Ask the Expert

9/30/2014

- Kristin Lesko, Digital Content Manager

Q: "How can I measure the performance of my onsite content?"

A: Content may be king, but quality content still reigns. To create compelling content, you need more than just a flair for words. It requires research, strategy and a knowledgeable team to execute it. As a result of all the time and resources that decision makers invest in creating quality content, it’s no surprise that they expect a return.

So how can you prove that your content is moving your company toward its business goals? Universal Analytics, the latest version of analytics launched by Google last year, offers several key indicators of content performance.

Here are some metrics worth measuring.

Traffic

“Sessions,” or page visits, allow businesses to see exactly how many users visited a webpage during a specific duration of time. A page’s traffic can help to indicate its value, but a page with low traffic doesn’t necessarily warrant its removal. The strategy surrounding the content may just need to be refined.

For pages with low traffic consider:

  • How accessible the page is on your website
    • Is it easy to navigate to via the main navigation?
  • How well-optimized the page’s content is for a relevant keyword
    • This can help it to potentially rank in Search Engine Results Pages
  • Whether you’re linking to that page from other onsite pages and offsite content, such as a LinkedIn or Facebook post, when it makes sense to do so

Conversions

You can set-up “Goals” in your Analytics account in order to measure conversions and actions that take place on your website. You can also track “Events” on your website, which don’t require any set-up in Analytics. Events do, however, require a snippet of code to be implemented into the webpage where the event takes place.

For example, if it was a university’s website, an event could be set-up to track every time a user clicks on “Apply.” And a goal could also be set-up to track when users complete and submit an online application.

Bounce Rate

A webpage’s “bounce rate” indicates the percentage of visitors who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page. How can you determine if a webpage’s bounce rate is too high? Compare it to your website’s average bounce rate.

If it’s higher than average, audit the page to see if it:

  • Targets the right keyword
  • Effectively cross-promotes and links to other content
  • Includes a clear call-to-action

Exit Rate

Exit rate refers to the percentage of users who visited multiple pages and then left the site after visiting a given page. It can also include single page (bounce) visits. To ensure your webpage’s exit rate is within a healthy range, you can also compare it to your site average.

If a webpage has a high exit rate, consider:

  • Where the user may have clicked through from, and whether that segue is logical based on the content theme of both pages and the relevancy of one page to the other
  • How easy / difficult it may be to get to other important pages on the site from the given webpage
  • Whether the page includes a clear call-to-action

Time on Page

The “Average Time on Page” reflects – you guessed it – how much time the user spent on a given webpage. Although this is also compared to your website’s average, a low “time on page” isn’t necessarily bad. If it were a “Services” page, for example, intended to direct users toward the one service they need among a list of services, you would want them to find what they were looking for quickly. A higher time on page could actually indicate the opposite.

By measuring your content’s performance, you can see trends amongst your successes and learn from your missteps. But, most importantly, you’ll start to see a value for content beyond just words on a webpage.

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