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Measuring the performance of your content is essential to determining the success of your SEO efforts, and to help guide your content strategy. By looking at how your content performs, you'll be able to understand what your visitors want, and provide more of it to them in the future. When you evaluate your content's performance, it's important to ask these questions: What content are our visitors looking at? What's our most popular content? Are our visitors engaged with our content? Are our visitors sharing our content with others? And, is our content generating quality business results? If you haven't already, you can install a free tool, like Google Analytics, to collect data that you'll need to help you get the answers to these questions.
If you're not familiar with Google Analytics, then check out the Essential Training course, where you can learn all about the reports and features that we're about to discuss. First, figuring out what our customers are looking at can be measured by simple page views. In Google Analytics, you can head over to the Content reports, and you'll see a list of the most popular pages of your website for the date range you're looking at. If you want to find out which were your most popular pages as Landing Pages, or the first page a visitor sees when they come to your site, you can head over to the Landing Pages report.
If you're an advanced user, you can even use Custom Segments to look at only visits that came from organic search, or even specific search engines. And while it's good to know which pieces of content got the most page views, that doesn't tell us anything about how well the content was received. Writing content is easy, but writing content that will provide value and leave an impression on your visitors is much more difficult, and that's where we're interested in finding out about visitor engagement. There are three metrics that can help you quickly tell how well visitors are engaging with your content: pages per visit, average time on site, and bounce rate.
Visitors are considered more engaged the longer each of their visits to your website is, and this can be measured by both average time on site, and the number of pages they view during their visit. The bounce rate is a measure of how often a visitor lands on your website and then leaves without seeing any other page of the site. Generally speaking, the lower the bounce rate, the more your visitors were enticed by your content to dive deeper into your site. Next, let's look at whether or not our content is being shared online.
Well you can use a slew of social media tools to measure how often your tweets and posts and pluses and shares are re- shared throughout your social networks, tools like Google Analytics can also be configured to track interactions that are happening both on and off your site. Google Analytics can track how many times people are clicking your social media sharing buttons, or leaving comments on your blog, and it can even go out and find the public posts across a number of different social networks that have been used to share content from your site. Of course, the flip-side of this is that when content is shared via social media, the recipients of those tweets and posts can come and visit your website.
You can use campaign tagging and Google Analytics Traffic Sources reports to see how many of your visits are coming from all of the sharing. Perhaps the most important question of all is whether or not all of this content production is driving our business goals. A properly configured web analytics tool is focused not just on counting pages, but associating all of that data with business outcomes. Do the visitors who came to our site as a result of particular piece of content end up buying something? Calling us? Did they submit a lead form or download a white paper? Did they sign-up for a product demonstration? Did they follow us on a social network, or did they share our content with others? Did they sign up for our newsletter? Each and every one of these goals has a real business value.
And by understanding what content drives these conversion actions, we can answer the biggest question of all: What did we get back for our investment in SEO? Whether you use Google Analytics or any other analytics tool, monitoring and measuring the performance of your content will help you understand the value you're creating and help you plan for and continually improve the content you'll be focusing on next.
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