There’s no denying that monitoring and analysing the performance of your website content on a regular basis is paramount to success. Not only does conducting an in-depth performance analysis help you to recognise your best-performing content, but it can also point you in the direction of anything under-performing, so that you can improve it accordingly. Although you may recognise certain pieces of your content to be some of your best work, it may just not be resonating with your audience in the same way – and data analytics can help you see and improve this. This blog will look into the five most important metrics when it comes to analysing and improving your content’s performance, to produce a content marketing strategy that helps you to reach your goals. After establishing your brand’s objectives and KPIs, you can decide on what metrics you’d like to start measuring.
Here are those that you shouldn’t miss.
If nobody is landing on your website, then it really doesn’t matter how good your content is, because nobody is going to see it. Whether you like it or not, traffic is one metric that you really must measure. By measuring and checking website traffic over time in Google analytics, you are allowing yourself to become familiar with a number of different website traffic metrics, so you can really look into the traffic that is coming through to your site in detail.
These metrics include:
Here, you can measure the number of visitors that come through to your website each month. Keeping an eye on your traffic sources can help you to determine where your traffic is coming from and can also ensure that you pay attention to significant drops in visitor levels or months where visits seem to spike. It is paramount that you’re looking at what traffic comes through to specific pages and then tie this back to the objectives that the content had in the first place. If it’s objective is to receive organic traffic, but it’s not getting any, then why is this? Are the wrong keywords being targeted? Is there simply little to no search volume for the subject? Or do other brands have better content on the same subject? By determining the patterns in traffic that you want to analyse, you can then start to look at reasons for fluctuations in visitors and strategise on how to further influence your analytics results. For example, if the majority of your visitors are coming from your social channels, then you’ll want to put this at the forefront of your efforts, whereas if they’re coming from search engine results, then an SEO campaign supported by PPC efforts, may be the best way to go.
New vs. Returning
There’s no doubt that new visitors are something to shout about – they show that your marketing efforts are working, and that new people are discovering your website and brand. However, what about the visitors that return, after already having been on your website. These are the ones that are going to have a higher likelihood of conversion. What new and returning visitors stand for demonstrates the importance of keeping a close eye on this traffic metric. According to commonplaces.com, you should aim to have returning visitors somewhere between the 25%-50% range but of course this will vary massively between industries
Average time on site
By looking at the average time on your site, you can see what pages your visitors are spending the most time on. If your website is content heavy and depends on users reading your articles and watching your videos then this traffic metric can be particularly useful and if you sell products, you’ll want to make sure that visitors are spending a good portion of time on your individual product pages.
Bounce rate and exit rate
Bounce rate and exit rate are two different things – and it’s important to remember that. Your bounce rate records a loss of users that land on a page directly, exit rate will account for any exits by a user of your site. Their subtle differences make them useful metrics. Yes, all bounces are exits, but not all exits are bounces, which is why it’s important to determine how often one or the other is happening and why. Both metrics are equally as important and whilst a high bounce rate will likely signify problems with user satisfaction (context of content, site quality, loading speed) a high exit rate will usually signify problems with your conversion funnel. It’s also worth noting that a high average time on page along with a high bounce rate might actually not be a bad thing – it can show that the visitor is finding what they need from the page that they landed on and that’s why they didn’t need to visit other pages. Take each page on its own merit, with the objectives of that specific content firmly in mind. The metrics you choose to focus on and optimise for will then therefore be chosen based on the problem areas of your site that you wish to tackle.
Graph shows how measuring exit rates can show you opportunity areas to optimise. Image: cxl.com.
It’s great that people are visiting your site and reading your blogs, but when they’ve finished, what are they doing? Are they clicking the internal links or using the site navigation and discovering more? Have they signed up to your newsletter? Better still, have they made a transaction? What you track as a conversion is completely up to you and will depend on your key performance indicators and objectives, but tracking and measuring this is a must, no matter what it is. If you’ve positioned your blog as a sales tool, then tracking how many sales come out of it will show you whether it is working as it should be; or, perhaps your product pages are the sales drivers? Either way, by activating enhanced E-commerce tracking in Google Analytics and heading to the behaviour section, you can view the value of your content. Be sure to look at the average revenue that each page has generated when users have gone directly to make a purchase or even completed a different goal that you’ve set.
