Are you creating blog content that engages your audience? Knowledge is everything, and knowing your blog metrics will help you to create blog content that resonates with your audience. Your metrics will inform you of all the content-related changes you need to make and you can use these insights to tailor content based on the needs of your audience.
The main objective of business blogging is to increase engagement and interaction. Your blog’s content is easy to measure, as each user interaction is valuable and can count as a success metric.
These insights will help you to adjust your content strategies and create more powerful content in these ways:
- You can use your top content as a model for creating new content. Once you track which blog posts garnered the most interaction in the form of shares, comments, views you can create more content around these topics. Since I cover the entire spectrum of digital marketing, it’s always interesting for me to see if my posts on content marketing, blogging, SEO or social media gain the most traction.
- If you are a business owner, your conversions will tell you which content is the most successful at convincing and converting your prospects to loyal customers.
Here are the 7 essential metrics to understand how your content is faring with your audience.
#1. Google Analytics
The Behavior section of Google Analytics will give you access to a thorough analysis of your site’s content.
- The page views tab allows you to see the top pages on your site based on the number of views. If a blog post is very popular, it makes sense to create more posts around that topic.
- The bounce rate will help you to adjust your content depending upon the percentage. If certain posts have a bounce rate of 80% you know that you are creating content that is either not resonating with your audience or that you are optimizing your blog post for the wrong search terms. Either way, your audience is leaving minus any engagement. On the other hand if you have a bounce rate of less than 50%, you are doing a great job and should continue to do whatever it is that you are doing so far.
- If you have site search, then in these days of keyword not provided, you are ahead of the game. You can see the search terms that people typed in once they entered your site. These search terms will again help you in creating content that your audience would like to find on your site.
- I like the Content Experiments section of Google Analytics. It’s a great way to optimize your website by testing different versions of a landing page to see which versions converts the best.
- The landing pages tab allows you to get a breakdown of your top landing pages. You can fine-tune the copy of those pages that are not doing so well so that they become better converting pages with stronger calls to action.
- I attended a Google+ hangout with Avinash Kaushik in which he talked about the Engagement tab being the most meaningful tab under Behavior in the Audience section. The engagement tab allows you to see the number of seconds that visitors spend on your site. Of-course, you can count them as an engaged audience if they spend a longer time on each page.
#2. Page Authority
Just as your domain authority is a great metric to understand the trustworthiness of your site by search engines, each page has a page authority. If you have the Google or Chrome extension for the Moz bar you can easily at a glance know the domain authority and page authority of every site that you visit. The page authority takes into account how long your site has been up, the number of links that page has collected and also the total number of pages of your site.
#3. Number of Quality Backlinks through Open Site Explorer
Each link that you get from another site counts as a “vote” for your site in the democracy of the web and the more links that you get, the more popular that piece of content is. The importance that search engines gave to links resulted in link-spamming and other black-hat techniques. Google began to clamp down heavily on link-spammers last year, with its Penguin update. Today, the links that count are from high-authority sites.
Open Site Explorer is a useful link analysis tool. It does a thorough analysis of the number and authority of external links that your post has collected. It’s also a good indicator of the success of your content. If a given page has a lot of engagement and page views, it will automatically have a lot of links.
Open Site Explorer examining the number and domain authority of my backlinks
#4. Social Media
The number of times that your content is shared on social media is also a pretty good indicator of the success of your content. I’ve had some pages that are shared 3 times more on social media than other pages. This insight allows me to create more of the content my audience seems to want to share. Since I cater to a diverse audience of digital marketers, if I see that a post on SEO is performing better than a post on blogging, then I know that my audience would like to see more posts on SEO.
Social media sharing will help your SEO efforts as well. Currently, search engines are using social media shares as an important factor in ranking blog posts. Google authorship is also an important SEO factor and author rank is loosely determined by the number of +1’s that you receive.
#5. Comments and Engagement
Nothing spells engagement more than feedback in the form of comments. Comments and feedback, for me are one of the most useful success metrics. They tell me that the content I’ve written resonates with my audience. Most users passively read and few are called upon to take the time and leave a comment. It’s also a fun metric as I love interacting with my readers.
#6. Email Open Rates
How many subscribers opened your email? It they are anything like me, then they are subscribed to a number of blogs and newsletters. I only open an email that I subscribe to if I feel that the information is so valuable that I need to read it.
