Welcome back to the SiteCatalyst Finance Fundamentals blog series.  In this series we are discussing the implementation basics and example analysis of each fundamental solution that Financial Services customers should consider leveraging.  Stay tuned and please feel free to contribute your thoughts/experience as we discuss each solution.

One of the most often asked questions of any online marketer is “what are our most popular pages?” or “how many page views, visits, or visitors did we get to this landing page?” or “which pages have the highest bounce rate?” Assigning friendly and human-readable page names to all the pages on your site will help answer these questions and many more.

Content Identification Overview

When we refer to content identification, we are typically referring to page names, or the s.pageName variable. A page is defined as a particular piece of content, though not necessarily a particular HTML file (though there certainly is some overlap). Every page on your site should have a unique page name, and ensuring those names are understandable goes a long way to making the most of your web analytics reporting.

Friendly page names should follow three best practices. Pages names should be:

  • Clear – by looking at a page name, a SiteCatalyst user can easily determine which page on the site the name refers to.
  • Concise – the page name should be as short as possible, removing an extra spaces and unnecessary words or characters.
  • Contextual – the page name should include information about where the page lives in the site, such as a site section or other grouping. In financial services, we see pages often grouped together by line of business (banking/insurance), target audience (personal/small business/ corporate), product (checking/savings), and functional type (marketing/application/servicing).

To illustrate these concepts here are some sample reports. For our first example, here is a poor page naming strategy where only the URL is used:

  1. Since the Homepage doesn’t have a friendly name, the page’s stats are split out into 3 separate line items.
  2. The landing page URL doesn’t indicate which content is displayed on the page. Is this the landing page promoting free trades, or $100 for opening a new account?
  3. The login page was recently upgraded and the old one is still collecting data, making it difficult to roll up total visitors to the login page.
  4. This page name is over 100 characters long, and has been truncated down to 100 characters. All pages that begin with this value will be rolled up into one line item for reporting.

Here’s an example for a good page naming strategy:

  1. All data for the homepage rolls up to one line item, making analysis easier and enabling a way to get deduplicated visits and visitors.
  2. The promo pages now have meaningful names that indicate which offer is being promoted.
  3. Now that the “About” page names have been shortened, we can break out individual pages into their own line items which gives us more granular data for analysis.

As you can see, following a solid content identification strategy allows for easier to understand and cleaner data.

Content Identification Implementation

Many of the concerns around implementing friendly page names come from the large volume of pages that the typical website has. There are several ways to help this:

  • If your site uses a content management system (CMS), the fields to populate a s.pageName can come from the content’s metadata. For example, page name can be a concatenation of the node’s selected navigation tab, sub navigation tab, and content title. The site’s master page template could contain the code to pull these fields together and output to s.pageName. The code might look something like this:
    s.pageName="<SelectedNav>|<SubNav>|<ContentTitle>";
  • Adobe Consulting has a page naming plugin that can automatically set the s.pageName variable based on the page’s URL. This is a less than optimal solution, but can be used when no other solution is available.

In part 2 of our series, we will cover some interesting reporting and optimization opportunities when page names are effectively implemented.

Have a question about anything related to SiteCatalyst for the Financial Services industry?  Do you have any tips or best practices to share?  If so, please leave a comment here or send me an email at svertree (at) adobe.com and I will do my best to answer it on this blog so everyone can learn! (Don’t worry – I’ll keep your name and company name confidential)

1 comments
eknee1417
eknee1417

Great article!  When a CMS system is not available though what is the best way to handle pagenames outside of the plugin (which is no longer supported with the lastest s_code update)?