How to track web pages with zero traffic in Google Analytics

Google Analytics does not report on web pages that have got zero pageviews in a selected time period.

However, Google Analytics does report on web pages that have got zero pageviews on certain days, and one or more pageviews on other days in a selected time period:

Most web analytics tools on the market today concentrate on finding out how users are interacting with your site, how the key performance metrics like page views, unique visitors, etc are performing. What they do not concentrate on is the pages on your website with no page views and how they can improve those pages.

Every business should understand and find out the pages with no traffic on their website because these are the pages that are not adding any value and also could also be the reason for your website not ranking in search results.

These pages indicate that there is something wrong with your site, for example, ineffective SEO, poor usability, etc. These pages should be identified and revamped to rank better in search engines.

zero pageviews

zero traffic in Google Analytics

Thus the concept of zero traffic is time-bound.

Almost every web page on your website got traffic at some point in its lifetime.

If you look at your GA reports with a very large time frame, you may see a pageview recorded for almost every page on your website. However, there can also be many web pages that have never seen the light of the day. The web pages for which Google Analytics has never ever recorded a single pageview.

These are the web pages that Google Analytics can’t report on, no matter what time frame you select.

It is difficult to find out the pages with no visits since Google Analytics doesn’t report those pages. Not even the server log files will have this data. These pages are also known as graveyard pages.

Web Pages with 1 pageview in a month

If you go to the ‘All Pages‘ report (under Behavior > Site Content) of the last one month and sort the pageview column in increasing order, you can see all the web pages which have got only 1 pageview in the last one month:

1 pageview

These 1 pageview pages are your zero traffic pages.

If they have got only one pageview in the last month, it means they got zero pageviews on the other 29 days of the month. Technically speaking, they are not zero traffic pages as they still got one pageview but they are pretty close to zero and good enough data to work on.

This is the easiest way to determine zero traffic pages on your website. No website crawl, no Excel hacks, and everyone can do it pretty easily with just a few clicks.

Also, when you’re looking at zero page views in Google Analytics, you should consider two things. The first thing is to check for the date range and the second is to check the content. There could be some pages, which you have launched for a specific campaign or some holiday season. It is expected that those pages get traffic only for a few days.

Consider only those pages, which are expected to receive views and would require further analysis.

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Finding web pages with zero pageviews using sitemap.xml

To find out pages with zero page views you first need to have a list of URLs for your site. If your site is of medium size and has only less than 500 pages, then we can use sitemap.xml.

Step-1: Create a list of URLs from the sitemap.xml and remove the domain names from the URL. If your website doesn’t have a sitemap, then you can create one by using https://www.xml-sitemaps.com/

Step-2: Navigate to https://www.xml-sitemaps.com/ website and enter your website URL to create an XML sitemap and click on ‘Start’.

Step-3: Once the scan is complete, you will see a status like below which includes the time taken to scan, pages scanned etc. Click on ‘View sitemap details’.

 

 Step-4: You can either download or view your XML sitemap.

 

Step-5: Now, copy all the pages on your website into an Excel file and remove the domain name so it is easier to compare it with Google Analytics report which doesn’t include the domain name. For example, for https://www.optimizesmart.com/about-us, you would remove the domain name so the list only has the pathname i.e. /about-us.

Step-6: Now, login to your Google Analytics report and click on the ‘Behavior’ tab from the left-hand menu.

 

Step-7: Click on ‘All Pages’ under the ‘Site content tab’ menu and select a date range of at least five to six months from the date range selector.

 

Step-8: After selecting the date range, click on ‘Export’ above the date selector and export to ‘Excel (XLSX)’.

 

Step-9 Now, add this data to the Excel spreadsheet created earlier, containing the sitemap URLs. Using an Excel formula check if the URL’s captured in Google Analytics match with the sitemap URLs. To make this task easy, I use the sample Google spreadsheet shared by James from the Beantin website.

Step-10: You just have to replace the URLs in A and column C with your sitemap and Google Analytics URLs.

Note: you can make a copy of this spreadsheet and use it to find out the pages with zero page views.

Step-11: All the pages with “No” are the pages that have zero pageviews in your Google Analytics reports.

However, if you have a website that has more than 500 pages, it would be difficult to do this manual process, you need to use another alternative for finding out the pages with zero page views. Use some automated tools like Screaming Frog, that we are going to discuss below.

Finding web pages with zero pageviews in the last one month

Maybe you are not satisfied with just finding ‘1 pageview a month’ web pages. You also want to know the web pages which haven’t got a single pageview in the last one month, the ones which are truly dead.

There are a couple of methods to find zero pageviews pages. I will show you the one which is easiest to implement. Follow the steps below:

Step-1: Open Screaming Frog SEO Spider tool. It is a powerful website crawler that can also communicate with Google Analytics API. I used this tool a lot for tag auditing.

Step-2: Go to the ‘Configuration’ menu and then click on the ‘Spider’ menu item:

configuration menu

Step-3: Uncheck the following checkboxes to speed up your website crawl:

  1. Check Images
  2. Check CSS
  3. Check JavaScript
  4. Check SWF
  5. Check External links

spider configuration

If you start the website crawl without unchecking these boxes and your website has got tens of thousands of web pages, then it may take forever to complete the crawl.

Moreover, we don’t need image files, CSS files, JavaScript files, etc for our analysis.

Step-4: Again Go to the ‘Configuration’ menu and then click on API Access > Google Analytics:

api access

Step-5: Click on the ‘Connect to a new account’ button in the ‘Google Analytics Configuration’ dialog box:

connnect to new account

You will then be redirected to a new web page in your browser where you will see the following similar message:

accept button

Step-6: Click on the ‘Accept’ button. Screaming frog tool can now access your Google Analytics data via API.

Step-7: Select the Google Analytics account, Property and view whose data you want to analyse from the drop-down menus:

ga configuration2

Select the GA view which has got no filters and which contains all of your website traffic data.

Step-8: Click on the ‘Date Range’ tab and select the last one month date as shown below:

date range tab

Step-9: Click on the ‘ok’ button to close the ‘Google Analytics Configuration’ dialog box. You have now configured both your crawler and Google Analytics, and are now ready to start the website crawl.

Step-10: Enter your website URL and then click on the ‘start’  button to start the website crawl:

start the crawl

Step-11: When the crawl is finished, click on the ‘Analytics’ tab:

analytics tab

Step-12: Select ‘No GA data’ from the ‘Filter’ drop-down menu and then click on the ‘Export’ button to download the data into excel:

no ga data

Step-13: Open the downloaded CSV file (named analytics_no_ga_data.csv) in excel. This file contains the list of all those web pages which got zero traffic in the last month.

However, this file also contains those web pages which were crawled but would never be reported by Google Analytics.

These pages could be:

#1 Web pages with 301 status code

#2 URLs which are not really web pages (like https://www.optimizesmart.com/http:www.optimizesmart.com).

#3 URLs with a lot of weird query parameters.

#4 URLs that have got server-side issues (4xx or 5xx errors)

The fastest way to get rid of all such web pages is to filter out only those pages which have got 200 status code:

no ga data excel file

Related Article: Why Google Analytics Show Zero Sessions?

Another article you will find useful: Understanding Users in Google Analytics

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About the Author

Himanshu Sharma

  • Founder, OptimizeSmart.com
  • Over 15 years of experience in digital analytics and marketing
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