3 Alternative Ways to Measure Content Performance for Modern SEO Programs + Multi-Touch Customer Journeys Sarah Gray Group Director, SEO & Digital Content Published: April 29, 2021 4 min read Categories: Performance Creative You’re using content to drive business growth. But how do you know if your content is working? If you’re developing content primarily to improve your SEO, you’re monitoring keyword visibility reports, opportunity workspaces, and traffic dashboards. But looking at rankings and traffic — that is, how many people are seeing your content — is only the first step. Strengthen your content’s success by taking a critical look at how it engages customers, covers the entire customer journey, and achieves brand goals specific to each of those journey stages. Here are three ways we measure content performance outside of traditional SEO metrics: Sarah Gray for Conductor’s C3 conference: 3 Alternative Ways to Measure Content Performance for Modern SEO Programs + Multi-Touch Customer Journeys 1. Think beyond rankings to include engagement. Ensuring your content gets in front of your audience is only half of the equation. Don’t just optimize for rankings and traffic — go further. How does your content impact customers? Is it being used effectively? What does your content make customers feel about your brand? Is your content building loyalty and bringing value? Click-through rates: Even with strong keyword intent optimization and high visibility, if your angle or point of view (POV) isn’t compelling, consumers won’t click. High click-through rates from SERPs and social feeds can indicate topic interest or even positive brand voice response. Ensure your content metadata effectively pitches your content to searchers and social media users, grabs their attention and piques their interest. Overall website engagement: Once users have landed on your content, do they engage with your brand? Engaged users are 131% more likely to make purchases from brands whose content they’ve read. Identify if they’re visiting additional pages to learn more about your brand. What’s the most common user flow? What strengths can you discover? Maybe users often sign up for your newsletter or then visit ancillary product pages. The more you know about their journey through your website, the better prepared your brand can be to communicate with them along the way. Remarketing performance: Use data to go a step further. Cookie-ing your visitors when they land on your content can help make sure you keep your content and your brand top of mind. If your remarketing pool has healthy click activity, this means your content effectively interests qualified users. Social media engagement and followers: Similar to your email list, your social media followers have opted in to receive your content. If your social media content is receiving likes, shares, or comments, or if you’re gaining followers, be confident and continue creating. Your content is working. 2. Measure content coverage across the entire customer journey. Convert new customers more efficiently with content programs that support users through every stage of the customer journey. Answers, value propositions, reasons to believe, etc. — audit your content to guarantee your brand speaks at every consumer stage. Create a content map. Map out what content you have and plan for what you need. Solutions like Conductor Searchlight’s Content Mapping tool can make this easier. This tool works to quantify your content coverage across consumers’ stages of discovery, consideration, decision-making, and beyond, showing you where you;re missing opportunities to meet users where they are.For successful content mapping, it’s helpful to build user journey maps defining pain points, decision drivers, questions, and common objections for your personas at the awareness, consideration, and decision-making stages. Here’s a simple customer journey map template we use to guide our thinking around user journeys. 3. Customize goals for each customer stage. Use appropriate leading indicators at every stage. WhileRevenue seems logical, it can often be a lagging indicator of success for content marketing. Before a prospective customer gives you money, they must encounter your brand, and possibly interact with it. Consequently, your content should be evaluated using the appropriate leading indicator metrics depending on the stage of the customer journey it supports. For example, awareness content should introduce and position your brand for new users. You should share a compelling answer or perspective with your customers at the right moment to truly connect to their needs. Use reach and engagement metrics to see if this content is working. If people encounter and remember your brand, then your awareness content is successful. First-touch assisted conversions can be another lens to evaluate awareness content. This metric is a great way to understand if your awareness content is generating qualified leads later on. If your content reached your customer, connected with them, and then precipitated a conversion later on through another channel or website entry point, then it was successful. You reached the right audience with the right message at the right time. Evaluate your social media audience and email list growth for consideration-stage content audits. These buyers are closer to the point of purchase. They like what your brand has to say and want to hear more. While they may not be ready to convert within a typical 30-day cookie window (especially for longer sales cycle products or B2B services), every new follower or subscriber is an opportunity. Your brand has the chance to stay top of mind, win their hearts, and emb in any future consideration set. For decision-stage content, sure — go ahead and measure leads and revenue. Every prospective customer should be ready to click “Contact Us” as soon as they read your comparison chart, pricing table, or customer review. Content can deliver for your brand. Thinking outside the box, you can measure and utilize it successfully to grow your brand and business. For more on effective content marketing, read our latest insights or reach out to discuss with our team.