Last Updated on July 15, 2020 by Michael Brockbank
As a blogger, you have access to all kinds of data. From visitor search queries to using heatmaps to see how people use the website. And of these, there are three vital blog metrics in Google Analytics EVERYONE should be using.
Now, I’m not saying that other points of data are not important. On the contrary, something like heatmapping can deliver all kinds of design information to improve audience retention.
But in the end, most of the extra data you collect all works to improve the more important aspects of your blog.
Today, I’m going to go over the most important metrics for blogging and what you can do to improve them.
Vital Blog Metrics to Watch
So, there are a lot of metrics available in Google Analytics. You can get everything from visitor demographics to seeing what social platform brings in the most readers.
All of this information is useful for creating a stellar blog. However, there are simply three metrics that all of this information feeds in to support.
Let’s take a look at what I’m talking about.
1. Looking at Pageviews
Pageviews are the bread and butter of your site. It shows how many times your pages were viewed by visitors. This includes people recorded as exploring the site.
What this means is that one unique visitor could still register three pageviews if he or she visited three pages.
Obviously, the more pageviews you have, the better the blog is performing in terms of attracting an audience. Any data you use for creating things like better social posts, keyword research, or blog subscribers, all feed into this metric.
Pageviews gives you an idea about the type of content you’re creating and what is most important to your target audience.
For instance, I can tell by the pages and view count that WordPress tutorials are the most effective on my client’s website. It drives the most traffic and often has the highest numbers for the next metrics I’m about to cover.
So, in terms of blog metrics, pageviews are definitely the more popular.
How do you improve pageviews?
Focus on the Content
Start with a keyphrase, but write naturally while centering on the topic. You need to deliver specific information to people who may be looking. It’s all about knowing searcher intent.
Create Content Your Audience Wants
Tutorials, listicles, and question and answer articles often work best for almost every industry. But, you still need to analyze what your specific audience finds the most engaging.
Keep a Consistent Publishing Schedule
I’ve found that websites as a whole do better in search results if it has a constant and scheduled flow of content. Not only is this good in search, but it will improve subscriber counts.
It’s also a good idea to promote your content as often as possible. Use social platforms, link to articles in email, or otherwise share your blog posts. You need to get it in front of as many eyes as possible.
2. Knowing Your Average On-Page Time
The on-page time shows how long the average person spends on any particular page. And you want people on your pages for as long as possible. This helps in SEO as well as improving the likelihood someone will explore the site or even click an affiliate link.
If you write engaging content and keep the attention of the visitor, this number will go up. But that’s the trick: to engage an audience within 15 seconds. Otherwise, the reader will “bounce” and your average time drops.
In the beginning, it’s common to see a lot of your pages have a “0:00” average time on page. A lot of things can cause this ranging from bots to content scraping.
It can also be a result of poorly structured and written content. For me, this is perhaps one of the more key elements of blog metrics. I want to know if people are enjoying the content.
As the months pass and you start acquiring more traffic, though, you’ll start to get a more accurate reading of page time. This is especially true if you include an opt-in newsletter or email subscriber list.
How do you increase On-Page Time?
Immediately Engage the Audience
Use your intro to connect with the audience. Let them know what you’re going to tell them and what they can expect from the blog post. Remember, you have 15 seconds to make an impression.
Add Relevant Images
Images play a huge role in sharing and engagement. Carefully picking relevant imagery can keep readers engaged in the article. Remember, a picture is worth 1,000 words.
Make the Content Easier to Absorb
Keep the readability level easy, break up the article using headers, and provide a great experience for anyone visiting the site.
I’m not one to put too much faith in needing 2,000+ words to appear at the top of Google search. Experts who state otherwise are basing information off of averages, not per niche.
In fact, I’ve seen articles in the top position within fewer than 500 words. It all depends on the information and what people are searching for, not word count.
3. Bounce Rate Blog Metrics
Bounce rates are what happens when someone visits your site but then immediately goes back to the search results page. This often happens because the content wasn’t what he or she was looking for or the website was taking too long to load.
Of all blog metrics I track, this one correlates closely with those with the highest click-through rate in Search Console. I’ll talk about that in a moment.
Now, there are a lot of factors that play into the bounce rate. Someone could bounce simply because the article didn’t exactly match what he or she was looking up. It happens more often than you think.
In reality, I’ve seen some of the most simplest of changes decrease the bounce rate of a blog post by nearly 20%. In one instance, all I did was move a section of content from the top to the bottom.
What can you do to improve bounce rates?
Create Engaging Titles
A title needs to tell the visitor what to expect right off the bat. So, something like “14 Ways to Make Baked Chicken for the Family” tells the reader there are a lot of ways to “bake chicken” for a “family.”
Get to the Point ASAP
Remember that 15-second rule I mentioned above? Your article needs to grab someone’s attention quickly and get to the point. If someone doesn’t find what he or she is looking for quickly, they’ll bounce out.
Work on Page Loading Elements
One of the biggest issues online today is how long it takes for a website to load. If some of the elements aren’t loading fast enough, the visitor will bounce. In fact, 53% of visitors will leave a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds.
Page speed affects a lot of blog metrics, actually. Which is why you want a fast and versatile web host. But, a good web host can only take you so far.
Things like image size optimization, limiting 3rd-party coding like Adsense, and adding caching can make a vast improvement in speed.
Use in Conjunction with Search Console!
Google Analytics provides a great deal of detail about your visitors. However, it’s not the only platform you should use to discover blog metrics. You should also use Google’s Search Console.
Search Console dives into deeper details about search and how people find your content.
For instance, you can see how often each of your pages appear in search results as well as the keyphrases people use. This can open all kinds of doors for creating future articles or revamping older ones.
And don’t underestimate revamping old articles. I’ve seen 7-year-old pieces get a textual facelift and increase traffic by more than 500% within six months.
My point is to watch the above blog metrics, but also use Search Console to create a content strategy. Sure, it takes a bit of time to analyze the data. But the end results are often worth the few hours you dump into researching every week.
The Data Isn’t Perfect
Unfortunately, Google’s data isn’t perfect. In reality, neither is any analytical system. Bots, VPN use, and more can all play havoc with the data that is collected.
However, Google Analytics is free and gives you a great base for monitoring your site. Improve the metrics in Analytics, and your site will definitely improve for human visitors.
Want to see real humans interact with your site for on-page time? Install a heatmapping app that records actual human visitors. Then, you can see for yourself how long people are actually spending reading your content.
In the end, though, it’s all about human engagement. And like I said, improving any of the blog metrics in Google Analytics only serves to improve your website…even if the data isn’t absolutely accurate.
How to Measure a Blog’s Success
The measure of a blog’s success is all about its creator. Are you looking for a specific amount of money per month? Are traffic numbers what impress you the most? Perhaps you’re more interested in on-page time than anything else.
In the end, it comes down to what you want out of the website and if you’re meeting goals.
Personally, I strive for monthly improvements in audience numbers. My goal is to simply have more this month than I did last, even if it’s by one visitor.
As long as you see upward momentum in the blog metrics of your choice, then you can call it a win. Any victory is still a victory.
Do You Pay Attention to Blog Metrics?
Now, you don’t have to pay attention to any analytical data to create a successful blog. However, knowing how the audience engages with your site gives you a chance to produce more of the same.
Why do you think I create so much Textbroker content?
It’s the above blog metrics that inspire me to create certain posts. What you do with the data is completely up to you and your own goals.