It’s long been established that content is king when it comes to a website’s performance. The quality of your on-site content is paramount to generating traffic, leads and ultimately sales, making it one of the most powerful weapons in your digital marketing arsenal.

But, how do you know if your content is working? How do you know whether it’s performing as well as it can or in desperate need of a rewrite? To help you figure this out, we’ve rounded up some of the key metrics for measuring content marketing effectiveness.

SERP position and organic traffic

Perhaps one of the simplest ways to measure how your content is performing is to track its position in the search engine results pages (SERPs). If your site’s content is properly optimised, it should be ranking in the higher positions for your target keywords and drawing in a greater volume of organic traffic.

Of course, there are multiple factors that can impact a page’s position in the SERPs, so a little bit of analysis is key here. It could be that a technical issue is preventing a page from fulfilling its potential or maybe the site is suffering from a low number of quality backlinks (more on those later).

Therefore, to be confident that your content is impacting your position, you’ll need to track how your rankings changed after updating it while monitoring the other factors that could be interfering.

Time on page and bounce rates

Bounce rates and average time on page are useful measures of content effectiveness, too, as they give you an idea of whether visitors are finding what they’re looking for from your site. Once a user clicks through to one of your pages, are they immediately clicking off to look elsewhere? On the other hand, are they spending so long on the page that they might be having difficulty finding what they came for? 

As with measuring organic traffic, you’ll need to investigate the data further to discover the true meaning of the figures. In some cases, a short bounce rate may even mean that they immediately found what they wanted, so they quickly clicked away (this can be particularly true of sites which act as information hubs!) So, be sure to assess your figures further before jumping to any conclusions.

Conversion rates

For e-commerce sites, this one is a biggie. Ultimately, you want your visitors to turn into sales, and that’s exactly what this will measure. What percentage of your visitors go on to make a purchase? If your content is doing its job, it will be giving visitors all the information they need to know about the product in order to make a purchase.

This isn’t just restricted to sales, though. Conversion rates can be tailored to your goals to reflect whatever you want to gain from your web traffic. It could be for things like new email subscribers or even just clicking through to another page.

As always, more analysis will be needed in order to understand exactly what the figures are showing. There are several factors that could be deterring visitors from buying a product, beyond just the content. Low conversion rates could be due to a technical issue with the site, a confusing or unclear layout of the page, a negative review or even a concern with the product itself. Be sure to investigate this first.


For more factual sites, the number of backlinks to a page could be a sign that your content is providing high-quality information for users. This is because other sites may link to your page and cite it as a source in their own content if it provides them with useful insights. This in turn will bolster your site’s overall SEO performance.

Achieving this will likely require an element of outreach and digital PR, particularly for smaller and lesser-known websites, otherwise, publications might not be able to find your content in the first place. However, if others start using your site for their own content, it’s a promising sign that you’ve established your content as a credible and reliable source of information in your field.

A tailored approach

So, which of these metrics are the most important? In truth, this really depends on your own goals and targets. For e-commerce sites, generating a high conversion rate will be essential in maximising sales, while an informational website may be more geared towards gaining more backlinks to improve its credibility.

In this regard, you need to adopt a tailored approach by picking the metrics which best reflect the requirements of your content and business.

Head to the It Works blog to find more digital marketing insights or get in touch today if you’d like to learn more about our services.