It’s been a year since that first kick-off call, during which you touted your expertise in content marketing, SEO, and generally awesome practices embraced by only the savviest of digital agencies. You and your client speak regularly, and things are going well, but the 1-year mark seems especially ripe for that “look-where-you-were-before-us-and-look-where-you-are-now” moment. Beyond the obvious ones—like new organic traffic, conversions, and revenue—here are 4 and ½ signs of a healthy content marketing strategy.
1: Higher Domain Authority
The Moz SEO Toolbar gives you quick access to a wealth of important information, including domain authority. This metric takes into account links, anchor text, social buzz, and more—it’s basically an assessment of everything you’ve got going on. The higher the number, the better off you are. And in terms of possible SERP placement, it’s sort of like the cool-kid factor on the playground: if you have a domain authority of 11, you’re probably not getting picked first for kickball (or whatever kids are into these days—zombies?). But if you’ve taken your client from 11 to 44, he might be one of the first few chosen. The playground will soon be his! (Note: Don’t ever promise a client the playground.)
2: Better Referral Traffic
Hop into Google Analytics, and see who is driving traffic to your client’s site. If there new referrers that have picked up and recommended the unique content you’ve authored, or if there are prominent brands that see value in the infographic or microsite you created, then your optimization strategy is on the right track. But if nothing has changed in this regard, you need to think of new ways to attract attention.
3: Sweet Page-Specific Metrics
Often, your content marketing strategy will call for the creation of specific pages, whether it’s a blog, resource page, checklist, top 10 list, etc. When you generate an increase in traffic to (and conversions from) this page, you have an easy way to document the good health of your overall campaign. You also get to take all the credit for it, since it didn’t exist before you and your client partnered up.
4: Longer Average Session Duration
If, on average, visitors to your site have extended their sessions, it means you’re providing them with the content and user experience they were missing before. You can gain even more information by examining the sequence in which they visit pages, the ones where they spend the most time, and which pages are the best performers in terms of leading to a conversion. A rise in average session duration is also likely an indication that the traffic arriving at your site is more qualified than it was previously.
4 and ½: A Sunny Client Mood
This one probably doesn’t deserve as much attention, and it’s also a gray area, because you can’t just point to a number and say “See, it’s higher!” But humans are emotional beasts, and that must be respected. Do you get the sense that your client is less than thrilled with your level of effort? Has your contact recently started replying with one-word emails? Even if your strategy is working on paper, it’s not going to work for much longer if the relationship has soured. So look for personality cues to guide some of your decision-making: what does this person want to see, beyond the data? Doing so can help ensure the emotional health of your content marketing strategy.