Are you paying attention to your Google Analytics? If not, it’s time to start. And if you are paying attention to your Google Analytics, what are you doing with the information on your content performance?
Maybe you’re simply filing it under “good to know,” because you’re satisfied that people are actually visiting your website, reading your content, and your traffic is growing steadily. Perhaps you’re using what you find to learn more about your readers and potential customers. With a little digging, there’s a wealth of information at your fingertips.
But something that I’ve noticed small business owners often overlook is the opportunity to use content performance metrics as actionable feedback. How well your content performs or how poorly it performs can provide a roadmap for what direction to take next.
The following simple tips will help you use the information you discover about content performance in Google Analytics to your advantage:
1. Monitor behavior patterns
Start by logging in to your Google Analytics dashboard and getting familiar with it. First, you’ll land on the Overview section, where you’ll see general information about the amount of traffic you’re getting, where website visitors are located, and how much time they’re spending on your site.
The easiest place to find information about how individual pages are performing is the Behavior section. In the main menu on the left-hand side of your screen, click Behavior, then click Overview. There, you’ll find information on pageviews, including a list of the top 10 most viewed pages on your website. This is where you will find insight into your best performing content.
Next, click on each page listing to check the bounce rate and average time spent on the page. Generally speaking, this will give you enough information to determine what content users are finding most valuable.
Then click on “view full report” at the bottom of the page, and you’ll see a list of all of the pages on your site. Scroll to the end of the list, and you’ll find pages that aren’t getting much traffic. While you’re there, also check the time spent on each page. These pages are your underperforming content.
Monitor this information over time, checking it at least monthly, as you grow the content on your website. Take into consideration what pages are being promoted, what pages have inbound links, seasonality, and other factors. Use what you discover as feedback to inform your overall content strategy.
2. Improve under-performing content.
When you notice some of your content is performing poorly, first try to determine why and then take action.
Cut the junk
Maybe the page is an outdated product, service, or topic that’s not relevant to your current business focus. If that’s the case, consider getting rid of it. Keeping it around isn’t doing you any good, and deleting it could actually help your overall SEO.
Spiff it up
Maybe there isn’t enough content on the page, the content is poorly written, or it’s poorly formatted.
If a blog post is getting too few views, you may need to strengthen the title. Use power words to catch attention and get more clicks.
Remember, search engines favor high-quality content that’s easy to read. Work to strengthen what you’ve already written by adding more in-depth coverage of the topic. Break it up into short sentences with simple vocabulary, scannable chunks, and subheadings.
Do additional keyword research to find longtail keywords that would be easier to rank for than those you originally used. Usually, this will be a longer variation of the original keyword phrase. For example, rather than trying to rank for “email marketing” you might adjust the content on the page to rank for “email marketing tips and tricks.”
When you first posted the content, maybe you were in a hurry or maybe you didn’t know much about SEO. Now that you’re making improvements, dive into the back end and make sure it’s optimized.
Use your Google Webmaster tools to check for page speed, broken links, and other problems. And fix anything that could be slowing it down or interfering with the user experience.
Add interesting keyword-rich title tags and meta descriptions, internal links, external links, and work on building inbound links.
Sometimes your underforming content isn’t doing well because you never shared it anywhere or it’s been a long time since you’ve shared it.
Share your content through all of your social media networks repeatedly and often. Use persuasive headlines and custom images to attract attention. Pay to boost it on Facebook or Pinterest.
Assume that even your loyal followers haven’t seen it yet, and make the extra effort to get it in front of as many people as possible.
Enhance Top-Performing Content
It can boost your ego when you notice that certain content is consistently performing well, but don’t stop there. There are practical ways your best content can help you boost your overall marketing effectiveness. So make the most of it.
Learn from what worked
When a piece of content does exceptionally well, take the time to consider why and do more of that. Maybe the topic nailed a pain point. Perhaps a certain blog post was more comprehensive or interesting than less popular posts. Maybe the content grew legs on a certain platform; for example, it could’ve gone viral on Pinterest. Did you include an amazing graphic or video? Did you get a link back from a popular website?
Whatever it was, try to duplicate or expand on the success of your best-performing content. Learning from what works can help you understand what your audience wants and what your potential customers are coming to your website to find.
Suggest content upgrades
Top performing content is a great place to build your email list. A central goal of your online marketing strategy should be capturing leads that you can nurture and convert into more buyers. So why not attempt to do this where people are already finding value?
Suggest a content upgrade within the post itself. A content upgrade is a bonus complementary piece of content that they can receive in exchange for their email by filling out a form in the body of the post, at the bottom of the post, or in a popup.
Examples of content upgrades include checklists, worksheets, templates, webinars, or ebooks on the specific topic covered in the post.
Making improvements to content isn’t only for underperforming content. If content is already doing well, be sure to give it the attention it deserves.
Keep your popular articles going strong with ongoing regular updates, expanded information, fresh examples, new insights, custom graphics and video, additional internal and external links, and more.
If a piece of content is performing well, use it to promote sales. You could include prominent links to your relevant products or services. You might even consider offering a free consultation related to that specific topic, that pops up on a time delay or scrolling trigger after the user has read the post.
Nurturing leads using content upgrades is a proven effective strategy; but if the topic is hot enough, see if you can get them to shop online or hop on the phone to discuss working together while they’re most interested.
The bottom line is, you could be missing the boat if you’re not taking advantage of the information you have about content performance on your website. Whether improving underperforming content or leveraging top performing content, your business stands to benefit from using the information at your fingertips.
Need help understanding your content performance or developing and implementing a content strategy that gets results? Give our team a shout.