Measuring Organic Content Marketing Success: 4 Data Insights Beyond Pageviews

Written by on 21st November 2019

On your mission to make your business venture a raging success, you’ll no doubt have created a raft of informative, engaging content designed to attract prospective customers via organic search. If that’s the case, you’re already well on your way to refining your business’s conversion funnel – but the question is, are you actually measuring the success of your content or simply assuming what you’re writing is doing the job?

In today’s post from our friends at Paragraft, these content experts are laying the foundations for any content marketing measurement strategy. Taking you through the process in chronological order, from the moment your content is found in organic search to the moment a user makes the decision to leave your site, this post will give you all the know-how you need to figure out whether a piece of content is fit for purpose and delivering on its promise to users.

Keyword ranking performance

The first test of whether your blog and page content is serving its intended purpose is to monitor ranking performance based on the keywords your piece was designed to target. At or before the point when your content is published, begin tracking the keywords for which it’s been optimised (using rank-tracking software such as those provided by Ahrefs and SEMrush) so you can be sure you have a real-time record of ranking positions and will be able to watch visibility steadily increase as a result of your targeted optimisation.

If you can’t see evidence of improved ranking performance, it’s time to re-strategise, further optimise and continue monitoring closely.

Click-through rate

With your content ranking organically as a result of best-practice optimisation, it could be easy to assume you’re seeing the traffic you believe you deserve as a result of this visibility. Not so fast, though – first, you’ll need to figure out whether your content is enjoying the click-through rate you should be able to expect. Google Search Console is your one-stop shop for these kinds of search insights, and will provide data galore on the queries generating clicks to your site – as well as the click-through rates for individual pages and posts.

If this investigation reveals that certain key pages or posts have a click-through rate well below your site’s average, these should be your top priorities when it comes to fine-tuning your metadata to ensure what you’re promising in this search snippet is exactly what your page or post ultimately delivers.

Time on page

Having clicked through to your content from search, users will now be feasting their eyes on your product category page, informational blog post or other similarly wonderful piece of web content. The key to effective measurement, though, is to leave no stone unturned – and in this case, that means refusing to accept a pageview as confirmation that your content is going down well with users.

Using the data analyst’s multi-tool, Google Analytics, you can and should be measuring the time users are spending on your page, weighing this up against the nature and depth of your content – a 3,000-word resource should logically require far more reading time than that of a succinct post on a fairly narrow topic. If this isn’t the case on your website, consider what it is about the layout or contents of your long form page or post that isn’t retaining users’ attention for as long as you’d expect.

Bounce & exit rate

Last but by no means least, for many types of content, bounce and exit rates will serve as the true measure of whether they’ve served their intended purpose. Consider a product category page, for example – as its sole purpose is to entice users into clicking through to the products contained therein, if this page marks the final step in a user’s journey, there’s something amiss here.

Conversely, if you’ve written a blog post on a fairly closed, niche topic and this piece is essentially informational in nature, it shouldn’t be surprising to see high bounce and exit rates here – as it’s entirely understandable that a user would click through, get the information they need and then leave, informed and satisfied.

If you’re still not confident your content has achieved its full potential with regards to bounce rate in particular, you could always introduce a powerful, relevant call-to-action to keep users on the site, further familiarising themselves with your brand.

It goes without saying that this isn’t an exhaustive list of ways to measure the success of your organic content marketing activity. Different tools offer varying metrics, and it’s only by pulling together this broader picture of performance that you can work towards creating content that leaves users wholly satisfied.

The most daunting and, indeed, exciting thing about content marketing is that there’s no such thing as absolute perfection – leaving ample room for continuous refinement, with ongoing measurement providing your map to success.