Content strategies require careful ongoing attention to be successful. No company that has become successful in content marketing has done so from day one. Instead, it has taken multiple iterations of content evaluation, analysis, and adjustment to forge a process that’s as efficient and effective as possible.
Knowing how to audit your content strategy appropriately is the most important part of the process. As long as you’re looking at the right information, you should be able to draw real, valuable conclusions, and make meaningful improvements to your strategies from there.
Fortunately, there’s a free tool you can use to delve into the statistics on your content marketing campaign, from how well your content is at attracting visitors to how well it leads to conversions—and chances are, you’re already using it.
Log into Google Analytics, and I’ll show you how to use it to audit your content strategy.
First, you can measure the SEO impact of your work by taking a look at the organic traffic your site has brought in, month over month. Organic traffic is a measure of the number of people who found your site after searching for something—the higher this number is, the more successful your SEO strategy has been. You can find it by heading to the Acquisition tab and looking at the Acquisition Overview, then drilling down to look at just organic traffic.
If you find that your organic traffic isn’t increasing month over month, there may be a problem with your SEO campaign. It could be that you aren’t posting frequently enough, that your topics aren’t related to your industry, or that your content isn’t long or detailed enough to get you the results you need. Of course, there could also be a problem with another facet of your SEO strategy, such as with your link building or social strategies.
For this report, we’ll stay in the realm of the Acquisition tab, except this time, we’ll be looking at social traffic instead of organic traffic. Your social traffic, as you might imagine, is the number of people who visited your site after clicking a link on a social media platform (such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn). The higher this number is, the better your social campaign is faring, and of course, your social campaign is fueled by your content.
Take a look at the details of your inbound social traffic. Are they coming strongly from one source but weakly from another? It may be time to learn from your more successful social profile and make changes to your less successful profiles. Are your numbers remaining stagnant? It may be time to change up what types of content you syndicate on your social channels.
This report of Analytics will let you know how effective your topics are at attracting new visitors to your site. Depending on the ways you syndicate or publish your content, there are two areas where you can gain this understanding.
The first is where we left off—the social traffic area of the Acquisition tab. Here, you’ll be able to see exactly which links attracted the most traffic to your site. Based on this information, you should be able to determine what types of topics and what type of headlines and lead-ins lead to the most traffic. You should also be able to see which topics fall flat, and adjust your upcoming editorial calendar accordingly.
The second area is for judging content you’ve circulated through means other than social media. Here, we’ll head to the Behavior tab and take an extended look at the pages most responsible for site entry. Toward the top of the list, you’ll find some of your most successful blog posts, which you can then use to adapt your strategy further.
It’s nice to know that your content is pulling people into your site, but you also have to learn whether your content is keeping them there. If your content is weak, or doesn’t give people what they’re looking for, they’re going to bounce. There are several ways to tell whether your content is keeping people on your site, including measuring the respective bounce rates of your different posts under the Behavior tab.
However, one of the more effective ways to determine this is by using the interactive Behavior Flow chart, which visualizes the average paths your users take throughout your site. If you notice a large percentage of visitors dropping off after encountering your blog, you may have a problem with sticky content.
Under Google Analytics, you can set up items called Goals, which help you measure specific instances of conversion on your site. You can set up a specific Goal for a specific conversion related to your blog and directly measure your content’s ultimate conversion rate, or you can tie the effectiveness of your content to a separate Goal. For example, if you set up a Goal to track conversions on your Contact page, you can then use the Behavior Flow chart to determine how many blog visitors ultimately make it to that Contact page. From there, you’ll be able to tell how good of a job your content is doing at converting visitors.
Google Analytics is much simpler to use than it looks on the surface. Once you get a feel for where to look for your content auditing purposes, set up an automatic report to generate at the end of each month for each dimension you use in your consideration. You can even have it emailed to you directly in a PDF format. That way, you’ll be automatically reminded to check in on your content’s progress, and you can keep making improvements and adjustments uninterrupted.
Want more information on content marketing? Head over to our comprehensive guide on content marketing here: The All-in-One Guide to Planning and Launching a Content Marketing Strategy.