Social Media Engagement
Like traffic, there are a fair few different social media metrics that matter when it comes to using social media engagement to monitor your marketing content’s overall importance. Tracking these metrics are important because they can prove whether or not your social media strategy will have an impact on your overall business. Providing consistent social media metric reports can also determine significant shifts in your social strategy, such as budget increases and the need to access more resources. A social media analytics tool, such as Sprout Social, will help you to document and monitor your metrics on a consistent basis and help you to understand whether or not your current social strategy is actually helping you to achieve your goals. If it isn’t, how can this be changed? In order to determine improvements, metrics that you should focus on include likes, comments, shares and re-tweets, impressions/reach, organic account mentions and referrals and conversions. Measuring a ‘good’ engagement level really depends on the platform you want to measure. According to Instazood, a good engagement rate for Twitter and Facebook is anywhere between 0.5-1% of your following and for Instagram, 3-6% is considered high.
Unfortunately, SEO success can’t be measured based on ranking improvements alone, but there are ways and metrics to help you manage, track and monitor your SEO performance. These include:
Tracking your keyword rankings with a tool such as Ahrefs, can tell you whether or not you’re targeting the right keywords in your content and, if not, whether you might need to change your strategy for less competitive keywords. Tracking your keyword rankings will also tell you whether or not your site is actually growing. Growth in the number of keywords that your site is ranking for can show that your site is gaining authority. Be aware that the more keywords your site starts to rank for, your average position stats will worsen, but this doesn’t mean that your site is going in the wrong direction.
Backlink quantity and quality
Focussing on improving the quality and quantity of your backlinks to specific content on your site can really pay off when it comes to getting Google recognition. There are handy tools such as SEMrush that are available to do this. By regularly tracking and monitoring your website’s backlink profile, you can gain valuable information such as how effective your current backlink strategies are (blogger outreach, digital PR, link reclamation, content marketing etc) and can also help you to discover potential sources for future link building.
Most people will start ‘doing SEO’ in order to improve the organic traffic through to their website. As mentioned above, traffic in itself is a key metric when measuring website and content performance and a growth in organic traffic can have great ties to your SEO efforts, so it’s also worth keeping a close eye on the two of them working together.
As well as social media engagement, regular engagement is also an important metric for measuring website performance. To find out whether people are actually engaging with the content you have produced for your website, you will need to track how they’re spending time on your site and how many pages they’ve visited in each session. This information can be found under Audience Overview in Google Analytics. If you’re producing content on your site that is designed to actually be read, measuring engagement is a good way of seeing whether of not that goal is being reached. Results that you need to see from this metric if that is the case are a high number of pages per session, long average session duration (of course this will depend on the length of your content) and a low bounce rate. From here, you can determine whether you need to change up the way you write your content in order to keep people interested and engaged.
You may also want to use Google Tag Manager (GTM) to tag up buttons and other events on your site to see how often they are used/fired. This could be everything from how many people are viewing a particular video on your site to the clickability of your CTAs.
Google Analytics audience overview
Why is CRO an important way to measure my website’s performance?
By undergoing the Conversion Rate Optimisation process, you are ensuring that your website has been optimised to increase the likelihood of visitors completing a specific action. Although there is a huge variance in those said actions/goals across different companies and their websites, there are a few common metrics that all websites could do with measuring when it comes to their CRO reports. Some of the most common webpage purposes include answering a visitor’s question, allowing a visitor to easily navigate deep into a website and perform an on-page action that is specific to them. Specific on-page actions can be anything from CTA views, clicks and impressions. Ultimately, CRO can identify and break down the barriers that are reducing conversions to increase revenue and maximise ROI. Further benefits to conversion rate optimisation include capitalising on your existing traffic without having to spend money on PPC and other traffic-generating methods, boosting brand perception with a website that guides customers seamlessly to what their looking for and gaining a better understanding of leads, prospects and customers.