If you’ve worked at all with SEO (search engine optimization) and analytics (Google Analytics, most likely), then you’ve seen how analytics metrics can give you an overview of the traffic to your website.
However, SEO and analytics is a full-time position at many companies (e.g., digital marketer), so you may not have gone too deep into the rabbit hole. For content marketers, though, analytics metrics that show how their content is doing are vital.
Here are four key analytics metrics for content marketers in Google Analytics:
These are the numbers that tell you how people find your site—the other sites where people click on links to your site (including search engine results pages). There are a few different ways people can find your site:
Someone looking for car parts types ‘car parts’ into their search engine and, if you’ve done your SEO work correctly, your site comes up high in the rankings. With luck, they click on your site.
This tells you how well you’re doing with your SEO marketing overall (i.e., how high you’re ranking in organic search as evidenced by the number of people clicking on your site). It lets you know how authoritative Google considers your website on a given topic or, more accurately, for a given keyword (search phrase).
Someone is on another website and clicks a link on that site that takes them to your site. (Maybe someone quoted you in an article and included a link to your site.)
If you publish things that are good enough that other people quote them and link to them, you’re doing your content marketing job correctly and your SEO will improve as a result.
Not only do links prove that your content is compelling and interesting, it tells Google that you are, indeed, an expert in your field.
Someone is on a social media site and clicks on a link to your website that either you or someone else posted.
This is a particularly important one for content marketing because so much of content marketing happens on social media sites. It tells you the number of people coming to your site directly from a social media site like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and so on.
In Analytics, Google separates out the different social media sites, so you can see which sites are sending more traffic than others. (You can then use that information to adjust your content marketing strategy in favor of social media sites that perform well for you over those that don’t. For example, LinkedIn is particularly good for B2B, Facebook for B2C.)
Someone clicks on a link in an email that either you or someone else sent them.
This one gives you an idea of how well email campaigns are performing. If you do a monthly e-newsletter, for example, and you get a fair number of hits every month from that newsletter, you know it’s a good idea to continue with it.
Someone types your business name directly into the search engine.
This one doesn’t tell you quite as much because it means someone already knows about you and is just trying to find your website. Something helpful it does point to, however, is repeat visits to your site.
Drilling down into the content of your site on Google Analytics shows you the traffic to every single page on your site. For content marketing, this is vital because you can see exactly how well each one of your pieces of content is performing.
If you have a blog, for example, you can see the overall visits to your blog page and then drill down into the number of visits to each blog post. This is useful because you can tell which types of content perform well for your target audience and which don’t.
Speaking of target audience, if you compare your blog numbers to your acquisition numbers, particularly your social media numbers, you can gauge who your online target audience is.
This is the doorway into your site—the page that someone first landed on. Most of the time, your home page sits on the top of this list. The pages that follow depend on your company.
If you’re doing really good content, some of your blog posts or articles can be high up on the list too. That’s the goal with content marketing, anyway—to make content that is good enough that people find you through it.
This is a more obscure one, really, but it’s a very important one. This is the one that tells you where you’re losing people.
Exit pages factor greatly into content marketing because you want people to find you through your great content but you don’t want them to come, read and then leave.
Ideally, you want your content to be an introduction to your company, not an entire relationship. You want people to read one of your articles, then read another, then maybe delve deeper into your company through the other pages of your website.
If you see that people are coming to your site, reading posts and then immediately leaving, either your content isn’t compelling enough, your other articles aren’t interesting enough or something about your website overall is a turnoff.
If people are reading multiple articles and then leaving immediately after visiting your home page, maybe it’s time to revamp your home page. If they’re leaving after checking out the ‘about’ page, maybe it’s time to revamp the about page.
One Step into the Rabbit Hole
Depending on who you are, you’re looking for different things in your analytics metrics. For content marketers, acquisition, content, landing and exit pages are all very important because they give you an idea of where you’re audience is coming from, what they’re reading, how they’re finding you and where you’re perhaps losing them.
It’s not necessary for everyone to go too deep into the rabbit hole that is analytics (leave that to the digital marketer), but it’s vital that anyone in the marketing department has at least a basic understanding of what analytics metrics can show you.