How Web Analytics Can Help You Improve Content Marketing
For years now, the internet has created a massive platform for brands to share content with their target audiences. But is your brand taking advantage of its full potential?
If web analytics aren’t integrated into every part of your content marketing strategy, the answer is no.
Google Analytics and other web analytics platforms provide so much data that it can be overwhelming to navigate. As a result, some brands only do the bare minimum when it comes to analytics (like only tracking basic web traffic numbers) or don’t use it at all. It’s no surprise then that even though 91% of brands today use content marketing, only 9% are fully satisfied with their results.
You don’t need to fall into that bucket. Using the simple, focused tactics we cover in this article, you can leverage web analytics to improve your content marketing strategy right away.
- Web analytics can help you optimize your best-performing and underperforming content to drive more traffic and higher conversions from both.
- You can target your content more effectively by using web analytics to understand your audience.
- Matching on-site search queries with your SEO keywords can ensure your content strategy is aligned with user intent and needs.
- Google Analytics provides automatic reports that can help make data an integrated part of your routine.
How web analytics can help you improve content marketing
Leverage your best performing content
Two important things to cover here: First, do you know which content of yours is performing best? If you don’t, it’s time to find out. Second, if you do know, are you capitalizing on its potential for even better ROI?
In both cases, web analytics can help.
Let’s start with finding content that’s performing. Using the Google Analytics platform, you can use behavior overview reports to see total page views, unique page views, and average time on the page. These metrics tell you which of your blog articles, landing pages, and other content are getting the most hits.
Here’s a screencap of what it looks like:
Once you have that information, it’s time to optimize it even more. To start, you can identify topic trends and create more great content around the topics that interest your audience most. You can also utilize those popular pages to link to others that you want to get more traffic.
It’s important, too, to understand what your customers are doing after they interact with your popular content. Are they reading it and leaving? Completing your call to action?
You can find out using the Google Analytics behavior flow report, which tells you how people move through your website. Information on this report includes how people arrive on your site, where they go from your landing page, and where the most frequent drop-off points are.
The report looks like this:
This information is important because if you have pages that are drawing high traffic but not pushing customers to the intended next step (like subscribing or starting a free trial), you have a missed opportunity on your hands. Usually, it means that users don’t have a clear path to take after reading that content. Using Google Analytics, you can pinpoint where these instances exist and take the right steps to close the gaps.
Improve content that isn’t performing
It might not be as fun as checking out your most popular content, but looking closely at underperforming content is just as important.
Using insights you gain from web analytics, you can make improvements to these pages that can turn them around. You can also identify instances where content is no longer needed or relevant and remove it so your website is less cluttered.
In the same way you used them to find and optimize popular content, you can use behavior overview and behavior flow reports to find content that needs a boost. Then, it’s time to make decisions about which content needs updating and which you can remove totally.
The good news? Research by HubSpot recently found that newly optimizing underperforming content doubled (!) the number of leads generated by old posts.
Here are some ways you can optimize old posts to improve their performance:
- Add visual content like images and videos
- Update headlines to make them more compelling
- Improve SEO best practices
- Re-optimize with long tail keywords to drive organic traffic
- Add or update calls to action to align with user intent
Target your content effectively
Audience reports in Google Analytics have troves of valuable information about your users that can help you target your content more effectively. You can see demographics data, user loyalty (how many times users returned), location and much more.
Google also has vast collections of user data and audience groups like affinity (based on interests) and in-market (based on recent purchase intent) that you can use to better target paid ads and gain insights about which audiences you should target most with your content.
Content marketers spend so much time working to understand their audiences with tactics like customer segmentation and user personas. Web analytics is a powerful tool that can be used to test these hypotheses and make informed, objective decisions.
Take a data-driven approach to driving conversions
Engaging your audience with content is a great start, but your ultimate goal should always be to convert paying customers. Web analytics can help you drive conversions with a variety of tools.
Remember those behavior flow reports we talked about earlier? They can tell you which pages and content are driving the most traffic toward your points of conversion, like free trial pages or email subscription forms.
You can also use the report to understand which of those conversion points are most successful, and increase your usage of them in other places. At the same time, you can take a closer look at your highly-converting content and create more content like it to yield even bigger results.
Match on-site search queries with your SEO keywords
Providing a search bar feature on your website is one of the best ways you can understand the intent of users who visit your website. Using web analytics, you can see exactly what users are searching for internally on your site.
The Google Analytics on-site search report is a key tool for accomplishing this. It looks like this:
Here’s a deeper dive into how you can leverage on-site search for detailed insights:
Once you know what people are searching for on your website, you can compare it to the SEO keywords you’re targeting to make sure they’re aligned.
At the same time, you can analyze internal search trends to understand what people may not be finding with simple site navigation. This information is important because you can adjust your navigation menu, page hierarchy, content categories, and other components to make it easier for your users to find what they’re looking for.
Use web analytics to make data routine
To truly make your content strategy data-driven, data needs to be integrated into your marketing team’s routines. Making this happen is simple with Google Analytics. You can set up automatic hourly, daily, weekly, and/or monthly reports that ensure you and your teams stay consistently up-to-date on performance metrics.
Outsource your web analytics tracking
If you’re a business owner, you probably don’t have a lot of time to dig through data and set up reports. So, how can you integrate web analytics into your content strategy to attract traffic, generate leads, and increase sales?
Did you know that web analytics reporting is a core service provided by content marketing agencies? By partnering with professional content creators and SEO strategists, you can build an impactful, data-driven content strategy without having to go through the time-consuming and expensive trial and error that often comes with tackling web analytics for the first time.