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Finding Your Best Content with an Audit

Do you ever get stuck for ideas when creating content? Do you want to get more out of content you have created in the past, such as turning old blog posts into free eBooks for lead generation? If so, then what you might need to do is take a step back and run a content…

Do you ever get stuck for ideas when creating content? Do you want to get more out of content you have created in the past, such as turning old blog posts into free eBooks for lead generation? If so, then what you might need to do is take a step back and run a content audit on your own website. This is simply a process where you make an inventory of the content you already have on your website.

Auditing Onsite Content

Of course, you don’t want to just create a list of your article or blog post archives. You will want to make this a useful inventory by finding not just any content on your website, but content that has actually performed well with your audience. With that in mind, here are the three free tools you need to find the best content on your website.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is probably the most important tool you will need for evaluating top content. First off, you can start by looking at data such as average time on page, bounce rate, and exit rate which will allow you to determine the content that keeps people on your website the longest. This information is under Content > Site Content > All Pages.

If you have goals set up, you can also see what content leads to the most goal conversions. If your goals have associated dollar amounts, you can even see the content that leads to the most ROI. This information is under Conversions > Goals > Goal URLs.

Curious about social interactions from your content when visitors click the +1 button? Then check out the section under Traffic Sources > Social > Social Plugins. Google Analytics is configured to measure +1 button clicks automatically. If you want it to measure clicks to your Twitter retweet button or Facebook like button, then you will need to set up specific tracking code on your website that can be found in the Google Analytics Help Center.

SEOquake

I previously mentioned using SEOquake as a great way to find viral content ideas on other websites. If you don’t have Google Analytics set up to track social shares, then this is the next best way to find out your top content on social networks. This browser extension that works with Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and Safari will show you statistics about items in search results, including social shares from Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

Once installed, be sure to go in to the preferences and make sure the parameters you want to see are checked for your preferred search engine. Also change the SERP’s preferences to get all parameters by request.

To find your top content, you would use SEOquake to see social shares on your blog content by searching for your blog in Google using the site:domain.com query, replacing domain.com with your blog’s domain. You might want to go to your search preferences, turn off Google Instant, and change your results per page to at least 50 so that you can see more of your content at a time. And if you are only interested in content from the past year, use the Show search tools to filter your results for the last year or other data range.

When you click on the search icon, you should see the number of results you specified when you search for site:domain.com. Click on the SEOquake bar at the top of your results to request parameters for tweets, likes, and +1′s then sort from Z to A for the social share that is most important to you.

Now you can see the most popular content on your website when it comes to social sharing. This is important if one of your content marketing goals is to gain more traffic via social channels.

Google Webmaster Tools

Last, but not least, is Google Webmaster Tools. You can find out what content on your website has the most impressions in search, clicks, and clickthrough rate as well as highest average position in search. Just look under Traffic > Search Queries and choose the Top Pages tab.

This can help you find out what content receives the most search volume and what titles actually lead to the most clicks to your website. This can be crucial for figuring out what content ranks well in search, but also what headlines generate the most clicks from search.

Auditing Offsite Content

These tips are great for doing a content audit on your own website. But what if you want to also audit content you have written elsewhere such as guest blog posts and articles? There are a few ways to do it using the same tools mentioned above.

Google Analytics

With Google Analytics, you will be interested in seeing which guest blog posts have brought the most referral traffic to your website. As you know, you can always look at your Traffic Sources > Sources > Referrals and look through the URL’s to find sites you have written for.

Alternatively, you can create an Advanced Segment in Google Analytics for sites that you contribute to often. To do so, click on Advanced Segments in your Google Analytics Standard Reporting screen, then click on + New Custom Segment. Then start entering up to 20 different domains that you write for with an OR statement.

You can then preview, test, and save your segment. Now you can view all of your analytics data, including Traffic Sources > Sources > Referrals to see just information for those who have arrived on your website from guest posting opportunities. This will tell you which site’s audience stays on your site longest and results in the most conversions.

You can also click on each of the domains to see exactly which posts led to the most amount of traffic for your website.

This will tell you what topics you have written about that have compelled people to learn more about you by clicking on your website link.

SEOquake

If you have been able to claim your offsite content using Google Authorship, then you can see the social sharing stats for content you have written on multiple sites simultaneously in Google search results. First, do a search for your name google plus.

When you click on the More by link, you should see all of the content that Google has associated with your profile. From here, you can change the keywords in the search box from your name google plus to the topic of posts you are searching for. You can now see a different sampling of your content on other sites and use the SEOquake extension to measure the social sharing on each of the results.

Some results (such as #36) might be a bit off, but you will be able to track down most of your content listed under your Google Authorship using this method.

Google Webmaster Tools

One of the tools being tested in the Labs portion of Google Webmaster Tools is Author Stats. This is the same information you would receive about your own website’s content in terms of impressions, clicks, clickthrough rate, and average position in search.

In this case, it applies to any content linked to you through Google Authorship assuming that you are using the same Google account for your Google+ profile and your Webmaster Tools. It’s a great way to get insight on what headlines people click on in search the most as well as let you know how your offsite content is performing without the help of other’s Google Analytics.

Wrapping It Up

Once you have entered your top content into a spreadsheet with all of the relevant data you wish to captures (conversions, traffic, social shares, etc.), be sure to use your spreadsheet’s sorting filter to see which content has the best performance. Use this to help determine what content to repurpose and what type of content to continue creating for future onsite and offsite projects.

What tools do you use to measure the value of your content?

  • http://www.twitter.com/JeremyCMorgan Jeremy Morgan

    This is a great post. I recently did this with my site and found some pretty surprising stuff. It has always been equally divided with SEO and Programming topics split on the site. What I found after a good audit was that Programming is actually where I should focus my efforts. While the SEO stuff brings a lot of traffic, the Programming stuff is what gets people engaged, they’re more likely to participate, stay on the site longer and look around and are more likely to share links. 

    Clearly my core audience is more interested in Programming where the SEO stuff drives a lot of traffic (from search engine results of course) but it’s a lot of “fly by” traffic that skims an article and moves on. The Programming group return more and share more, so I have decided that’s where I should focus my efforts. My site isn’t even how I make money, it’s something I do for fun, if I were running a business I would have done this a long time ago. This kind of analysis is very important to figure out what people really want to see and how to give it to them. Marketing 101. Nice article Kristi, great work!

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