At the end of each month here at KoMarketing, we provide in-depth online marketing reports to our clients that provide an overview of the program’s performance.
While these reports are valuable to our clients, they’re also extremely valuable to myself and the rest of the content marketing team.
Here are some metrics and other factors that help improve blog performance from month to month.
Before diving into the nitty-gritty of blog performance, you should first understand the content’s impact on site traffic. When putting together the report, use an analytics platform of your choice to include slides around:
- Total traffic from the blog
- Percentage of blog traffic from organic search
- Percentage of overall site traffic driven by the blog
- Total site traffic (including new content assets)
Why this is important: Measuring each of the above metrics will help to establish a baseline of monthly traffic. This allows you to create monthly charts, see what months have had the best performance, and analyze what was done for the month to drive the positive (or negative) results.
At the end of each month, I log into Google Webmasters and set a custom compare date range for the past two months, specific to blog traffic. When doing so, I’m provided with a list of blog pages, the most recent month’s clicks, the previous month’s clicks, and the “difference.”
Note: You can also add impressions, CTR, and position to this view for a more comprehensive analysis.
Why this is important: Looking at this view allows me to see what pages experienced the most substantial month-over-month increases (and decreases).
To improve your blog strategy each month, pay attention to themes or keywords that are performing the best.
You may notice a lot of your blog posts that answer questions have increased, or posts around a certain product or solution have grown substantially.
Pay attention to these trends and continue to mix them in with the next month’s strategy to sustain traffic growth.
Top Posts for the Month
After I’ve identified some of the key themes and trends that are driving improved blog performance, I take some time to spotlight a couple of the top performing individual posts from the past month.
In order to do so, you should establish baselines for the metrics you want to measure. Determine what the averages are for existing content assets and compare them to the top posts.
Why this is important: This exercise is important as it will show you (and the report recipient) which posts performed the best for the given month. After you’ve done this for several months, you will build up a repository of top performing posts which could help you in the future.
For example, if you have 12 months of data, you will be able to revisit and analyze the top post from the previous year to see the format and information that was included to drive traffic.
Content Appearing in SERPs
Implementing and sustaining a blogging strategy is a fantastic way to increase a website’s presence in search results as it provides an avenue to gather more web “real estate” while also supporting the website’s core keyword terms.
Creating blog content can allow you to target longer keyword phrases around your core terms that would otherwise be difficult to hit on the homepage or solutions/services pages. When putting together a report around blog performance, be sure to highlight “key wins” in search results.
Why this is important: When creating blog content, you should always be targeting keyword phrases that have search volume associated with them.
Organic search traffic is critical to ensure your content continues to be discovered well after its publish date.
Keep track of the keywords used in posts each month and run a search for those keyword phrases when the month concludes to see where they stand.
Take note of the types of posts that are appearing on the first page so you can follow similar themes and structures as you move forward with the blogging strategy.
Inbound Links Created
Why this is important: There are two primary reasons why you should be striving towards earning inbound links.
First, inbound links provide you with new avenues for driving traffic. If a website is linking back to your content, chances are, visitors from that site will click the link and land on yours.
Second, inbound links to your site will allow search engines to gain trust. However, it’s very important to remember (especially in today’s SEO environment), that not all links carry equal value.
If you’re using your blogging strategy as a means to acquire new links, be sure you’re targeting sites that carry authority in your industry as they serve as an indicator to search engines that your site should be trusted.
When putting together a report around blogging performance, be sure to take note of social shares. While there are a number of tools available to help do this, I tend to use BuzzSumo on a monthly basis.
Why this is important: Creating content is all about spreading the word on the focused topic. Monitoring social shares will give you an understanding of what content is the most popular among your reader base.
Be sure to look at social share data each month to help determine the types of posts that should be created in the future to get your audience clamoring for more.
Monitoring conversions is something we do for all of our content assets. At the end of each month, we use analytics tools to show the impact our content has on driving conversions to the website and generating new prospects in the sales funnel.
Why this is important: Creating content to encourage people to take action on your website (completing a form, downloading gated content, subscribing to newsletters, etc.) should be the driving force behind all efforts.
By monitoring which pieces of content convert readers into prospects, you will be able to better understand the personas and stage of the buying cycle to target with future posts.
While reporting is largely used as a vehicle to inform our clients of the impact of SEO and blogging, there’s a lot that can be learned internally each month to improve blog performance as well.
What are some of the ways you ensure blog performance is improving on a monthly basis? Get the conversation started by dropping a line in the comments section or connecting with me on Twitter!