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Do you review and analyze your website’s marketing metrics on a regular basis? Many B2B marketers today are relying on assumptions to inform their content decisions.

In fact, with so little extra time on our hands after editing and publishing the content, the last thing content marketers want to do is track metrics and obsess with web analytics tools.

To understand and ultimately improve your content marketing efforts, you need to know which metrics to track and analyze, and how to do so. One of the keys to measuring engagement is to first determine a desired action or outcome.

Before gathering data from your company’s website, first define some goals based on your business and brands. The goals that you set will measure the success you have along the way.

Ask yourself, “what is it that you want your content to accomplish”?

Is it to:

  • Drive traffic?
  • Engage your audience and build a community?
  • Eduate your audience?
  • Build thought leadership?
  • Generate leads?

Once you figure out your company’s content goals, then you can figure out which statistics are most important to you.

Are you making the most out of the data available to you? Here are the 6 metrics you should be keeping track of to ensure you’re getting the best possible return.

1. Overall Traffic

The first indication of how well your website is doing is by tracking the amount of your overall site traffic. By far, this is the easiest statistic to track. If you are currently receiving 500 daily sessions and you want 2,000, keep this objective in mind and it will be a lot easier to measure your success.

Numbers are important because they can establish a baseline against which you can monitor growth in relation to your marketing investment in your website.

2. Referral Traffic

With web traffic, a "referral" is like a recommendation from one website to another. Google Analytics helps you view these referrals, which then add to your understanding of how customers find your website and what they do once they get there.

Referral traffic can be a strong indicator of which external sources are most valuable in helping your business achieve its goals, proving once and for all, for example, whether your Facebook page really does add value.

Referral traffic is Google's method of reporting visits that came to your site from sources outside of its search engine. When someone clicks on a hyperlink to go to a new page on a different website, analytics tools track the click as a referral visit to the second site.

The originating site is called a “referrer” because it refers traffic from one place to the next. Referral traffic is one of three statistics tracked by Google Analytics. The others are Search traffic -- visits from a search engine -- and Direct traffic to a domain.

3. Bounce Rate

A website's bounce rate, for example, is a metric that indicates the percentage of people who land on a web page and then leave without clicking anywhere else on the website.

Bounces are always one page sessions and high rate can be indicative of a number of things but usually it is either acquiring the wrong kind of traffic to the page, or an indication that the page is not compelling.

Evaluate and adjust factors that might contribute to your bounce rate, like site layout and navigation. Use only your past performances as a rubric, and try to improve your current bounce rate relative to your previous data

4. Conversion Rates

As a marketer, without a doubt you are looking for ways to optimize your website for better conversions. The conversion rate of a website is the most important measurement that you should improve when doing an online business venture.

Wikipedia defines the improvement of conversion rate optimization as “the method of creating an experience for a website or landing page visitor with the goal of increasing the percentage of visitors that convert into customers”.

If you are using your website for e-commerce, you must track your website conversion rates. Conversion rates not only tell you what’s working and what isn’t, it also gives you specific goals to take action on.

Backlinks, known also as inbound links are the building blocks of your search optimization campaign. When you have put a lot of effort in acquiring links to your website, you want to make sure these links aren't lost at any time.

The most important metric to monitor is losing a link. You need to know if just the link has been removed or the entire page it was on. Without tracking inbound links, there is no way of guarding your hard-earned links.

Backlink monitoring is one of those things too few of us do.

Track all your inbound links using Open Site Explorer.

6. Mobile traffic

Believe it or not, mobile devices have taken over the world. In fact, there are actually more mobile devices than people!

Thankfully, Google Analytics offers a good tool, which can be used to determine if a website is useful for mobile visitors and what mobile users are looking for when they search via their mobile devices. As the web goes more mobile, analyzing the behavior of mobile visitors to your website has become a must.

So how do you track all of these metrics? The easiest way to do this is through Google Analytics. Learn to install Google Analytics into your website here.

Also, click the link for a complete list of Must-have Tools for SEM that'll help with metrics tracking.

Performance of your website, content and social media all impact the overall success of your content marketing campaign. Marketers who effectively leverage the data at their fingertips to gather insights about their content's performance have the ability to significantly improve their content strategy.

Metrics may pose a challenge; however, once you make the numbers work for you, it could mean more customers, business and sales. Using these 6 important analytic metrics will help you identify the most important aspects of your content marketing strategies.

If you’ve got suggestions on other metrics to focus on for measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns – please note them in the comments section below.

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