Quickly Evaluate Every Page on your Site

$ Index Value is the key to quickly evaluating all pages on your website.

$ Index Value is the key to quickly evaluating every page on your website.

Web analytics feature in the current edition of the Irish Marketing Journal. In his article “Web Analytics –  the New Kid on the Market Research Block“, John D Byrne opens with a great quote from Hugh Hefner, who when asked about the success of the Playboy Magazine website said: “Well we had over one million hits in the first couple of days. Problem is, we don’t know if that was a million individuals visiting our site once – or one, visiting us a million times!”

In his piece John states that approximately 70% of the budget of a website is spent on the homepage alone, yet only 10% of visit time on the site is spent on this page. He says that devoting internet expenditure to places where it is likely to be most effective should be a no-brainer for any marketer worthy of the name.

So that got me thinking… what is a fast yet effective method for a marketer to evaluate the effectiveness of every page on a website – in particular those pages which don’t themselves directly deliver a conversion, for example pages such as About Us, Client List, Mission, or Testimonials?

The key to identifying a page’s true effectiveness is to use Google Analytics’ $ Index Value feature, but first we have to look at Goals.


Typical website goals (non-transactional) are brochure downloads, mailing list sign-ups, and query form submissions. Google Analytics can track when these Goal events occur.

However to get real value out of the Goal feature, we must assign a monetary value to each goal in Google Analytics. So you might assign a value of 10 Euro for a PDF download, 20 Euro for a mailing list subscription, and 30 Euro for a query form submission.

So how is this Goal value used to measure the effectiveness of other pages?

$ Index Value

When a visitor completes a goal (say a download), Google Analytics assigns a value to all pages that were visited up to and including the goal page.

So to give an example, if we have a goal value of 30 Euro for a visit to page F, and a visitor views pages A, D, E, and finally goal page F – these 4 pages will have this 30 Euro value used in the calculation of their value, while all other pages receive no value. (This is simplified – for those interested in the more detailed calculation see the note at the end of the post).

Over time, as visitors continue to convert, $ Index values accumulate for contributing pages. These values can be viewed and compared in the Top Content report, where you can evaluate whether individual pages are contributing or not. There;s no guesswork –  it’s all based on your most valuable visitors – those who convert!

$ Index Value (highlighted in red) as it appears in the Top Content Report. The report can be sorted on $ Index Value

$ Index Value (highlighted in red) as it appears in the Top Content Report. The report can be sorted on $ Index Value to make comparison easier.

Note: I have simplified the calculation of $ Index Value in order to get the essence across. For example ecommerce websites will have transaction value taken into account in calculating $ Index Value. For more information see Google’s post on $ Index.

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