I'm still wading through Google Analytics to get an idea of how the web site is used so I can have some 'evidence-based' proposals for the site home page and persistent navigation.
One thing that I'm pondering after my last blog post is referrals from Search Engines. If a page is linked to much more often from a search engine results page (SERP) than from another page in your site does that indicate your site is failing the user, or that the user prefers to use a search engine?
If a page is a common exit point does that mean it satisfied the user need, or did it just frustrate them enough to give up? Does an elongated 'time on page' mean the content engrossed the reader or that they glazed over into catatonia?
If your total page hits go up down after a redesign does that mean you lost popularity or your site is providing the required content with a lot less clicks?
I think I could argue two opposite sides to almost anything Analytics appears to hint at - each supposition on a facet of Analytics would probably make an ideal topic for a formal debate in the vein of 'can money by happiness' or 'is honesty the best policy'
The answer is site Analytics on their own are ambiguous guides to user behaviour - you really need to observe, consult and 'know' your users.
Analytics' value is in aggregating data so you can visualise behaviours that prompts you to formulate questions like WHY IS IT DOING THAT? IS THAT A GOOD THING?
If only users could be consulted in large numbers at any time that was convenient to me.
PS GA has some tables of Google Queries mapped against how often a page from your site appeared in a SERP and how often one of your pages was clicked on, referred to as CTR (Click Through Rate). It makes for interesting perusing, maybe one approach would be to interpret user goal from the search, and then see how closely the target page matched or referred to the goal. An iterative approach that would probably improve user experience over time, but it would be difficult evaluate the impact.
Analysis of that information is making me think about using Summon's Best Bets