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how to track blog performance

How to Track Blog Performance: 12 Critical Metrics

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With dozens of potential KPIs to track, understanding blog performance isn’t always clear cut. 

Over-reporting wastes time and leaves you with more questions than answers. But only reviewing high-level metrics like traffic can eclipse critical insights and areas for improvement. 

So where do you start?

The blog metrics you track should align with your goals. (What gets measured gets improved, after all.) 

Most likely, your objective of blogging is to increase website traffic.

Organic drives more than half of all website traffic on average. So focusing on organic blog metrics will help you build a sustainable traffic source and see an exponential return on your efforts.

12 Critical Blog KPIs to Track

Concentrate on these 12 metrics to measure and improve blog performance:

1. Organic Traffic

Organic visitors — people who find your blogs through unpaid search results — is one of the best indicators of overall blog performance. 

Search engines analyze hundreds of factors to determine which page best answers a search query. 

The amount of organic traffic your blog receives is a direct reflection of the value your content provides to a specific audience.

Pro tip: Track organic blog traffic monthly to start (or weekly if you publish multiple blog posts per week). To filter blog-only traffic in Google Analytics, create a segment for all landing pages containing “blog” (or the subfolder for your blog posts) from the traffic source organic.

2. Percentage of Blog Posts with Organic Traffic

Organic blog traffic might grow consistently month over month — but that doesn’t mean issues aren’t brewing beneath the surface. 

Tracking the percentage of blog posts that generate organic traffic provides a new layer of insight into overall content quality.

If a low percentage of blog posts produce any organic traffic, that means search engines see the majority of your content as low value. Having a large amount of low-value content could prevent you from ranking for new, more competitive topics or growing domain authority.

Pro tip: Take the number of blogs that generate more than 10 visitors per month compared to the number of blog posts published. For example, 30 out of 200 would lead to a rate of 15%. Aim to drive traffic from as many pages as possible to show search engines your content is valuable and worthy of appearing in search engine results pages (SERPs).

3. Average Visitors Per Blog Post

How many new visitors does an average blog post receive in a month? 

You should aim to drive traffic to most of your webpages, and documenting average views per blog post gives you insight into traffic distribution. 

For example, your top-performing blog post might bring in 5,000 visitors per month. But if you have 50 others that drive little to no traffic, that average will look much lower.

Pro tip: Compare this metric to your blog publish rate to determine whether more blogging results in more visitors per blog post. If average visitors goes down as production rises, you might be sacrificing quality for quantity.

4. Keyword Rankings

Keyword rankings indicate how well your blog post answers a search query or intent. But regularly reviewing hundreds of keyword rankings can lead you to analysis paralysis.

Pro tip: Use a tool like Moz to track the primary topic or subtopic targets for your blog posts, and add tags to filter blog keywords. (For example, add the tag “Blog” to the keyword target for each blog post.)

Review your blog keyword rankings and featured snippets weekly. To track progress over time, you can choose to record the number of page 1 or position 1-3 blog rankings you’ve generated each month or week.

5. Time on Page

When analyzing pages to surface in SERPs, search algorithms also weigh post-click behaviors — the actions a user takes after clicking through to your website from search.  

Time on page refers to how long visitors spend on your blog post and signals how valuable the content is to users.

Pro tip: Track the average time on page monthly, and regularly drill into high and low performers. If you notice users are spending more or less time on certain types of topics, take note.

6. Pages Per Session

Just as you want to encourage visitors to read and engage with your content — you also want them to click through to more pages on your website. 

Pages per session is another behavioral metric that reveals how many pages a visitor navigated to after landing on your blog post. 

High engagement signals your content is high-value to search engines — and means visitors are more likely to convert into leads. 

Pro tip: Record the average pages per session across your primary topics each month. Review blog posts with high and low pages per session to distill potential areas for learning or improvement.

7. Bounce Rate

Bounce rate refers to the percentage of website visitors that exit after visiting a single page. 

Blog posts typically result in higher bounce rates than primary destination pages like homepages because they’re educational. 

But a high bounce rate could also mean users didn’t get the information they were looking for and had to refine their search, which negatively impacts rankings. 

Pro tip: Prevent users from bouncing by focusing your content on user intent. Check in on averages monthly and take note of blog posts with higher and lower bounce rates than average. Focus on directing users to other relevant content to discourage bounces.

8. Conversion Rate

Although your immediate goal is traffic, don’t lose sight of your broader blogging purpose: To generate leads and customers.

Pro tip: Track the average conversion rate across your blog posts. Review the topics and types of blog posts that are more likely to lead to conversions, and add more of that type of content to your schedule.

If you notice new visitors aren’t converting on highly trafficked blog posts, add more compelling offers, content downloads or reasons to take the next step.

9. Leads and Customers

Conversion rate reveals the percentage of visitors that become leads — whether they subscribe to your blog, download a content offer or purchase your product.

But you also want to know the number of leads and customers that your blog actually produces. 

Pro tip: Using your average blog conversion rate, you can quantify how many customers you expect your blog to drive every month. Tying marketing metrics like visitors to leads and customers creates a strong business case to invest resources in blogging and helps you gain stakeholder buy-in.

10. Page Speed

Google began analyzing page speed as a ranking factor in July 2018, noting that faster pages provide a better user experience. 

Page speed also directly correlates with abandonment (or the rate of users leaving your page), making fast-loading pages even more critical.

Pro tip: To track this blog metric, filter your blog posts by page speed in Google Analytics. Use PageSpeed Insights to identify what’s causing your pages to load slowly, and fix those errors. Update your blog production process to prevent factors like large images from slowing down future blog posts.

11. Inbound Links

Links from authoritative websites to your content serve as trust signals.

Inbound links also help build page and domain authority, which directly affect rankings and traffic. Aim to produce content that gets found and referred by other reputable websites, such as primary research or data reports. 

Pro Tip: Use SEO tools like Moz to track the number of inbound links and linking domains to your website.

12. Publish Rate

How many blog posts can your team generate in a week or month?

Publish rate allows you to track your production velocity. If you can directly tie publish rate to improved business results and outcomes, you have leverage to advocate for more blogging resources. 

Blogging fuels your inbound marketing funnel.

But without measuring the results of your efforts — from traffic to leads to customers — blogging can often get deprioritized for more immediate revenue drivers.

Prioritizing these metrics will help you focus on driving traffic, build a strong business case for blogging and influence real business outcomes. 

Topics: content marketing | blogging