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How to Strategically Use SQL to Analyze Content Performance and Increase Conversions

Header Use SQL to Analyze Content Performance

Content marketing is a slow burn—agonizingly slow for most business owners and a source of hair-pulling frustration for many content marketers.

According to a 2023 study of 28,000 domains conducted by Semrush, 95% of published pages don’t rank in Google’s top 10 in their first year. Of the 5% that do, ranking takes 61 to 182 days on average.

Domains ranking in Top 10 chart

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When you’re looking at these kinds of numbers, it’s crucial to analyze content performance. Too many content marketers make the fatal mistake of publishing content and letting it go like a helium balloon into the ether.

Failing to analyze content performance is a sure road to nowhere. It causes an endless stream of wasted resources and missed opportunities. Overlooking this step is quite literally leaving money on the table and allowing your competition to scoop up the potential customers your haphazard approach has left behind.

Don’t make this mistake.

What is content performance?

Content performance is measuring the impact of your content marketing efforts. Done well, it can tell you where your content is resonating with your target audience and where it’s failing.

When a piece of content “performs well,” it means it hits the metrics you were aiming for. Sometimes this means organic traffic, sometimes inbound leads, sometimes conversions, and sometimes something else altogether.

Knowing whether a piece of content performed will be judged entirely on what your strategy is—which is why it’s so important to have a content strategy to begin with.

If you don’t know what you’re measuring, no amount of analysis will help you.

The importance of monitoring and analyzing content performance

When you analyze content performance, you can see the gap between what you thought would land and what actually does—sometimes, this is quite surprising.

Without this information, you’ll continue to shoot in the dark, creating content around your product or service without listening to what potential buyers want to know. When you provide the information potential buyers need, they’re far more likely to move down the funnel and close the sale.

Measuring content performance allows you to create content strategically. You’ll no longer be throwing metaphorical spaghetti at the wall, hoping it’ll stick. Instead, you can confidently pour your marketing resources into content you know will resonate, educate, and ultimately create leads for your business.

6 key content performance metrics that actually matter

You can track dozens of possible metrics and hundreds of opinions about which are the best.

Ultimately, the metrics that’ll be right for you will depend on your business goals. Once you’ve figured out your goals and how your content strategy fits, which metrics to track should become much clearer.

However, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and need a place to start, these six metrics are going to get you a baseline of what you need to track regardless of where you are on your strategy.

  • Traffic: Traffic is usually top of everyone’s mind, and sometimes the only metric managers care about (to their peril). Traffic’s mere existence isn’t overly important—what matters is the increase in traffic. This is what you should be tracking month after month.
  • Traffic Sources: Where is all your traffic coming from? Knowing if your traffic is coming from organic, paid, social, email, or any other vertical you have will let you know where you can publish more of your content to meet your audience where they are.
  • Backlinks: Backlinks aren’t only one of the primary marks of authority that Google recognizes. They also prove that others find your content valuable enough to share. The more shares, the wider your reach, the more traffic you get, and so on.
  • Time on site: The longer a user stays on your site, the more valuable Google thinks your content is, and the better you’ll rank. If users quickly click away, your content isn’t what they’re looking for.
  • Click Through Rates (CTR): When users read your content, is it compelling them towards action? Are they clicking through to join your email list, view your sales page, choose a pricing plan, etc?
  • SERP Ranking: The search engine results page (SERP) shows how well you rank for individual keywords. The higher you are in the page listings, the better you are doing.

Content evaluation: How to use SQL to analyze content performance and build a marketing strategy

Most marketing departments use an SEO research tool, Google Analytics, and Google Console to analyze content performance. These are powerful tools that offer tracking of many key metrics.

However, structured query language (SQL) has advantages beyond the old tried-and-true methods.

Speed

Speed is far and away the biggest advantage of using SQL to enhance your digital marketing processes.

SQL was specifically designed to search, manipulate, and analyze massive amounts of data using a few commands.

Content analysis that takes a week to put together manually takes minutes with SQL, allowing you to take back time from copying and pasting into spreadsheets and more time building content based on insights.

