Metrics: What Gets Measured Gets Managed

Now that you have determined your directional goal and done some keyword research, you also know the metrics you need to measure, from the table of goals and metrics. As an example, if your goal is Growth & Awareness, the primary metric you want to measure is organic search traffic, which will show whether your overall content strategy is working.

Secondarily, you would also want to measure your ranking for the keywords you’re targeting. When you create lots of high-quality content for a targeted keyword, and continue to improve your ranking for it, your organic search traffic will increase. As you repeat this strategy for more keywords and improve your ranking for each of them, all of that impact rolls up into compounded improvements in your primary metric: organic search traffic.

How do you measure these metrics? At the very least, you need to install Google Analytics and set up Google Search Console for your website. If you don’t have both of those tools set up, do that now.

Tracking the Right Metrics for Your Content Marketing Goal and Where to Find Them

Once you have Google Analytics installed and Google Search Console verified, create a simple spreadsheet and record the appropriate metrics so you have a benchmark to measure progress against. Here’s a template you can use, just choose the tab that matches your goal.

Growth & Awareness: Record the current numbers for overall organic search traffic to your site and the present rankings for your targeted keywords.

Organic search traffic: Google Analytics > ACQUISITION > Overview, in the row labeled Organic Search

Rankings for targeted keywords: Google Search Console > select a web property > Search Traffic > Search Analytics > check the box next to Position

Engagement & Social Proof: Record the average time on page, overall referral traffic to your site, and average comments and social shares per article.

Time on page: Google Analytics > BEHAVIOR > Site Content > All Pages, in column Avg. Time on Page

Referral traffic: Google Analytics > ACQUISITION > All Traffic > Referrals

Conversion & Sales: Record the acquisitions for a conversion event you’re tracking (this can be purchases, email subscribers, etc.) and then calculate the cost per acquisition.

Conversion events (called Goals in Google Analytics): Google Analytics > CONVERSIONS > Goals > Goal URLs and check the Goal Completions column for each individual Goal Completion Location

If you haven’t yet set up a conversion event (aka Goal) in Google Analytics, once you do, you can use the Verify this Goal feature to get the past 7 days’ conversions.

To learn more about setting up Goals to track conversion events in Google Analytics: Go to the Admin section, select your ACCOUNT and PROPERTY, click Goals in the VIEW column, then click the mortarboard (graduation cap) icon and read about goals, goal types, and creating goals. Then click + NEW GOAL to set one up.

If you want to track sales data through Google Analytics, you can add a snippet of code to your ecommerce site using these instructions. Then, for your conversions, use a figure like Transactions or Unique Purchases from Google Analytics > CONVERSIONS > Overview.

Action Steps

  1. Follow the above instructions to set up and verify Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
  2. Explore the Google Analytics interface to familiarize yourself with where certain metrics live.
  3. Bonus: Create a custom dashboard in Google Analytics to easily see the metrics you care about for your one primary goal.

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