search engine.

Google is very efficient in grouping the on-site duplication and it never penalizes any site due to such type of duplication. But it doesn’t mean you don’t lose anything by creating so many similar types of page in the form of categories and tags.

Here are some ways these archives may hurt your SEO rankings.

  • Un-related Page for a Keyword: Suppose you want the visitors to land on the post “How to Write a Viral Blog Post” for the keyword “viral blog post”. But you have attached this post to “Blogging” category and tagged with “Viral Posts, Writings, How-To” etc. Now Google may find that “Viral Posts” tag page is more relevant to the user’s query and it will send the user to this tag page instead of the actual page.
  • Confusion for Google Bot: If you are showing the full-length article on the category and tag pages too, instead of the excerpt, it will be very difficult for Google bot to compute the most suited article out of these.
  • Bad for Site’s Bandwidth: When Googlebot finds such pages, he crawls them to find more and more unique content. This crawling eats the bandwidth of your site. If your site is big, busy and not properly optimized, Googlebot may slow down the whole site due to frequent visits in order to find more and more content.
  • Inefficient Crawling: According to an old blog post published on “Google blog“,

when Googlebot discovers ten URLs on your site, it has to crawl each of those URLs before it knows whether they contain the same content. The more time and resources that Googlebot spends crawling duplicate content across multiple URLs, the less time it has to get to the rest of your content.

  • Dancing Keyword: On category and tag pages, the group of keywords and keywords’ density fluctuate every time you publish a new post under that category / tag. It also confuses the Google. The category which was ranking high for a specific keyword may lose its ranking on next blog post due to this problem.

How Make them SEO (Search Engine) Friendly?

Above mentioned points don’t conclude that we should not use the taxonomies on our site. Taxonomies are very helpful in many ways.

1) They help Googlebot find new content faster. Often it happens that one category is updated more frequently than others. Google notices it and gives priority to that category page over others. So, whenever you’ll publish a post in that category, you’ll be amazed to see that it is indexed within minutes. While those posts which are published under less-updated categories are not indexed so quickly.

2) Categories and Tags help users find the related content easily. Reading new content means that user is spending more time on the site. This is a good signal when website ranking comes into the play. More a user visits the internal pages and spends time on them, the more value and authority of the site increases in the eye of Google.

So our main purpose should be not only to give the visitors an easy access to every article but also to make the categories and tags SEO friendly.

Here are few steps you can follow to create a balance between user-friendly and search engine friendly taxonomies.

1). If your site covers a single niche, you don’t need to add tags to the posts. Only 8-10 categories are enough.

2) Avoid assigning more than 2 categories to a post.

3) Subcategories are highly discouraged. It is better to create a new parent category instead of subcategory.

4) If your blog is covering different types of topics, you can ditch the categories and start using tags only. One popular blog which is using this strategy is “LifeHacker“.

5) It is better to add “noindex” meta tag to all the categories’ and tags’ pages. For this purpose, Yoast WordPress SEO plugin is the best option.

taxonomies-ranking

6) However, if you want to keep the categories in google index, then it is highly recommended that you add “noindex” to all the subpages of all the archives.

noindex-subpages-categories

7) Using “Yoast’s SEO plugin” add a unique title to every category. After that add a unique description to every category. The description should be long enough so that the keyword doesn’t fluctuate much every time you publish a new post as I mentioned above.

category-title-description

8) Never show full content on archives pages. Always show only the excerpt.

Conclusion:

The bottom line of this post is that we should keep our site structure esp categories and tags, simple and clean. The archives pages should be primarily for visitors only and not for Google. For google crawling, other steps should be taken like better pagination, better navigation menu, and better inter-linking approach. We will discuss these techniques later in a separate post.