Web metrics can be confusing and intimidating to new content writers. Which metrics should a budding content writer hang their hat on?
The days of measuring the success of an article, blog post or other type of online content solely by the search engine ranking for certain keywords are over. This sea change has only added to the confusion many new content writers face when learning Web analytics. While many publishers still use keyword-density tools and adhere to certain word counts for SEO purposes, we’re writing for audiences that have the liberty to share content at a touch of a button and interact with the author.
Current success metrics are more focused on reader engagement than the metrics of days past. This makes creating online content much more challenging, and also more rewarding. Here are the metrics you should look at to determine if your content has been well received.
See also: How to Ignore Vanity Metrics in Content
You may be driving some traffic to your article or blog post from search engines, but you also need to consider different ways that readers will consume your content.
Will a link be published to Facebook or Twitter? If so, how can you write compelling content and headlines that will generate clicks and views when the content appears in the typical user’s feed? Writing headlines and introductions that intrigue readers will help generate more page views and possibly drive more clicks to other parts of the site.
The number of times your article or blog post gets shared is another performance metric to consider when writing and publishing content. Social shares are significant because higher numbers indicate that the content was not only read by many people, but that it received good placement on readers’ news feeds and social accounts. This can increase exposure and can also attract more traffic to your site.
If you’re hoping to sell a product or service through the inclusion of a call-to-action at the end of a post, you could measure success in terms of the number of sales that directly resulted from said post.
Comparing conversion rates for different types and styles of content can make it easier for content writers and marketers to identify what types of triggers the audience is most receptive to — and what gets ignored.
Another way to determine whether you have piqued your readers’ interest is to review comments regularly. Generating lots of comments on an article is one way to measure audience engagement. (Generating lots of insightful comments is even better.)
If the content is attached to a Facebook plugin, the comments will appear in the commenter’s news feed (and potentially their timeline, as well) – in the best-case scenario, this can encourage other people to click through and read your piece. Authors can step in to reply to comments and continue the online conversations, encouraging even more readers to come back and share.
You may be drawing readers in with a captivating headline and intriguing summary, but are they reading all the way through your article and clicking on other links?
Measure their attention span by the length of time they stay on the page to determine whether a piece of content is successful. It’s possible to get high page views for a certain piece but lose most of the audience by the time the reach the halfway point of your post, which means they’ll most likely miss your call-to-action. Make sure your writing draws readers in and holds their attention until they reach the end of your piece.
Success metrics for content go beyond keyword density and search engine rankings. Use these strategies to make sure you’re crafting content that attracts readers and keeps them engaged.