Content is king. You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again. No matter how many new marketing trends surface, successful content marketing is at the core of any scalable marketing campaign.
Which means if you want to make money …
… you need to
#1. Unique Visitors
The first metric you need to track is unique visitors. Unique visits represent the number of people that have viewed your content over a given time period. In most programs, this is a 30-day time frame.
This can be especially useful when you’re testing long-form content such as whitepapers and eBooks. Although unique visits won’t tell you whether or not someone is ready to buy, whitepaper downloads will. After all, they have to be pretty interested in what you’re selling to read 8 or more pages.
If you’re using Google Analytics, you can find this metric by looking for ‘Users’ on your reports dashboard. If it’s been a while since you’ve fumbled around in Analytics, it’s important to note Google’s update in April of 2014 to understand the full value of the platform.
#2. Page Views
Unique visitors highlight the traffic to your content, but page views can tell you how engaged the audience is with your content. When both page views and unique visits are positively correlated, your content is keeping the audience engaged which is a ranking signal for Google.
This can also tell you a lot about which content to promote (or retire). Continue to promote what works and then rewrite or delete what isn’t working.
You can use Google Analytics to track page views, as well as keep an eye on your competitor’s page views.
#3. Social Presence
Social media rules the world. Okay, maybe that’s a little extreme. But it does have an insane impact on our world!
A few people sharing your content can explode at an alarming rate. So, no matter what kind of content you’re promoting, make sure you share it on social media.
Use a social sharing widget like Social Warfare to give your readers an instant way to share your content with their network. If you don’t give them an easy way to share, they likely won’t.
Social also plays a vital role in how Google ranks content. Content engagement (blog comments, social shares, etc.) are all ranking signals. The more your content is bounced around on social media, the more likely Google will rank it for being quality content.
#4. Mobile Engagement
It’s no secret that mobile marketing is quickly dominating the digital marketing world. In 2015 alone, the Pew Research Center determined that 92% of American adults own a mobile device.
In 2017, it’s predicted that mobile usage will dominate the online marketing world. Tracking users that engage with your content through mobile devices will help you optimize your content.
For instance, if most of your users are on an Android device, make sure the content you post is optimized and formatted for Android. This is why responsive website design is absolutely necessary in 2017 as responsive automatically adjusts your visibility depending on the browser viewing your site.
#5. Referring Domains
Link building is great if you do it properly. Much like human relationships, link building relationships should be based on quality over quantity. Collaborating with black-hat SEOs and link farms can be a career killer.
Also keep in mind that having thousands of inbound links may get you temporary traffic, but they’re all useless unless they come from quality sites (“link juice”)!
Use a platform like SEMrush or Ahrefs to find your website’s referring domains. You really need to know if link farms or low-quality websites are linking to your website. Ask them to remove the link or disavow the links as they could hurt your search rank.
If you are being linked to from a high-quality website, reach out and thank them for using your content. You may be surprised what a quick email could get you (webmasters who feel appreciated are more rewarding – you may get linked to again).
The best part? This same process can be used to find your competitors’ referring domains. Find out where they are getting their link juice and use a link acquisition method to get one for yourself.
Let’s be honest. If you’re not actively tracking your content, you have no idea whether or not it’s working to your benefit. The digital space isn’t getting any smaller. It’s not enough to check one metric and make a decision. Now, more than ever, accurate and effective measurement of marketing campaigns is vital.
At the end of the day, content marketing is a way for you to reach new audiences and hopefully convert leads into customers. Not only are you working to educate visitors, you’re giving value in advance by sharing expertise that is beneficial.
Use these metrics to measure success and don’t be afraid to create your own! Every sales funnel and business is unique.
What metrics will you be tracking in 2017? Which metrics are you leaving in 2016?