For the most part, we’ll consider Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools because they’re both free, relatively easy to set up, and instrumental to measuring your campaign.

We’ve talked about content marketing a lot, but it’s one thing to be writing great content. It’s something else entirely for people to be reading, sharing, and engaging with it–which is what your content marketing strategy is all about. Depending on your location and business size, the goals for your content marketing strategy will vary. A site like Moz will be expecting traffic in on each piece of content to hit the low tens of thousands. We peak in the hundreds—but it’s all about scale and personal goals.

First up, consider what you want your content marketing strategy to achieve. Are you driving traffic? Are you implementing SEO and trying to rank? Or are you trying to guide likes or shares to social media?

Our goal is to grow traffic but also to rank. Our content marketing strategy has been instrumental—alongside a couple of other key factors—in getting us ranking as highly as we do.

So how do you use Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools to measure return on investment (ROI) on your content marketing strategy?

Google Analytics

1. Traffic.

Don’t pin too much importance on your traffic stats. While it is a gauge, there are other strategies at play that influence traffic stats: any advertising you’re doing, SEO, etc. A lot of the time, your homepage will get a large percentage of your traffic and that’s usually at least partly separate to your content marketing strategy.

Many homepages have little content on them, maybe 1-300 words, but it’ll still be one of your most visited pages. If you’re considering stats, it’s usually a safe bet to ignore your homepage and focus on your blog/news page because that’s usually where your content marketing strategy lies. Here’s a brief look at our stats and how the traffic rises and falls.

That first rise is because of a competition we ran—while the rest of the traffic (through to the end of this month) ebbs and flows. It’s consistent and compared to early periods, it connotes growth.

The more legitimate traffic you get, the better. Google Analytics lets you compare periods too, so you can ensure you’re always seeing a steady increase—which is the goal, if you want your content to drive traffic.

2. Bounce rate and time spent on the page.

Bounce rate tends to be higher on e-commerce sites because of the emphasis on long-tail keywords and exact phrasing in product descriptions. Other websites will probably have a higher bounce rate. Our site wide bounce rate clocks in about 60%–which is pretty average.

Bounce rate can’t be considered as a factor on its own. You need to leverage it against time spent on the particular page. If time spent on the page is low (between 0-90 seconds) and the bounce rate is high, then you should reconsider the content on that page. Our blog posts are all quite long and average about eight-eleven minutes—which shows that people are actually reading them. Use these stats to see what works and what doesn’t. Also: if you write long articles, your bounce rate will probably be higher because once you’ve digested a ten minute, comprehensive piece, you’ll want to think about it before switching gears and reading something else.

Tip: jump on a trend, if it fits with your brand. Today, food chains around the country will be offering their wares to Suarez. Get their first and you’ll generate huge interest.

3. Referrals (social).

How are people getting to your content? Organic is great, but it can be slow. The higher your referral count, the better. Our biggest referral type comes via Twitter, but it goes across the board. Don’t be afraid to share your content on social media. Your content marketing strategy is only as strong as your distribution chain.

Measuring it is pretty simple: navigate to the acquisitions tab and click on ‘all referrals’. Don’t worry about referrals growing in relation to traffic: often it ebbs and flows depending on promotions, advertising, etc. Typically, referrals rise with new content and then fall off.

A steady referral scheme means your promo and distribution efforts are successful.

That’s the basics of using Google Analytics to measure the success of your content marketing, so onto to Webmaster Tools!

Webmaster Tools and Your Content Marketing Strategy

1. Impressions and Click-Through-Rates (CTR)

Open up Webmaster Tools, log-in, navigate to Search Traffic then Search Queries. You’ll see a graph and the headings: Queries (things people have searched to get to you), Impressions (times a page of your has been shown in results that someone has scrolled past/to), and CTR (how often users have clicked on your link).

All three are important. Your query results are a great gauge for what’s working for you. The more relevant your queries are to you, the better. If you’re being found for random stuff, reconsider your content marketing strategy or maybe deindex random pages—e.g. if you uploaded a picture of your kitten onto a low quality post and the photos gone viral and now your highest queries are about kittens. The traffic might be nice, but it’s irrelevant.

Impressions and CTR need to be paired together. High impressions are only good with a reasonable CTR. The higher your CTR, the better, and the higher you’ll rank in turn. You can toggle changes and compare periods for some really accurate results in Webmaster.

Tip: there’s a cool ‘Filter’ option that lets you segment your traffic and consider deeper stats like mobile usage versus desktop, location, etc.


2. Links

Links can be tricky and it gets detailed so I’m going to breeze through this: if people are sharing your content, you’ll generate links organically—people will link back to your or they’ll share it on bookmarking sites or they might use tools like or to share it. These are all good links.

The more GOOD links, the higher your link mojo and the higher you’ll rank. The more domains the better. What you do not want is one site linking to you hundreds of times because that can be a big red flag for Google. Consider disavows in those instances.

3. SEO: Avg. Position

Average position is not your current ranking for that query/term. Straight from Google:

it’s the average top position of your site on the search results page for that query.

The Avg. Position is a nice indicator of how you are ranking. If you’re content marketing strategy is going well, then you’ll notice that your rankings have steadily increased (or jumped if you were lucky with Panda 4.0) over time for the topics you’re creating content about. If you see a dip, then create content for it and it should rise again over time.

If you’d like some help getting your analytics up and running or implementing a content marketing strategy, get in touch  or drop us a line on Twitter and we’ll help you out!

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