Content Grouping: Basics
Content grouping is a powerful feature used in web analytics to categorize and aggregate data. It allows you to cluster similar content together, thereby making it easier to analyze the performance of various sections of your website, rather than focusing on individual pages.
For instance, you might group blog posts, product pages, or category pages together to understand the aggregate behavior of users interacting with these types of content.
Historically, content grouping has been a tool primarily used to gain better insights into user behavior on a macro level.
By understanding how different types of content perform, you can identify what works best for your audience and make data-driven decisions to improve user experience and engagement.
The Evolution of Content Grouping
While the core concept has remained the same, the ways in which content grouping is utilized have changed considerably. One of the most significant shifts has been the integration of content grouping with SEO strategies, specifically with regards to internal linking and the creation of cluster pages.
Internal linking refers to the practice of linking one page of a website to another page on the same website. It not only helps in navigation but also distributes page authority and ranking power throughout the site. Cluster pages, on the other hand, are a collection of related content that links together to form a cluster of pages through a primary “pillar” page.
The combined power of content grouping, internal linking, and cluster pages has transformed SEO. By strategically grouping and linking content, you can guide both users and search engines through a logical journey of related content. This can significantly improve user engagement, time on site, and most importantly, your website’s visibility on search engines.
Content Grouping Utilisation
Let’s dive deeper into how content grouping can be leveraged for SEO purposes and analytics purposes. A common application is to create blocks of links on different page types, such as category pages, sub-category pages, and product pages. Each of these pages plays a unique role in guiding users and search engines through your website. Not only is this favorable with SEO, but it is also really smart tracking them as such too, creating a macro level of page groupings that can be put under the scope for analysis.
Category Pages (PLP = Product Listing Pages)
These are high level pages that provide an overview of a broad topic, group of products, a brand etc. An e-commerce website might have a category called “men shirts” or “women jackets”. Each category page can feature blocks of links to relevant sub-category pages.
These pages delve deeper into specific aspects of a broader category. For example, under the “Men’s Clothing” category, you might have sub-category pages for “Shirts,” “Pants,” and “Shoes.” Each sub-category page can feature blocks of links to specific product pages.
Product Pages (PDP = Product Detail Pages)
These pages provide detailed information about specific products. For instance, a product page might provide information about a particular brand’s shirt. These pages can feature links to related products or back to the relevant sub-category and category pages.
These can be grouped by topic, author, or type of content (how-to guides, opinion pieces, news updates, etc.). Grouping blog posts and providing blocks of links to related content can keep users engaged and on your site longer. Not to forget, help bots index content.
Most sites have them. “About us” or “Contact”. These are pages that rarely get an update or are part of the main purpose of the website. Pages like “privacy regulations” or “disclaimer” for usage, are also typical static pages that could easily be grouped as a common “static pages” or even related to their content. Some have even named them “dead pages”, but that’s on them.
Pages like “cart”, “payment” and “receipt” are pages that are similar to the static pages, but they are very much part of the machinery that is involved in profit making and conversions. These pages are important.
Creating pillar or cluster pages, can also be applied to brand pages. They are category pages, listing different products within a brand.
I will just mention it briefly here, as I know many SEOs out there will look at all those PLPs and go “omg this must be canonicalized..”. Well, of course. You need to ensure the technical structure, but that lies outside of this post though.
In analytics Content Grouping gives us a good overview of performing or under-performing categories, content topics or other defined groups, where we can perform specific ABC Analysis (Acquisition, Behavior and Conversion Analysis) on these groups. You could call it macro analysis of the products.
Content Grouping can be used for segmentation (and audience) purposes. It allows you to segment audiences based on their interaction with different content groups, even groups of content groups.
You could create a segment of users who have viewed a certain Product type, vendor or brand agnostic, seeing how they operate between brands and vendors.
You could create segment of users who viewed jackets, and see if the majority of their behavior interacts with other groups as well, in order to make bundle suggestions or “you might be interested in” -kind of personalizations.
By understanding how different content groups perform, you can tailor your marketing efforts accordingly and use content groups as segments and retargeting audiences in Google Ads.
Extension of behavior modules
Some websites and e-commerce sites have modules that do create and analyze segments based on behavior. So you might say you dont need this. But using these as a foundation to create audiences for Google Ads, is a must do for any e-commerce owner. Not only, can you perform extra analysis on the registered behavior groups, but you can actually use it to gain insight or foundation for AB testing and experimentation purposes.
For example, you might want to test two different page layouts for a group of product pages to see which one leads to higher conversions. By grouping these pages together, you can analyze the test results more easily and accurately.
Content grouping can also help you monitor the performance of different sections of your site. If a particular content group starts to perform poorly, it can alert you to potential issues that need to be addressed.
Plan before you do
I want this, you might say. Sure! But plan it first. What content do you want to group, and why. Always document configurations and additions to you SEO and Analytics, as this will be much easier to keep an overview on, for both existing and future stakeholders.
When done planning, you use GTM to implement it by using a Variable Configuration, a regex table and adding the rules for patterns and output.