All good content marketers know that it’s vital to monitor and analyze the performance of individual pieces of content on a regular basis.
This data will help to not only identify poor-performing content that can be improved, but also to find your best-performing content. Sometimes the content that you think is the best quality just doesn’t resonate with your audience. Data analytics can help you to find the perfect “recipe” for your content marketing, so you can rinse and repeat to ultimate content marketing success.
Traffic is the lifeblood of online content. If nobody is landing on your website, it doesn’t matter how amazing your blog posts are – nobody will read them and so they won’t be doing you any good.
If you really want to strip it back to basics, traffic is one metric that you must measure. Of course, this traffic can be split up into different categories. In Google Analytics, the metrics you want to be looking at are:
- Users – the total number of unique visitors to your page
- Pageviews – the total number of times a page on your site has been viewed
- Unique pageviews – If a single user has viewed your page multiple times, these visits are combined into one pageview to calculate this metric.
You can use the raw data from these metrics to get a rough idea of the amount of traffic coming to individual pages on your site. You can also breakdown the data further to see where your traffic is coming from (both geographically and how they found your site online) and the type of device they used to view your site.
This information can be useful to know for your future content strategy. For example, if you target primarily US customers but you’re getting a significant amount of traffic from the UK, you can tailor future content to your UK visitors. Or if a large proportion of your traffic is coming from one of your social media channels, you can tailor your content based on your social media followers’ data.
2. Sales or Conversions
So people are visiting your site and reading your blog – great. But what else are they doing when they’ve finished reading? Are they clicking your links and reading more? Are they signing up for your newsletter? Completing an e-commerce transaction?
It’s up to you what counts as a conversion. In some cases, the goal of your content might be to make a physical sale, while in others it just might be to raise awareness of your brand and increase your authority. If this is the case you might want to focus more on metrics such as social shares and engagement.
However, if your blog is primarily a sales tool, you’re going to want to track how many sales it generates. You can do this after activating e-commerce in Google Analytics by viewing the page value of all your content under the behavior section.
This will give you the average revenue that each page has generated for you when users have gone directly to make a purchase or complete another goal that you’ve set.
Sometimes the amount of traffic your content gets is more a measure of how effective you are at getting people to click your links, rather than how good your content is.
To really find out if people are engaging with your content, you’ll need to track how long they’re spending on your site and how many pages they’re visiting in each session.
Obviously, the goal is to keep them on your site as long as possible so they can read more of your content (unless of course, you want to funnel them to a sales page as quickly as possible.)
You can see this information under Audience Overview in Google Analytics. Here, as well as seeing your total number of sessions and visitors, you can see the average number of pages per session, the average session duration, and your bounce rate.
For content that’s designed to be read, ideally, you want a high number of pages per session, long average session duration (depending on the length of your content) and a low bounce rate.
4. Social Media Engagement
Another effective way to measure your content engagement is to see how well it’s performing on social media.
While there are various metrics you can track here, the most important is how many times your content has been shared on various social networks. A share shows that others are finding your content valuable.
This information isn’t available in Google Analytics but if you have social share buttons on each piece of content, they will show you how many times that content has been shared on each platform.
Buzzsumo is another tool for tracking social media shares and is an easy way to quickly identify the top performing content on your site.
You can also track the amount of traffic you’re getting from social platforms, which is another good way of measuring engagement. More clicks from social platforms mean that more people are sharing and interacting with your content. You can find this information under Acquisition > Social > Network Referrals in Google Analytics.
5. SEO Performance
Not all your traffic will come from social media, so it’s important that you’re getting plenty of visitors from search too. You can track the proportion of your site visits that come from search in Google Analytics, but this doesn’t give you much insight into whether your site is performing well in search engines or not.
Instead, you’ll need to measure your SEO performance. There are a few different metrics you can track here. SERP ranking is probably the most important one – this is the position of your page in the search engine results for a particular keyword phrase. Rankings aren’t static and do tend to fluctuate a little, but when you’re tracking your ranking over time you want to see it either static (if you’re already in a good spot) or improving, which shows you are gaining trust and authority.
You can use Google Search Console to identify the terms you’re ranking for and keep an eye on how your ranking changes over time.
Better SEO will lead to higher traffic numbers, more leads, and hopefully more sales and conversions.
Authority is not quite as easy to measure as most of the other metrics, but it’s still important to try to increase your authority over time.
High authority will not only improve your SEO, meaning you get more search traffic, but it will also help to build your brand, increase trust, and improve your conversion rate.
Moz has its own authority metrics that you can use as a rough guide for how Google might judge the authority of your page and site. These DA (domain authority) and PA (page authority) scores range from 1-100, with higher scores corresponding to greater authority.
There’s no definitive answer on what’s a “good” DA and PA to aim for – you basically just want a higher score than your competitors.
While these scores can be a handy thing to keep track of, there are other less definitive ways of tracking your real-world authority. Metrics such as links to your content, mentions of your brand on social media and media coverage are all indications that your authority and brand presence is growing.