Joins

SQL isn’t limited to one pool of data. With query joins, you can connect multiple databases to be queried at once, allowing for a broader depth of data analysis than you may get from other data analysis tools.

Segmentation 

Using segmentation with SQL lets you get as granular as possible with your customer data. 

For instance, you can segment by the average order value of women ages 25–35 who live in Chicago. This birds-eye view of your customer base is invaluable information to use in your content marketing strategy.

Personalization 

You can use SQL to query user preferences. These preferences allow you to create email campaigns and targeted ads that are highly personalized and more likely to convert. A study done by Hubspot analyzed 330,000 CTAs over six months and discovered that personalized CTAs converted 202% better than standard ones.

Conversion rate chart

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For example, consider Campus.edu, a community college. By executing a SQL query, Campus.edu can precisely identify the specific content pieces that capture the most attention from their audience. 

This knowledge empowers the institution to discern precisely what prospective students seek when exploring educational opportunities. With these insights, Campus.edu can strategically tailor their offerings, ensuring they align seamlessly with student aspirations. 

Addressing these highly sought-after content areas enhances the user experience and propels Campus.edu toward substantial growth and distinction within the competitive landscape of higher education institutions.

Automation 

Anyone who’s worked in marketing has experienced the hours and hours of time it takes to manually copy and paste metrics from Google Analytics into spreadsheets to share with their team.

SQL gives you this time back. Write a query once and run it infinitely, automating your monthly reports and using the time you saved on more important tasks.

ROI analysis 

Getting a return on your investment (ROI) is the name of the game in any business. Using SQL, you can write a simple query that lets you see any campaign’s ROI

From here, you can double down on successful campaigns and cut your losses on those that didn’t perform.

A/B testing 

A/B testing is one of the most powerful tools a marketer has in their toolbox. When you have two ideas, how do you know which will perform better?

Test them both and evaluate the tests by analyzing the data. With streamlined code and easy tracking, SQL will keep this process neat and tidy.

Performance risks: What happens if you have no content data analysis strategy?

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that analyzing content performance is the least important aspect of your marketing strategy. If you’ve not given much thought to content analysis in the past, you could be losing big.

If you don’t have a content analysis strategy, you are running the risk of:

Throwing money away: When you analyze the performance of your content, you can create a targeted strategy that’ll lead to ROI for your efforts. Without this, you’re simply producing content to produce content, throwing resources out the window, apropos of nothing.

No proof of ROI: Speaking of ROI, if you aren’t tracking your data, you have no proof that your content marketing efforts have accomplished anything. What will you show when your CEO or VP comes looking for stats on how well content is performing?

Competitors will pass you by: New content is constantly being published. Just because you were in the top ten last year doesn’t mean you are now. Your competitors will outrank you, and you may not even know.

You will be disconnected from your users: Over 2.5 billion blog posts are published every year. If you aren’t providing valuable, actionable content, you can bet your competitors are.

Failing to analyze your content performance and adjust your content strategy accordingly will mean you get left behind.

Data generated every minute chart

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Lost traffic: Untargeted content that doesn’t convert will result in Google’s algorithm seeing your site as less authoritative. 

Losing authority will mean lower SERP rankings, which will mean losing traffic. If you lose traffic, you lose conversions. If you lose conversions, you lose money. And if you lose too much money—you don’t have a business.

Conclusion

The beginning of any good marketing strategy is good data. Analyzing content performance ensures you create the right content to turn your readers into buyers.

If you’re struggling with ongoing content creation, tracking, and growth, a partner like Omniscient will set you up for success. We lead growth initiatives for fast-growing B2B SaaS companies and are intimately familiar with the challenges they face.

At Omniscient, we’re committed to building together. We educate, challenge, and collaborate with teams wherever they are and make it our mission to elevate their processes and champion their success. Book a strategy call today.

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Cassandra Rosas

Cass is the Head of SEO Outreach and Link-Building at Omniscient Digital, she loves writing about topics such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), content operations, e-commerce, and social media marketing. In her spare time she likes listening to music, doing oil painting and watching SciFi movies.