A 2012 study indicates that email open rates average 19%, higher or lower depending upon the industry you are in. If you have a high open rate for a particular post you know that you have an engaged audience.
Aweber, showing me the email-open-rate of one of my posts
#7. Tools such as SEM Rush
Tools such as SEM rush do a good job of explaining the top positions that each site is ranking for.
Which metrics do you look at to understand audience engagement? Please share in the comments below. Thanks.
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Frederic Gonzalo says
Great stuff, Gazalla. I must admit, you have much more than 7 metrics here, since your first one, Google Analytics, is not a metric per se, yet you mention a few important KPIs to track: bounce rate, page views, time spent on page, etc.
I also love using OpenSite Explorer every now and then to gain better insights about which pages perform well, where traffic is coming from, and so on. And as for #6, I must admit I don’t track enough how well my email campaigns perform, even though MailChimp provides cool-looking reports. I must find the time to see about open rates, click-through rates as well as subscribing rate in time.
Gazalla Gaya says
Thanks, Frederic. Yes, this post is packed with all the metrics I could think of even though just doing a post on the insights that Google Analytics provides would have sufficed. In fact, going into an in-depth study of Google Analytics is more than enough for most businesses.
Let’s see, I haven’t used #3 or #7 in quite awhile now but I do use all the other methods. I don’t really obsess over the numbers but it does give me a good idea of where my traffic is coming from and what other content I might be able to share with them.
I check my Google Analytics only about once a week and when I’m on a particular site I’ll use SEO Tools which is in my browser. You know I’m big on comments and social engagement so that’s pretty much a daily thing for me. I also have a pretty high open rate with my emails too which is a very good thing.
You are spot on with all these tools for checking metrics and they are definitely what most people should be keeping tabs on if they really want to know where their audience is coming from.
Great share and hope you’re having a good week.
Gazalla Gaya says
Thanks, Adrienne. I’m sure you don’t need to worry about most of these metrics. Few people know about engagement the way that you do and you have taken engagement to a whole new level with the interaction your posts tend to generate.
Carol Lynn says
Great tips and tools! I think we usually see Google analytics as the 200-pound gorilla but there are plenty of other things to look at to measure how well we’re doing. Plus, how many people really know what they’re looking for in GA anyway? (Judging by most I talk to… not many.)
Do you ever put any credence in Alexa score? I feel like it’s sort of the Klout of websites. Not particularly representative of anything, but if you look at it relative to your own progress it could be a way to gauge your up-and-down.
Gazalla Gaya says
Thanks, Carol Lynn. Same here. I always look at Alexa scores and have the Firefox extension so I can instantly know the Alexa rank of each site that I visit. The Alexa rank is a pretty good indicator of your site’s popularity. I like to use it to judge the entire site. This post is more about judging individual blog posts to structure future content based on what’s doing well. Thanks for your feedback. Keep visiting:)
Adi Gaskell says
Interesting stuff Gazalla. Bounce rate is a tricky one isn’t it? I often for instance read an article I find via Feedly, Google News, Twitter et al, and don’t go on to view another page on that site, thus registering as a bounced visitor. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the article and find it useful though.
The social sharing can be a similar thing, especially when you use sites like Triberr. I know that I get some shares from people kinda unrelated to my field, so they are much less valuable than a share by one of the heavyweights in my niche.
I suppose in that area of a broad heuristic you could also add some other more fuzzy metrics such has how often you get approached to speak/consult/etc. or how often PR companies are getting in touch, or indeed if you’re asked to do paid writing work.
You’re right, Adi. Bounce rate is tricky. That’s why I like to look at all the metrics as a whole piece rather than focusing on a single metric. For example, if a post garners a lot of social media shares, is doing well in search, has gained a lot of traction in the form of comments and backlinks, then I know that that is a winner post.
But you are so right – If your blog leads to other paid/consulting opportunities as a direct result or if you get approached to speak, then these are also measurements of great success. Thanks for pointing them out.
Susan Velez says
These are definitely some great ways to measure the success of a blog. I really don’t take the time to do this on a regular basis, I guess I need to see if I can improve my blog success.
I have Google Analytics on my blog, but I couldn’t tell you that last time I logged in to check my stats. I’m sure if I used it more, I would be able to tell where my visitors are coming from.
Thanks for sharing these tips and I will definitely start implementing some of them more to see if I can improve my blog.
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