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    Using Traffic Ratio KPIs to Improve Content Efficiency

    An oft-ignored key performance indicator (KPI) of your content marketing campaigns is measuring your on-site and competitor traffic ratios.

    In this post we’ll discuss the following:

    • What are the various traffic ratios?
    • How are they calculated?
    • Why are traffic ratios important?
    • What do traffic ratios tell us about our content?
    • What does they not tell us?
    • How to improve your traffic ratios and increase your content efficiency

    What are Traffic Ratios? How are They Calculated?

    Traffic ratios are simple calculations that measure how efficient a single page is at drawing-in regular traffic on a recurring basis.

    It is a calculation that measures how much traffic a page gets relative to other sites in your niche and other pages on your website.

    It is a simple calculation:

    There are two ways the content efficiency equation can be used, which change the denominator, depending on which you choose.

    On-site Content Efficiency

    First, it can be used to compare various pages and posts on your own site with other pages and posts on the same site.

    When measuring the effectiveness of your own pages with other pages, it is best to use the most accurate data available.

    In most cases, this means using Google Analytics traffic data from the same time reference (i.e. the last month, if your content is fairly new or the last six months if you want to compare older, more established pieces).

    An on-site comparison of various pages should be a key component of your on-site content audit. If you’re not using the content efficiency calculation in your content audits, you should be doing so at least annually, preferably quarterly. The on-site content audit run-down includes only page-level traffic on the numerator. The denominator could include any other numeric page-level metric, including:

    • Total number of backlinks
    • Page length
    • Number of images on the page
    • Number of H2 titles
    • Absence or presence of video or interactive graphics/elements
    • Total number, percentage or share of the page’s most targeted keyword

    We have even experimented with weighted results. That is, we have mixed and matched the above to see what elements on the page may be helping to drive traffic, controlling and tweaking weights based on math and some gut instinct (images, for instance aren’t likely to be weighted as heavily as total word count or total % of desired keyword, for instance).

    Again, none of this includes any control for content quality using artificial intelligence or BERT, but when compared with competitor site data, you will be surprised to find areas of overlap and how you can improve.

    Competitor Content Efficiency 

    Second, it can be used to compare the efficiency of your content with your competitors’ pages covering the same general topics.

    In this scenario, it is best to utilize data from a third party tool like Ahrefs, SEMRush or Spyfu. Just make sure you’re using the estimated traffic numbers from the same third-party tool. Here’s a great example:

    Source: https://contentdistribution.com/fastest-seo-results/

    In both the on-site and competitive comparison scenarios, just make sure you’re only using estimated traffic from organic visits only. Social shares, referral traffic and direct visits should not count in the calculation. The denominator is simply the total number of indexed pages. Click here if you need a “how to” for finding a site’s total indexed pages in Google.

    A comparison of your competitors’ sites should be a key component of your in-depth competitor analysis, wherein you gauge your site’s effectiveness vis-a-vis your competitors.

    Why Measure Your Content Efficiency?

    A single piece of pillar content can rank for literally thousands of keywords.

    While this is the exception, rather than the rule, you will find that most of your most successful landing pages and blog posts will rank for at least more than one phrase that matches user intent.

    What Content Efficiency Tells Us

    • The efficiency of your existing, aged content vs. new content
    • Which pages, posts and topics are driving the clicks and eyeballs
    • What keywords (including keyword volumes) are winning
    • How the winning page backlink profile may compare
    • Content is king. 

    There is a reason I have bolded this point as it should be the take away from anyone performing this analysis, particularly off-site. You will notice a a direct correlation to the number of published pages and the overall traffic of a website. While most sites have money pages, it is rare to find 80% of the traffic coming from 20% of the pages. 

    What Content Efficiency Does NOT Tell Us

    • It does not tell us whether a piece of content is loved by users. There are false positives with visits and clicks. On-page dwell time should also be considered.
    • It does not include a weighted correction for on-site comparisons for keyword volume and keyword competition. Higher volumes and greater keyword competition will mute your efficiency unless you control of higher domain authority.
    • Content efficiency does not consider conversions and conversion rate optimization. Some pages may match user intent and drive traffic, but that traffic may never convert the users you want. In other words, some of your traffic may be producing vanity metrics. Vanity metrics may improve branding, but they still have a paltry SEO ROI.
    • Content efficiency is not exact and can be different based on page-level factors (in the case of on-site) or topics and industries (in the case of off-site). For instance a consumer B2C product company or a website that targets low competition and high search volumes may have a higher efficiency than an SEO company. Apples-to-apples comparisons between pages and more-so between websites, is nigh to impossible.

    How to Improve Your Content Efficiency & Your Traffic Ratios

    While it may appear overly simplistic, the very best way to increase your content efficiency is to increase site traffic to your existing pages or create new, hard-hitting pages that match user intent.

    Increasing content efficiency for existing pages:

    • Compare ratios to your own or your competitors’ pages and get your ratios back in line for things like keyword density, total word count, image frequency, etc.
    • Look at things like image title, alt and exif data. Tweak as necessary.
    • Build internal links to the pages in question, use variations of keywords, including groups of keywords you may want to target.
    • Write and publish more content with more internal links to other relevant, but non-cannibalizing pieces.
    • Add “stickiness” elements like video. Increasing dwell-time typically increases rankings which then, in turn, increases traffic.
    • Improve, lengthen and bolster some posts. Shorten, consolidate and combine posts when the competitor data tells you to. Remember, not all the best performing posts are exhaustive pillar pieces.
    • Lastly, hire our link building services. A good outreach link building campaign can do wonders for increasing exposure and traffic. You may be able to index your pages, but they won’t rank and your content efficiency will be poor without bolstering your website authority. Typically only quality links will do that.

    Preparing new content to be efficient from day one:

    • Analyze groups of desired, related keywords that could be targeted for a new post, which are not currently already targeted on-site. In other words, perform a content gap analysis, but use clustering (within reason) to answer multiple user queries with a single post. While “skyscraper” content is great, sometimes a user is best served in the SERPs by content that simply answers his/her most burning, immediate question. This is where both quantity and quality of content is needed.
    • Find specific answers to relevant questions and answer them succinctly. Questions related to a problem/solution that your product or service helps solve are ideal. Dozens of pages like this can drive extremely qualified traffic, especially if it’s evergreen.
    • Develop SOPs around your content promotion plan. What worked when promoting, indexing and ranking previously-published content? Replicate that same strategy for new pieces to ensure they rank well out of the gate. The most important time frame in the history of any single page or post is the first 48 hours! 

    After diving into the data, you will always find areas where you can improve. However, the biggest take away may be that in order to compete, you simply need to blog more. The data will always tell you that.



    VP of Business Development at SEO Company
    Ryan Nead is the Vice President of Business Development at search engine optimization services company, SEO.co. Ryan has spent the last 10 years as a digital marketing consultant working with enterprise clients and top brands on digital marketing initiatives that drive digital results. He has worked with brands like Smashburger, Fatburger, PHH Mortgage and Con-Way (now XPO Logistics). He resides in Texas with his wife and three children.
    Ryan Nead